Heather Dee is an active member of our Women’s Leadership Iniatitive (WLI) and part of the group’s Steering Committee. Learn more about Heather and why she advocates for women’s health by reading her responses below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for fun?
I’m married and have two children that I am immensely proud of. My daughter, Kesa, lives in Pittsburgh, and works at a crisis center that helps victims of domestic violence. My son, Lotu, is a student at Coe College, where he plays two sports and was just elected Vice President of the student body.
Vacationing with my family is my favorite type of fun. I stay busy taking some night classes, exercising, and volunteering, so resting is my second favorite type of fun.
What causes are you most passionate about?
The advancement of women is my passion. I grew up in a family with many educated and independent women; in fact, my grandmother had a master’s degree. I grew up with the message that I could be and do anything I want to. I thought by the time I was this age, women wouldn’t still have to fight for equal pay and the right to make all of our healthcare decisions.
Why did you decide to get involved with United Way and WLI?
I work at Alliant Energy with one of the founding members of WLI and had heard her give an impassioned account of a friend who had a serious health condition, but was insured through her husband’s job. When he unexpectedly lost his position, she faced navigating a complicated system just to access her medications. At that moment, I realized that WLI was helping my friends and neighbors and perhaps even me someday. It is incredibly gratifying to hear the stories of the thousands of local women that have received assistance.
Do you have any advice for others who want give back or be more active to the community?
Just recently, I heard someone sum up Midwest values as “be honest, be kind, be useful.” What a lovely way to say something so true. If you want to volunteer with an agency, but you are hesitant to take that first step, I would suggest you attend an event or meeting to check it out. Everyone has always been kind and welcoming. The personal rewards will be so worth the effort.
WLI Luncheon: Wednesday, May 23
We will host our annual WLI Luncheon on Wednesday, May 23 at the Cedar Rapids Country Club. Join members and non-members alike to hear how WLI works with our health partners to provide funding for women’s healthcare services.