Worth Thinking About

“We have to control the fear within us; we can’t let it control us. We have to operate from a position of strength, and that strength is full of hope and full of faith.”

Judy Bradshaw, director of the Iowa Law Enforcement
Academy and former Des Moines police chief, 2017


“Do what you say you’re going to do. Have the guts to say no, or the resolve to get it done.”

Jim Cownie, real estate developer and philanthropist, 2017


“Listen to what people are not being allowed to say. Find ways to elicit a person’s real thoughts. Often in meetings, you ought to be listening to the dog that isn’t barking.”

Johnny Danos, former president of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, 2012. Danos died in March of this year.


“You sell yourself and your life short if everything is always focused on where it’s going to take you versus what it means as you experience it.”

Marsha Ternus, former chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, 2016


“Listen for surprises.”

Jazz aficionado Abe Goldstien on how to appreciate jazz, 2013


“If you look back, make it a quick glance. Always look ahead; there’s so much more that can be accomplished.”

Vernon Jordan, director of youth programs for Oakridge Neighborhood Services, 2015


“There’s always more to be done, more to attend to, more to engage around. That inevitably creates a certain level of tension, and you should just accept it. Don’t imagine that it might be different. … That realization was liberating for me.”

Marty Martin, president of Drake University, 2018


“Focus until the deal gets done.”

Bill Knapp, real estate developer and philanthropist, 2011


“Many people think that to acknowledge a problem is to show weakness. The truth is that it takes strength to face our personal demons.”

Attorney and advocate Roxanne Conlin, 2016


“Drink with friends. Surround yourself with good people and enjoy life.”

Templeton Rye founder Scott Bush on the best way to taste whiskey, 2013


“Don’t be afraid to take the wrong road. My life ended up almost the opposite of what I intended.”

Former ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, 2015


“Art is magic. It’s who we are as humans.”

Jeff Fleming, director of the Des Moines Art Center, 2006


“If you help out for the right reasons, you will be richly rewarded.”

Former Gov. Robert Ray, 2011


“I operate on the assumption that everyone is properly motivated, and until they prove otherwise, I give them the benefit of the doubt. That builds trust.”

E.J. Giovenetti, attorney and former Urbandale mayor, 2013


“It is when we hide in despair—when we shy away from speaking our truths and participating in our democracy—that the best ideas do not win. We have to stand up for each other and for what is right.”

Mark Stringer, executive director of the ACLU of Iowa, 2017


“Listen to your elders.”

Community volunteer Margo Blumenthal, 2015


“Don’t give up too soon. Stay with things a little longer even if they look bleak. They usually turn out.”

Buz Brenton, founder of Brenton Arboretum, community leader and philanthropist, 2014


“Be open to every time someone asks you for money for a fund drive. You don’t have to give to them all, but be decent about it, be open to it, learn about it.”

Chuck Betts, community leader and former auto dealership owner, 2014


“Truthful feedback is always a gift. The faster it comes, the more likely we are to accurately connect cause with effect and learn what to do more, or less, of.”

Mike Wagner, owner of White Rabbit Group, 2015


“Have an open mind. If you aren’t open to things, you miss so many opportunities.”

Lynn Horak, retired regional chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo, 2016


“I try to be on top of every moment of my life. That has paid a better dividend than my talent, I am sure, and it is a message I send to all young people.”

Jonathan Sturm, concertmaster and first violin, Des Moines Symphony, 2017


“Make a decision and then make it work.”

Attorney Ed Hansell, 2016


“Discrimination knows no color because I’ve experienced it from both sides. And when you’re hurt, you’re hurt.”

Ruth Ann Gaines, Iowa state representative and retired teacher, 2018


“To wish someone a life that has no bumps in their road is not wishing them a fulfilling life. It’s those bumps that teach us what we’re all about—and in a way, they represent our greatest strengths.”

Dr. Richard Deming, founder of Above & Beyond Cancer and medical director
of Mercy Cancer Center, 2016


“Veterans don’t need sympathy. We need education and good jobs.”

Edward Ailey-Roberson, former homeless veteran, 2015


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