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WEST DES MOINES, IA (TUESDAY, JULY 16, 2024) – The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce (WDM Chamber) is holding its fourth annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workplace Excellence Awards presented by Chase Bank on September 10 from 4:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 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 11 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: SirMichael Carrington Williams-Thomas
  • DEI Emerging Leader of the Year: La Toshia Burell
  • DEI Leader of the Year: Heather Schott
  • Small Business: The Joy of Curls
  • DEI Ally of the Year: Dr. Erlin Kakkanad
  • Large Business (250 and above): Turner Construction
  • Nonprofit: Polk County Housing Trust Fund
  • Education: Iowa Juneteenth
  • Medium Business (50 – 249 employees: Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency
  • Government: West Des Moines Human Rights Commission
  • Best Inclusion Initiative: 2024 Aspire to Inspire ERG Conference (Iowa Safe Schools)

“It’s incredible to know there were a record number of applications this year,” said Kara Matheson, VP of Workforce Development & Culture for the WDM Chamber. “It’s so encouraging to see individuals and organizations 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 10.” 

These award recipients were selected from a pool of 53 applicants by a panel of judges who come from all walks of life. They dedicated countless hours to thoroughly reviewing each application and curating valuable feedback for each applicant. That panel of judges included: Ashton Bierman, Julie Bittner, Stacey Cale, Jill Crosser, Erin Kim Cho, Mary Core, Courtney Greene, Jennifer Hahn, Stacey Kimberlin, Jerrica Marshall, Madison Melohn, Gilmara Mitchell, Moriah Morgan, Bobbi Segura, Eric Shepard, Joey Spivey, Jennifer Sorensen, Aleah Vaske, Samantha Wepking, Ida Wood.

The impact continues as SirMichael Carrington Williams-Thomas, the Student Leader of the Year, will receive a $2,000 scholarship for their education and La Toshia Burell, the Emerging Leader, will have the opportunity to attend the West Des Moines Leadership Academy on a full-ride $2,000 tuition scholarship for the program beginning in fall of 2025.
Additionally, the Nonprofit Award Recipient, Polk County Housing Trust Fund, will also receive a donation through a portion of sponsorship proceeds. To learn more about additional work from nonprofits across the region, attendees are encouraged to visit the Nonprofit Partner tables during the networking portion of the event from 4:30 – 5:30 PM.

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Attendees will also enjoy live music, delicious multicultural appetizers, and additional surprises in store for the hundreds of community leaders expected to be present.

Tickets are available through the link below:

Registration closes on August 30 at 11:59 p.m.

An additional thank you to supporters making this possible:
Presenting Sponsor: Chase
Award Sponsor: Triplett Office Solutions
Exclusive Video Partner FE Studios
Exclusive AV Sponsor: CTI
Gold Sponsors: Wellabe
Advocate Sponsor: Sammons Financial Group
Champion Sponsors: NCMICMerchants Bonding CompanyIMT Insurance
Supporting Sponsor: MWH Law Group

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