Melissa Murer Corrigan: Women of Influence

We were honored to have our own team member Melissa Murer Corrigan awarded with a 2017 Women of Influence Award by the Corridor Business Journal last Thursday night. Congratulations, Melissa! We are very proud of you and all your accomplishments. Please see Melissa’s remarks in their entirety below.

MMC and award

April 20, 2017

Melissa Murer Corrigan, Vice President Social Impact

Women of Influence Remarks:

Thank you to the Corridor Business Journal for the 2017 Woman of Influence Award.

I’m proud to be accepting this award among the many influential women around us here in the Eastern Iowa Corridor – including my nominator and 2015 Women of Influence Dean Sarah Gardial of the Tippie College of Business, the University of Iowa.

The Corridor has a long history of women of influence. I know for a fact that this legacy of women’s leadership goes back more than 100 years.  I’d like to share with you a story about a woman of influence from right here in Iowa City.

In 1897, a brave and determined woman by the name of Zada Cooper graduated from the University of Iowa’s College of Pharmacy – one of only two women in her class – and went on to become not only the first tenured female faculty member at the University of Iowa’s College of Pharmacy but also one of the first national female leaders in pharmacy across the United States.  Zada Cooper served in national pharmacy profession leadership roles, founded national scholarship and leadership organizations in pharmacy and became known as “the grand and glorious lady of pharmacy” during an era when the profession was dominated by men.

MMC and CEL team members

Last year, I had an idea to celebrate and honor Zada Cooper. This vision became the first Zada Cooper Leadership Symposium. I helped to lead the event and was proud to bring national leaders in pharmacy – all women leaders – to Iowa City to talk with pharmacy students and pharmacists.  Both men and women attended the symposium.  Today, there are more women than men graduating as pharmacists but when you look at executive leadership roles there are many more men than women serving in those positions which mirrors corporate America.  The tradition of Leadership continues – and on May 6, the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy will host the second annual Zada Cooper Leadership Symposium. I’m proud to share with you all that the presidents of the two major pharmacy organizations in the U.S. (APhA and ASHP) will both be keynote speakers here in Iowa City – and they are both women.

A little over five years ago, I transitioned from the field of national pharmacy leadership and credentialing to move to Iowa City and join ACT. Prior to ACT, like Zada Cooper, in the field of pharmacy I was a pioneer when I founded the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board in Washington, D.C.  At PTCB, I was responsible for developing and launching the certification exam that introduced competency-based standards for pharmacy technicians as they assist pharmacists serving patients in community settings, hospitals, etc.  Today more than 600,000 pharmacy techs in the U.S. have earned career-enabling credentials from PTCB and are now serving millions of Americans like you and me.

The ranks of pharmacy technicians include thousands of women improving their lives – and employment opportunities – through a valuable work credential.

Today at ACT I serve as Vice President of Social Impact at the Center for Equity in Learning.  The mission of ACT is to help people achieve education and workplace success.  I’m continuing my passion in helping others in underserved populations working to achieve a better life through education and workplace credentials.  I’m proud to continue my career with an organization like ACT that touches millions of people’s lives every year.

MMC and team members

It’s been a pleasure to play a role in the Corridor community and to represent ACT’s leadership team with other organizations such as the University of Iowa, United Way, Corridor Women Connect and Iowa Women Lead Change.  I’d like to recognize some of my ACT colleagues – some of them I also personally consider women of influence such as ACT’s COO Janet Godwin.  I’d also like to thank ACT CEO Marten Roorda and Jim Larimore who serves as ACT’s Chief Officer for the Center for Equity in Learning.  Your vision to make the world a better place through personalization, integration and equity is truly inspiring.  Also, a special shout out to the ACT CEL team.

In receiving this award I’m grateful for the support from my husband John whom I first met in Iowa many years ago and cheers me on every step of the way.

In closing, from the ground breaking work of Zada Cooper in the 19th century to the advancements in education and workplace that ACT is pioneering here in the 21st century, the Corridor should be proud to lay claim to so many women of influence.

Thank you for this great recognition.