2016 Keynote Speaker

Sara Kurovski, Mayor of Pleasant HillSara Kurovski



Sara Kurovski is a ‘native’ and a ‘captive’ of the great state of Iowa. Born and raised in the capital city, she learned all about hard work. However, time spent on her grandparent’s farm in Albia, Iowa, was where she was first introduced to recycling, reusing and sustainability. Those life instructions became ingrained into her lifestyle and have led her to where she is today. Sara left the state to attend Truman State University and received her degree in Communications. Her career got an immediate kick-start at Metro Waste Authority in Des Moines, Iowa. Starting as an intern in the communications department, she worked her way up, through hard work and dedication. While at MWA as the Recycling Coordinator, she spent her evenings working on her master’s in public administration at Drake University.


During her nearly eighth year and in the position of Operations Program Manager, Sara was asked to run for Mayor. Having already served on previous positions, such as, a member of Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Adjustment, Facility Planning Committee and a member of the Polk County Conservation Board, she said yes. The story gained national attention and it landed her in Sheryl Sandberg’s latest book: Lean in for Graduates. In November 2013, she was the first female mayor to be elected in the history of Pleasant Hill, as well as the youngest in the metropolitan area. In 2014, Sara was hired by Kyle Krause to work as the Manager of Sustainability at Kum & Go. Mr. Krause was quoted as saying, “Sara is an innovative and tireless worker who understands what it means to be a leader in the community.” In 2015, Sara accepted a new position with United Way as their Tocqueville Society Director. This position will allow her to strengthen and build relationships with business leaders in Central Iowa.


In 2015, Sara joined the list of 40 under 40 in the metropolitan area and was also named the Emerging Women of Influence by the Business Record. During her first term as a non-partisan mayor, Sara has guided the city through numerous initiatives that have shown the metro area that she is a leader and an executive. She has filled key leadership positions within the city, transitioned the mindset on financial policies, pushed development with private developers and poised the city for infrastructure growth, managed a crisis situation with an active shooter and cyber threats at the Southeast Polk District, and has pressed through numerous lawsuits – which the city has won every step of the way. In addition to her many boards that Sara is a member of, she also supports an organization called 50-50 in 2020 as well as the Southeast Polk Education Foundation. Despite the many aspects of career and public service, Sara ensures that she spends time with her extremely supportive husband Todd and their two boys. You would find them going on walks, spending time at parks or attending events in the metro area.