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Affiliate Chamber Spotlight: West Des Moines Chamber

West Des Moines Chamber Spotlight

January 7, 2020

West Des Moines Chamber

Elected Leader for 2019

Matt McKinney, Chair

Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber   

Carole Chambers, President/CEO

Number of Members 


What’s a Signature Offering of Your Chamber?

YURtern, the WDM Chamber’s college intern program, is only in its second year but has quickly become one of our signature programs. During the summer, the Chamber connects college students with local businesses through internships and programming specifically designed for interns. The participating students find great value in our lunch ‘n learn events and our businesses appreciate our efforts to support their workforce development efforts.

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

It’s been a busy year for this Chamber with a creation of a new website, a refresh of our brand and the adoption of a new CRM. WHEW! One promotion we were most excited about was introducing Eat Week to our community. The 10-day event kicked off in April with 19 participating restaurants and over $1,000 in dining-out prizes given to our EatWeek winner. We look forward to an even bigger turnout in 2020. Dates will be April 24th – May 3rd.

What Are Your Top Goals for the Rest of This Year?

The WDM Chamber is driven by our efforts in recruiting and retaining talent in our community.  One of the ways we are doing this is partnering with the Greater Des Moines Partnership and expanding a unique mentoring program for immigrants to appropriate members. This program, offered through the Central Iowa Diversity and Inclusion Council (CIDIC), pairs foreign-born participants who are new to navigating work and life in Central Iowa, with professionals in their industry of interest. These professionals mentor and create a platform for exchanging knowledge, thus helping those challenged to grow their careers.

Our communities host many foreign-born people who have earned professional degrees in their home countries but are currently underemployed in jobs that don’t allow them to utilize their skills. We are partnering with West Des Moines Human Services to connect with those in this predicament and match them to our members within the specified industries. Hopefully we can help facilitate closing the gap between the number of mentees needing mentors by engaging our members in this initiative.

The goal, once paired, is to get to know one another, establish priorities and create an ongoing meeting schedule. Mentors are asked to share their personal and professional experience to guide, mentor and motivate high-skilled foreign-born professionals.

We look forward to this partnership and furthering our efforts to be an inclusive community.

What Upcoming Events People Should Watch For?

This is one not to miss: Redefining Impossible with James Lawrence, “The Iron Cowboy is the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner keynote presentation scheduled for March 24, 2020 at the Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines. Tickets are available for individuals, tables of 10 and corporate tables.

After breaking several Guinness World Records in 2010 and 2012, James Lawrence knew he could accomplish even more. He decided to take on the first-ever challenge of completing 50 Ironman races, in 50 consecutive days, one in each of our 50 US States. The unbelievable 50-50-50 feat.

We invite you all to join us on Tuesday, March 24 to learn how to redefine the impossible and overcome personal limitations as you experience firsthand the remarkable journey of James “The Iron Cowboy” Lawrence. Register now before this event sells out and get yourself pumped up for Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) first-ever half Ironman competition next June.

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.

Jeana Schultz

Jeana Schultz is the vice president of operations at the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce.