ReShonda Young ’97: Alumni Citation

ReShonda Young is leaving a mark on her community as an entrepreneur and the country as an advocate for pay equity.

Armed with a business management degree and an entrepreneurial spirit, Young began building her net worth buying, selling, and renting real estate. In the years since graduation, Young has added several new titles, including operations manager at Alpha Express, a family business, and owner of Popcorn Heaven, a boutique popcorn shop in Waterloo.

But her most important title to date has been that of an advocate for other small-business owners seeking to provide health insurance for their employees and women seeking equal pay for equal work.

“ReShonda not only talks the talk, she walks the walk. She refuses to allow female workers in any of her businesses to be paid less than their male counterparts. She has made the commitment to offer not only equal pay for equal work, but fair wages for all employees,” wrote Sue Dinsdale, executive director of the Iowa Citizen Action Network.

In 2009, Young testified in front of the House Education and Labor Committee, supporting a draft proposal for health care reform. In 2013, she spoke on the U.S. Capitol steps with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the announcement of When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families.

In the Cedar Valley, Young volunteers with her church, Heartland Vineyard, where she serves on the Natural Church Development Committee and Board of Directors. She also works with Love INC, a network of local churches, volunteers, and community organizations that crosses denominational lines to help others in need.

She sits on the YWCA board, reviews grants for the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, and speaks to young people about money management.

“She demonstrated to everyone that hard work and community involvement could lead to successes both professionally and personally, locally and nationally,” wrote Lucinda Mohr, YWCA executive director. “ReShonda is an important role model for all women in our community, young and old. She is highly respected by all who know her. We appreciate her drive, her intellect, and her genuine commitment to the community, and to ensuring that all members of the community experience peace, justice, freedom, and dignity.”

In presenting this Alumni Citation to ReShonda Young, the Wartburg College Alumni Board recognizes her leadership and dedication to addressing the challenges facing women and small-business owners in her community and nationwide.