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  • Age
  • Occupation
    Director, Community Relations
  • Company
    Principal Financial Group
  • Location
    Des Moines, IA

For a time at work, Andrew Allen preferred to keep his past to himself. Arrested at age 10, addicted to drugs and alcohol through his adolescence, he finally sobered up at 18, thanks to a treatment program where he met “people who believed in me more than I believed in myself,” he says. With encouragement from colleagues and then-CEO Barry Griswell, Allen began to share his story as part of the company’s United Way outreach. Tapped by Iowa’s governor, Allen has served on a state juvenile justice advisory council since 2007, and held a two-year seat on a federal advisory committee as well. He started a youth mentoring program at work and an annual event he launched—“Reggie’s Sleepout”—has raised more than $1 million for homeless youth by getting people to spend a frigid November night outside in Iowa. “Things can change,” says Allen, who now runs Principal’s global corporate citizenship program. “We shouldn’t give up on any kid, no matter how desperate the circumstances.”