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OneVoice DSM Podcast: The Evolution of The Partnership (Part 2)

Greater Des Moines Partnership Evolution

June 24, 2020


After serving nearly three decades on the Board of the Greater Des Moines Partnership or its predecessor organization, Suku Radia has had an inside look at the development of the organization and made many contributions to the growth of Greater Des Moines (DSM), as well as The Partnership’s own evolution over the years. Recorded in mid-May, this is part two of a two-part series. In part one, Steve Chapman discusses The Partnership’s origin. 

The Concept of Regionalism

As DSM has grown, Suku says The Partnership is the organization that brought regionalism to life. As a region, he says we speak as one voice to drive economic growth. While that message sounds good on paper, it has also existed in real life. Suku tells the story of Jack Rehm, CEO of Meredith Corporation, who started with Meredith in New York. He realized that if he aspired to be the CEO, he needed to be at the headquarters in DSM. Suku, who was CFO of Meredith for nine years, worked with Jack and during a dinner with their spouses, Suku had a meaningful conversation with Jack’s wife, Cynthia. Cynthia told Suku she had only cried twice during her life with Jack: once when he said they needed to move to DSM, and once when he said they needed to leave. Suku explains how that turn in attitude was due to all of the change in DSM and hard work by this community’s leadership, with The Partnership’s guiding voice.

Suku also credits leadership at The Partnership with being involved in so many aspects of the region. He says the organization is always one step ahead when it comes to what’s happening within the community, citing the recent industry and business function playbooks created for the DSM Forward initiative. He says The Partnership has steadfast support from the community due to leadership’s forward-thinking strategies. Suku talks about how people used to discuss the brain drain. Now, people — especially millennials — want to stay here. There are more and more opportunities for millennials to become engaged, too, such as the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute

Suku also says that leadership of successful DSM organizations are greatly involved in local committees and boards, and that leadership who continue to develop themselves and their team members are better able and inspired to dive into the bigger ideas and development of the region, something that is unique to our community.

Lessons Learned for the Next Generation

Suku discusses the idea that the next generation of leaders needs mentors to get and stay involved. He says it’s important to him not to stand in the way of the next generation, but to help others advance themselves. Suku then discusses ways in which leadership in the DSM community can and will continue to stand out:

·      Philanthropy

·      Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

·      Commitment to Public Education

·      Teamwork


The Partnership’s Role Today

Over time, The Partnership has grown more mature, more seasoned. Suku gives credit to the organization’s leadership for not taking anything for granted and keeping things fresh. When a business is acquired by a new company, The Partnership helps the owner commit to this community by selling hard what a great place DSM is and why that business should stay here. He references MidAmerican Energy Company, which used to be Iowa Power and Light before it was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, a company which has its headquarters in Downtown DSM. The future of The Partnership lies in continuing to find ways to attract and retain businesses.

Listen to the entire podcast by clicking here.  

Did you miss the previous OneVoice DSM episode about the formation of The Partnership? You can listen here.

Inspired by this OneVoice DSM Podcast? Listen to more Partnership podcasts.


OneVoice DSM

The OneVoice DSM Podcast shares the story of major projects and initiatives shaping the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region, highlighting the key players and the Greater Des Moines Partnership Investors who are making them happen. Each episode you'll learn about a game-changing project and hear in-depth conversation with community leaders who are helping drive it forward with one voice and one mission as one region. OneVoice DSM can be found wherever you get your podcasts. Check out the OneVoice DSM blog for more insights into the future of DSM.