WEST DES MONES, IA (TUESDAY, JULY 18, 2023) – The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce (WDM Chamber) is holding its third annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workplace Excellence Awards (DEI Awards) on September 7 from 4:30 – 8:00 PM at the Community Choice Convention Center. It will be a night full of learning, growing and celebrating the work being done to make Central Iowa more inclusive. Award recipients of 10 categories will be honored, have the chance to share their story to inspire others, and give hundreds of leaders in attendance a challenge to consider. 


The individuals and organizations being recognized include:  
  • DEI Student Leader of the Year: Ayanari Morales-Rodriguez, Valley High School Student  
  • DEI Emerging Leader of the Year: Jackie Minsoe, Hoover High School Boys Soccer Program  
  • DEI Leader of the Year: Kate Hightshoe-Lambert, QCR Holdings, Inc.  
  • Small Business: Knight Moves  
  • DEI Ally of the Year: Adrianne Towe, Waukee Community Schools Foundation  
  • Large Business (250 and above): Bankers Trust  
  • Nonprofit: Iowa Safe Schools  
  • Education: Youth Justice Initiative  
  • Medium Business (50 – 249 employees): Merchants Bonding Company  
  • Best Inclusion Initiative: Spark DSM Minority Business Incubator, Greater Des Moines Partnership​ 
“It’s inspiring to read through the applications submitted from organizations and leaders across the state,” said Kara Matheson, VP of Workforce Development & Culture for the WDM Chamber. It’s so encouraging to see people and teams working harder than ever to further the positive impact of this work. We can’t wait for an incredibly memorable, moving, and motivational evening on September 7.”   

These award recipients were selected from a pool of 35 applicants by a panel of judges who come from all walks of life. That panel of judges included:  

  • Dylan DeClerck, Can Play  
  • Eric Shepard, MidAmerican Energy Company   
  • Karen Rieck, FBL Financial  
  • Sean Kennedy, IMT Insurance 
  • Nathan Brooks, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa  
  • Diana Echeverria, Latina Leadership Initiative  
  • Nancy Krause, Lutheran Services of Iowa  
  • Noelle Nelson, Avenue Scholars  


Additionally, Ayanari Morales-Rodriguez, the Student Leader of the Year, will receive a $1,550 scholarship for their education and Iowa Safe Schools, the nonprofit winner, gets to select a minority leader to go through the West Des Moines Leadership Academy on a full-ride tuition scholarship for fall of 2024. These scholarships are possible thanks to the Minority Leader Scholarship Sponsor, IMT Insurance 

The WDM Chamber’s DEI Committee also selected Can Play to be the nonprofit donation recipient of a portion of sponsorship proceeds. Learn more about their work and other nonprofits at the Partner tables during the networking portion of the event from 4:30 – 5:30 PM. Attendees will also live music, delicious multicultural appetizers, and additional surprises in store for the hundreds of community leaders expected to be present.  


Tables and individual tickets are available here. Registration closes on August 31 


A special thank you to Exclusive Video Partner Known Labs and Triplett Office Solutions for generously donating all the awards.  


An additional thank you to supporters making this possible: 
Minority Leader Scholarship Sponsor: IMT Insurance  
Award Partner – Gold Sponsors: Wellabe, Google Fiber, Cocoa Creative Agency   
Advocate Sponsor: Sammons Financial Group 
About the WDM Chamber of Commerce 
The mission of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce is to champion all things West Des Moines by strengthening our area companies, providing personalized resources and attracting a top workforce to position WDM as the best suburban city in America. With 700+ members, we provide something for everyone. Learn more about the chamber and how to get involved at 

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