In the News

NAWBO Iowa Business Institute Q&A - Carolyn Jenison and Alicia Shaul

NAWBO Iowa officially launched its Business Institute on July 14, 2020, with nine participants. The first cohort will meet monthly through January 2021, with the end goal to create a Growth Action Plan. Every month, we will highlight two members of the NAWBO Iowa Business Institute in a Q&A format. For more information about the Business Institute, click here.

Carolyn Jenison

Carolyn is the CEO at Speak PR, an independent public relations firm. Jenison also serves on the boards of a number of nonprofits in the community, is a member of Nexus Women's Business Alliance, and has served as a mentor in the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation's Community Connect program and the New Leadership Council.

What is your background?

I am an Iowa girl. I was born in Ames and moved to a small town in north Iowa when I was 7. I briefly attended Iowa State University before beginning my career at 18 years old. At that time, I managed the sales and marketing efforts of a software development firm. As I grew up — and with — that firm, I had the opportunity to travel all over the world. This was an amazing experience that just further solidified my love for Iowa.

After 15 years with the firm, I sold my stock and spent the next two years fixing up old houses. I also volunteered for and served on boards of several local nonprofits. After a two-year career respite, I began my nonprofit career, serving as executive director for local health, social justice, and arts and culture organizations for nearly 15 years.

Now I use my experience messaging, raising awareness, and raising funds to help businesses and nonprofits build, grow and manage their strategic brands.

What is your business?

I am CEO at Speak PR, a public relations/marketing and branding firm in downtown Des Moines that helps organizations find their voice, tell their story and share it with their broader audience. We work with nonprofits and businesses here in Iowa and across the country. Speak PR helps our clients audit their current brand assets, create a strategic plan for their brand, and execute their vision.

What do you hope to gain from the NAWBO Iowa Business Institute?

It is my intention to finish this course with a clearer goal and expectation for this next phase of my career. I am excited to share time with other like-minded business owners who are looking to share their knowledge. I want to challenge myself to reach for more. I know that the NAWBO Iowa Business Institute will provide the leadership and environment that will help me do just that.


Alicia Shaul, CPA, MBA

Alicia is president and owner of Shaul & Associates, PLC, a full-service accounting firm. She’s worked with a wide range of businesses and nonprofit organizations. Alicia is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants.

What is your background?

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Drake University, and I’ve worked in public accounting since 1998 and owned my own practice since 2004. 

What is your business?

My firm, Shaul & Associates, PLC, specializes in working with businesses, nonprofits, and individuals to provide strategic planning, accounting, payroll, tax, and outsourced controller services. We are dedicated to providing clients with professional, personalized services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Our vision is “creating lifetime partnerships to help companies thrive.” Our mission is to educate and assist our customers by providing strategic advisory, accounting, payroll, and tax services for businesses, non-profits, and individuals.

Through the years I have added employees and currently my company has five full-time employees (including myself) and one part-time employee.

What do you hope to gain from the NAWBO Iowa Business Institute?

I would like to develop a strategic marketing plan that delivers results and return on investment. Our current marketing efforts result in clicks and views, but I feel they are essentially throwing money out the window. I want to learn how to market my firm so we find the best clients for our services and can grow our business.


NAWBO Iowa thrives on its corporate sponsors in support of the organization and its programs/events. The NAWBO Business Institute would like to thank the following in-kind sponsors.

  • Chocolate Storybook
  • Miller, Zimmerman & Evans
  • 1809 Designs
  • OnPoint Strategies
  • Kenworthy Law