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Board of Directors

The YPC Board is made up of 19 board members that are elected annually. To contact any member of our board, click the link below.

President - Dannie Patrick

Dannie Patrick

President

President@ypcdsm.com

Hometown:

Kansas City, MO

Alma Mater:

Missouri State University

Employer:

Principal Financial Group

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

Trying different foods, watching documentaries, enjoying new things around town 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

The ability to make an impact in my community 

What role has mentorship played in your career? 

Having mentors has given me the opportunity to advance my career and build a great network

What are your words to live by?

"There's got to be a voice deep within you that is untouched by definitions. And it is there that you become divinely who you are." - Viola Davis 

President-Elect - Cecily Robinson

Cecily Robinson

President-Elect

PresidentElect@ypcdsm.com

Hometown:

Marion, Iowa

Alma Mater:

The University of Iowa

Employer:

Easterseals Iowa

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

My favorite activity is trying new restaurants and food. I also love attending events around the metro area, starting (and something finishing) craft projects, going on walks around the trail system, and continuing to learn new things. 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

Des Moines has so many opportunities! My favorite events are the many festivals and farmer's markets where there is an opportunity to learn about and support local businesses. 

What role has mentorship played in your career? 

Mentorship has been so important in my career. I have had mentors who have been able to guide me in professional development, deepen my understanding, and become confident in my decision-making. 

What app or technology do you rely on every day? 

I would be lost without my calendar and GPS! 

Past President - Ngozi Igbokwe

Ngozi Igboke

Past President

pastpresident@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Des Moines, IA

Alma Mater:

Iowa State University

Employer:

Bright Horizons

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

Outside of work I enjoy visiting local restaurants with friends, hanging out with family, and being involved in the community. 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

My favorite thing about Des Moines is the spring and summer, that's when we have a lot of festivals, concerts, the Iowa State fair, and the farmers market. It makes me feel like I'm in a big city. 

What role has mentorship played in your career?

Mentorship has played a huge role in my career. I attribute some of my success to great mentors. My mentors helped me to uncover what my passion was, guide me, and encourage me. 

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

I would like to see more people of color in the c-suite 

What app or technology do you rely on every day?

Definitely my cell phone. I rely on my cell phone because it's how I stay connected to the outside world. I can call people, text, surf the web, and all kinds of things. 

What are your words to live by?

Everything happens for a reason. 

Secretary and Treasurer - Reily Smidt

Reily Smidt

Secretary and Treasurer

treasurer@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

West Des Moines, IA

Alma Mater:

Iowa State University

Employer:

Principal Financial Group

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

Outside of work I enjoy traveling, spending time with family and friends, trying new restaurants, and playing golf. 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

My favorite things about Des Moines is the people. Each day I am inspired by the friendly and talented people I meet. 

What projects have you been involved with in YPC? 

Since joining YPC in January of 2023, I have participated in the YPC Kick-Off Party, joint events with other YP groups, and numerous professional development and social events. 

What role has mentorship played in your career? 

Mentorship has played an instrumental role in my career. There are a number of local business leaders who have been generous in sharing their time and expertise. 

What are your words to live by? 

"The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Abraham Lincoln

Community Engagement Director - Devin Erin Sweeney

Devin Erin Sweeney

Community Engagement Director

commengage@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Maplewood, MN

Alma Mater:

Baldwin Wallace University

Employer:

Iowa State University

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

Spending time with friends and family, kayaking with my dog Toffee, exploring new restaurants and breweries, and getting comfy on my porch swing with a good book and cup of coffee.

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

My favorite thing about Des Moines is the atmosphere; the city has a relaxed community feel with all the amenities for a big city. You can see a touring Broadway show, check out a baseball game, go hunting, kayak on the river, all in the same week, within 20 miles of the city center – what more could you ask for!

What role has mentorship played in your career?

Mentorship is really helpful I'm learning from someone else's experience and expertise.

What are your words to live by?

Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.

Community Engagement Director - Kayli Becker

Kayli Becker

Community Engagement Director

commengage@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Morrison, IL

Alma Mater:

Northern Illinois University (B.S.)

St. Ambrose University (M.B.A.) 

Employer:

American Heart Association

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

You can find me on a walk with my goldendoodle, Theo, listening to a podcast! I also love being with friends, networking, and sitting on a patio!

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

I love Des Moines for so many different reasons, but my favorite thing is that the metro is so connected. Everyone knows and will help their neighbor in a heartbeat! 

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

I'd love to see young professionals get connected to our community. There are so many worthy causes in Des Moines that need to be highlighted and connecting our young professionals to them will get them involved and hopefully spark passion and change. 

What are your words to live by?

"Put good into the world and good will come back to you" is what I live by in my daily work and personal life. 

Professional Development Chair - Jazlin Coley

Jazlin Coley

Professional Development Chair

prodevelopment@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Chicago, IL

Alma Mater:

Drake University

Employer:

Drake University

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

I am a small business owner of Made With Love, CC (Crafts and Cravings) LLC. Most of my time with MWL is spent baking and making decorations for birthdays, bridal showers, and other celebrations. 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

My favorite thing about DSM is the historic homes and the small businesses! 

