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New Leaders Council

Meet the NLC Des Moines Class of 2015 (Part 1)

Megan BendixenDSM_SN_Blog01.jpg

Megan Bendixen is the Legislative & Policy Analyst for the Iowa Medical Society, a 160-year-old professional association for Iowa physicians. IMS exists to assure the highest quality health care in Iowa by advocating for physicians and patients. 

In her role on the legislative advocacy team, Megan enjoys working to help shape the public policies that impact Iowans’ lives, particularly in the rapidly changing and often complex world of health care. As a Des Moines native, Megan is excited about the city’s ongoing cultural and economic growth. She enjoys spending her free time exploring the city, and can often be found checking out a classic Des Moines music venue or enjoying the local foodie scene. Megan is a longtime volunteer and former staff member of Living History Farms, where she picked up hobbies in baking and knitting. She is passionate about social justice and women’s issues, and has volunteered as a community educator for a domestic violence and sexual assault shelter. She also volunteers with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, and Dress for Success.

Megan holds a degree in History and Secondary Education from Iowa State University, and is a proud Cyclone fan. She is currently completing the Master of Public Administration program at Drake University, with emphases in Nonprofit Management and Public Policy. 

Gracie Brandsgard

Gracie works as the Midwest Deputy Regional Director for Ready for Hillary, a national grassroots organization encouraging Hillary Clinton to run for President. At RFH, she manages volunteer teams, conducts trainings, and engages voters on a variety of platforms. She has always had a strong interest in issue advocacy and became interested in politics at an early age. From spending her spring breaks visiting her Dad in the Iowa House of Representatives to knocking on doors for legislative campaigns in middle schools, politics has always been a constant in Gracie’s life.

Before her work at Ready for Hillary, she graduated last year with a BA in Economics from Grinnell College with honors. During her college years she was active with College Democrats of America and Young Democrats of America at the local, state, and national levels. She also tutored, served as a high school assistant debate coach, and was a member of a theater troupe. In her free time she enjoys volunteering with political campaigns, working with preteen girls at an after school program, and at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Knitting, trying new foods, and running are also high on Gracie’s list of favorite activities. 

Eric Bridges 

Eric Bridges was born in Virginia, raised in Puerto Rico and Florida, and finally landed in Iowa. He worked in various jobs through high school, college, and professional career; everything from news casting to healthcare. He graduated from Oskaloosa High School then received my BA from Central College in theatre. He considers directing “The Laramie Project” as his senior thesis one of his greatest achievements, which was accompanied by several events to promote different aspects of LGBT life in Iowa.

Just like Transformers, “there is more than meets the eye” when it comes to Eric. He enjoys comic books, reading, writing, video, and more. Eric works as a Review Assistant II at Telligen. 

Reed Clayton

Reed Clayton is a a native son of Iowa having been raised in Brooklyn, educated in Ames, and resided in Des Moines. He is currently a graduate student in Political Science and a Graduate Assistant at Iowa State University where he has also earned Bachelor’s degrees in Business and Political Science. His studies have focused on the interaction of politics and economics, and the subsequent distributional implications regarding wealth, power, and political voice.

After spending the early years of his professional career in marketing and finance, Reed aspires to take a more public interest-oriented path in the future. In his free time, Reed enjoys riding his bicycle, experiencing new things through travel and food, and vigorous discussion and laughter with family and friends.

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