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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 five-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

  • The application period for the 2023 program is now closed.
  • Applications for the 2024 program will open in October 2023.
  • Do you know someone who would benefit from this program? Submit their name and we will invite them to apply!
  • Tuition is $400. 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 2023 Session Dates

  • January 17, 2023, Kick-off, Session 1, 12:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • January 31, 2023, Session 2, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • February 21, 2023, Session 3, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • March 7, 2023, Session 4, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • March 28, 2023, Session 5, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

*all sessions are planning to be held in person.

Small Group
Meeting Dates

  • February 7, 2023, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
  • February 28, 2023, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
  • March 21, 2023, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

*all small group meetings are planned to be held virtually.

2023 Mentors

  • Nancy Betz, Retired, Federal Home Loan Bank
  • Blake Campbell, Best Buddies International
  • Chris Coleman, Better Business Bureau
  • Shawn Culver, Bankers Trust
  • Brianne Fitzgerald, Alzheimer's Association Iowa Chapter
  • Traci Galligan, NCMIC
  • Tim Hickman, Substance Architecture
  • Nalo Johnson, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation
  • Natali Justiniano Pahl, Retired
  • Tony Kioko, John Deere
  • Nader Nasseh, QCR Holdings, Inc.
  • Cameron Nicholson, YMCA of Greater Des Moines
  • San Wong, Iowa Department of Human Rights
  • Daniel Zinnel, Proteus

Community Connect Class of 2023

  • Jonathan Baudler, UnityPoint Health
  • Carrie Blackburn, Tidy Butterfly, LLC
  • Kayla Chapman, Randstad Technologies
  • Elizabeth Corbett, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
  • Betsy De Glopper, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
  • Lisa Dwight, Bankers Trust
  • Rick Eftink, Grand View University
  • Levi Fink, Finkspace
  • Matthew Gaul, BBS Architects | Engineers
  • Lauren Gray, ISG
  • Dakoda Hall, Des Moines Area Regional Transit
  • Emilee Harris-Puricelli, City of Des Moines
  • Ngozi Igbokwe, Bright Horizons
  • Ameenah Jones, RE/MAX Concepts
  • Amy Madyun, Iowa Donor Network
  • Cristy Magill, EMC Insurance Companies
  • Nicholas Miller, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
  • Kristen Mott, Private Wealth Asset Management
  • Colin Muehleisen, Blank Park Zoo
  • Katie Petermeier, EMC Insurance Companies
  • Jack Plagge, City State Bank
  • Brandon Pollard, IMPACT Community Action Partnership
  • Austin Pueschel, Athene
  • KC Routos, Animal Rescue League of Iowa
  • Brooke Thielking, United Healthcare/ Optum
  • Katie Vandal, ISG
  • Bryce Verlinden, Community Choice Credit Union
  • Sonja Watson, SYW Creations
  • Laura Wiersema, Iowa State University Foundation
  • Heidi Willis, INVISION Architecture
  • Natalie Wingert-Lampman, Holmes Murphy & Associates

Thank you to our generous sponsor of the 2023 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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