A- A+

8th Inclusion Summit: Rising to the Equity Challenge

The 8th Annual Inclusion Summit this will be via Zoom on Tuesday, Nov. 10. This year's summit is a collaboration with United Way of Central Iowa to wrap up the 21-Day Equity Challenge. The event's theme is "Rising to the Equity Challenge" which aims to cultivate a community conversation about actively making diversity, equity and inclusion a priority in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

In Partnership With


21-Day Equity Challenge

This year's Inclusion Summit features collaboration with United Way of Central Iowa to wrap up the 21-Day equity Challenge.

The 21-Day Equity Challenge is a powerful opportunity for shared learning and growth and invites DSM residents to develop a deeper understanding of how inequity and racism affect our lives and community. The challenge will help thousands of DSM residents unite to learn and grow together and help us all address inequity issues in our community.

Sign up for the 21-Day Equity Challenge that begins on Monday, Oct. 5 at equitychallenge.org.

8th Annual Inclusion Summit  |  Tuesday, Nov. 10  |  8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Inclusion Summit will be a virtual event via Zoom. Login details will be provided once registration is submitted.

For more information about the Inclusion Summit: Rising to the Equity Challenge, contact Molli Davis, administrative assistant of business resources and community development | talent development at the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

Agenda  |  CEO Roundtable Speakers  |  Keynote Speakers  |  Young Equity Leaders  | Breakout Sessions  |  Sponsors



Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, The Inclusion Summit: Rising to the Equity Challenge is free to all participants.


(Times and Sessions Subject to Change)

Morning Session

  • 8 a.m.  — Opening and Welcome by Sanjita Pradhan, director of diversity and inclusion, Greater Des Moines Partnership
  • 8:05 a.m. — Land Acknowledgement by Tim Perkins
  • 8:10 a.m. Spoken Word by Hadley Harvey
  • 8:15 a.m. — Welcome Remarks by Elisabeth Buck, president of United Way of Central Iowa
  • 8:20 a.m. — Welcome Remarks by Kate Hightshoe, inclusion council chair, Greater Des Moines Partnership
  • 8:30 a.m. — CEO Roundtable: Diversity and Inclusion Starts at the Top  |  Moderator: Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership
  • 9:35 a.m. — Keynote Speaker: Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts  |  "A.F.F.I.R.M. Differences: Seven Conversations (We Should be Having) About Equitable Diversity, Inclusion and Positive Organizing" 
  • 10:30 a.m. — Break
  • 10:40 a.m. — Keynote Speaker: Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr.  |  "America is Changing: Are You Ready?"
  • 11:40 a.m. — Break
  • 11:50 a.m. — Inclusion Award Announcement
  • Noon — Keynote Speaker: Caroline A. Wanga  |  "Elevator to Equity"
  • 12:55 — Close Morning Session/Announce Break

Afternoon Session

  • 1:30 p.m. — 21-Day Equity Challenge Review
  • 1:40 p.m. — Young Equity Leaders Panel  |  Moderator: Shekinah Young  |  A number of young DSM residents are emerging in our community as leaders of equity issues. Join the panel discussion to hear how our younger peers are working to make a difference for the future.
  • 2:25 p.m. — Introduce Breakout Session/Instructions for Attendance
  • Education: A discussion regarding the equity issues children and students face in their quest for an education.
  • Housing: Learn about the inequities many DSM residents face finding affordable housing, securing loans and more.
  • Wealth: Inequities in many areas prevent many DSM residents from establishing or achieving financial stability and savings, or to build equity with property or other assets. Join this discussion on these challenges and possible solutions.
  • Justice: Inequities in the justice system have been at the forefront of many discussions recently. Learn how justice system inequities are impacting DSM.
  • Health: From access to reliable and consistent healthcare and healthy food to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the inequities around health and wellness are significant. Join this discussion to learn how DSM is working to address these issues.
  • 2:30 p.m. — Breakout Session #1
  • 3:25 p.m. — Transition to Breakout Session #2
  • 3:30 p.m. — Breakout Session #2 (Same Session as #1)
  • 4:25 p.m. — Wrap-Up/Thank You

CEO Roundtable Speakers

  • Marta Codina, regional bank president, Wells Fargo
  • Katie Wengert, chief marketing and external relations officer, Broadlawns
  • Nick Andersen, vice president, commercial lines and farm services, Nationwide
  • Rosalind Fox, factory manager, John Deere

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr.


Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. has pursued and achieved success in academia, business, diversity leadership and community service. He is the founder of America & MOORE, LLC, White Privilege Conference (WPC) and The Privilege Institute (TPI) which provide comprehensive diversity, privilege and leadership training/workshops. Dr. Moore is recognized as one of the nation's top speakers and educators. His interview with Wisconsin Public Radio won the 2015 Wisconsin Broadcasters Association's Best Interview in Medium Market Radio, 1st Place, and he is featured in the film "I'm not Racist...Am I?"

For more information about Dr. Moore, visit American & MOORE.

Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts


Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts is an innovative global scholar and consultant on the science of maximizing human potential in diverse organizations and communities. She has published over 50 research articles, teaching cases and practitioner-oriented tools for strategically activating best selves through strength-based development, workplace equity and inclusion. Laura is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review and the Academy of Management Review and currently serves as Professor of Practice at her alma mater, the University of Virginia.

Learn more information about Dr. Roberts.

Caroline A. Wanga


Caroline A. Wanga is currently the Interim Chief Executive Officer of Essence Communications Inc., but most recently, Wanga led Target's strategic intent to champion an inclusive society with accountability and helped reshape the organizational culture and fuel Target's business objectives through the company's first-ever performance-based diversity and inclusion goals. She has been named a Top Executive in Corporate Diversity by Black Enterprise and one of Savoy's Most Powerful Woman in Corporate America.

Learn more information about Caroline Wanga.

Young Equity Leaders Panel

  • Elizabeth Buck, president, United Way of Central Iowa
  • Joshua V. Barr, director, Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission
  • Shekinah Young, global inclusion consultant, Principal Financial Group


Breakout Sessions


Black adults in Iowa are imprisoned at nearly 11 times the rate of white adults. Join us for this session to discuss Iowa’s criminal justice system and what needs to be done to combat the disparities.


Amber Ramirez, director, Central Iowa Works


  • Betty Andrews, president, Iowa/Nebraska NAACP
  • Dennis Henderson, TEACH/TECH coordinator, Broadlawns Medical Center


In this discussion, participants will learn about the unique challenges and unequal outcomes for Black mothers in DSM, and panelists will share ways that organizations are working to address disparities in stillbirth rates.


Deidre DeJear, board member, Happy Birth Day


  • Megan Aucutt, associate director of programs, Healthy Birth Day, Inc.
  • Rev. Stephaney Moody, vice president, Pastors and Ministers Alliance and Community Outreach Worker, Healthy Birth Day, Inc.
  • Representative from MercyOne Des Moines


Explore the history of redlining in our community and the steps being taken to promote equitable access to affordable housing.


Lauren Johnson, director of communications and community outreach, Polk County Housing Trust


  • Breann Bye, executive director, 6th Avenue Corridor
  • Bobretta Brewton, VISTA home ownership outreach, Neighborhood Finance Corporation
  • Linda Carter Lewis, civil rights activist
  • Stephanie Murphy, executive director, Neighborhood Finance Corporation


Black residents of Polk County earn half the median income of Polk County — around $33,000 a year. To reduce the income gap, we must prepare more individuals to get quality jobs. We must also ensure that there are quality jobs to fill. Learn more about United Way of Central Iowa’s Thriving Workforce Initiative — an effort to educate employers on the components of a quality job and prepare people to fill those positions.


Michelle Rich, community impact officer — income, United Way of Central Iowa


  • Teree Caldwell-Johnson, executive director, Oakridge Neighborhood Services, and member, The Directors Council
  • Vicki Comegys, business advisor, Central Iowa Works
  • Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher, operations director, Central Iowa Works


How does education in 2020 look for students of color and how do we move forward as a community while engaging families, community members, nonprofits and businesses?


Kate Bennett, community impact officer — education, United Way of Central Iowa


  • John Douglas, executive director, Willkie House
  • Gabby Guerra, assistant director, Al Exito
  • Peter Le Blanc, principal/office of talent support, Des Moines Public Schools
  • Boaz Rutekereza Nkingi, founder and president, ICOACH (Iowa Congolese Organization and Center for Healing)



Premium Sponsors

null null

Supporting Sponsors

null null null
null null

Media Sponsor