Miriam De Dios Woodward, Global CEO of ViClarity


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.

Miriam De Dios Woodward is a successful business executive and living in West Des Moines with her husband and 2 young girls. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

My name is Miriam and I’m a mom, wife, and business executive. I am the global CEO of ViClarity – a governance, risk and compliance company with headquarters in Iowa and Ireland. I grew up in Perry, Iowa, and Fairfield, California, and am originally from Jalisco, Mexico. I went to Iowa State University for my undergrad and the University of Iowa for my MBA and am a Cyclone at heart. Nick and I are the proud parents of two toddler girls – Abigail (3) and Evelyn (1) – and we are always gushing about them. We recently moved to West Des Moines from the Beaverdale area and really enjoy our new home and neighborhood. I have three younger siblings and extended family close by and feel so fortunate we can see them and spend time with them regularly. We enjoy doing a lot of “firsts” with our girls, traveling, going to live music events and festivals, as well as trying out new restaurants.  

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

My biggest challenge is overcoming mom guilt and easing up on plans and perfection. Mom guilt creeps in at times when I have to be away from family for too long. Even though I know everyone will be just fine, including me, when I’m away, I can’t always avoid that guilty feeling of not being there. This has gotten better as my daughters have gotten a little older.

I am also constantly reminding myself to live in the moment, which can be hard to do when my planning and perfectionist tendencies kick in. There are days when I’m more successful with that than others. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t just not plan ahead for something; I just try to temper the amount of planning – the struggle is real.

My biggest joy is experiencing life with my daughters and husband as a mom. I get to be curious and silly with my girls as they are figuring things out for the first time and finding joy in what they see and do. I get to be their teacher, their cheerleader, their stylist, their chef, and their shoulder to cry on when they’re scared. I get to tell them what to do and not do. I get to experience parenting with my husband and see him in action as a dad. I also get to experience the really exhausting and trying days with work demands, stressful life events and piercing screaming, endless whining, supreme potty accidents, and illnesses. And even though that is all part of my life, being mom is still the most fulfilling role of my life. 

What does a typical day in your life as a Global CEO look like?

Some of the activities I might do in a given week include providing a company financial update at a virtual global staff meeting, discussing how things are going with a current strategic project in one of our weekly senior team meetings, having a one-to-one touch base with a new employee as part of their onboarding, building a presentation for an upcoming speaking engagement or partnership meeting, writing a monthly summary report of strategic highlights for our company board and reading a couple of articles or white papers about important trends, competitive activity and/or leadership insights. 

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is getting to work with great people across the globe and creating an inclusive working environment where everyone can contribute to the growth and success of the business. I get a lot of energy from the people I work with. I enjoy getting to know people, knowing their strengths, understanding what’s important to them and creating opportunities for them to develop and grow. Most everything changes over time, whether it’s our products or services or even our business life cycle stage, however, the impact you can have on people’s growth and development is lasting.

What advice do you have for women in leadership roles? 

First of all, you’re doing great. Take a moment to recognize your achievements and your contributions to your job, your company, your field, your industry. Embrace the chaos (every company has some), but don’t get lost in it – lead through it. Also, be your authentic self. It took me a while to figure out what that meant for me. Share your differences, be vulnerable, and you’ll see how much more meaningful relationships can be and how that can influence your leadership for the better. Lastly, prioritize your time. Always be asking whether what you’re doing is a good use of your time. Ask yourself: Are you sure you need to be doing that in the first place? Do you really need to be in that meeting? Is that a growth opportunity for someone else?

What do you wish you knew when you started?

I wish I knew earlier how impactful being my authentic self could be to my leadership journey. Starting out in the business world, I always felt a strong need to fit in because I felt I stuck out as a young Latina living in the Midwest and working in corporate America. I tended to avoid sharing much about my upbringing when connecting with others on a new team or in a group setting. At the time I didn’t think people would want to hear about my immigrant background. I eventually ended up working for a company where it was my job to teach others about the cultural differences of underserved consumers and that was life changing. I became more comfortable opening up and that created more meaningful interactions. That was pivotal learning in my growth as a leader and I only wish I had embraced being me sooner in my career. 

What do you love about raising a family in Des Moines? 

Des Moines has many diverse communities and offers a variety of ways to celebrate diversity year-round. We love that we can expose our girls to different cultures through food, art, and entertainment at the variety of local eateries and events. We can celebrate Latino culture at Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival and the Des Moines Latino Film Festival, learn about Asian cultures at CelebrAsian, and see traditional Greek dancing at the Greek festival. There are also plenty of places to go and enjoy the outdoors – parks, aquatic centers, and trails are some of our favorites. People are always very friendly and welcoming. And, no matter where you go in the Des Moines area, you are bound to run into families with young children – some of whom you may know. 

Quick Takes

Favorite local restaurant: El Fogon (both locations are great)

Best place to take kids: Local summer festivals 

Favorite summer activity: Parks, playgrounds, and pools

What’s the last show you watched, thing you listened to, or book you read? Working Moms on Netflix

How/where do you relax? Getting a massage at Imagine Peace Massage (heavenly) 

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

Connect with Miriam

Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/miriamdedios

Twitter – https://twitter.com/businessmiriam 

Instagram – businessmir

des moines mom movers and shakersKnow 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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