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Board of Directors

The YPC Board is made up of 16 board members that are elected annually. To contact any member of our board, click the link below.

President - Jessie Cruise

Jessie Cruise

President

president@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Bentonville, AR

Alma Mater:

University of Northern Iowa

Employer:

Principal Financial Group

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

You'll find me at a YPC leadership meeting, working with students at the university of Northern Iowa, trying a new cold craft beer at one of Des Moines' great breweries or spending time with my amazing husband and our adorable chocolate lab, Sophie.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

My favorite thing about Des Moines is that young professionals have the opportunity to be involved and have a seat at the table. I always say that Des Moines is interested in the three I's from young professionals - Insights, Inputs and Involvement. This is a very unique thing about our community and I feel fortunate to live in a place that supports the YP voice.

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

I have been on the board since January of 2016. I started as the Student Coordinator, where I worked with local universities and post-secondary institutions to talk about the happenings in Des Moines. Then I was the At-Large Chair (now the Community Engagement Director), where I helped organize board events and the first One DSM. Year three was spent as the President-Elect where I began to learn the ropes, and I could not be more excited to experience the President role and work with this fabulous group of leaders in DSM.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

Twitter. I absolutely love Twitter. I get news updates, community updates, funny GIFs and memes and the ability to follow all the dog accounts that I can!

What are your words to live by?

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday, and I love today.

President Elect - Justin Haas

Justin Haas

President Elect

presidentelect@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Cabot, AR

Alma Mater:

Clarke University
Drake University

Employer:

American Red Cross

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

Sports have been a big part of my life so I love getting friends together and attending various sporting events in the area.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

I think this city does a great job of providing resources for its residents and isn't afraid to try new things.

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

YPC Ambassadors

What role has mentorship played in your career?

Mentorship has played a major role in my career. My various mentors have provided knowledge for me to grow and develop into a better leader. Without their guidance I don't think I'd be the person I am today.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

Email

Past President - Ryan Bruner

Ryan Bruner

Past President

pastpresident@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Carroll, IA

Alma Mater:

University of Iowa

Employer:

CO-OP Financial Services

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

Outside of work I enjoy taking in live music at Hoyt Sherman Place, Vaudeville Mews, DSM Social Club, or Wooly's. This city has afforded me the opportunity to see amazing artists and it is something that brings so much value to my life. I love seeing plays and musicals at the Civic Center and I am excited for "Dear Evan Hansen" in 2019! I enjoy Sunday bike rides around Des Moines while stopping along the way to eat at new restaurants and try local craft brews. This city keeps surprising me. Talk to me in 6 months and my passions may change because the opportunities in Des Moines are endless.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

Des Moines is a city that challenges young people to be involved in shaping the future of this city. Community leaders listen to the opinions of young people because they value the contributions we bring to the city. This attitude cannot be expressed on any top ten list published showcasing Des Moines.

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

A Better Iowa Writing Series, CityRide, YP of the Year Awards, Board Restructuring, Sips Samples and Sights

What role has mentorship played in your career?

Mentorship has played an important role in my career. I have received great mentorship from current and past board members of YPC. My mentors have pushed me to take on roles that made me uncomfortable. That stress allowed me grow personally and gain confidence in my ability to take leadership roles in my community. Having this outside perspective has helped me be more reflective and learn more about myself.

What is something you would like to see changed in Des Moines?

Des Moines needs to utilize the river to our advantage. It needs to be a focal point of the city and give us the ability to attract visitors. I don't quite know how this can be done but it needs to be on the table for discussion in the coming years.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

Cell Phone

What are your words to live by?

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
     -Winston S. Churchill

Secretary and Treasurer - Philip Kreznor

Philip Kreznor

Secretary and Treasurer

treasurer@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Woodstock, IL

Alma Mater:

Drake University

Employer:

Value Wealth Management

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

I'm a board member of my neighborhood association (Woodland Heights in Des Moines). I have 2 different volunteer roles as an alumnus for professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. I enjoy listening to live music around Des Moines.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

It's big enough to have a multitude of opportunities and things going on, but small enough that all those things are easily accessible and doable.

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

I have worked towards amending the YPC bylaws, revamping the Board application process, and improving our budgeting and fiscal management.

What role has mentorship played in your career?

It has aided in professional development and decisions with continuing education.

What is something you would like to see changed in Des Moines?

I would like to see the low head dams (drowning machines) removed from downtown Des Moines.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

AM/FM radio

What are your words to live by?

Decisions are made by those who show up.

Community Engagement Director - Abigail Weatherwax

Abigail Weatherwax

Community Engagement Director

commengage@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Ankeny, IA

Alma Mater:

Iowa State University

Employer:

Intoxalock

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, drinking wine while watching a good movie, and exploring Des Moines!

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

The city atmosphere with the small town feel.

