HER is an organization operated by the Cedar Rapids newspaper, The Gazette.  There are three aspects of this wonderful organization: HER magazine, HER luncheon series, and HER women of achievement.


All three of these sections are very important and bring a new perspective to women not only in Cedar Rapids but also surrounding towns and communities.


Although HER’s intended audience is really for women, anyone and everyone are welcome to come to the events, enjoy the magazine, or both.


“The drive behind creating HER is to take a look and celebrate the good that is going on in our communities.  It really is centered around women, and what they are achieving.” says, Kelly Buchanan, the sales manager for The Gazette, along with the creator and program director of HER.


The HER magazine is funded by advertising dollars.  This means a company or individual would give HER a certain amount of money, and in return would get some form of advertising, depending on the amount of money they donate.  


Circulation of the magazine is 40,000 copies, and it is published twice a year. The reason it is only published twice a year is with the intention that no one will miss a copy. The magazine is published in April and October.  This way, it is able to correspond with the luncheons following the publications a few weeks after.


HER magazines are included in every household’s newspaper that is subscribed to The Gazette, as well as distributed at Gazette sponsored events. There is also a way to view the magazine on The Gazette’s website under the “Special Feature Publications” tab.


The HER luncheons are on a whole other level. These luncheons are very unique—there is nothing quite like them. The purpose of these luncheons is to provide its audience with the truths and tools of working in the business world and community.  There are many people that contribute to the luncheons—financially and with their time.


Luncheons are funded by a few different revenue streams. There are sponsored companies that help with the underwriting of the program.  In return, those companies logos are branded in all of the luncheon materials. Another way the luncheon is financially taken care of is by companies sponsoring a table at the luncheon and general ticket sales.


There are approximately eight speakers present at every luncheon. A keynote speaker, a moderator, and five to six panelists.  The job of the keynote speaker is to give the “main address.” This means they strike up the main conversation of the event.


For example, at a prior luncheon, the keynote speaker spoke on the topic: “Leadership doesn’t just happen in the C-suite.”  Buchanan comments on this topic, “There is a big push right now, especially in Iowa for women to break through that glass ceiling.  To be able to go to the highest position within a company. We selected a topic that would say, ‘If you don’t make it to the C-suite, you are still valuable, and you want to bring your best self to any work situation.  Whether you work as a team member, by yourself, you’re in leadership.’”


The topic for the most recent luncheon was, “Blueprint for success: Aligning your work with your values.”  This subject is also very crucial to touch on because it reminds us that in the end, the amount of money we make won’t matter; instead what will is: the lasting effect we had on our community as a whole and the peoples’ lives we changed.


Another important contributor to the HER luncheons is the moderator.  The job of the moderator is to form questions to ask the panelists and organize questions created by the audience so they are ready to be asked.  Without the moderator, the luncheons would not be able to run as smoothly.


Lastly, there are five to six individuals present on the panel and also part of the discussion.  What is incredibly interesting about the panelists is the fact that they are all from different walks of lives.  They range anywhere from twenty to seventy years of age, they have diverse cultures and religions, different occupations, and many more differential factors.  The purpose of this is so no matter who is in the audience, they have the opportunity to at least connect with one panelist, in some way. These panelists answer questions regarding the main topic, as well as ones the audience asks.


Something extra special about these luncheons is what they do after.  HER offers a workshop after the luncheon. This way, it’s audience doesn’t solely listen to what the many speakers have to say; they can also put it into action.  “That keynote speaker will lead a workshop for anywhere from forty-five minutes to one hour. So that you are able to get more nuggets, and take a plan and put it into action.  What you heard, now what do I do with it? And how can I utilize that? So it’s just one extra morsel of depth.” explains Buchanan.


HER also created what is called the “HER Women of a Achievement Awards.”  This is something new for the HER brand occurring in June. Way back in December HER asked people to nominate women in the community that are truly making a large impact on how they are serving it.  Buchanan comments, “We received 88 individual nominations. And from those nominations that selection committee chooses twelve women that they are going to honor.  Plus, two young women, high schoolers, that were nominated.”


All in all, the HER organization is making a tremendous impact on our community of Cedar Rapids, and the surrounding communities.  We are very lucky to have a program like this to support women, their dreams, and the way they will reach them.


The “HER Women of Achievement Awards” will be held on Thursday, June 7th at The Hotel at Kirkwood.


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