DEI Workplace Excellence Awards Logo

The 2023 DEI Awards was held on September 7 from 4:30 – 8:00 PM.
Stay tuned to our social media pages for photos and videos recapping the evening!

As companies and individuals start or continue their DEI journey, this program’s goals are to help amplify businesses and people doing meaningful work for others. The purpose is to learn from and to also elevate those who have created inclusive work environments through their workforce, supplier diversity programs, employee development initiatives, and more.

The inaugural Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Workplace Excellence Awards was a community-fueled event first held in 2021. Check out the highlight video from our 2022 event. With a room full of over 300 people from all walks of life celebrating the importance of DEI, we celebrated the work that’s been done and recognize the importance of continued progress. 

This annual event not only celebrates businesses and individuals who champion DEI, but it also inspires others to expand their own initiatives. This is all about action and impact. With over 80 applications in the first two years, we can’t wait to see that increase in the future as we learn from each other and put in the work. 

Several award categories are presented, and workplaces are highly encouraged to apply. From hiring practices to supplier diversity programs, how is your company paving the way for others to follow? 

11 Award Categories

Small Business: 1-49 Employees
Medium Business: 50-249 Employees
Large Business: 250+ Employees
Education Sector
DEI Leader of the Year: age 40+
DEI Emerging Leader of the Year: 39 & under
DEI Student Leader of the Year
DEI Ally of the Year
Best Inclusion Initiative

2023 Award Recipients

DEI Student Leader of the Year: Ayanari Morales-Rodriguez, Valley High School Student

DEI Emerging Leader of the Year: Jackie Minsoe, Hoover High School Boys Soccer Program

DEI Leader of the Year: Kate Hightshoe-Lambert, QCR Holdings, Inc.

Small Business: Knight Moves

DEI Ally of the Year: Adrianne Towe, Waukee Community Schools Foundation

Large Business (250 and above): Bankers Trust

Nonprofit: Iowa Safe Schools

Education: Youth Justice Initiative

Medium Business (50 – 249 employees): Merchants Bonding Company

Best Inclusion Initiative: Spark DSM Minority Business Incubator, Greater Des Moines Partnership  

DEI Awards Donations

One way we further the impact of this program is through a local donation. A portion of the sponsorship proceeds is donated to a nonprofit who supports social injustice, selected by the WDM Chamber DEI Committee.

Previous donation recipients include Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, CultureALL, and the Latina Leadership Initiative. The selected Nonprofit Donation Receipient for the 2023 DEI Awards was Can Play, who received a check for $4,800! 

DEI Awards Scholarships

Additionally, there are two scholarships granted each year thanks to Minority Leader Scholarship Sponsor, IMT Insurance. One $1,700 scholarship is given to the Student Leader Award Recipient to support their future education. The other $1,700 scholarship is provided in the form of a full-ride scholarship for the WDM Leadership Academy to the Nonprofit Award Recipient.

Past DEI Award Photos

Photos from 2023, courtesy of Christopher Maharry.







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View latest DEI Workplace Excellence Awards press release here

Show Support for DEI

Want to show your support of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by sponsoring these Workplace Excellence Awards? Contact Kara Matheson, VP of Workforce Development & Culture.  

Our vision is to make West Des Moines the best suburban city in America to live, work and play—for everyone. Now is the time to show pride in our vibrant, diverse community. We look forward to you being involved in the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Workplace Excellence Awards. 


Interested in being a nonprofit partner? Register here. Contact Meredith Murphy with any questions.

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