Beth Shelton, CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa


Beth Shelton CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa

Des Moines Moms Blog recognizes that moms wear a lot of hats. You are a mom, wife, friend, diaper changer, nose wiper, meal planner, lost toy finder, the list goes on and on!

This summer we are thrilled to feature some local moms who are thinking outside the box and making a difference in our community through the businesses they own, organizations they are involved with, and work they do. Check out the rest of the series and read profiles from previous years here

Beth Shelton family

Beth Shelton has been the CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa for 4 years. She was named one of the Business Record’s 40 under 40 in 2017. She is passionate about her family and empowering girls. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I was born and raised in Des Moines in a single-parent family. My brother and I had the privilege of being raised by a very intelligent, kind and supportive mother, who remains my mentor today. 

My earliest memory of my husband is from Sunday School when I was about 7 years old. I only have one hand and was struggling with holding my up my potato sack as I hopped along in a race at our annual carnival. Being the mature 12-year old he was, he saw me, came over, held up one side, and hopped along next to me. I fell in love. I just didn’t know it at the time. We reconnected later in life, he embraced my two daughters and we were blessed to have a healthy son together. We now have a hectic, happy household with Grace (13), Millie (10) and Dane (2). We round it out with two dogs.

What do you consider the biggest challenge of motherhood to be? Biggest joy?

The biggest joy of motherhood is giving and receiving a circle of unconditional love. That kind of environment creates a place where we can laugh and cry and grow and learn and fail and do it in a safe place. Loving and being loved fully for your most authentic self is a gift and we thrive in it. The biggest challenge is juggling the finite resources I have (time, energy, emotion, passion) in a way that is healthy for my children and healthy for me.

How long have you been with Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa? What was your inspiration?

I’ve been with Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa for 3 ½ years now. It’s been such a blessing to my life. My inspiration is leading with love and compassion. My very best days are when I know I’ve helped create a place that helps other human beings thrive. I think there’s a case for organizational leadership that can both support the relational side of leading and the transactional side of performance. I’m on a mission to prove it and impact change in the arena of work/life.

What’s the best part about your job? 

The best part of my job is being in a position to innovate. I love having the ability to encourage and execute things that better our organization and the lives of the people who work here. I’m also incredibly challenged and stretched every single day, which is a lane I find fulfilling.

What’s the hardest part about your job? 

The hardest part of my job is not having enough of anything. Time, money, patience. I want to impact change, I want to bring innovation to life, and I want to be there for people. On any given day I’m likely failing in at least one of those categories for the demands of the other two.

What advice do you have for moms who are leading people? 

Bring your unique, beautiful, mothering lens to your leadership. Use the tremendous love you’ve known for your own children to empathize and build systems to support others. Imagine if we all showed others the love, grace, patience, and support we show our own children. 

What do you wish you knew when you started? 

Oh, so much. Looking back, I had everything wrong in my 20’s and I definitely thought I knew it all. I wish I had stopped to listen to others more and shown up for other people more. I’d have held my tongue, embraced that there is more than one truth and one right way, and sent more thank you notes. I’d have embraced that the journey, not the destination, really is the thing to embrace.

Why do you call Des Moines home?

I love the balance of vibrant city opportunities with open space, green grass, and easy commutes!

Des Moines Favorites

Favorite spot for a date night: Hands down, Skips.

Best place to take kids: Our kids span ages 2-13. Going out to eat is a monumental challenge no matter the place. We’re in a pretty serious “pizza and macaroni at home” phase.

Favorite summer activity: We’re camping rookies but have found it to be a great way to unplug and gather as a family.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I’m going to say Hawaii because it’s the top location on my bucket list. I think I’d thrive in a salty air environment.

What’s the last show you watched, thing you listened to, or book you read? I’m an avid reader and in the process of consuming all of Brene’ Brown’s books. I just finished Daring Greatly, it’s one of those where you need to come prepared with a highlighter and journal.

How/where do you relax? My perfect oasis would be a book, a quiet space in nature and a glass of red wine.

If your life had a hashtag, what would it be? #AmbitouslyInProgress


Know a Des Moines mom we should feature? Let us know! Email [email protected] with details and we will be in touch.


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