What role has mentorship played in your career?

My mentor was instrumental in making sure that I was well connected in the DSM area by advocating for personal and professional opportunities on my behalf! 

What are your words to live by?

Treat people the way you want to be treated! 

Professional Development Chair - Eric Schultz


Eric Schultz

Professional Development Chair

prodevelopment@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Urbandale, IA

Alma Mater:

Iowa State University

Employer:

Viacore Solutions, LLC

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

I try to cook healthy meals every night. Fish twice a week has been shown to greatly improve cognitive functions (source: UCLA Health). Sardines are rumored to be better (source: WebMD), but I cannot bring myself to eat them! 

You can typically find me on the golf course. It is rumored, though disputed, that Iowa has more golf courses per capita than any other state in the USA. This may be proven wrong, but I will not dispute the opinion that Iowa has the best courses to play! 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

Ever since my family left for Tennessee when I was 5 years old, I made it my life's goal to one day return to Des Moines. I achieved that goal after graduating from Bolton High School and accepting a Cross Country/Track scholarship to Grand View University, where I studied for two years before finishing out my schooling at Iowa State University. 

I always thought both my sister and I were insane for wanting to return to what our southern friends often referred to as "fly-over country in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do" until a recent Forbes article proclaimed the Des Moines area as the #1 place for young professionals. This verified that our decision to return was, in fact, the correct choice and that we knew there was something special about this place. With so much to do in Des Moines, you literally have to actively try not to have anything to do! 

What role has mentorship played in your career?

In 2015, I participated in the Master of Community Leadership program, put on by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. This program inspired me to take on numerous roles throughout my career. As a result, I chose to make it my YPC mission to pay it forward and volunteer as a mentor to the next generation of young professionals. 

What are your words to live by? 

Be better than the best version of yourself. 

Volunteer Chair - Haley Meissen

Haley Meissen

Volunteer Chair

volunteer@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Wien, MO

Alma Mater:

Truman State University

Employer:

Turnberry Solutions

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

When not at work, I love spending time with friends and family. Whether it's a coffee chat, board game night, or simply taking a walk, I am passionate about good conversation and the value of time together! I am also very involved with my church and a couple of other organizations in the greater Des Moines area. 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

Des Moines is the perfect size city - its large enough that there is always something happening and to do, yet small enough the community is tight-knit and supportive. It is easy to meet someone in Des Moines who has an unexpected mutual connection to you! 

What role has mentorship played in your career?

In college, my mentor helped me find what excited me in a career and encouraged me to take risks in accepting my first job (like moving to a city where I knew ONE person!). From there, my first work mentor helped me understand the value I can contribute and when to speak up. Mentors have helped shape my career and push me to strive for continual improvement! 

What are your words to live by?

"Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch." 

Diversity and Culture Chair - OPEN

 

Open

Diversity and Culture Chair

diversity@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

 

Alma Mater:

 

Employer:

 

 

Civic Chair - Jefferson Fink

Jefferson Fink

Civic Chair

civic@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Carlisle, Iowa

Alma Mater:

Iowa State, (BS, MA) 

Drake University Law School

Employer:

Law Office of Jefferson Fink

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

Working at my other job, cooking or cleaning, then falling asleep on my couch

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

All the festivals and being able to get anywhere in about 20 min

What projects have you been involved with in YPC? 

Civics & Ambassadors 

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

Continue improvements to our infrastructure and seeing the communities grow together 

What are your words to live by?

Always have a good sharp chef's knife and a heavy-duty pan! 

Social Chair - Sam Plank

Sam Plank

Social Chair

social@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Urbandale, Iowa

Alma Mater:

University of Northern Iowa

Employer:

Grand View University

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

I am a big reader, especially of recent literary fiction, classics, and political theory. My reading pairs well with my love of coffee — so you’ll often find me around the many excellent Des Moines area coffee spots! I’ve been trying my hand at writing for my own enjoyment recently, and I’ve found it incredibly satisfying. Finally, I watch as much soccer as I can, which often leads me out to bars and restaurants at all sorts of odd hours of the morning and night

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

For me, it’s home. I never feel as though I’ve “outgrown” the place because of its versatility. Des Moines is – as I never tire of saying – a big small town or a small big town, depending on where you are coming from. When I need small town coziness, Des Moines is there. When I need big town excitement, Des Moines is there.

What are your words to live by?

From the end of my favorite movie It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Clarence the angel writes on the inside cover of a Bible for George Bailey: “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”

Marketing Chair - Samuel Malkasian

Samuel Malkasian

Marketing Chair

marketing@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Sequim, WA

Alma Mater:

Faith Baptist Bible College

Employer:

Des Moines Marketing Studio

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

About two years ago, I discovered rock climbing and honestly fell in love with it. I started learning everything I could and, shortly after, started coaching. I love seeing our talent here in Des Moines and how some of these kids at eight years old are outclimbing some with decades of experience. You will always be able to find me at the gym in Grimes! 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

Des Moines is unique because I feel like we have so much hidden talent. Between meeting some REALLY talented rock climbers to the artists and designers making some fantastic contributions to the creative world, Des Moines is rich with talent. I am excited to see what the future of Des Moines holds as we continue growing and creating more ways for people to express themselves. 

