Simpson takes on EPIC Challenge to promote leadership of women


by Laura Wiersema, News Editor

Indianola, Iowa — The Student Government Association passed a resolution Nov. 16 to encourage the Simpson College administration to sign the EPIC Corporate Challenge.

Started by Iowa Women Lead Change, the EPIC Corporate Challenge promotes the hiring, equal payment, retention and leadership of women within organizations. Groups that sign onto the challenge can accept all of the resolutions or choose from them.

After a meeting with the SGA’s Student Advocacy Committee, the president’s Cabinet agreed to two of the initiatives: to increase the retention rate of women at all levels within Simpson, and to monitor, discover and address gender-based pay gaps.

A third initiative, to increase the number of women on the college’s board of trustees, will be brought to the board’s next meeting in January.

While the challenge has not been officially signed by the college, Pierce Carey, sophomore class president and chair of the Student Advocacy Committee, and Britney Samuelson, senior class senator, look forward to the improvements.

“With Simpson having a majority of students as women, they should feel like they are being advocated for more by higher level cabinet members,” Carey said.

Carey said half of President Simmons’ Cabinet is women, but only nine out of 42 members on the board of trustees are women, and both of these administrative groups make critical decisions for the college.

“I think it really makes a difference when the people around you and at the organization that you attend are female leaders and it can do a lot to see that representation,” Samuelson said.

Samuelson also said she hopes to have a panel on women’s leadership, including female leaders from the area to inspire the women on campus, which is something that could be needed after Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election.

“Some women after the election are feeling are feeling a little disappointed and defeated and like they can’t reach those high leadership position,” Samuelson said. “In a nonpolitical way, this could be Simpson’s way of saying, ‘No, there’s still a place for women at the table and we’re going to get them there,’ and I think that’s important.”

Carey reminded that this is not a response to the election, saying, “However, whether you like Hillary Clinton or not, one thing she did prove is that anybody is ready for the job of the presidency.”

Heidi Levine’s appointment as vice president of student development serves as a Simpson-specific example of this as well, he said.

“It doesn’t matter where you came from or who you are, if you’re ready and fit to do a job, serving on the board of trustees or in the Cabinet, here at Simpson College, you’re going to be welcomed,” Carey said.

Since starting in March 2016, the state of Iowa, Drake University and several other corporations have signed onto the EPIC Corporate Challenge. After signing on, IWLC provides the participants with resources to help them meet their goals.

The Student Advocacy Committee said students can help by holding Simpson accountable to the goals and standards they set. They hope the student body looks as positively toward the initiative as they and the administration has already.

“It’s really inspiring for me and my committee that Simpson is taking a strong stance on this and is ready to dive in and promote women in leadership,” Carey said.

For more information about the EPIC Corporate Challenge, visit