Skip to content

Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute

The Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute prepares leaders from across Central Iowa to be effective stewards for our community's future. The nine-month curriculum offers a view of Greater Des Moines from different vantage points, heightens participant awareness of current community conditions and issues, enhances individual and group leadership skills, and helps class members see themselves as partners for change.

Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute Class of 2024

  • Owen Ballard, Camp Fire Heart of Iowa
  • Danielle Bartlett, IMEG
  • Kayli Becker, Des Moines Public Schools
  • Jordan Bles, Des Moines Playhouse
  • Jill Boetger, Ryan Companies
  • Reilly Cady, LifeServe Blood Center
  • Paloma Chapman, RDG Planning & Design
  • Nick Coleman, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals
  • Liz Cooney, F&G Annuities & Life
  • Jen Damge, YMCA of Greater Des Moines
  • Stephanie Dose, Bankers Trust
  • Morgan Dredge, Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO)
  • Nathan Drew, Drew Realty
  • Justin Ernst, Bolton & Menk, Inc.
  • Elizabeth Etchells, Dentons Davis Brown PC
  • Erin Feilmeier, UnityPoint Health
  • Matthew Gaul, BBS Architects | Engineers
  • Ryan Goetzinger, NCP, Inc.
  • Chelsey Heick, Coca-Cola
  • Kathy Hellstern, Share This Media, Inc.
  • Austin Herndon, DLR Group
  • Ngozi Igbokwe, Bright Horizons
  • Khalid Khan, Neumann Monson Architects
  • Ryan Kowlessar, Kwik Trip, Inc.
  • Katie Lensch, Community State Bank
  • Chris Lightfoot, Flynn Wright
  • Krista McCalley, ThoughtSuite, Inc.
  • Morgan Miller, Iowa State Education Association
  • Erin Osier, Holmes Murphy
  • Floyd Perrine, EMC Insurance Company
  • Gladys Petersen, ISG
  • Linda Phillips, Des Moines Public Schools
  • Kelsie Pinegar, Families Forward
  • Megan Pudenz, Turner Construction Company
  • Kevin Shires, D.M. Kelly & Company
  • Calan Smidt, Strategic America
  • Shannon Sobek, Principal Asset Management
  • Katy Urbain, FRB Chicago
  • Danielle Williams, SVPA Architects Inc.
  • Kasi Zieminski, The Stelter Company

Nomination and Application Schedule

  • All Year: Nominations are accepted for the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute all year. Nominations for the Class of 2025 have closed. Individuals who are recommended via the form will be contacted next year for the Class of 2026. Recommend someone now!
  • Mid-March - April: Invitations to apply extended (all who are nominated are invited to apply).
  • June: Class selection and invitations to participate in the class extended.
  • August - May: Program takes place. 

Participants and Selection

Each year, leaders from private, public and non-profit sectors of the community are selected to participate in this transformational program. Ideal candidates have demonstrated some level of community leadership experience and are committed to community engagement.

All nominated candidates will be invited to apply. When completing the application, careful, thorough responses are encouraged in order to ensure the Selection Committee has enough information to judge fit for the program and dedication to community leadership development. The long-standing Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute is highly competitive and many candidates apply more than once.


The curriculum includes leadership development training and exposure to community issues through experiential learning, expert presentations, and class discussions. The three pillars of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute include:

Participant Expectations

Active class member participation ensures a rich experience for the individual as well as for the entire cohort. For that reason, participants are held to a strict attendance policy. A program schedule will be provided to those who are nominated for the program, so they may ensure they are able to participate. To receive the most benefit from the class experience and to fully complete program expectations, participants should expect a significant time commitment over the nine-month program. Class members will participate in*:

  • 10 partial-day classes (6.5 hours) held every three weeks.
  • 1 evening orientation, 1 two-day opening retreat, 1 two-day capstone experience, 1 full-day commencement.
  • Prework between sessions.
  • Periodic small group meetings that take place outside of sessions.
  • Periodic optional tours that take place outside of sessions.
  • Capstone work occurs in March and includes meetings outside of regular sessions. This time may be significant, so please consider that before applying.

*Subject to change.


The cost to participate in the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute is $3,250*. It is important that cost not be a barrier to any qualified candidate's participation. Those accepted into the program will have an opportunity to apply for financial assistance, including full and partial scholarships.

*Subject to change.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute



The Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute is generously supported by:

Scroll To Top