For nine months, Maggie Hanson engaged in a leadership development program, the Community Leadership Program (CLP), through the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute. She participated in conversations with local leaders about the future of our community discussing water quality, public transit, affordable housing, crime and unemployment, and services offered to those struggling in the core of the city.
In addition to learning about the challenges faced by central Iowa and its inhabitants, there is an active leadership component to the CLP. The fifty class members are divided into small groups to work with a local non-profit. The groups meet with their organization to gather information including the organization’s goals for the collaboration and then develop a pitch they present to potential funders. Davis Brown is proud to support the work of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, contributing annually to the pool of funds available to the CLP groups.
Maggie’s group worked with the Blank Park Zoo. Their goal was to expand the Zoo’s inclusivity program for those with sensory challenges. They raised $5,000.00 to assist the Zoo. They helped the Zoo partner with KultureCity, a national organization that assists public venues in becoming more inclusive, including identifying quiet and loud zones, installing signage, creating sensory backpacks for guests with sensory challenges, creating a social story for Zoo guests to more easily plan their trips, and developing a more robust map to feature the initiatives. Maggie’s group also partnered the Zoo with the Iowa Library for the Blind in order to increase the Zoo’s vision backpack program. Finally, Maggie’s group connected the Zoo with RDG Planning & Design to develop plans for a sensory garden.
Other non-profits who benefited from the work of the CLP groups this year include Genesis, Inc., Food Bank of Iowa, Please Pass the Love, and the collaboration between DART (central Iowa bus system) and US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
Maggie and her fellow CLP classmates completed the year with two celebrations. On May 15, they shared their team journey and accomplishments for their projects in the annual Activate! Showcase event. On May 18, they officially completed the program with a graduation ceremony.
Also, at the graduation ceremony, Davis Brown attorney Jason Stone presented the A. Arthur Davis Community Leadership Award to Rick Tollakson, President and CEO of Hubbell Realty.
Davis Brown’s commitment to leadership and community development goes back to the founding of the firm. A. Arthur Davis, a named partner in the firm, played a key role in the founding of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute in 1979. Since that time, over 25 Davis Brown attorneys have completed the program including Mike Kulik ’87, Robert Holz ’85, Frank Carroll ’88, Lori Chesser ’93, Julie Johnson-McLean ’00, Scott Brennan ’02, Jason Stone ’09, Courtney Strutt-Todd ’10, Jason Ross ’10, Christopher James ’12, Krystle Campa ’14, Tara Hall ’15, Michele Brott ’17, and now Maggie Hanson ’18.