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Community Connect

People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their overall purpose in life. -John C. Maxwell

Greater DSM thrives when purpose meets service. Community Connect inspires and teaches participants that leveraging their purpose improves their lives and our community. The program has two key objectives:

  • To provide a curriculum that helps participants uncover and leverage their personal values and purpose, leading to goal setting for intentional engagement in the community.
  • To connect participants with experienced community leaders, so they may learn and benefit from the mentors' wisdom and networks.
The six-session program, facilitated by Dr. Christi Hegstad and program alumni, offers a dynamic learning environment and ensures interaction with each mentor as well as other program participants. Between sessions, participants meet in small groups to build relationships and to support momentum toward goals.

Application, Timeline, and Cost

  • Applications for the 2024 program are now closed.
  • Do you know someone who would benefit from this program? Submit their name and we will invite them to apply when application open for 2025!
  • Tuition is $450. Partial and full scholarships are available. Requests may be made upon acceptance into the program.


  • Attendance at all sessions is required for graduation of the program. Up to one absence will be allowed if an appeal is approved by the program leaders.
  • Active participation is expected in each session. This may include coming prepared to discuss short assignments or sharing personal experiences.
  • Creating and expecting a foundation of trust, which includes confidentiality of conversations and information that is shared.

Community Connect 2024 Session Dates

  • January 16, 2024, Kick-off, Session 1, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
  • January 30, 2024, Mentor Mixer, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • February 6, 2024, Session 2, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • February 20, 2024, Session 3, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • March 5, 2024, Session 4, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • March 26, 2024, Session 5, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • September 24, 2024, 6-Month Reconnection, 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.

Small Group
Meeting Dates

  • February 13, 2024, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
  • February 27, 2024, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
  • March 19, 2024, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

*all small group meetings are planned to be held virtually, but groups are given the option to meet in person.

2024 Mentors

  • Anne Bacon, IMPACT Community Action Partnership
  • Dr. Joy Bolar, Corteva Agriscience
  • Carole Chambers, Dress for Success
  • Shawn Culver, Bankers Trust
  • Brianne Fitzgerald, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
  • Tim Hickman, Substance Architecture
  • Dr. Nalo Johnson, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation
  • Natali Justiniano Pahl, Retired
  • Tony Kioko, John Deere
  • Jana Rieker, Amplimark
  • Mak Suceska, Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services
  • Matt Unger, DMARC
  • San Wong, Iowa Department of Human Rights
  • Dr. Daniel Zinnel, Proteus

Community Connect Class of 2024

  • Madi Bellile, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa
  • Kelli Brix, Vision Financial Group
  • Sarah Cahill, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
  • Allie Campbell, United Way of Central Iowa
  • Amina Cannie-Hall, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa
  • Kurt Chicoine, Ryan Companies
  • Tonja Clark, Homesteaders Life
  • Taylor Digmann, Big Grove Brewery
  • Dallas Downey, DSMIG
  • Juliana Dreyer, EMC Insurance Companies
  • Logan Etie, Copy Systems
  • Chelsy Foy, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
  • Misty Gleason, Athene
  • Erin Grillot, Dotdash Meredith
  • Michael Kern, KPMG
  • Katie Kisling, Vision Financial Group
  • Sarah Lacey, Streamline Tech
  • Krista Lindholm, Paychex
  • Samuel Malkasan, Des Moines Marketing Studio
  • Victoria McQuerry, Perspective Consulting Partners
  • Mandy Miller, Holmes Murphy
  • Lauren Mueller, Gilbert & Cook
  • Mady Nachtman, Drake University
  • Liz Nelson Percheron, EMC Insurance Companies
  • Emily Parker, Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity
  • Edgar Ramirez, Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services
  • Nick Reuter, Community State Bank
  • Neil Rosenberg, Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services
  • Emma Runde, Food Bank of Iowa
  • Whittney Schmidt, Hubbell Realty Company
  • Andrea Stacy, Des Moines University
  • Samantha Turnbull, The Weitz Company
  • Vanessa Valigosky, The Weitz Company, Mission Critical
  • Nate Weitl, Bolton & Menk
  • Tiffany Wolfe, Farm Bureau Financial Services

Thank you to our generous sponsor of the 2024 Community Connect Program:

About Dr. Christi Hegstad

Program Facilitator

Dr. Christi Hegstad

The Community Connect Program is facilitated by Christi Hegstad, PhD, PCC. Christi coaches achievers to reach Bold Goals, make a positive difference, and lead a life of meaning and purpose! Since 2003 Christi's firm, MAP Professional Development Inc., has coached leaders across the globe to achieve extraordinary success while focusing on their values, contribution, and positive, purposeful impact. Christi is a Forbes Coaches Council member, NAWBO Iowa Business Owner of the Year winner, Forty Under 40 recipient, and past president of the International Coach Federation - Iowa Chapter. In addition, her work has been published in a variety of books and resources including Forbes, Huffington Post, and Handbook of Improving Performance in the Workplace (Pfeiffer). Christi is also a book addict, literacy advocate, and mom to three amazing children.

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