Madame Ambassador

Meet Mary Kramer

Screen shot 2010-05-16 at 10.55.07 PM Mary Kramer served in the Iowa State Senate from 1990 to 2003.  She was elected President of the Senate in 1997, becoming the first independently elected woman to fill the post.

In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Mary Chairman of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.  In 2003 he nominated her to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.  She was subsequently confirmed by the United States Senate and served from 2004 until her retirement.

For nearly twenty years, Ms. Kramer worked as a teacher and school administrator.  In 1975 she entered the corporate sector when she became the Corporate Personnel Director for Younkers, Inc. 

She joined Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 1981 and during her 18 years with the company served as Vice President of Human Resources and Vice President of Community Investments.

Ms. Kramer has served on the Board of Directors for the State Legislative Leaders Foundation and was the Chairman of the Board for the Senate President’s Forum.  She was a member of the Reforming States Group of the Milbank Fund, a group dedicated to population wide health improvement. 

Additionally she has served as President of the Des Moines Club, a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, The United Way of Central Iowa, The Polk County Child Care Resource Center, Brenton Bank and Mercy Hospital. 

She is a lifetime member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), having received the Society’s highest national award in June of 1996.  In August 2009, she was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.

Mary Kramer was born in Burlington Iowa, and grew up in Iowa City.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa in piano performance and a Master of Arts degree in lifelong learning, also from the University of Iowa. 

In addition to her career in politics, business, and education, she has worked as a professional piano player.  She is married, the mother of two children and the grandmother of four grandchildren.  She enjoys playing the piano, travel, golf and being engaged in things that matter.