Iowa Lean Champion Award

The Iowa Lean Champion Award honors a leader who has made significant contributions to Lean practices and/or lead a Lean journey and meets the following criteria set forth by the ILC Board of Directors:

  • Leadership – Recognized Leader in Lean and Continuous Improvement

  • Sustainability – 10 years practicing in a Leadership or Change Agent role

  • Impact – Demonstrated and quantifiable business improvements

  • Principle-Based – Demonstrated key Lean Principles of Respect and Continuous Improvement

  • Influential – Has been a Role Model & Mentor to Others

  • Outreach – Leader in the Community as well as in Business

2018 Iowa Lean Champion Award Winner

Sarah Pavelka has been an ongoing champion for continuous improvement efforts for more than a decade. She serves as a teacher, coach, and facilitator for leaders to front-line employees.


Sarah is a leader on the Iowa and national healthcare quality stage. She is the President of the Iowa Association for Healthcare Quality Board; a task force member for the Iowa Hospital Association and the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative; and is a member of the Des Moines University Alumni Board. She has also served on the board of national associations, including the National Association for Healthcare Quality.

Sarah has an extensive background in health care and quality improvement. She holds degrees in Biology and Psychology; an Occupational Therapy degree, a Master in Healthcare Administration and a Doctorate in Philosophy Health Sciences Leadership. She is the co-author of Lean Tool Time.

Pavelka is the seventh Lean Champion to be recognized by the ILC.

CLICK HERE to view our past award winners.

We are now accepting nominations for the 2019 Lean Champion Award. To nominate someone for this award complete this online form by July 31, 2019. The award will be presented at the 2018 Fall Conference in Des Moines.