Speakers

Jen McDonough

A seasoned Motivational Speaker, Jen McDonough (aka The Iron Jen) is known for transforming the lives of her audiences so they can become strengthened through challenge, chaos, and change.

She is a respected and nationally known speaker on resiliency, calming the chaos, and creating drama free environments. She is a sought-after keynote speaker and workshop facilitator for high-stress organizations & associations around the United States.

Jen’s family is most known for paying off over $212,000 worth of debt and medical expenses in 4 years. Their story has been featured in the national media and internationally.

She is also an 8-time national Olympic style weightlifter, 2-time U.S. Olympic festival medal winner, MN Hall of Fame inductee and former volunteer firefighter & first responder.

All three of her books have hit Amazon’s Top 100 category including her book 5 Minutes a Day to Living Beyond Rich which hit #1 in Amazon’s Budgeting category and her book Living Beyond Awesome which remined in Amazon’s Top 100 Triathlon category for over 2 years.

When she is not going around the country helping people to “put out fires” she enjoys training for triathlons, working on puzzles, playing Ticket to Ride with her mom, and hanging out with her four awesome kids, her favorite husband Bob, and their 3 active dogs.

You can find out more about Jen at www.TheIronJen.com.


Liz Cox

Liz Cox is the Executive Director of Polk County Health Services and CEO of the Polk County Mental Health and Disability Services Region.

For more than 20 years Liz has led initiatives addressing community wellbeing and the social determinants of health. Prior to joining Polk County Health Services, Liz held leadership positions at Prevent Child Abuse Iowa and The Iowa Healthiest State Initiative.

Currently, Liz leads a dynamic team developing mental health and disabilities services for adults and children living in Polk County.

Liz is also active in her community. She’s served on the board of a number of non-profit agencies enriching the lives of others including The Great Outdoors Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, and is the Past President of the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education. She is a member of Rotary International, a graduate of the West Des Moines Leadership Academy, and the very proud mother of three fantastic kids.

 

 


Lisa Cushatt

Lisa Cushatt, LMSW, is the Executive Director for Iowa ACEs 360. ACEs 360 seeks to improve the health and well-being of all by empowering communities, organizations, and people to take informed actions to prevent and mitigate the lifelong effects of childhood adversity. Lisa is responsible for the management of Iowa ACEs 360, including training, advocacy, and partner collaboration.

In addition to leading systems change efforts, Lisa serves an adjunct instructor in the field of social work. She has her Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis in Policy, Planning and Administration from University of Missouri-Columbia, and her Bachelor’s in Sociology from Truman State University.

 


Kari Timmer

Kari Timmer received her B.S. from Northwestern College in Orange City in 1999 before becoming the accountant at Northwest Iowa Health Center (currently known as Sanford Sheldon Medical Center). After three years working as the accountant, Kari returned to her home town in Rock Valley where she accepted the Chief Financial Officer position at Hegg Memorial Health Center in 2002. Kari received her personal trainer certification in 2004 and started her yoga training shortly after. She received her 200 RYT certification in 2009. Continuing education is very important to her and continues to take classes to learn more about the interconnection between mind and body. Kari owns and manages Mind & Body Wellness, LLC in Sioux Center, Iowa which is a yoga studio offering classes and one on one sessions in the evenings. She has been teaching since December, 2004. In November, 2018, Kari accepted the Chief Financial Officer position at Sioux Center Health in Sioux Center, Iowa. In Kari’s spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, summer outdoor activities, a variety of exercise activities, and learning more about health and wellness. Kari currently resides in Sioux Center, Iowa with her husband and two children.

 


Holly Hanson

Holly Hanson is the Ryan White Part B Program Manager for the state of Iowa. She is responsible for ensuring program compliance with the Ryan White Treatment Extension Act, including strategic planning, reporting requirements, grant and budget management, program implementation, and communication. She has been in this position over twenty years. Before coming to the Iowa Department of Public Health she was a therapist and outreach worker at Columbine Connections in Littleton, CO, an agency created after the shootings occurred at Columbine High School in April of 1999. Consequently, she has a particular passion for bringing trauma informed care to the HIV field in a meaningful way. Ms. Hanson received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from the University of Iowa and her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education from the University of Colorado at Denver.

 

 

 


Kelly Kennedy Garcia 

Praised for transformative leadership, Kelly Kennedy Garcia serves as the Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). Governor Kim Reynolds appointed Garcia to oversee the state’s health and social services agency in November 2019. She was unanimously confirmed by the Iowa Senate on February 26, 2020. On June 30, 2020, it was announced that Garcia would take on the role of interim Director at the Iowa Department of Public Health effective August 1, 2020.

Before moving to the Hawkeye State, Kelly served in a series of executive positions at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Most recently, Garcia was a deputy executive commissioner at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. In that role, Garcia directed 40 client service programs, managing more than 700 employees and a $1.4 billion budget. Garcia was the architect behind the state’s successful Medicaid 1115 women’s health waiver application, which established a landmark federal partnership with the state’s Healthy Texas Women program.

Garcia also served as the second in command for HHSC’s Office of Program and Services, a division that oversaw Medicaid, eligibility operations, behavioral health, intellectual and developmental disability services, women’s health, veterans’ health, and aging services. She managed all policies and processes for the division, with a staff of 35,000 and an annual budget of $38 billion.

Garcia previously directed the Office of Transformation, Policy, and Performance, where she played a leading role in the consolidation of the Texas HHS System. She also headed HHSC’s government relations division, where she successfully shepherded the confirmation of the HHS executive commissioner.

Throughout her career, Garcia led improvements in organizational structure, program management, and policy development to large health care systems. She also brings to the role a commitment to building successful teams that will help Iowa families succeed.

Garcia is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and received her MPA at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. She was a member of the Governor’s Executive Development Program sponsored by the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She is married to attorney Dan Garcia, and they have two children.