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

One Des Moines, Sand Volleyball league, Professional Development workshops, Dinner Around Des Moines and other committee events

What role has mentorship played in your career?

Mentorship in both the formal and informal capacity has gotten me to where I am today. I wouldn't be the person I am or have the career I have with out the circle of mentors I have surrounded myself with.
Thank you!

What are your words to live by?

Never Give Up

Professional Development Chair - Peter Myers

Peter Myers

Professional Development Chair

prodevelopment@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Houston, TX

Alma Mater:

Iowa State University
Drake University

Employer:

Graduate Student in Education

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

Outside of working with students and grad classes, I spend a lot of my time socializing with fellow YPC members and volunteering with organizations such as Junior Achievement and DECA. I also love to travel the world and explore the Midwest too.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

I truly love the "Iowa Nice" atmosphere in Des Moines. Everyone is very friendly and down-to-earth in Des Moines and across the Midwest. There are social and professional groups for everyone and there is always something to do in Des Moines with friends. In the summer you'll find me at the Farmer's Market and in the fall you'll find me tailgating at ISU football games. I also love kayaking at Gray's Lake.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

(Sadly) I am way too connected to my iPhone. Usually I am fairly prompt in replying to text messages and emails. Now that I turned off social media notifications, I am getting better at being less dependent on my phone. I still firmly believe that face-to-face communication is more effective and personable than "hiding" behind a phone.

What are your words to live by?

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined."
      -Thoreau

Volunteer Chair - Steve Mulligan

Steve Mulligan

Volunteer Chair

volunteer@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Cedar Rapids, IA

Alma Mater:

University of Iowa

Employer:

Clean Harbors Environmental

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

My passion is raising my children into unique, motivated, and kind individuals. I also enjoy staying active with biking and yoga. You may also find me drinking morning coffee or an afternoon craft beer.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

The opportunities that Des Moines has to offer to grow personally and professionally. The bike trails are in a close second.

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

As a member for only a few short months, I have been active in meetings and events. I'm very excited for the months to come to have more direct involvement in the mission and vision of YPC.

What role has mentorship played in your career?

Mentorship has given me the confidence to believe in myself and that all it takes is one person to make a difference.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

My calendar and Apple Music.

What are your words to live by?

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world."

Civic Chair - Taylor Larson

Taylor Larson

Civic Chair

civic@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Coal Valley, IL

Alma Mater:

Drake University

Employer:

LS2group

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

I spend a lot of time outside of work snuggling my pup, Jack, and I'm a sucker for reality television and a good book. I'm also lucky to have found a job that transformed another hobby, politics and staying politically active, into work.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

I love the juncture of big city and small community feels Des Moines has. There are tons of cool career opportunities and fun things to do, but the city isn't overwhelming in size.

What role has mentorship played in your career?

Throughout my undergraduate and law school careers, my mentors helped me find internships, decide to attend law school, and ultimately land my current job. I owe a lot to my mentors and hope to pay it forward.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

My phone! Now that Apple lets me know how much screen time I get each week, it's the most obvious answer. I'm the kind of person that likes to constantly stay connected (and share photos of my dog); without my phone, as Millennial as it sounds, I definitely feel lost.

Social Chair - Ryan Rohlf

Ryan Rohlf

Social Chair

social@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Odebolt, IA

Alma Mater:

Simpson College
Go Storm!

Employer:

Realtor with Keller Williams Greater Des Moines

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

When I'm not helping my clients navigate the buying and selling process, you'll probably find me hanging out with my pooches, Koda and Gribble. During the warmer months, you'll find me hiking or enjoying a crisp and refreshing craft beer.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

I love the accessibility of Des Moines. It's pretty easy to set up a meeting with any of our leaders. Even though were a small city, there is always tons of fun events happening. And my favorite ... You can get anywhere in the city in a matter of 20 minutes!! :D

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

I've been part of YPC since 2014 and have helped with various events. The first projects I was involved with were for the Marketing Committee - I helped design the graphics for the Gala a few years back and helped with some pieces of the Volunteer Fair. Most recently, I've been involved with the Professional Development Committee and helped organize the Mindset workshop. And, of course, you'll find me at nearly all the YPC Happy Hours!

What role has mentorship played in your career?

Mentorship has helped me every step of the way - from helping me get my first full-time job out of college to providing me the push I needed to take the leap into the real estate world. I'm thankful for the amazing people that have given me the opportunity to learn and grow from them.

What is something you would like to see changed in Des Moines?

I'm excited to see the water trails project come to fruition in the coming years. I think this will be a fun summer attraction for our community. One of my biggest wishes for Des Moines is that we can continue to work on public transportation, and I'm hopeful that one day we will have some sort of light rail system in our city. I'm sure this is down the road many years, yet if we can keep growing and expanding our great city I'm sure it could be a possibility.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

Hmm ... Tough question! Honestly, I'd probably have to say my calendar app. As a realtor, it's crucial that I block my day so I can get everything done and still have time for my family and friends. So I guess it's not a super sexy app, yet it's one that keeps me on track!

