College students forge their journey in Iowa through Leadership Iowa University

April 8, 2024 | QC Business Leaders Excited to Host ‘Getting Down to Business' Kendall Antle, Programs & Engagement Coordinator, ABI Foundation,

Leadership Iowa University (LIU), a five-day summer program of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) Foundation, is designed to connect our state’s next decision-makers with tools for personal and professional success. LIU offers college-age students the ability to explore Iowa’s opportunities with a focus on helping them bridge the gap between college and career.

Program Timeline and Expectations
The 2024 program will take place August 4-8 in Des Moines. Throughout the week, participants will meet 75+ industry professionals and community leaders to learn about Iowa’s different industries and organizations. By way of networking events, engaging roundtable discussions, a dynamic speaker series, and business tours, participants rediscover why Iowa is the ideal state to live and work.

Program Eligibility and Ideal Candidates
Up to 30 students are selected each summer. Any student currently enrolled at an Iowa college/university or interning for an Iowa-based company is eligible to apply. Eligible students can also be nominated; the ABI Foundation staff will reach out to nominees with program information and an invitation to apply. Ideal candidates for LIU are students considering a future in Iowa with a desire to positively impact their workplaces, communities, and our state. Participants are often “big picture” thinkers with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and a variety of career and academic interests. Additionally, participants also demonstrate being an engaged leader, whether it’s on their campus or in their communities.

Program Highlights and Testimonials
In last year’s program, 28 participants represented 11 colleges and universities spanning 21 academic majors. After completing the 2023 program, participants reported (1) confidently developed or expanded their network; (2) increased awareness of Iowa businesses and industries, as well as their economic impact on the state; and (3) a clearer understanding of how to attain personal and professional goals in Iowa.

Don’t just take our word for it. Hear what some of those participants had to say:
“Leadership Iowa University has given me so much appreciation for Iowa. Being a part of this program has provided me with new considerations and perspectives, not just about the opportunities here, but also about the type of leader I have the potential to be.” – Faith Wahls, Coe College

“Connections and life lessons were important takeaways from this program, and so was the network of individuals who helped me change the way I view certain industries and careers.” – Tafara Hondonga, William Penn University

Each year, several participants are nominated and sponsored by their employer as part of an “internship capstone” experience. Supplementing your summer internship program with the opportunity for your student-employee(s) to attend LIU contributes to their overall internship experience and positions your company for greater return on investment.