BVU names three new trustees

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Buena Vista University Board of Trustees recently announced that Becki Drahota, Sister Catherine Dunn and Laura Horn have been appointed as new members of the Board.

Drahota is the owner and president of Mills Financial Marketing in Storm Lake. She founded the company in 1975, at the age of 25. In June her company celebrated its 30th anniversary as an integrated marketing resource for financial institutions, serving 35 banks in 15 states.

A native of Storm Lake, Drahota graduated with honors from Drake University and in 2001 received Drake's Outstanding Alumni Award. She earned her executive master's degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) in 2003 after completing an international feasibility study for marketing pork in China. The study was conducted for the Iowa Pork Association and sponsored by a USDA grant.

Drahota currently serves on UNO's Executive Master's in Business Administration National Advisory Board and is working with their New Entrepreneur outreach program. In May she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UNO College of Business Administration.

Drahota has taught Incentive Compensation at the Graduate School of Banking and is a chapter author of the Wise Women Anthology. Prior to joining BVU as a trustee, she was a member of the BVU President's Advisory Council.

Drahota was appointed by the Governor to the Workforce Iowa Board, is a past president of the Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce, a Rotarian, and an honorary Iowa chair for the President's Small Business Advisory Council.

"As a successful entrepreneur with broad expertise in marketing, and her close ties to the Storm Lake community, Buena Vista University is fortunate to have a person of Becki Drahota's talent and energy to serve on our Board of Trustees," says BVU President Fred Moore. "She will bring a strong base of professional knowledge and experience that will be invaluable to the Board's leadership of BVU."

Drahota will serve on the Marketing and Student Services committees of the Board.

Sister Catherine Dunn, Ph.D., of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is in her 21st year as president of Clarke College in Dubuque. During that time she has led its tremendous growth in campus facilities, curriculum and enrollment.

Sister Catherine received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University and joined the education faculty at Clarke in 1973. In 1979, she was named vice president for institutional advancement and in 1984 became the college's 14th president.

Just 111 days after she took office, a fire destroyed three of the college's historic buildings, and since then Sister Catherine has overseen the rebuilding of the college and its subsequent growth. In recognition of her outstanding leadership of the University during and after the fire, she received the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education's Silver Medal Award in the "President and the Public" category in 1985, and in 1986 received a Bronze Medal in the same category.

In 1989, Sister Catherine was appointed to the Iowa Transportation Commission and in 1994 became the first woman chair in its history. She served a total of 12 years on the Commission, six as chair. In 2003, she was appointed to the Iowa Learns Council, along with BVU President Moore.

Sister Catherine has also served on local organizations and has received several awards, including the Governors Volunteer Award from Governor Tom Vilsack for her service on the transportation commission. In 2000, she was named one of Iowa's 50 most influential people.

Sister Catherine has also served on local, regional and national education and civic organizations, including the Executive Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, where she chaired the Tax Policy Committee. She has announced that she will be retiring as president of Clarke College in May 2006.

"Sister Catherine brings to our Board a broad knowledge and experience in higher education from her years as a faculty member, in institutional development and as CEO," says BVU President Fred Moore. "We look forward to her insight on the challenges and opportunities facing BVU and all of higher education."

Sister Catherine will serve on the Board's Academic Affairs and Trusteeship committees.

Laura Horn of Charlottesville, Va., is a 1973 alumna of Buena Vista and an online executive with a 25-year career in the development and marketing of innovative information and technology products to professionals and consumers.

Horn began her career at LEXIS-NEXIS when it was a young company and worked there for nearly twenty years. She held positions in sales and training, customer service, sales management, technical and product development, marketing and strategic planning. Her last position there was vice president of marketing and sales for LEXIS Legal Publishing.

Horn left LEXIS-NEXIS for America Online (AOL) in the mid 1990s. She joined AOL as general manager of new products and services, developing and acquiring new capabilities for AOL members. In her next position at AOL, vice president of systems development, Horn and her teams were responsible for many of the products that AOL's millions of consumers use everyday, including e-mail, search and mobile services.

Horn left AOL in 2001 and co-founded Wondir, Inc. Wondir is a successful, venture-capital funded four-year-old start-up. It provides a live Q&A service that combines search and instant messaging, instantly linking people with questions to people with answers.

Horn also serves on several boards, including that of Poetry Daily, a small and successful online poetry publisher, and is an advisor to the The University of Virginia Women's Center.

"Laura Horn's exceptional success in the highly competitive online industry - and as an alumna, her understanding of the traditions and values of this institution - will add an important new dimension to the wide-ranging talents of our Trustees," says BVU President Fred Moore.

Horn will serve on the Marketing and Business Services committees of the Board.