Grinnell Mutual and Leadership Iowa University making futures bright

Grinnell Mutual and Leadership Iowa University making futures bright

Networking and finding direction early can help encourage future business relationships. Leadership Iowa University (LIU) — an issues-awareness program that promotes leadership within the state of Iowa — allows college students do exactly that.

LIU is modeled after Leadership Iowa. Grinnell Mutual sponsors LIU, A program of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation, as part of its commitment to investing in its employees and the communities it serves.

“LIU focuses on familiarity with industry in Iowa and business networking,” said Barb Baker, director of advertising and community relations at Grinnell Mutual and a Leadership Iowa graduate. “Introduction to Iowa’s diverse business landscape is an invaluable and important step in becoming a serious contender in this industry. Moreover, the networking opportunity is tremendous. Connecting with seasoned business leaders is a fantastic way to learn, but it’s also important to connect with fellow young professionals to compare notes.”

Ryan SchweitzerRyan Schweitzer, an underwriter at Grinnell Mutual who attended Leadership Iowa University, agrees.

“As a young college student with little corporate experience, learning how to communicate in a professional manner was invaluable,” Schweitzer said. “Visiting a diverse selection of workplaces really opened my eyes to Iowa industry and made me proud to live and work here.”

Grinnell Mutual is recruiting the cream of the crop

Larry Jansen, CEO and president of Grinnell Mutual, believes Leadership Iowa programming contributes to Grinnell Mutual’s success.

“LIU is fantastic for recruitment,” said Jansen, a 1991 graduate of Leadership Iowa. “It’s important to keep an eye on emerging talent. As our employees retire, we like to prepare five, 10, 15 years in advance for our future.”

Payton FeltonPayton Felton, an LIU participant and current Grinnell Mutual underwriter, agrees.

“LIU was my key to bridging the gap between college and the workforce,” Felton said. “My time in the program not only showed me how many opportunities there are to be a successful young professional in the state of Iowa, but also helped me develop a great network of professionals who are just an email or phone call away.”

For more information

If you are a business-minded college student — or know someone who is — go to for exciting opportunities. To read about Grinnell Mutual’s commitment to its employees, visit the Careers page on