Pearl of Muscatine: Cheryl Plank

Growing up in Muscatine in a large family of 13 children, Cheryl Plank has deep roots in the community. Her desire to help others runs just as deep.

After graduating Iowa Wesleyan College, Plank began her work in human services working at the Muscatine Community Y. She soon took a job with Lutheran Social Services in Muscatine as a local case worker. Her passion and dedication to her work made themselves evident, and in 13 years she had distinguished herself in a variety of leadership positions all the way up to vice president of programs and services. Plank briefly served as Vera French Community Mental Health Center Chief Operating Officer before becoming Chief Executive Officer of TENCO Industries, an organization that provides services and employment opportunities to those with disabilities.

Satisfied with her position at TENCO, Plank believed she had found her final job and turned down communications from recruiters regularly. However, when she started hearing about Vision 2020 in Muscatine, an organization focused on effectively providing human services in Muscatine and keeping them viable for years to come, something changed for her. She shared, “given this was to come back to Muscatine where I started my career, I felt compelled to return.”

In the first 10 months since returning to Muscatine, Plank has worked diligently through Vision 2020 to help Crossroads, the Muscatine Center for Social Action, the Muscatine Welfare Association, and Senior Resources pool their assets and services to best help those in need throughout the community. As well as serving as Vision 2020’s CEO, Plank has also assumed the roles of executive director of Crossroads, Muscatine Welfare Association and Senior Resources to further strengthen their ties and streamline their leadership. These efforts earned her the 2020 Iowa Association of Community Providers Relentless Advocate Award.

Back in her home community, along with three of her siblings, one of her sons, and six of her grandchildren, Plank feels fortunate to continue her work alongside others who care about Muscatine as much as she does: “As I tell many, being back in Muscatine reminds me of what a caring community it is. The people here wrap their arms around the needs and want to help.”