Meet Our
Mighty Team

Able Up Iowa is team made of all types. We’ve got the “movers and shakers” who keep our office alive and humming, the introspective ones who are always willing to lend a listening ear, the precisionists who never miss a detail, and the visionaries who keep us aspiring. We are a team of travelers, bookworms, foodies, animal lovers, and so much more! We strive each day to create a culture full of open discussion, collaborative problem-solving, and appreciation for each others’ uniqueness. We are united by the conviction that all people, of all abilities, deserve the opportunity to thrive in theirs homes, workplaces, and communities.

Executive Director

Anna Magnusson

Financial Empowerment Director

Lynette Plander

Loan Officer

Parker Meyer

GDG Services

Kara Knight

Designer & Marketing Consultant

Tayvia Harrington

Management Practice Consultants

Ferrone Olson LLC

IT & Data Security Specialist

Lee’s Computers & More

Credit Coach

Carolyn Steckelberg

Financial Coach

Rebecca Hedlund

Resource Counselor

Jamie Gurganus

Executive Director

Anna Magnusson

“I am honored to have a role in fulfilling the mission of Able Up Iowa. Every day, Iowans contact our organization seeking assistance to remove the financial barriers that prevent them from working, playing, and living in our communities. The best days of my job are when we can successfully connect our applicants to the programs, people, and resources that improve their lives.”

Anna was adopted from Seoul, Korea and grew up in Iowa. She went to high school in Des Moines and earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa

Following her days at the University of Iowa, she worked for Opera Carolina, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Kids Voting. She also worked in the Advancement department and earned her master’s degree in Public Administration at Wright State University. She lived in England for over three years before returning to her home state in 2018. Her most recent position is with Able Up Iowa serving as the Executive Director.

Anna Magnusson has served on several community and regional boards, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, A Special Wish Foundation, Children’s Defense Fund, League of Women Voters Dayton, and Youth in Philanthropy Council. Anna was nominated and selected to participate in the 2003 Association of Performing Arts Presenters Emerging Leadership Institute in New York City.  She was also nominated and selected as one of the 2006 Dayton Business Journal 40 Under 40 award recipients and most recently was selected to be a member of the 33rd class of Leadership Ames.

Financial Empowerment Director

Lynette Plander

“I love hearing how our members gain freedom, confidence, and independence through their efforts.  It’s important to me that my children and grandchildren see me working in a role that helps our community.”

Prior to joining Able Up Iowa, Lynette spent most of her career helping individuals with disabilities develop and achieve their career goals. As Financial Empowerment Director, Lynette continues to assist people in achieving their goals, now in a much broader range. Lynette has also rediscovered how much she enjoys working with those who are aging, having worked as a nurse’s aide in high school. 

Lynette believes everyone deserves to have their basic needs met and to have a path to move beyond the basics. She enjoys her position at Able Up Iowa because she feels the mission aligns with her values.

Loan Officer

Parker Meyer

Parker grew up around Algona, IA (North-Central IA) and is currently studying Financial Counseling and Planning at Iowa State University. In high school, Parker played football, track, and golf while participating in band, model UN, and quiz bowl. Some of Parker’s favorite hobbies include video games, sports, music (listening to it and playing guitar), reading (books and comic books), playing with his two cats, and spending time with family and friends.

“I am passionate about Able Up Iowa because it provides help to people who greatly need it and may not be able to get it anywhere else.”

GDG Services

Kara Knight

Able Up Iowa is proud to work with Kara, owner of GDG Services.

GDG Services provides complete, cost-effective payroll services, help their clients dig deeper into their financial situation and find opportunities for tax savings, provide meaningful and practical solutions to address the issues facing businesses, and provide comprehensive tax planning and preparation of all tax returns.

In addition to covering Able Up Iowa’s payroll and accounting services, Kara has donated much of her own time to support Able Up Iowa. She is always willing to lend her expertise; whether it be data collection, budget planning, or grant writing, we can always count on her.

Designer & Marketing Consultant

Tayvia Harrington

“People with disabilities deserve to have access to the same opportunities as their peers without disabilities. I am excited to be part of an organization that fights daily to create equitable access to independent living.”

