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Riding the Waves of Business in DSM USA

Waves of Business in DSM USA

October 30, 2019

Yep . . . Surfing in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

Surfing was stubbornly lingering on my bucket list, an unchecked box, an unexperienced thrill. It goes Aurora Borealis, fresh pasta in Italy, surfing.

So, when I sat on a sandy beach facing a choppy day on the Atlantic, I decided to get that box checked once and for all.

I rented a board. I hastily practiced “popping up” for about 5 minutes on the sandy shore, watching the locals, channeling their knowledge. Wave, paddle, pop, ride. Yep, got it.

Long story short, I crashed and burned. Ocean 1; Beth 0.

Here’s what I learned: surfing is painful. Like, face-in-the-rocks, saltwater-up-the-nose, I’m-pretty-sure-dying-is-a-possible-outcome-here painful. That is, without the right resources like a properly sized board, thoughtful instruction and weather and waves conducive to a beginner.

But there’s something magical about surfing when it works! (*Presumably, that is. I have no first-hand experience with surfing success.) An athlete can go from wild paddling effort and exertion against the water to riding a wave, gliding in and out.

And so it is with the business community in DSM.

Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa Rides the Wave of Community

Our organization hit a “sizzle point” this year when we implemented some innovative benefits. Word trickled out and soon the news went viral. Like, the Today show and USA Today viral. At this point we easily could have paddled and struggled, maybe taken some saltwater to the sinuses and turned in our board early, amateur surfer wipeout style (speaking as the resident expert on just that).

But we didn’t. Why?

Because we had support. And tools. Encouragement and instruction. DSM showed up for us. Like it does.

Organizations, from chambers and rotaries to media outlets and conferences, connected with us. The wave got bigger and rather than wiping out, the ride got smoother. Politicians, executives and event planners said “tell me more.” They supported us, invited us, coached us, and celebrated us. We learned and grew and connected and have been riding the wave ever since.

It’s magical. It’s distinct. It’s DSM.

Ocean-front property may be out of the question … but the salty air is not to be taken for granted here. Trust me, the surfing is excellent in DSM.

Named as a Top 25 Community for Well-Being by Gallup, Greater Des Moines (DSM) is the fastest growing major metro in the Midwest. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Beth Shelton

Beth Shelton is CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa. She oversees operations for 13,500 members and 120 full- and part-time staff. Beth was named on the Des Moines Register's People to Watch in 2017 list and honored as a 40 under 40 by the Business Record.