“Don’t overlook what your background has already taught you, and what you already know, and how that differentiates you,” advised Renee Schaaf, speaking to an online audience during the third annual Ivy Women in Business Awards ceremony on September 2.

The Ivy Women in Business Awards honor women in business and those who work to inspire and advance the careers of women. The well-attended virtual event featured an engaging conversation between the three 2020 honorees as they talked about their career paths, shared stories and advice, and took questions from the audience.


The awards ceremony was sponsored by the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business and the Collegiate Women in Business student organization. Members of Collegiate Women in Business presented the awards.

Renee Schaaf

Schaaf (’80 industrial administration) is president of retirement and income solutions at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa. She received the Champion Award, which honors individuals, businesses, or organizations who serve as champions to inspire, lead, and encourage women.

“I love having meaningful conversations with people,” said Schaaf. “That’s what sets me on fire, that’s what makes it fun to come to work in the morning.”

Berta Aldrich (’90 finance) received the Inspiration Award, which recognizes women who have made a significant impact in their career and have inspired other women in business to become leaders and reach their full potential. Aldrich is managing director and chief marketing and human relations officer for the Private Advisor Group in Morristown, New Jersey.

“Success is possible in the workplace…but recognize that we still have a long way to go,” said Aldrich. “So, whatever you encounter, don’t ever, ever give up. And whenever possible, use your talents to make an impact in your role, but also use your talents to help others along the way.”

Anna Florzak (’10 marketing) received the Outstanding Young Alumna Award, which honors alumnae who have distinguished themselves early in their career for their remarkable achievements. Florzak is product line manager for WNBA uniforms at Nike, Inc., in Beaverton, Oregon.

“Receiving this award is one of my proudest accomplishments,” Florzak declared. “Iowa State stole my heart when I was 12 years old.”