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Affiliate Chamber Spotlight: 2022 West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce

West Des Moines Chamber

March 2, 2022

Chamber Name + Website

West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce

Elected Leader for 2022

Angela Jackson, Senior Vice President, diversity, equity and inclusion, Athene; owner of The Great Frame Up

Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber

Katherine Harrington, President and CEO

Number of Members

670+ Members

How Does a Business Join Your Chamber?

Business can submit an application for membership either through our website or by contacting Anna Doud (anna@wdmchamber.org) or Tom Florian (tom@wdmchamber.org). We also have a calculator on our site so those thinking about joining can determine their investment.

What Inspired You to First Get Involved with Your Chamber?

Community impact and the opportunity to provide a place for people to connect, even over Zoom, when it was especially hard during the last two years. You never know who you’re going to meet at a WDM Chamber networking event and how it will impact you.

What is a Signature Offering of Your Chamber?

Our programming for diverse audiences, like our annual Mentoring for Women event, happening on Tuesday, March 8 this year. We have 20 mentors and 200 women all in one room, learning from each other in a positive environment. Our second annual Athene Black & Brown Business Summit presented by Wells Fargo is coming up on Thursday, April 21 and Friday, April 22 is all about teaching minority entrepreneurs how to build a legacy of wealth. It features a pitch competition — with $40,000 that will be given to top finishers and so much more. The Latino Trade Network, a program designed for Latino entrepreneurs, business owners and working professionals to connect, collaborate and grow together on a regular basis, kicked off less than a month ago with a launch event that was attended by nearly 100 people. We also have our second annual DEI Workplace Excellence Awards slated for Thursday, September 1. More details to come!

What is Your Chamber’s Biggest Accomplishment in the Past 12 Months?

We remained very strong during the pandemic, offering well attended virtual programming from March 2020 – May 2021. We returned to in-person programming with our Citizen of the Year and State of the City Address in June of 2021 and from there continued to have fantastic attendance, while also launching new programs, like our DEI-centric events outlined above which you can read about in-depth here. We were even awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Organizational Leadership Award for our intensive programs supporting DEI in the area and region.

What Initiative/Project Are You Looking Forward to in the Upcoming Year?

We’re excited to see how the programs above go, but something else we’re looking forward to this year is our Economic Bus Tour. This is a program we do every three years and we’re excited to show how WDM has grown during the pandemic and the new developments to come in the city. Registration is free for this and opens on Tuesday, March 1. The actual tour is Tuesday, May 17.

What Partnership Tools/Resources Have Been Most Beneficial to Your Chamber Members?

Our president and CEO Katherine Harrington regularly attends the Affiliate Chamber Meetings and finds those extremely worthwhile. She also recently joined the Partnership’s Inclusion Council led by Hy-Vee’s Sailu Timbo, something she’s very excited about.

What Are Your Upcoming Events?

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the fourth largest regional Chamber of Commerce in the nation. Learn more about Partnership Affiliate Chambers, browse the Membership Directory and read additional Affiliate Chamber spotlights.

Baillee Furst

Baillee Furst is the marketing communications and events manager for the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce. A 2020 Simpson College graduate, Furst is passionate about telling the stories of the people, places and businesses that make Greater Des Moines (DSM) the best place to live, work and play.