Mary E. Kramer
"Mary’s entry into public life, after
a very successful career in the corporate sector,
served as an inspiration to others on the value
and importance of public service."
John D. Forsyth, 2009
Mary E. Kramer is a remarkable Iowa leader and citizen. Leadership
and support for women have been the hallmarks of her long
and diverse career. She has experience as a musician, teacher,
wife, mother, volunteer activist, business executive, political
leader, and ambassador.
Kramer served as an Iowa State Senator for 13 years. During
the last seven of those years, she served as presiding officer
of the Senate, President of the Iowa Senate. Kramer was appointed
by President George W. Bush to serve as Chair of the White
House Commission on Presidential Scholars in 2002. In 2003,
the President nominated Kramer to serve as the United States
Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, where she
served until her retirement in 2006. Previous to that, Kramer
spent 18 years at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, joining
the company as its the first woman officer, first as Vice
President of Human Resources, then as Vice President of Community
Relations. A former teacher and school administrator in Iowa,
Kramer also served as the Personnel Director for Younkers,
Inc. Kramer's leadership, mentoring and negotiation skills
have been widely recognized. She is a lifetime member of the
Iowa Society for Human Resource Management and was presented
the National Society's highest award in 1996. Throughout the
years, through her political, business and volunteer activities,
Kramer has been passionate and tireless in supporting women
and children, particularly as mentor and coach as well as
in providing leadership and support for women in the workplace.
She was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2009.