Melissa Knutson Named an Inspiring Advocate for Women Finalist

Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa has chosen Melissa Knutson, senior vice president, insurance operations, as an Inspiring Advocate for Women Award finalist as part of its 6th annual Inspiring Women of Iowa event.

Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa’s Inspiring Women of Iowa event honors and celebrates women of “Courage, Confidence and Character” as well as those who “make up the community of support around them.” The Inspiring Advocate for Women Award is “given to a person of any gender who advocates for women’s equality. This may include showing commitment for the development of women leaders, standing up for women in the workplace or community, showing leadership to enhance gender diversity, and removing barriers women commonly face.”

NCMIC was recognized as an Inspiring Business for Women in 2021, and Chick Herbert, chief experience officer, was a finalist for the Inspiring Advocate for Women award in 2020.

Knutson was nominated for her work with Give Grace Give Hope, a central Iowa non-profit that provides menstrual products for individuals who don’t have access to them. Knutson founded Give Grace Give Hope after learning of her daughter’s Christmas wish to support homeless women by donating pads and tampons. It opened Melissa’s eyes to period poverty and its impact on people in Iowa. 

“What woman hasn’t found themselves in a situation where they didn’t have a tampon or pad and couldn’t find one in a nearby bathroom?” said Knutson. “That experience becomes even more impactful when you don’t have the resources to buy period supplies. Hard choices have to be made that sometimes lead to missed work and school. My daughter’s Christmas wish sparked an idea that has turned into an ongoing effort to help erase period poverty. It’s a unique opportunity to remove one barrier to school attendance and participation in the activities that help young people become our future leaders. As a bonus, we can help eliminate a lingering stigma associated with periods.”

Knutson’s efforts say a lot about her character, said David Siebert, president, NCMIC Insurance Company, noting that she’s an inspiration for all who work with her.

“As an advocate for women, Melissa goes above and beyond by putting ideas into action and ensuring that the efforts of Give Grace Give Hope will live on through others who experience its impact firsthand,” he said. “She has touched the lives of many and been a role model for others to help them realize that even a small effort can have a huge impact.”

Knutson was also recently named a runner up in the “Best Up and Coming Business Leader” category of the Des Moines Business Record's annual Best of Des Moines poll. The awards were voted on by members of the Des Moines business community.

The 2022 Inspiring Women of Iowa Event will be held on May 6, 2022 at 12 p.m. at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center Ballroom, 833 5th Ave., Des Moines. Visit the website for more information.

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