You are viewing United States

Empowering Women, Inspiring Change: Mary Nelson's Trailblazing Journey

Posted March 08, 2024

In celebration of International Women's Day, we shine a spotlight on a remarkable woman whose journey exemplifies resilience, dedication, and a commitment to positive change. Mary Nelson, co-founder of Kemin Industries, stands as a beacon of empowerment, breaking barriers in business and leadership.

A Pioneer's Beginning

Mary and her husband, R.W., founded Kemin Industries in a humble wool barn on Des Moines' east side in 1961. Since then, Mary has played a pivotal role in the company's growth, showcasing her versatility and dedication to its core values.

Versatility in Leadership

Mary's journey at Kemin spans over four decades, during which she seamlessly transitioned through various roles—from supervising administrative staff to managing customer service, printing, and human resources. Her influence extends to strategic planning, board participation, and global decision-making.

Philanthropy as a Guiding Light

As a member of the Kemin Charitable Contributions Committee, Mary channels her energy into guiding the company's philanthropic initiatives. Her commitment to corporate citizenship led to impactful efforts such as fundraising for disaster-stricken areas and coordinating campaigns for education in communities worldwide.

Local Impact, Global Reach

Beyond Kemin, Mary has been a tireless community volunteer and advocate. Her involvement in organizations like Anawim Housing and the National Conference of Christians and Jews showcases her commitment to cultural understanding and community-building activities.

Recognition and Awards

Mary's contributions have earned her prestigious awards, including the Sisterhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the President's Angel Award from Dowling Catholic High School, and the People of Vision Award from Prevent Blindness of Iowa. She was named a YWCA Woman of Achievement and inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame.

Championing Women in Business

Mary takes pride in Kemin's commitment to gender diversity, with women occupying top leadership positions. Her advocacy for women's roles within the company aligns with the broader theme of International Women's Day—equality, empowerment, and inclusivity.

Educator, Social Worker, and Business Leader

Mary's journey began with a degree in home economics education from Iowa State College in 1950. Before joining Kemin, she spent time as a teacher and social worker, working closely with families in need.

Inspiring the Next Generation

Mary Nelson's story is not just about business success—it's a testament to resilience, dedication, and making a lasting impact. On International Women's Day, we celebrate Mary and women like her, whose journeys inspire positive change and pave the way for the next generation of leaders.

As we honor women's achievements worldwide, let Mary Nelson's trailblazing journey be a source of inspiration and a reminder that empowering women leads to a brighter, more inclusive future for all. Happy International Women's Day!

Subscribe to our Blog