This real life Wonder Woman has the ability to find calm in chaos. She loves large and gives generously. She uses her superpowers to give back to the people and organizations who supported her throughout her college years. Meet Nikki Heyd!
KR: Please tell us about what brings you joy and fulfillment.
NH: I’m a lucky person, in that I have lots of things that make me really love life. First is my family. I’ve got a husband who’s a pretty awesome dude. I’ve got two amazing sons who I thoroughly love watching grow into adults. If I can brag, I think they’re my best work. 🙂
I have a job I love. The aviation industry has been a thing for me for as long as I can remember. While I didn’t end up doing what I went to college for, where I am now I find has afforded me so many opportunities to see distant places and grow as a person. I actually love getting up in the morning and going to work. It’s very purpose-driven.
KR: Can you tell us your official job title?
NH: I am a Value Stream Leader in the Military Radio Navigation Products Division of Collins Aerospace. The US Warfighter depends on the work I do, and it’s amazing and empowering to be able to provide for them.
KR: In addition to family and career, I know volunteering also brings you great joy. (I’ve seen you in action!) Can you tell us about your volunteer activities?
NH: Yes, I really enjoy my volunteer work, too. I’m so excited to be a Board Member for Friends of Iowa CASA. Our organization is the fundraising arm that supports our state CASA. So where federal funding falls short we do what we can to fill in the gaps. I get to work with some amazing people across the state! I’ve managed to talk a couple of friends into being CASAs and they love what they do! The best part is, it gives an Iowa kid a better shot at a better future!
However, I wouldn’t have gotten to CASA if it hadn’t been for my involvement in Kappa Alpha Theta. CASA is the fraternity’s national philanthropy. We used to do projects as collegians to support National CASA, but now, as an alumna I really get to see the power of what Thetas can do at the ground level. So that’s a nice tie. But, also, I look back on the things that the Fraternity has offered me, I would be a horrible person if I didn’t go back and make sure that other young women are afforded the same opportunities I had. I didn’t have daughters, but my sons both joined Fraternities, so I do support them as well, because the Fraternity experience is something I really believe in.
KR: We all have inner superpowers. What are some of yours?
NH: I have an innate ability to be calm when things are at their most chaotic. I kind of thrive on chaos, in it’s the eye of the hurricane where there is peace! My original plan was to be an air traffic controller, which I did do for a period in college. That was the ultimate in making harmony out of chaos. And I never felt stressed out. It’s the same in life. When things get chaotic I tend to settle in and I’m in my zone.
KR: Can you tell us about an influential woman in your life and how she inspired you?
NH: My answer to this is two-fold. The first influential woman in my life is my Aunt Judith. My parents used to joke she was a raging feminist (think Gloria Steinem). And she was, but she was really the first person that planted the seeds in my head that my destiny was mine, and no one else’s, and there’s no limit to what a strong woman can do. She’s always been my rock.
The second, is a group of women, and these are my sorority sisters. It started with the women I “grew up” with in college, and then later in life when I volunteered for the Fraternity as an alumna, I have the most amazing group of women in my circle. I’ve survived, college, grad school, promotions, my kids’ successes, hard knocks in life. These are the ladies who are there through it all. When you have an army at your back how can you not succeed in life?
KR: If you could have one super-human power, what would it be?
NH: Mind reading would be beneficial. I want to make sure people are taken care of and sometimes they don’t say what’s really on their heart, which makes it hard to help. I keep looking for a class at work for this, and it never comes up! Ha!
KR: What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
NH: I like to scrapbook, that one is my real peace in life! I’m learning photography. I took pictures of my kids when they were in school doing sports and I’ve done some senior pictures. I volunteer on the Board of Directors of Friends of Iowa CASA; I love doing this as it’s an extension of the volunteer work for CASA I did as a collegian. I am also an Alumnae Chapter President for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, and I’m a collegiate advisor to the Kappa Alpha Theta Chapters at the University of Iowa and the University of North Dakota. It makes me very happy to give back to the Fraternity that gave me so much in my college years. In the summertime, I spend time with friends and family in SW Wisconsin where we “faux” camp and go boating on the Mississippi.
KR: Knowing what you know at this stage of your life, what words of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self?
NH: When I was 20, world domination was on my plan. Then life happens, but what I realized is world domination means to dominate *MY* world. When you do your very best at the things in your sphere, the rest of the world falls into place.