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Session Dates

The West Des Moines Leadership Academy is a unique nine-month program designed to help develop leaders in our community. This interactive program will combine hands-on training, panel discussions, site visits, and speaker presentations to engage leaders in our community, and create a greater awareness and understanding of our leadership needs in the years to come. The WDMLA program will focus on developing active leaders in the areas of city government, education, business development, civic and community involvement, non-profits and charities. 

2018 - 2019  Session Dates

Orientation - Tuesday, August 28, 2018

2:30-6:00 pm, Sheraton West Des Moines

September 5, 2018

Leading Teams

7:30 AM – 4:00 PM  Building Teams Through Civic Leadership Course

Place: Iowa Army National Guard, Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center.

Dress Code:Athletic wear. Walking shoes.  Weather appropriate.  This event goes on, rain or


Through hands-on marksmanship training during a Weapons simulation, a Convoy simulation where participants huddle to protect the convoy from insurgents and a military medical training simulation among others, the Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center helps groups accomplish teambuilding and leadership development. The Center provides an opportunity to learn while having fun working together. Attendees will use simulated challenges to learn more about building trust, improving communication, decision-making, and problem-solving and better leadership through teamwork results. 

October 25, 2018

Leading Self & Others

8:00 AM-4:30PM  Leadership: Creating a Culture of Excellence

Place: Edgewater Senior Living Community, 9225 Cascade Ave, West Des Moines. West of Athene off of Mills Civic Parkway  

Dress Code:Business Casual

This interactive morning session will focus on how leaders shape a culture of excellence using research-based strategies that The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University is utilizing to positively shape culture with higher education, workplace and public service organizations across the country. Strategies include relationship building, character competencies necessary for excellence, developing mindset & habits along with accountability to support the goal achievement process. 

The morning session will be lead by Scott Raecker, former Iowa Legislator and leader of the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University.

LUNCH & OCTOBER TIME TO SHINE FEATURING:  Eric Bohnenkamp, Blake Bonnicksen, Tim Bratvold, Ashley Charnetski, Monica Converse

Speak Your Way to Success!

In a business climate where individuals are over-loaded with information, it is no longer enough to simply communicate information. Your ultimate success depends on your ability to speak confidently and persuasively. Tero International’s “How To Speak Your Way To Success” helps participants build skills to enhance presentation competency while gaining more audience acceptance for ideas. This afternoon session is led by Carlos Alvarez from Tero International.

November 15, 2018

Leading In the Community

8:30 AM-4:30 AM  Servant Leadership: Focusing on the growth and well-being of our community.

Dress Code:  Business Casual

Place: Morning session (8:30 – 11:30) will be held at WestDes Moines Department of Human

Services, 139 6th Street, WDM.

West Des Moines Human Services has been assisting low-income, elderly, and disabled residents since 1979. It aids more than 1,600 households in West Des Moines and surrounding western suburbs.  DHS offers emergency assistance for rent and utilities, transportation, handyman services, youth recreational assistance, clothing and food assistance in addition to many other programs for those struggling with poverty.

12:30 – 4:30 Poverty Simulation West Des Moines Christian Church, 4200 Mills Civic Parkway, WDM.

We cross paths every day with people who live in poverty.  For some, the wear and tear is obvious.  For others, it is a silent struggle.  In this program, Academy class members will discover what it would be like to walk in their shoes.  A soup kitchen meal is served as part of the poverty experience.

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT:  All class members are asked to bring at least one colleague, friend, spouse or co-worker with them to participate in the afternoon simulation.  Believe us, your guest will thank you for including them in this eye-opening, experiential event.

NOVEMBER TIME TO SHINE FEATURING: Raul Cunarro, Mallory Downs, Adora Ellis, Natalie French, Sara Gallagher

December 13, 2018

Leading Self


Dress Code:Business Casual

Place:Glen Oaks Country Club, 1401 Glen Oaks Drive, WDM

DECEMBER TIME TO SHINE FEATURING: Kristin Hohl, Megan Howard, Leslie Jasper, Michael Jensen, Trisha Joseph

Using the framework of Vision, Alignment, and Execution, the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders Profile encourages leaders to understand their own leadership behaviors and how they impact their effectiveness. With strong visuals to illustrate key messages, the 23-page personalized leadership-specific report includes 18 behavioral fields, context-specific feedback, and strategies for improving leadership effectiveness.

Profile Outline

Introduction, Overview, Your Style
Vision, Alignment and Execution Model
Vision: 6 Best Practices and Where you Fall on Each Continuum
Alignment: 6 Best Practices and Where you Fall on Each Continuum
Execution: 6 Best Practices and Where you Fall on Each Continuum
Your Leadership Challenges

4 – 6 PM HOLIDAY CHEER WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS and Academy Alumni at the WDM Chamber office in West Glen - directly across the street from Glen Oaks.   The Chamber office is located next to Goin’ Postal and Mercedes Nails and across the street from Tonic.          


January 29, 2019

Leading Self & Leading Others

8:00 AM- 5 PM    “YES, AND…” Creative Problem Solving Through Improvisation

Dress Code:Business Casual

Place: Iowa Credit Union League, 7745 Office Plaza Dr N, West Des Moines (Behind Perkins)

With the rapid changes in how we sell, buy, serve, communicate and connect, those aspiring to become great leaders must understand how to develop creativity in themselves and how to inspire it in others.  Creativity isn’t something that some people are just born with.  Creativity is a muscle anyone can develop by understanding and practicing the core principles of improvisation and the Creative Problem Solving process.  Sarah Noll Wilson leads this morning on creativity because innovation is critical to the success of every organization.

LUNCH & TIME TO SHINE FEATURING:  Jason Keigley, Lyndley Kent, Tim Kramer, Kyle Larson,
 Kendra Marshall

So really - how good are you at strategy, negotiations, leadership and team-building?

Get ready to compete in the afternoon session! In this simulation, participants lead self and others as you are divided into teams with each team “leading” a make-believe entrepreneurial company.  Your team will work together, competing with other teams to be the most profitable by the end of the session. Can you develop your strategy to be a successful company? How will you identify the best opportunities for maximizing sales? What will your model be?   Will your production strategy pay-off so you can become cash flow positive?  In this fun, interactive program, your team could take it all or finish last! 

FEBRUARY  28, 2019 

Leading in the Community

8:30 AM-5:00 PM  Learning: (lurn’ing) n. the acquiring of knowledge or skill

Place:  West Des Moines Community Schools. Specific location TBD

Dress Code:Business Casual

West Des Moines Community Schools is the first in Iowa to offer New Tech project-based schools, where students learn through real-world projects and enjoy an education embedded in a culture of trust, respect and responsibility.  Students are expected to meet learning outcomes in eight areas including: written communication, oral communications, collaboration, technology literacy, work ethic, content proficiency, critical thinking and global awareness.  In this session, you will meet with instructors as well as students, gaining a hands-on view of what education in West Des Moines looks like in 2019.

Noon: We’ll move to another learning envrionment to witness Project Based Learning in action.  See how students collaborate to solve real world problems and challenges facing a West Des Moines employer.

LUNCH & TIME TO SHINE: Maggie McClelland, Christian McGee, J. Bradley Munford, Jennifer Nelson

March 13, 2019

Leading Self

8:30 AM-5:00 PM   From I to We - Building Trust, One Conversation at a Time.

Place: NCMIC, 14001 University Avenue, Clive.  Park in the rear (NW side) of the building

Dress Code:Business Casual

Humans thrive when we are included, valued, learning and contributing in meaningful ways.  We thrive when stress and conflict is productive.  Our success personally and professionally is directly impacted by the quality of our relationships.  One way we increase the quality of our relationships is by increasing the quality of our conversations.  We build relationships one conversation at time and each one will impact the level of trust we develop.  How do we move to a place of partnership and inclusion?  By shifting from being I-centric to WE-centric. In this session, facilitated by Sarah Noll Wilson, you will learn bold, new research on the neuroscience of trust through the practice of Conversational Intelligence.

