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Wendy Mihm-Herold: Building a vision for the future

Wendy Mihm-Herold stepped into her role to serve as the President & CEO of iJAG in January 2023. While she is a relative newcomer to the role, she has a long history of working to address workforce needs and develop strategies to enhance student success. With her extensive experience, Wendy is well-equipped to connect education with in-demand careers and workforce opportunities, benefiting students and enhancing community vitality throughout the state. 

Originally from northeast Iowa, Wendy earned a Bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University followed by a Master of Science degree from Drake University and Doctorate in Philosophy from Iowa State University. Prior to iJAG, she served as the vice president for business and community solutions at Northeast Iowa Community College.

A visionary leader

Wendy’s decision to join iJAG was inspired by its unwavering mission to serve Every Student. No Matter What! With conviction, she believes that iJAG is the vital bridge that connects  education to meaningful careers. In Wendy’s eyes, iJAG doesn’t just make a difference in the lives of its stakeholders; it makes Iowa a better place.

“iJAG makes a difference for students by empowering them to build a sustainable future, by providing the necessary guidance to connect with careers, learn employability skills, refine their leadership, civic, and community service abilities. We serve more than 7,000 students in 155 programs across the state of Iowa.”

Embarking on new horizons

iJAG is in an era of unprecedented growth, boasting 50 new program launches in 2023 and an additional 15 slated for 2024. iJAG’s expanded footprint comes with a promise of life-changing opportunities for an unprecedented number of students. Yet, this remarkable program growth transcends numbers. 

“iJAG thrives on creating a consistent and impactful experience for every student across its 155 programs. Our focus is on leadership skills, resiliency-building, career development, employability skills, civic and community service. We are committed to equipping every student with mastery in these crucial areas, setting them on the path to a successful and fulfilling future.”

Strengthening the iJAG Culture of Care

The work and impact of an organization is greatly impacted by the culture within. Wendy is spearheading the strengthening of the iJAG “Culture of Care” – one that prioritizes the well-being and personal development of each stakeholder. 

“For me, the Culture of Care at iJAG means caring for our mission, our students and each team member daily. It’s about making the best possible decisions, upholding each other accountable, and enhancing and empowering the lives of students throughout the state of Iowa.”

Personal connections and impactful stories

What fuels Wendy’s passion is the opportunity to connect with current and former iJAG students. She cherishes the stories of transformation and success. 

“One day, driving home to Northeast Iowa, I was in a car accident. In that challenging moment, the Sheriff arrived at the scene. To my surprise, he shared with me that he was once an iJAG student. He made a point to tell me that his iJAG Education Specialist changed his life, by being his mentor and taking him to Camp Dodge. This transformative experience showed his desire to pursue a career in law enforcement. It was a powerful reminder that even in the face of adversity, goodness and positive connections can emerge. Not only did I gain a new iJAG alumni friend, but I witnessed firsthand the lasting impact and potential within every iJAG student.”

It’s stories like these that remind Wendy of the profound impact iJAG has on more than 35,000 students since its inception.

Wendy’s time with iJAG is just getting started, but her impact thus far is undeniable. Her unwavering dedication to empowering students, cultivating partnerships and fostering a culture of care has set a promising course for iJAG’s future. As we look ahead, we can’t help but be inspired by Wendy’s leadership and countless success stories yet to be written under her leadership. iJAG is not only continues to bridge the gap between education and career but paving the way for every student to believe they can succeed in what they set out to be.