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Leading in Times of Challenge with Jacquie Easley

Jacquie Easley Headshot
At MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center in Greater Des Moines (DSM), Jacquie Easley, director of community and diversity services, also spends her time as an advocate for women and minorities across the region. Among her list of accomplishments is being the first African American female to serve as a Des Moines school board member, an Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame inductee, Des Moines Citizen of the Year and a Des Moines Business Record Women of Influence honoree. 

Jacquie Easley Leadership Tips


Easley says growing up, she learned from her parents the importance of knowing your blessings and appreciating them. After attending Carleton College in Minnesota and spending time living outside of Iowa after graduation, she returned to the city that raised her where she hoped to be able to make a difference in her own community. 

For Easley, her work experience in DSM began in the insurance industry before transitioning to the health care industry. She says it became clear in 2008, with the passing of the Affordable Care Act, that there were going to be newly insured citizens who had never had a healthcare experience before and who would need help navigating the health care system. This is when she shifted from an HR role into her current role.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the health care environment in many ways, from protocol, PPE, staffing and more. Her own role changed in the beginning of the pandemic from solely community outreach to include filling in to do temperature checks, calling family members about visiting policy changes and more. Easley says she is now spending a bulk of her time communicating about the importance of vaccination, including focusing on the hesitancy in communities of color to vaccinate. She highlights misconceptions seen in this population, such as the trauma that stems from various points in history like the 1619 Project and the Tuskegee Study, among others. In order to lead her team in helping people to navigate through those fears, Easley educates through cultural competency and humility. She says that health care professionals must practice self-reflection and make sure that unconscious bias does not play a role in the way in which patients are treated. This includes fighting the stereotype that African Americans can accept more pain. Through her work, Easley combats this by helping health care professionals understand such biases. She also works to bring awareness to the DSM community by answering questions about the vaccine through webinars and townhalls. 

Easley also discusses team morale and culture, as well as how she recharges out of the office to become an even better leader in the future. 

Listen to the entire podcast here.

The Leading in Times of Change podcast is brought to you by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and hosted by Mike Jefferson. The podcast features community leaders from across Greater Des Moines (DSM). To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here

Leading in Times of Challenge

Leading in Times of Challenge is a podcast featuring Greater Des Moines (DSM) business and community leaders.