2016 Spring City Cluster Workshop Agenda

This agenda is a work-in-progress and will be regularly updated.

SUNDAY, June 26, 2024

Welcome to the 2024 CEOs for Cities Spring Cluster Workshop in Des Moines! In town early? You’re in luck - enjoy the famous Des Moines Art Festival. We will provide you with a VIP Pass! Registration will be at the Marriott Hotel, followed by a welcome reception. Enjoy dinner on your own in Des Moines.

0ba0d62bac9b9f77ddd2292b14fcd4b611 a.m.-5 p.m. VIP Pass to Des Moines Art Festival

Western Gateway Park (1000 Grand Ave)
Download Festival Map
Learn More about Des Moines Arts Festival.


dsmia_wedding_logoNoon-4 p.m. Registration

Marriott Hotel (700 Grand Avenue)


5-7 p.m. Opening Receptionworld food prize

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates (100 Locust St)
Learn more about World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.


7 p.m. Dinner in Des Moines20150220hdDinnerLab0223aLocal

Enjoy dinner on your own in the city.
See a few of our restaurant suggestions here.


9:30 p.m. After Hours

Des Moines Social Club (900 Mulberry St.)
Our Hosts: Greater Des Moines Music Coalition: Founded in 2024, Greater Des Moines Music Coalition is dedicated to supporting and cultivating Iowa’s music economy for the purpose of establishing Des Moines as a nationally recognized music city.
Des Moines Social Club: The Des Moines Social Club is an innovative arts and entertainment venue located in a renovated, historic art deco Firehouse in downtown Des Moines. The non-profit provides a home for local artists, offers unique programming spanning all arts disciplines, and brings people of every age and background together under one roof — all for the purpose of using the arts as a catalyst to create unprecedented community engagement.
Musicians: Courtney Krause‘s original music is achieving a captivating sound modernizing classic folk with sultry soul and rhythm. Musically captivating and filled with warmth, any person could fall in love with the music she makes.
Chris Ford is a Des Moines-based artist who writes and performs music under the name Christopher the Conquered. His life-long obsession with musical theatre, film scores, and the progressive songwriting of 20th centuries pop masters such as John Lennon, Randy Newman, and Harry Nilsson has cultivated in him the desire to make music that is both beautiful and really says something.

MONDAY, June 27, 2024

Location: Embassy Club (666 Grand Ave. | 34th Floor)

The first full day of the 2024 CEOs for Cities Cluster Workshop begins with an early breakfast and opening remarks, followed by a day of programming — including a keynote speaker, panel discussions and city field trips in Des Moines.

6:00a.m. Run, Jog, Walk Around Des Moines

Departure will be from the Marriott lobby. It will be a 30-minute run with Des Moines Assistant City Manager Matt Anderson. He will mention points of interest along the route.

6:30-8 a.m. Registration + Continental BreakfastBreakfast Buffet 1

Embassy Club — 34th Floor


8 a.m. Welcome Remarks

Lee Fisher, Senior Advisor, CEOs for Cities
Bob Milbourne, Board Chair, CEOS for Cities
Jay Byers, CEO, Greater Des Moines Partnership

8:45 a.m. Morning Keynote // Majora Carter

Urban Revitalization – America’s Hometown Security

Hearst, Town and Country, portraits, portraiture

Majora Carter is an urban revitalization strategy consultant, social entrepreneur, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster.  She is responsible for the creation & successful implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects, policies, and job training & placement systems.


9:45 a.m. Quick Standing BreakCoffeeBreak

Stand up, stretch. Check your voicemail. Get more coffee.
Be back in 15 minutes to start the next panel on cross-sector collaboration.


10:00 a.m. Panel: The Power of Cross-Sector CollaborationCogs-image

Neil Britto, Executive Director, The Intersector Project, Moderator
Amy Celep, CEO, Community Wealth Partners
Denise Reid, Executive Director, Mosaic & Workforce, Tulsa Regional Chamber
Elizabeth Reynoso, Associate Director of Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities
Jeff Russell, President + CEO, Delta Dental of Iowa

11:00 a.m. Networking Breakcity-break-1

Take full advantage of the 30-minute Break and get to know other city change makers.