What are your words to live by?

"You can have everything you want in life, if you just help enough other people get what they want"
         - Zig Ziglar

Diversity and Culture Chair - Greg Lin

Greg Lin

Diversity and Culture Chair

diversity@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Denton, TX

Alma Mater:

University of North Texas

Employer:

Drake University

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

Outside of work, you'll find me grabbing a late night slice at Fong's, moodily gazing at the skyline from the Des Moines Building rooftop, catching a show at Wooly's or the Mews, sipping a martini at the Lift, staring pensively at art at the Moberg, mainlining double espresso at Horizon Line or Mars, bathed in red light at Black Sheep, huffing and puffing on a Bcycle around Gray's Lake, or destroying avocado toast at St. Kilda.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

I have two! I love the general creative vibe that Des Moines has. I tell this story a lot, but when I first came to Des Moines for my interview, the street art and the Sculpture Park convinced me to move to Iowa from Texas. Now that I'm here, I'm always surprised by the amount of art and culture that is just buzzing around you. Even running downtown, you might catch an impromptu concert from a brass band, or stumble upon a pop-up art bodega in the East Side selling Fruit Loops and original art. My other favorite thing is the access that Des Moines offers to its young professionals. This is truly unique and you won't find it anywhere else, or at least I didn't find it back in Texas. Nowhere else could you find yourself accidentally in a DART ad campaign with your face blown up to an alarming size on an elevator door or rubbing shoulders with local and national politicians. As a young person in Des Moines, the barriers and obstacles that separate you from people and positions of power and authority are surprisingly few, and we should all take advantage of our opportunities when they arise.

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

I served on the 2018 YPC Board as Diversity & Culture Chair, helping to plan speakers at committee meetings and reintroduce our Dinner Around Des Moines Series. Before serving on the board, I was heavily involved in many committees and helped to plan the 2017 and 2018 YPC Downtown Scavenger Hunt that engages young professionals with the downtown area in a different way. In addition, I served as a YPC Ambassador, helping to welcome and connect new members to YPC.

What role has mentorship played in your career?

The most important part in anyone's career is when you realize that you don't know anything. A good mentor helps you put all the pieces back together after you've been broken down.

What is something you would like to see changed in Des Moines?

I'd like to see less of a divide between the "professional" and the "creative" factions of Des Moines. And this is even before I talk about the divide between people of color in Des Moines. Sometimes when I talk about YPC with creative people, they laugh when I call them young professionals. It's important that as Des Moines grows that we also allow ourselves to grow and listen to and communicate with people who are different than us.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

Instagram

What are your words to live by?

Stay on your hustle.

Marketing Chair - Karter Smith

Karter Smith

Marketing Chair

marketing@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Detroit Lakes, MN

Alma Mater:

Drake University

Employer:

Bâton Global

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

Performing yoga, playing golf, coaching youth sports, and enjoying the various events and activities in the DSM area.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

The strong desire to make this community a better place. A common thread among individuals and organizations that reside in Central Iowa is a true care they have for this community and its residents. As a newer member of this community, it makes me passionate to do what I can to make positive impact in the place I work and live.

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

I have been been able to support YPC through blog development, planning/coordinating volunteer events, and participating in YPC's One Des Moines.

What role has mentorship played in your career?

I have found mentorship to be a pivotal aspect of my professional development. I am fortunate enough to work for an organization that emphasizes mentorship internally within our organization, and encourages me to seek mentors in the community as well.

What is something you would like to see changed in Des Moines?

Developing a global mindset - the world is a much smaller place than we imagine. There is vast opportunity for individuals and organizations in this community to develop a global mindset and further build intercultural relationships.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

Spotify - I am an avid music listener across genres. I find Spotify to be one of the more intuitive apps I use, and value the ability to access playlists across devices and discover new music on a daily basis.

What are your words to live by?

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable - stepping outside of your comfort zone will provide new and fulfilling experiences.

Membership Chair - Brandon Bock

Brandon Bock

Membership Chair

membership@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Mason City, IA

Alma Mater:

Northwestern University

Employer:

Midwest Heritage Bank

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

I love exploring the city. Des Moines has a great food and craft beer scene as well as shows and festivals. I also go to trivia at various places around town. It is really hard to be bored here. There is always something going on!

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

Des Moines has all the big city amenities, but still feels like a small town. This creates an access to our community leaders. Our leaders really want to hear the voice YPs have in the community, and that isn't something you get in other places.

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

I have been involved as an ambassador in the past, and I served as the 2017 ambassador coordinator. I also attend various committee meetings and events to be an active presence among our membership. Through committees, I have seen the planning and organization it takes to make YPC successful.

