Michele Brott, employment law attorney, recently graduated from the Community leadership Program, the premier leadership program in central Iowa.
In addition to taking part in seminars with central Iowa leaders, learning about the community, and developing leadership skills, this year the program was organized in the format of an entrepreneurial pitch competition. Program participants formed teams to work with local non-profit organizations, Pinky Swear Foundation, On With Life, Art Route DSM, DMARC, and AMOS. In February, the teams pitched their plans to GDMLI leaders and alumni to receive a portion of the $50,000 available grant money.
Michele and her classmates developed a business plan and pitch for their non-profit, the Pinky Swear Foundation. Based in Minnesota, the organization was founded by a couple whose son died from cancer. On his last Christmas, the child gave away his savings to make sure the kids in his pediatric oncology ward had a good holiday. He made his dad “pinky swear” that he would continue the tradition of providing funds for kids and their families after he was gone.
Michele’s team, comprised mainly of young professionals working in marketing and advertising, developed a plan to help the organization raise awareness by improving the messaging and advertising in Central Iowa. The team designed banners for events, brochures and other collateral and created a video for the organization. Michele contributed her legal knowledge to the process including drafting legal documents for the project.
Michele’s reflections on the experience focus on the differences in non-profit work versus the quick-paced world of the law. “With a one-person team, our work with Pinky Swear was very foundational in developing marketing collateral and a calendar of events to make the Director’s job easier promoting the organization in the community.” She continued, “As one of the only team members not actively working in a creative field on a day to day basis, I was happy to step in and provide the left brain analysis and fill in the legal gaps for the Des Moines and Minnesota offices.”
At the ceremony celebrating the completion of the program, the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute also awarded six individuals with awards for their community leadership. Teree Caldwell-Johnson, Director of Oakridge Neighborhood Services, was awarded the A. Arthur Davis Community Leadership Award. The award is named after Davis Brown named partner A. Arthur Davis, a community leader who founded the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute in the 1980s. Davis Brown Immigration Department Chair, Lori Chesser, had the honor of presenting the award to her friend Teree at the ceremony.
Photography by Maharry Photography