What app or technology do you rely on every day? 

At my core, I'm a creative fueled by the insatiable desire to make things. Whether I'm animating, sketching, shooting videos, or writing, I could not do it without my MacBook or iPad Pro. 

What are your words to live by?

"Creativity is not just for artists. It's for business people looking for a new ay to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way." - Twyla Tharp

Membership Chair - Chase Henry

Chase Henry

Membership Chair

membership@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Ellston, IA

Alma Mater:

Simpson College

Employer:

Innovative Captive Strategies/Holmes Murphy

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

I love getting a workout in through different athletics such as volleyball, pickleball, basketball, tennis, biking, swimming, etc. Also, I am a huge fun of personal finance and professional development podcasts! 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

The endless activities and events to do! I enjoy walking and biking to the Farmer's market, concerts and festivals, or different bars and restaurants around Greater DSM. 

What projects have you been involved with in YPC?

Improving our membership experience through surveys, unique events, and rebuilding the Ambassador Program. 

What role has mentorship played in your career? 

Mentorship has played a huge part in my career and personal/professional development. Having someone with a relationship of mutual understanding and trust is important in my eyes and allows for open conversations, constant feedback and overall improvement. My mentors have allowed me to increase my knowledge in specific subjects and fields, but also increased my self awareness and different viewpoints about myself and life in general. I hope to give back to younger individuals soon and make even the smallest impact on their personal and professional journey as so many have done for me. 

What app or technology do you rely on every day? 

Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook 

Impact Downtown Chair - Lily Allen-Dueñas

Lily Allen-Dueñas

Impact Downtown Chair

impactdowntown@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Santa Rosa, CA

Alma Mater:

University of Iowa

Employer:

Wild Yoga Tribe

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

When I'm not working, you'll find me practicing yoga, cooking plant-based meals, going to concerts, and adventuring abroad! 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

Love all the incredible patios in Des Moines! In awe of Des Moines Art Center. And you'll find me jamming out at shows at xBk. 

What projects have you been involved with in YPC? 

I'm involved with our signature event Sips, Samples, Sights and other various other events collaborating with Des Moines Businesses. 

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

I would love to see more initiatives to take care of the people who are currently unhoused. 

What are your words to live by? 

Seek first to understand. 

 

Athletics Coordinator - OPEN

 

 

Athletics Coordinator

athletics@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

 

Alma Mater:

 

 

Employer:

 

 


Social Media Coordinator - Alexis Hernandez

 

Alexis Hernandez

Social Media Coordinator

socialmedia@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Norwalk, IA 

Alma Mater:

Iowa State University 

Employer:

Immanuel Senior Living Communities 

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

Outside of working with Seniors, you can find me taking photos with DNA Illustrated Photography, training for a marathon, relaxing in yoga, or enjoying a good cup of coffee or wine (depending on the time of day). 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines? 

I love the fact that Des Moines is really just a big small town. Generally speaking, everyone knows each other or has a mutual connection. 

What projects have you been involved with in YPC? 

I first came to learn about YPC when being hired to photograph the 2022 Gala and have since enjoyed being on the board, photographing various events and socials. 

What role has mentorship played in your career? 

Mentorship is key in becoming a successful professional, regardless of your field. It's important to be coachable and eager to not only learn from your mistakes, but even more crucial to learn from the experiences of others. 

What app or technology do you rely on every day? 

Phone and computer, social media, and email

 

Social Media Coordinator - McKenzie Kerry

 

McKenzie Kerry

Social Media Coordinator

socialmedia@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Charlotte, NC

Alma Mater:

University of North Carolina Charlotte

Employer:

Principal Financial Group

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

Cooking yummy vegan dishes, walking all over town with my puppy, listening to podcasts and TED Talks, reading (fiction is my favorite), volunteering in the community

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines? 

I love how accessible opportunities are in Des Moines, as opposed to larger cities. Whatever you're interested in - community involvement, performing arts, small business ownership, etc. - there are resources and communities available to support you. 

What role have mentoring played in your career? 

My first formal mentor played a tremendous role in helping me understand the ins and outs of corporate America and how to balance work and ambition with self-care and rest. She's seen me from middle school through post-college and continues to support me and advise me as she experiences new chapters of herself. 

What are your words to live by? 

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." - Henry Ford

Webmaster - Taylor Petersen

Taylor Petersen

Webmaster

webmaster@ypcDSM.com

Hometown:

Cedar Rapids, IA

Alma Mater:

University of Northern Iowa

Employer:

EMC Insurance

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

Music is a big part of my life and I often spend my free time playing or listening. Additionally, you might find me plant shop hopping or tending to my house plants! 

What is your favorite thing about Des Moines?

The diverse communities that reside here are incredible. The people you'll meet in Des Moines are so special and are the reason it is a great place to grow and develop. 

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

I'd love to see DSM continue to diversify. Whether it is our schools, businesses, or institutions, I think growing our cultural and social diversity will take Des Moines to a new level. 

What are your words to live by?

Where there is a will, there is a way!