I think the above quote by Forbes on diversity is a great way to describe what the term diversity means to us as a chamber. Our true mission, like many chamber organizations, is to enhance the economic health of our members and the city which we live. Nationally, Des Moines, Iowa is not known as the most diverse city. However, within Des Moines, the East and South side of Des Moines, the areas which we represent, are incredibly diverse economically and racially. Our goal for the next few years is to increase the diversity in our chamber, both in our leadership and our members. Like the Greater Des Moines Partnership's vision to drive economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region, we strive to welcome and increase our diversity. However, we know it is also vital to stay unified in our mission and vision. How does a chamber create opportunities and programs for a diverse group of people, yet not spread themselves too thin and stay aligned? I think it will be a challenge at first, but we feel thankful to have resources like the Partnership and other chambers to look to for guidance if needed.
Our chamber also has a history that is rooted in the balance of diversity and once voice. We are a blended group of two chambers that formally joined forces in January 2013 after the East and South Des Moines Chambers were both sharing resources and efforts for about two years. Since then our programming, leadership, and members have matured as we navigated the waters together. This year, we decided that to truly serve this area of Des Moines, we needed to increase the diversity of our leadership to more accurately reflect the vibrant Latino population in Des Moines. We are thrilled to have started a new membership arm of our chamber to better reach this community. Empresarios, which means entrepreneur in Spanish, is a new group within our chamber led by local Latino business leaders. Members will need to join the Des Moines East and South Chamber, but then can work with fellow Latino businesses to share best practices and learnings core to their culture, yet also help the rest of the chamber members learn and grow from this new partnership.
We are truly passionate about fostering and growing the diversity of our group, while all coming together, despite our differences, and in collaboration of our strengths, and make Des Moines the amazing city we know it can be. I also know that to do this, we won't only be working together within our chamber, but with the other proud chambers in the area. There is absolutely strength in numbers.
While I opened this article with a quote by Malcom Forbes, I would also like to close it with a few statistics provided by his own Forbes Magazine which named Des Moines the #2 Best City for Jobs in 2015, the #1 Best City for Young Professionals in 2014, and the #6 Best City for Raising a Family in 2014.
We hope with the increased focus of the strengths our city's diversity, and the leadership of the Greater Des Moines Patnership, that we can soon get a top ranking for diversity too!