LUNCH & TIME TO SHINE FEATURING: Brad Norwood, Chris Proskey, Victoria Scarpinato, Chris Scott

The Art and Science of Story Telling

Storytelling has always been central to human experience – it's how we explain and make sense of the world. But today, as media-savvy audiences begin to tune out advertising messages while searching for ever-more-immersive entertainment experiences, the way businesses and professionals need to communicate is changing. Tina Mowry Hadden will share the fundamentals of a good story and how to create different lengths of stories depending on the audience. You will develop key messages to create their individual brands. Each participant will learn the art of staying on message whether it is an elevator discussion or a keynote address. Your assignment will be to write your own story, which you will share in the final session on May 16th.

 “If I only knew then what I know now.” The Leadership Academy will welcome a panel of top business and community leaders to share their perspective from 50,000 feet.  What a great opportunity you will have during the Q & A section of this compelling conversation!

April 25, 2019

Leading in the Community

8:30 AM-4:30 PM  Economic Development & Governance

Place:West Des Moines City Hall, 4200 Mills Civic Parkway

Dress Code: Business Casual

All aboard!  Jump on the bus for a whirlwind tour of West Des Moines and witness first hand how the city is growing and expanding.  Throughout this day, you’ll meet with elected officials as well as city staff to learn about WDM’s model for governance, how we position ourselves for economic growth and how  departments and commissions keep West Des Moines government running like clockwork. You’ll tour WDM Water Works, WESTCOM and our public safety facility, stop in to the West Des Moines Business Incubator for lunch and end with a “wet your whistle” stop before heading back to city hall.

LUNCH & TIME TO SHINE FEATURING: Kelli Alexander, Brad Soma, Mark Timmins, Laura Klein

May 16, 2019

Leading Self, Leading Others

8 AM – 6 PM   The Coachlike Leader: Inspiring Insight and Action in Others

Place: Caspe Terrace, 33158 Ute Ave, Waukee. I-80 West to Booneville exit.  This is the home of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Des Moines. The lower level features a museum dedicated to Des Moines Holocaust survivors.

Dress Code:  Business Casual

Coaching used to be a last-ditch effort to save poor performers.  Today, this critical tools helps team members flourish within every level of the company.  Learn the skills to become a coachlike leader to advance the capabilities of high potential peformers.  You’ll learn how you can help them increase their awareness, explore possibilities and take inspired action, helping them discover their own solutions.  Sarah Noll Wilson will demonstrate a model for coaching and you’ll practice several key coaching skills in this dynamic session.

STORYTELLING PART TWO: SHARE YOUR STORY! Tina Mowry Hadden will facilitate this section of the session as you share the self portrait you’ve been crafting since March.  Class members will provide confidential feedback so you can whittle your message to perfection!

FAITH BASED DIVERSITY: We are all one community! Michael Wolnerman, son of Des Moines’ only remaining Holocaust survivor, will lead us on a tour of Caspe Terrace’s Holocaust Museum and will share an overview of the Jewish faith and its century-old traditions.  Other leaders in our community will join us for a briefing on how their faith impacts their followers and how they make a difference in our communities.  We’ll hear about Sikhism, Buddhism, the Muslim religion among others.

MAY TIME TO SHINE FEATURING:  Melissa Allen, Phetlavy Baccam, Nicole Birkett, Megan Stelter

May 30th, 2019


3-6:30 PM

Place: Hilton Garden Inn West Des Moines, 205 S. 64th Street

Dress Code: Business Attire

Practice begins at 3:15 P.M. Sharp.  Program starts at 4 P.M. with reception to follow.


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