Simpson Speaker Series

Insights on Leadership

Continuing & Graduate programs hosts the Simpson Speaker Series featuring prominent local and regional leaders. Unless otherwise noted, events take place at the West Des Moines campus, located at 1415 28th Street, Suite 250, West Des Moines.

The theme is “Insights on Leadership." All events are free and open to the public. Please mark your calendars and join us for a wonderful lineup of speakers. RSVP to 515-309-3099.

5:30pm-6:00pm - Refreshments and beverages served 
6:00pm-7:00pm - Featured speaker(s)


Tuesday, October 28, 2014 -  James Autry and Sally Pederson.

This event will be held at Simpson's new Ankeny campus at Prairie Trail. The address is 1450 SW Vintage Parkway, Ankeny, IA 50023. For more information, or to RSVP, please call us at 515-309-3099.

James Autry and Sally Pederson

Sally J. Pederson is the co-author, with her husband James A. Autry, of Choosing Gratitude 365 Days A Year (Smyth & Helwys, 2013).  She was an editor and writer for several years, serving as Senior Food Editor of Better Homes and Gardens.

In 1998, she ran for public office, was elected and served as Lieutenant Governor of Iowa from 1999 to 2007. During her time in office she led successful efforts to expand access to health care for children, require insurance coverage for mental illness, and create 1000 new units of affordable housing for people with disabilities.

She chaired the Governor’s 21st Century Workforce Council, and served as a chair of the Board of Directors of Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (IJAG), part of a national initiative focused on helping students most likely to drop of school to graduate and become successfully employed.

Prior to her years in public office, Pederson was active in efforts to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. In 1990, Pederson spearheaded the creation of The Homestead, an agency providing innovative solutions to the challenges facing children and adults with autism. 

James A. Autry, a former Fortune 500 executive, is an author, poet, and consultant whose work has had significant influence on leadership thinking.  His book, Love and Profit, The Art of Caring Leadership, won the prestigious Johnson, Smith and Knisely Award as the book which contributed the most to executive thinking in 1992.

Autry is the author of twelve books.  His book, Choosing Gratitude; Learning To Love The Life You Have, was released in June of 2012, and his twelfth book, Choosing Gratitude 365 Days A Year, a collaboration with his wife Sally Pederson, was released in the fall of 2013.   His thirteenth book, On Paying Attention; New and Selected Poems, is scheduled for release in the spring of 2015.

Autry is in demand as a speaker nationally and continues as an active author and executive coach. He has consulted for many different businesses and organizations in this country and abroad, and has conducted leadership workshops in Australia, Canada, Iceland, Nassau, The Netherlands, and Singapore. In early 2007, he helped develop the curriculum for the Servant Leadership Academy in The Netherlands.

Before taking early retirement in 1991 to pursue his present career, Autry was Senior Vice President of The Meredith Corporation and President of its Magazine Group.  At the time of his retirement, Autry was regarded as one of the most successful and respected magazine publishing executives in America.