Susan Patterson Plank

Susan Patterson Plank is the Executive Director of the Iowa Newspaper Association which she joined in 2013. The INA represents over 250 newspapers in Iowa. In her current role she oversees C.N.A., the Association’s multi-million-dollar advertising sales, planning and placement company; is responsible for the largest state press association foundation which provides industry training across the United States; and champions lobbying efforts focused on open meetings, open records and public notices in Iowa and nationally. She has a passion for the First Amendment and frequently tells her two sons that “words matter.”

Prior to joining the INA, Susan worked in the media industry for over 20 years. Her background is in sales, marketing, communications and profit management. She has significant experience in digital sales and development, research, branding and strategic planning. She has acted as spokesperson for The Des Moines Register and for RAGBRAI — the oldest, longest and largest bicycle touring event in the world with approximately 20,000 riders representing all states and many countries.

She started her media career at her hometown newspaper shortly after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa. A lifelong learner, she earned her MPA from Drake University in 2017.

A fan of the arts, she served on the Board of the Des Moines Arts Festival for many years, including acting as Board Chair for two consecutive years. She currently serves on the Urbandale Public Arts Committee and is on the National Board of Newspaper Association Managers.

Susan and her husband Shawn reside in Urbandale. You can reach her at She’s on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook—but mostly you’ll see posts about family and food and recently the Iowa State Fair.