Robyn Mills

Senior Program Manager

To hear her tell it, Robyn Mills never aspired to win the Iowa Teen Beauty Pageant, but, nevertheless, she was chosen as the runner up. She really had her eye on the bigger prize in the northwest part of the state where she grew up on a farm near Peterson. Yes, Robyn was the Clay County Pork Queen. Robyn Mills was a fearless bundle of energy in her youth, taking on the saxophone, choir in church and school, cheerleading, drama, and more. Back in high school she was in the musical Godspell, where she first noticed a certain boy. She had her eye on him, and years later they found each other again and continue to live happily ever after. 

Robyn’s life has been a grab bag of activity and new experiences, driven by her curious nature and sense of adventure. Through her college connections at Simpson College in Indianola, she spent a semester at a university in New Jersey and studied at the United Nations. She discovered politics because she “didn’t want to grow up and get a job” after she graduated from college and figured campaign jobs would keep her motivated to work for the issues important to her. She grew up in the era of the beef embargo, Cold War, arms race, and the threats of nuclear war and found these issues connected with her church as well. Among her political adventures were serving as an intern in the Iowa General Assembly and, later, as a research analyst; working on Tom Harkin’s first Senate race, and working on many other federal, state, and local campaigns. Her experience led her to the recognition that good public policy helps people have better lives. It’s important to elect good people to make good policy.

At SPPG, Robyn is able to link good policy with her daily work. Her understanding that all politics is local, and staying close to the people and their issues is fundamental to the work of SPPG, whether it is the dynamics of our health care system, finding ways to keep youth safe, or opening the eyes of those who don’t recognize that public health is everywhere.

This busy woman shuns house cleaning, but finds relaxation in cooking, travel, biking, and other outdoor activities. Robyn has long-ago traded in the beauty queen sashes and crowns and now carves out time for passionate advocacy in social issues and causes.