Mary was born in Burlington, Iowa.  An only child, she was headed for Miss Hepplewhite’s School for Recalcitrant Girls, but settled instead for Corse Elementary School and enjoyed a lovely childhood.  Her parents?  Maybe not so much.  The family move to Iowa during the high school years opened new frontiers of learning possibilities and instilled a curiosity and a love of learning that continues today.  Two degrees from the University of Iowa and a variety of certifications continue to feed that curiosity.


Mary is an experienced leader, a coach, an author-presenter extraordinaire, a sage and a Rotarian. Mary and Kay live in Clive, Iowa, and have shared friendship (and marriage) for nearly sixty years and have enjoyed helping two outstanding children grow into adulthood.  They have four “nearly perfect” granddaughters – Kelsey, Kallen, Karsen and Kennedy.  Kelsey and Kallen have added two delightful grandsons-in-law to our family.

Her Dad despaired of her holding a job. Although pretending to be retired, she is still engaged in writing and speaking and serves on many boards and commissions.

H.E. Mary E. Kramer served in the Iowa Senate and was elected the President of the Senate in 1997.  In 2003 President George W. Bush nominated her to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Barb2004_01 Ambassador Mom St. Dept. Photoados and the Eastern Caribbean.  She was confirmed by the United States Senate.

Mary has played the piano in night clubs, been a teacher, a public school administrator, a retail personnel director, a vice-president of human resources and of community relations in the insurance industry.    After all that she ran for office and served as an Iowa State Senator, the President of the Iowa Senate and as the United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Iowa. Her first book, “More Than a Walk on the Beach” was published in the fall of 2010.  Additional information may be viewed at

Ambassador Kramer has served on the Board of the Directors for the State Legislative Leaders Foundation and was the Chairman of the Board for the Senate President’s Forum.  She has served as a member of the Board of the Des Moines Club, the Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Central Iowa, Brenton Bank, Mercy Hospital, Iowa Public Radio, the Civic Center of Des Moines and an going list that continues.  A lifetime member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), she has received the Society’s highest national award.  In August 2009, Ms. Kramer was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2015 she was named a Distinguished Alumni of the University of Iowa.

Her Clifton Strengths Finder top five themes of talent are Positivity, Activator, Communication, Developer and Input.

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