What is something you would like to see changed in Des Moines?

I really want to see our transportation networks grow and connect downtown to other areas in the city. I think the city is very aware of this need and is working hard to grow the transit networks. Des Moines has a huge bike plan for downtown which includes removal of one way streets and the addition of more protected bike lanes. I'm excited to see where this plan goes.

What are your words to live by?

“Growth and comfort do not coexist.”
       -Ginni Rometty

Impact Downtown Chair - Matt McGuire

Matt McGuire

Impact Downtown Chair

impactdowntown@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Monmouth, IL

Alma Mater:

Drake University

Employer:

Nyemaster Goode, P.C.

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

Running, podcasts, board games

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

Living downtown!

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

Impact Downtown

What is something you would like to see changed in Des Moines?

Let's get some electric scooters! (Not kidding)

What are your words to live by?

There's no problem that can't be solved after a good nap.

Athletics Coordinator - Mason Sander

Mason Sander

Athletics Coordinator

athletics@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Estherville, IA

Alma Mater:

University of Iowa

Employer:

Denman & Company, LLP

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

I come from a worldly family of hunters and fishermen; thus, I enjoy most outdoor activities. I suppose I have attended numerous heavy metal shows and festivals throughout the Midwest as well. Fitness and overall health appeal to me most, so I constantly work toward both in my free time.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

I lived in smaller towns most of my life, so the general opportunity within the Des Moines area comes to mind. One may pursue any interest desired.

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

The Volunteer Committee held a teacher appreciation event over the course of Spring and Summer 2018, when we obtained a surplus of miscellaneous supplies for King Elementary. For my contribution, I worked with a local dental office for several tubes of toothpaste and cartridges of floss.

What role has mentorship played in your career?

I like to think it plays a significant role! I seek advice from my mentor within Denman as often as practical to help determine what steps I might take to better myself as a career accountant and businessman. I look forward to acting as mentor when the time comes because mentorship definitely adds value in the workplace, no mistaking.

What is something you would like to see changed in Des Moines?

Granted I have only lived in Des Moines for about two years, nothing readily comes to mind. If I had to point to anything specifically, I might poke fun at the Starbucks location on 73rd Street and Buffalo Road. See, I used to think traffic jammed in the morning commute because folks needed to visit the adjacent credit union for some pressing reason. No, I would learn that Starbucks is the clear culprit.

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

I keep a hard copy calendar by my side at all times so that I can continuously revise or consult my busy schedule.

What are your words to live by?

"The cavalry is not coming. We're not going out and picking up any free agents. Nobody is graduating midterm and coming in to help us, so we're just going to keep playing."
          - The Captain himself, Kirk Ferentz

Social Media Coordinator - Ashley Randel

Ashley Randel

Social Media Coordinator

socialmedia@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Johnston, IA

Alma Mater:

University of Notre Dame
Mendoza College of Business

Employer:

Customer Experience Consultants (CEC)

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

Spending time with the Fam! Playing board games, art projects, family movie night... you know the fun "mom/wife" stuff! I also really enjoy Traveling, Journaling, and.... organizing literally anything!

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

This is pretty cliché but I love how nice the people are! There are so many opportunities and people are always willing to step in and help in any way that they can! It's kind of joke within my family but we can't forget to mention the chip dip! Anderson Erickson hit the nail on the head with that one!

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

I am new to YPC and the board so jumping in feet first and really looking forward to the personal development as well as the value I can bring to the Social Media management!

What role has mentorship played in your career?

Mentorship is something I speak very highly of. The motivation, guidance/advice and support is crucial to self development. I have learned so much from the many mentors that are in my network but I also have learned just as much mentoring others.

What is something you would like to see changed in Des Moines?

There are a lot of hidden gems within Des Moines. I think sharing these gems will help people in DSM want to support the local/small businesses which will help grow our community support!

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

The app I use the most by far is Audiobooks, only because I listen to self development books in the background while working. The one I rely on the most is likely facebook because it houses my events, photos, and keeps me up to date with what's going on with family and friends!

What are your words to live by?

When you replace "Why is this happening to me?" with "What is this trying to teach me?", everything shifts!

Webmaster - Jared Lanning

Jared Lanning

Webmaster

webmaster@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Valders, WI

Alma Mater:

University of Wisconsin - Platteville

Employer:

Farm Bureau Financial Services

What are your passions outside of work? When you're not at work, what will we find you doing?

I enjoy following the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers. I like to travel, play video games, and a good trivia night.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

The Iowa State Fair

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

2018 Webmaster - Online Board Applications, Ambassador, Des Moines Arts Festival; Sips, Samples, Sights

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

My cellphone

What are your words to live by?

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
       -Ferris Bueller