Rising Stars 2023: Erin Powers-Daley

Erin Powers-Daley in detail

Age: 40.

Job title/occupation/place of employment: Executive Director of Community and Student Development for Northeast Iowa Community College.

Volunteer activities: Serve on various community and activity boards, related to both work and leisure.

Notre Dame School Board president, 2017-present. Winneshiek County Economic Development Board, February 2023-present. Dubuque WORKS member, September 2019-present. Dubuque County Re-Entry Committee, chair/member, September 2021-present. Regional Health Services of Howard County Foundation Board of Directors, secretary/treasurer, December 2016-2017. Cresco Iowa Sesquicentennial Planning Committee, executive board member, August 2015-2016. RAGBRAI Hospitality Planning Committee, member, February 2017-July 2017. Dubuque County Child Care Coalition Team, member, September 2019-present. Project Hope, member, September 2019-present. Cresco Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, October 2012-2017.

Education: Doctor of Philosophy in higher education administration and leadership, September 2020, Iowa State University; Master of Arts in marriage and family therapy, July 2009, Argosy University; Bachelor of Arts in psychology and family services, May 2006, University of Northern Iowa.

Family: I have been married to my husband, Matt, for 16 years. We have three children, Ava, 14; Liam, 12; and Preston, 9. We live on my husband’s family farm in northeast Iowa. We stay busy with the activities of our three kids and enjoy doing anything outdoors.

Person most inspirational to me and why: My grandma, Lois. She was someone who always gave more than she received. She was consistently present and thankful for all that she had and was a hard-working woman who never complained. She was an inspiration to me growing up and I was fortunate to spend much of my childhood with her. She taught me the value of hard work and giving back to others.

Favorite thing to do outside of work: I enjoy anything outdoors and spending time with my husband and kids. I find my peace in running and it helps me to center myself every single day. Running has been a part of me since I discovered it after graduating high school. It pushes me to strive for reaching new goals and pushing myself beyond what, at times, seems physically impossible. It’s also kept me humble and teaches me that failure is just another opportunity to try again.

One word to describe me: Integrous.

What’s one thing that most people would be surprised to know about you: I am not a strong swimmer and do not enjoy being in the water. But, I find peace in sitting by the water and I hope someday to be able to retire on a lake.

Greatest fear: Not using all the gifts I have been given to help make an impact.

What’s the one thing you are most passionate about in your life: I want to help make the world a better place and that is a big task. But making sure that people have equal and equitable access to the basic needs of quality of life is a huge driver of motivation for me. This comes in a wide variety of areas and it can be intimidating. But I believe that small changes, with people at the heart of the decision making, is a positive step in the right direction. But we have a long way to go and the journey will never be completely done.

As the director of student and community development at Northeast Iowa Community College, Erin Powers-Daley’s responsibilities span the width and breadth of the college.

“In her role, she wears many leadership hats,” said Amy Green, NICC’s director of program sales, contract training and outreach services, in nominating Powers-Daley for Rising Stars.

Powers-Daley is regularly involved with the e-sports program, a new initiative that was unveiled last year.

“Kara Popp and Shannon Dirks, of our student life team, were instrumental in helping recruit for that program and really put the pieces together for that,” she said. “It was an opportunity to engage with a different population of students and be inclusive, and we thought it was a great opportunity to build on the momentum of that.”

Powers-Daley has been with NICC since 2012, starting as a center director and moving into a director of recruitment role in 2017. As she took on new tasks and responsibilities, the title was changed to director of student and community development.

“In a former life, I was a counselor for many years, and that really integrated well into the student development role,” she said.

Green said Powers-Daley is always looking for new ways to help students and staff.

“Erin is a role model for so many,” Green said. “She is a strategic thinker who is always looking for way to improve and to set our team up for success. She has a district-wide presence and leads with passion for her job, students, business and community partners, and she inspires her team to do the same. She juggles all of that with family and her passion for health and wellness while giving back through her volunteer efforts.”

Powers-Daley volunteers at her children’s schools and with their sports teams, and is going into her eighth and final year as school board president at Notre Dame Catholic School in Cresco, Iowa. She also is an a avid runner, and often runs marathons or trail runs in order to raise funds for local organizations and NICC’s student crisis fund.

“I feel like a lot of what I do in my job is in the heart of the community,” she said. “So if there’s any opportunity where I can help, I’ll do what I can. I’m always asking, ‘How can I be of service today?’”

Powers-Daley chalks her servant’s heart up to her grandmother’s example.

“We were very close,” she said. “She was just always a woman who was consistently giving to others, and she taught me that what I have been given are my gifts, and I should always be seeking a way to give them back.”