 11:30 a.m. High-Impact Philanthropy for Citiesdrawing-bar-chart

Kristi Knous, President, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Moderator
Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Community Impact Officer, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Brian Payne, President + CEO, Central Indiana Community Foundation
Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, President, Say Yes to Education

12:30 p.m. Luncheon: Des Moines, The Crossroads CityDSC_5464

Honorable Terry Branstad, Governor, State of Iowa introduced by Jay Byers, CEO, Greater Des Moines Partnership

1 p.m. Our Story
Over the last 17 years, Greater Des Moines has shaken off its image of a sleepy Midwest city to become a top city for young professionals, startups and to build your career. Along the path, they have reinvested more than $3 billion in their downtown and surrounding area. The first half of this presentation will discuss the transformation, the people, the projects and the secret sauce that has helped to transform the region.
Michael Gartner, Former President of NBC News — Moderator
Andy Anderson, Former Chair of Vision Iowa
Mary Sellers, President, United Way of Central Iowa
Jay Byers, CEO, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Steve Zumbach, Equity Member, Belin McCormick, P.C.

1:45 p.m. Des Moines Rapid Fire
But a city is continually evolving. The challenges we face today were not the challenges of 1999. And the challenges of 2024 are difficult to imagine.  Hear from local leaders that are working to keep the face of Des Moines ever-changing, inclusive, and vibrant.
Alex Pearlstein, VP, Market Street
Justin MandlebaumPrincipal, Mandlebaum Properties
Larry James, Jr.Attorney, Faegre Baker Daniel
Elisabeth Buck, Chief Community Impact Officer, United Way of Central Iowa
John Mark Feilmeyer, Art Force Iowa
Rick Tollakson, Des Moines River Trails

2:45 p.m. Field Trips OverviewDesMoinesIowaSeal

Meg Schneider, Senior VP of Regional Business Development, Greater Des Moines Partnership

3:00-5:15 p.m. Des Moines Field Trips

  • Art + Culture at the Center of a City: Art has the power to inspire creativity and leverage broad-based community impact.  Featuring leaders and paths that have changed the cultural landscape to shape Des Moines’ business, economic and social future. (Walking — limited available)
  • Architecture and Development:  Midwest cities will never have mountains or ocean-front property.  But today’s placemaking is more about multi-dimensional experiences, rather than simple vistas.  Explore Des Moines’ Western Gateway, an area cemented by a donation of more than $40 million in sculpture and the redevelopment that surrounds this prime location. (Walking)
  • Talent/Workforce: Per capita, Central Iowa is the fastest-growing metro in the Midwest in terms of population, job and GDP growth. Like all metros, however, we have current and future talent pools that are un- or under-employed because they are not adequately prepared for today’s jobs and those of  the future. During this tour you will experience several metro area initiatives that are focused on improving our existing talent pipeline by aligning education and workforce preparation to workforce needs that support our regional cradle thru career campaign – EDGE 75×25 (Education Drivers our Greater Economy). The tour includes stops at innovative learning centers covering K-12 education through adult learning. (Bus Transportation — limited seats)
  • Innovation/Disruption: Each city has their own take on supporting the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Visit locations in Des Moines’ East Village where startups of all sizes are taking off, and hear about their journeys. (Walking)

If you haven’t please sign up now to make sure you take the trip you’d like.

6-8 p.m. Receptionmeredithshovel

Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden (1716 Locust St.)
Learn more about Meredith Test Garden.


8 p.m. Dinner in Des Moinesnight skyline_RGB

Enjoy dinner on your own in the city.

9:30 p.m. After Hours: Full Court Press Pub Crawl

Host: Full Court Press, Inc. was formed in 2024 by the owners of Buzzard Billy’s and three Buzzard Billy’s employees — seven guys who had a few concepts they thought might work in the great town of Des Moines. Since then they have opened nine bars and restaurants in metro Des Moines, each unique and uniquely popular.  Their establishments include: Buzzard Billy’s, El Bait Shop, Fong’s Pizza, Hessen Haus, High Life Lounge, Iowa Taproom, Mullets, Royal Mile, The Red Monk and University Library Café.
The Pub Crawl will have three stops that work their way back toward the Downtown Marriott.  We anticipate spending about 45 minutes at each stop, and allowing 15 minutes in between to allow us to walk to the next destination. (So you can catch up with us if your dinner runs long!)
First Stop:  Iowa Tap Room (215 E. 3rd. St. Ste. 100)
Second Stop: Hessen Haus (101 4th St.)
Third Stop:  Royal Mile (210 4th St)

TUESDAY, June 28, 2024

Location: Embassy Club (666 Grand Ave 34th Floor)

The final day of the 2024 Cluster Workshop features City Clusters presentations, an interactive break-out and City Cluster meetings + Report Outs.

