Community Leadership Program Class of 2021

Participants | Class Projects


        • Danny Akright, Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity
        • Joseph Benesh, The Ingenuity Company
        • Katie Bose, Bankers Trust
        • Matt Callanan, Belin McCormick, P.C.
        • Michaela Devaney, Food Bank of Iowa
        • Louis Fountain, Des Moines Public Schools
        • Eli Goll, OPN Architects
        • Valora' James, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
        • Callie Kramer, John Deere
        • Gregory Lin, Drake University
        • Leah Lint, Nationwide
        • Luke Lynch, United Way of Central Iowa
        • Christ Naumann, Deere & Company
        • Alex Rich, Trilix
        • Matt Rodekamp, Substance Architecture
        • Cory W. Sharp, FEH Design
        • Patty Sneddon-Kisting, Urbandale Food Pantry
        • Taelar Spindler, Des Moines Public Schools
        • Ariane Sundean, Inspired Vision
        • Luisita Thompson, State of Iowa, IPERS
        • Kelli Todd, Iowa Chiropractic Society
        • Armel Traore dit Nignan, Principal
        • Alicia Vermeer, Community Youth Concepts
        • Lindsey White, Wells Fargo

          Class Projects

          The primary objective of the class project is to provide class members with opportunities to develop meaningful leadership skills in real-world settings, while impacting a community issue and ultimately preparing class members to effectively lead change in Greater Des Moines. 

          Design thinking is a problem-solving framework that facilitates innovation by keeping humans at the center. The five, non-linear phases of design thinking are empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. The first three phases involved the class project teams using experiences shared by living experts and stakeholders to inform the direction of their possible solutions. They then developed prototypes to test with those individuals, using input to refine, or sometimes reimagine, their possible solutions.

          The problem the teams used design thinking to address was increasing the number of Black people who own homes in Greater Des Moines. This issue was identified by experts in various organizations that are connected to Capital Crossroads, which is a foundational component of the program curriculum. While contributing real solutions to this community issue is a result of the process, the primary goal is that Community Leadership Program graduates will have a new set of skills that they can use to solve issues in the community organizations for which they work and volunteer.


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