When someone asks her how she measures whether she has been a "success" she often pulls out of her purse a paragraph written by Ralph Waldo Emerson and says they are words she lives by: "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
She has always been a pathfinder - a person not bound by tradition; someone who is constantly seeking a new and improved version - a new creative idea or a person's talents that may have been overlooked or underestimated. She finds great challenge in helping adjust for change and enjoys envisioning how new processes and ideas affect "the bigger picture".
She was Iowa's only full-time female television news anchor in the early 1970's. She was among the first full-time female banking marketing vice-presidents in community banks across Iowa in the late 1970's. In the late 1980's she was the first communication coordinator for the Iowa Lottery and the first assistant to the president for marketing at Iowa State University. In 1990 she became Iowa State's first marketing director. She was the first woman to chair the Bell Tower Festival in Jefferson, first woman president of the Greene County Bankers Association and the first woman president of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce's Ambassador program. She tells the story that once when she was speaking to a group of women entrepreneurs she was asked how she was able to achieve such "firsts" in her professional career. She responded "No one told me I couldn't".
That's the way she lives her life as a wife and a mother too. She's exhilarating, intriguing, and filled with excitement. There's a feeling when you're around her that anything can happen. She's warm, polite, and friendly. And if sometimes her laugh is a little too loud she makes no apologies. She's one special lady.
Carole Ann (Zike) Custer was born August 5, 1949 in Perry, Iowa. Her parents were Victor and Kay Zike. She graduated from Perry High School in 1967 and Iowa State University in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She has spent 24 years in the communication profession - broadcast news and marketing including advertising, public relations, consumer research, and integrated marketing communications. She has been honored as one of Iowa State University's outstanding young alumni and has received the university's alumni service award. She's received the FFA's "Friend of FFA Award" and is a graduate of the Association of Business and Industry's Leadership Iowa program. She and her husband Roger have one daughter, Whitney, and live in Jefferson, Iowa.
Submitted on 5/25/95
Honored by: Roger and Whitney Custer
Section: F Row: 6