Des Moines Mom 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.
Dwana Bradley is a Des Moines native and very involved in serving the Des Moines community through a variety of organizations including owner of Iowa Urban Media and as a Chair on the school board for Des Moines Public Schools.
I am Dwana Bradley. A native of Des Moines, Iowa. I’m owner of Iowa Urban Media, a community-based media company which publishes the Urban Experience Magazine and produces the Urban Impact Show. I also have a nonprofit the Des Moines Urban Experience where I serve as Executive Director. We have custodianship of Iowa Juneteenth where I serve as General Chairperson. I currently serve as Chair on the school board for Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS). I’m a single parent of Nautika and JaMarcus who bring me so much joy. I’m the oldest and have a brother Rod and sister Tiffany. My parents are Rod and Teresa Bradley.
What do you consider the biggest challenge of motherhood to be? Biggest joy?
The biggest challenge is balance. The father of my children passed away in 2014 and there is much pressure I put on myself to be there for my children along with running a business, a nonprofit, and serving on a school board. I never want to disappoint my children or not be present when they need me. There are times when I have failed and it’s challenging as a parent to forgive yourself for those moments.
The biggest joy is watching my children grow. It’s a greatest feeling knowing I’ve contributed to two wonderful human beings and hopefully all I’ve taught them they will pass onto their children. I love the relationship I have with my children and watching our relationship evolve over the years.
How long have you worked in education? Did you always want to work in education?
I started working for DMPS in February 2009. I was a reading interventionist working with students K-5th grade. I knew when I attended Iowa State, I wanted to be a teacher, but talked myself out of pursuing the degree. Thankfully there was an opportunity though a partnership with DMPS and Drake University that would pay for my education and guarantee me a job with the district. I worked with the district until 2016 and made the tough decision to leave the profession to focus on my profit and nonprofit.
What’s the best part about your job(s)?
The best part of my job is people. I love everything about people. It’s the conversations I have with others and the opportunity to listen and find a way to make the community better. I consider myself a servant and the work I do isn’t about me it’s about the community I serve.
What do you wish you knew when you started?
From a school board perspective, I wish I understood that people are passionate about what they believe in and many times when people lash out at me or are unhappy with me it’s really not me, they have the problem with, they are passionate about their thoughts and ideas. There are times that passion comes out in a negative way, but I have to believe their negativity isn’t geared toward me, there is normally something deeper going on in their world.
From a business standpoint I wish I had more experience on being an entrepreneur. It is challenging and there are many ups and downs with owning your own business. I wish I would have been prepared for the low moments.
What do you love about raising a family in Des Moines?
Des Moines provides a great atmosphere and an affordable space to raise a family. There is so much for my family to do and partake in. The summertime is the best with the various festivals and outdoor events such as Riverview and Jasper Winery and there is nothing like a walk out at Grey’s Lake.
Favorite local restaurant Noah’s Ark
Best place to take kids The library
Favorite summer activity Iowa Juneteenth
Last show I watched – Abbott Elementary
Last thing I listened to – The Pace of Grace by Pastor Mike Todd
How/where do you relax? I relax at home in my recliner watching a good movie
If your life had a hashtag, what would it be? #nocompetitiononlypurpose