Miriam De Dios (’04 Management and Marketing) is CEO of Coopera in Des Moines; the only Hispanic market consulting firm in the nation specializing in advisory services for credit unions in the growing U.S. Hispanic market. She is the youngest CEO in her organization’s family of companies and serves as senior vice president for Affiliates Management Company, Coopera’s parent company.
Her quest for a college degree was far from a given for De Dios. As a native of Mexico, the oldest of four siblings and the daughter of foreign-born parents who hadn’t attended college in Mexico nor the U.S., she knew it was up to her to own the responsibility. Friends and advisers at Perry High School guided her through the college entrance and financial aid processes. At Iowa State she joined the Ivy College of Business Multicultural Business Network that helped her make cultural connections with other minority students and realize the value of diversity and inclusion in the business world.
“I’m so thankful to those individuals and to Iowa State University for exposing me to their stories, which inspired and motivated me,” De Dios said. “It was humbling to address my class at the Ivy College of Business commencement. A memorable experience for many reasons, it allowed me to reflect on the fact that I beat the odds for Latino graduates. At that time, typically only one out of two Latinos graduated with a four-year degree.”
De Dios also carved a path for her siblings; all have degrees from Iowa State. She is a graduate of the Leading Change and Organizational Renewal executive education program at Harvard Business School, and is pursuing an Executive MBA from the University of Iowa.
She remains connected to Iowa State and the Ivy College of Business, and is a member of the Board of Trustees for Grand View University. She has volunteered with local organizations that work with Hispanic and immigrant communities and mentors young women through the Latina Leadership Initiative. She sits on the World Council of Credit Union’s Global Women’s Network.
It was early experiences, however, that shaped her career direction. In sixth grade, De Dios was voted most likely to become a businesswoman. She credits her mother as a positive influence.
“My mom is my hero, my first and most influential role model. Her strength, diligence and resilience, amongst many other qualities are character traits I admire and aspire to. I believe you need to work hard, always be learning, be proud of your heritage and upbringing, be gracious and generous and take time to develop others.“
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Miriam De Dois at the Iowa State Fair in 2016 poses for a portrait that was featured as part of the ISU “Your Beautiful Adventure” exhibit and later became part of Iowa State’s permanent Art on Campus collection.