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Iowa West Celebrates Nine Women of Color Program Graduates

April 25, 2024

Professional development and mentoring opportunities support leadership growth for women of color who live or work in Pottawattamie County

(COUNCIL BLUFFS) –The Iowa West Foundation recently celebrated the graduation of nine participants from its Women of Color leadership program. The program was designed to provide access to professional development and coaching opportunities, resulting in community leadership growth for women of color. Funded by Iowa West Foundation and led by Dulce Sherman, owner of Sherman Executive Consulting, the program included monthly coaching sessions, quarterly networking opportunities, and access to leadership resources and supports.

“Successful communities seek out next-generation leaders, especially among those whose talents have not been tapped,” said Brenda Mainwaring, President, and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “These graduates have built their confidence and capacity to continue impacting our community, and I’m excited to watch what they do next.”

Participants completed professional development courses that included Harvard University classes online, mediation training, HR management certification, nutrition coach certification, inclusive communities training, and school administrative managers training, among other opportunities.

Jacqueline McCloud, School Operations Manager for Carter Lake Elementary and Women of Color graduate, made an immediate impact in her workplace, organizing 15 African American speakers to visit her school for Black History month.

“It helped me tremendously with leadership growth in my workplace and life,” she said. “It makes me want to do more to help others.”

Additional graduates include:

Melyna Avalos, All Care Health Center
Keshia Bradford, Doctors for America
Vanessa Dobles, Union Pacific Railroad Museum
Paulina Gonzalez Pichardo, Kiewit, Inc.
Lucia Rodriguez-Alvizo, CHI Health
Mia Silva Laustrup, Council Bluffs Schools Foundation
Maria Torres, Pottawattamie County Public Health
Alejandra Valdez, Viva Fit Kitchen

“It’s a dream to be able to journey alongside such a strong group of women,” facilitator Dulce Sherman said. “Together we’ve discovered their innate talents, moved into action, and now they understand how their influence can impact community outcomes.”

Nicole Lindquist

Written by Nicole Lindquist, Director of Communications

Media Inquiries:

Nicole Lindquist
Director of Communications
w: 712-309-3004
c: 402-981-2289

OUR VISION is a community where families choose to live, and businesses choose to locate, because of its quality of life and standard of living.


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