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The DSM Fellowship Program: Bringing Our Community Together

January 28, 2019

Wow, we did it. We survived 2018! A lot of incredible things happened last year, especially in Des Moines and at the Greater DSM Partnership. I am excited to fill you in on one of the DSM Partnership’s biggest initiatives of 2018 and how several of my new friends and I were able to be a part of it.

First, I want to take a quick minute to introduce myself. My name is Marisa Anfinson and I am a current fellow in the DSM Fellowship Program. I have always had a strong interest in real estate, interning at Hubbell Realty Company as well as The Principal Financial Group, where I currently work as an investment analyst in our commercial real estate department. I personally think I have had an incredibly unique opportunity to grow up in a city that was also growing up. Over the past 20 years, Des Moines has dramatically shifted itself into a place known for its innovation, unparalleled community initiatives, and professional opportunities. A place I once thought I could not wait to leave now emulates everything I am looking for in my future as well as a city I am happy to call home.

If you’re reading this post, there is a good chance you already are aware of the Des Moines Partnership, but there is also a good chance you don’t really know what they are accomplishing in your own city. They do exactly what their name states: create partnerships within the Des Moines community. The Partnership brings together like-minded businesses and individuals across all sectors of our economy to create a conducive goal to make Des Moines the best it can possibly be. In the summer of 2018, they added an entirely new dynamic to their various initiatives, which is where my fellows and I get introduced. 

The DSM Fellowship Program

The DSM Fellowship Program consists of around 20 individuals working in the Des Moines Metro and is managed by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. We meet a few times a month with four key focus areas in mind as we gather: professional development, civic engagement, curriculum, and social connections. This has included formal training with Tero International and Lauren Burt with Kemin Industries, where we have learned the importance of self- awareness, speaking skills, how to have a personal professional presence, and a formal dining and etiquette training. Additionally, we have attended various networking events and company tours with their top leadership at our fingertips for us to ask them questions, glean wisdom and gain an understanding of why these companies chose Des Moines. There were several community services events we attended. Our first event was with Meals from the Market, which works to address the needs of food security in our community. We had the opportunity to interact with people at the Farmer’s Market and explain to them what the initiative is accomplishing as well as collect food to bring to the distribution sites after the market closed. Another service was at On with Life in Ankeny where we planted trees and built a rain garden. We also worked at the ACCE (Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives) Convention, creating literacy kits which were distributed to early childhood learning centers.

Various Viewpoints and Backgrounds

While all these experiences have provided my fellows and I so much insight on various aspects of the professional world, I believe it has been the opportunity to surround ourselves with people of various viewpoints and backgrounds that taught me the most. Every individual in the Fellowship Program has brought a unique perspective and personality to our group, which is indicative of the diversification within our city. As we continue to grow closer, it is easier for us to empathize with one another, but also allows us to come together to make Des Moines a place where people from all over the world would want to come and create a life here.

Learn more about the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s DSM Fellowship Program.

Marisa Anfinson

Marisa Anfinson is currently a Commercial Mortgage Underwriting Investment Analyst at The Principal Financial Group. After being raised in Greater Des Moines (DSM), she graduated in 2018 from ISU with a Finance degree. Marisa a member of the Young Professionals Connection as well as a fellow in the DSM Fellowship Program.