Tayvia graduated high school in Solon, Iowa and went on to study at BYU-Idaho. Halfway through earning her degree, she took a year and a half off to serve as a missionary in Natal, Brazil. Tayvia became fluent in Portuguese and helped families experiencing adversities including drug addictions, financial struggles, sexual exploitation, and mental illness.

This experience broadened Tayvia’s perspective and emboldened her desire to make a difference in the world. After returning from Brazil, Tayvia became involved with Voice Advocacy, an organization dedicated to developing collaborative solutions to challenging community problems. As a project supervisor, she worked on outreach projects focused on reducing recidivism.

In 2018, Tayvia graduated with a degree in Organizational Communication and Advocacy Outreach. She married her high school sweetheart and moved to Ames where she became the Program Director at Able Up Iowa. While in Ames, Tayvia also volunteered weekly a safe home for women whose lives had been interrupted by human trafficking.

In 2021, Tayvia and her husband made the decision to move to Atlanta, Georgia. She has continued working remotely with Able Up Iowa, now as a Design and Marketing Consultant. Tayvia loves Able Up Iowa because she has seen firsthand how the services make life-changing impacts. She believes people of all abilities deserve access to resources and opportunities for long-term independence.

Management Practice Consultants

Ferrone Olson LLC

Able Up Iowa is honored to partner with Ferrone Olson LLC.

Ferrone Olson LLC is a management practice for arts, cultural and not-for-profit organizations. They work with small and mid-size organizations that seek to grow beyond their current levels of artistic and organizational resources. As proponents of The Cycle, a concept developed by Michael Kaiser, Chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland and former President of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Ferrone Olson believe creating great art/programming is the first step in developing a successful organization. With both institutional and programmatic marketing efforts to communicate the work of the organization to its audiences, the organization will realize a growing base of supporters in all forms, that leads to sources for earned and contributed revenues.

Paul Ferrone and Holly Olson have transformed Able Up Iowa’s Fundraising and Marketing departments. Their efforts have ensured programmatic growth and strategic longevity. We recognize the great opportunity it is to work alongside them to empower Iowans across the state.

IT & Data Security Specialist

Lee’s Computers & More

Able Up Iowa is a loyal customer of Lee's Computers and More.

Lee’s Computers & More is dedicated to being the best computer services store in Iowa. They are in the business of connecting people through quality, long-lasting technology.

Lee provides us with a diverse range of technological security and support. He has gone above and beyond for us, making certain we have affordable solutions to all of our software and hardware needs. Lee has donated countless hours and thanks to him, we can ensure our members' data is kept safely and securely!

Credit Coach

Carolyn Steckelberg

Text Placeholder

Financial Coach

Rebecca Hedlund

"I'm so excited to be part of the coaching family at Able Up Iowa!  The team is dedicated to helping anyone and everyone in Iowa needing or wanting assistance.”

Rebecca has been a Realtor for over 15 years and has worked with Able Up Iowa for the past few years as we've expanded our lending and coaching programs. Rebecca cared for her father in the last 6 years of his life as he dealt with many health issues. She has a lot of empathy and compassion for people facing challenges personally or in their families.

Rebecca knows now more than ever there is great need for financial resources, planning, education, and general support. She believes that the newly expanded programs of Able Up Iowa will help Iowans pull out of the devastating financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is happy to be a part of this effort as she lends her expertise as an Able Up Iowa coach.

Resource Counselor

Jamie Gurganus

“I am excited to be working for Able Up Iowa, since I am passionate about helping people and feel very enthusiastic about sharing resources that can help someone move forward in their life.”

Jamie lives in Ames with her two children, guide dog and two cats. Jamie earned my Bachelor of Social Work degree from Penn State University and then her Master’s in Counseling from Iowa State University.  She has over 30 years of experience working in a variety of fields that includes the elderly, low-income individuals, college students with disabilities and families with children with special needs.

To Jamie, being a social worker isn’t just a profession, but a part of who she is. Jamie believes in working in partnership with clients, utilizing their strengths to help them sort out their challenges and achieve their goals

Join Our Team!

We’re always looking for people who are eager to make the world a better place.

Ways to Get Involved

Nothing caught your eye? Create your own project full of your own passion!

Please note we have recently changed our name from Iowa Able Foundation to Able Up Iowa.