6:00a.m. Run, Jog, Walk Around Des Moines

Departure will be from the Marriott lobby. It will be a 30 minute run with Des Moines Assistant City Manager Matt Anderson. He will mention points of interest along the route.

6:30-8 a.m. Buffet Breakfast

Embassy Club — 34th Floor


 8 a.m. Welcome RemarksMeg court ave headshot 2024

Lee Fisher, Senior Advisor, CEOs for Cities
Meg Schneider, Senior VP of Regional Business Development, Greater Des Moines Partnership

8:15 a.m. Morning Keynote // Ryan Gravel

Author, Where We Want to Live; Founder, Sixpitch

ryan gravel_lr_color_crop_credit josh meister photoRyan Gravel’s new book starts with the premise that big infrastructure ideas can yield huge economic and social payoffs. With the spirt of Daniel Burnham’s famous “make no little plans,” Gravel shows how his concept for the Atlanta Beltline is changing everything there, becoming a model for how all metropolitan areas can achieve transformative change. The Beltline is the most important infrastructure project in the country today, linking rich and poor neighborhoods to each other and to transit, and sparking billions of private sector investment already, with tens of billions to come. Just as every metro area in the country adopted some form of belt highway, every metro will built a Beltline.

9:15 a.m. Break / Book Signing

Have a chance to buy and have Ryan Gravel sign his book. Stand up, stretch. Check your voicemail. Get more coffee.


9:45 a.m. Cross-Sector Challenges, Opportunities, Successes

City Clusters present on cross-sector collaboration successes in their cities.

ClevelandSkylineCleveland’s 21st Century renaissance comes from a community development strategy clustered around competitive advantages in health and tech, arts and culture, and waterfront amenities yielding unparalleled neighborhood development.  Three of the Cleveland’s emergent neighborhoods are University Circle, home to the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, and the Cleveland Orchestra, Gordon Square home to the Cleveland Public Theater, Nearwest Theater, and the Capitol Theater, and Downtown’s Northcoast Harbor, home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center, a new Convention Center and the Brown’s stadium.  Representatives from the Cleveland cluster will discuss how multiple anchor institutions in these districts are organized to create place-based outcomes of new housing, connected infrastructure, and experience driven new neighborhood brand platforms.  From University Circle on the city’s east side, to Gordon Square on its west side, to Northcoast Harbor at the downtown center on the lake, each neighborhood casts its own unique experience attracting new visitors, residents, and workers and, with it, an entirely new city experience.

  • St. Louis Cluster – Innovation Districts: Leveraging the Power of Partnerships.
    Hank Webber, Executive Vice Chancellor, Washington University;  Dennis Lower, President + CEO, Cortex innovation Community

The presentation will focus on the Cortex innovation district,  a partnership between Washington University, BJC Healthcare, the University of Missouri- St. Louis, Saint Louis University, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. It is home to a vibrant 200-acre innovation hub and technology district integrated into St. Louis’ historic Central West End and Forest Park Southeast residential neighborhoods, surrounded by nationally ranked universities and medical centers and abundant cultural and recreational assets. The area has been described as a little European, a little New York and totally St. Louis.

  • Milwaukee Cluster – The Commons & Milwaukee Succeeds - Complementary Cross-Sector Efforts
    Michael Hostad, Executive Director, Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE); Marcus White, Vice President, Civic Engagement, Greater Milwaukee Foundation; Joe Poeschl, Co-Founder, The Commons

Milwaukee Succeeds is a cradle-to-career partnership that is not only cross-sector, but engages charter, traditional public, and voucher schools in a collaboration in a city where education matters have been highly divisive. Early indicators show that relationship and trust-building can lead to real success in the classroom and beyond.   The Commons is a regional collaborative of business and academia formed to accelerate student entrepreneurial skills. The Commons partners with 22 colleges and universities in Southeast Wisconsin to augment campus learning with hands-on, project-based skills development. Students form interdisciplinary teams to work on real-world projects that build experience and develop the fundamental skills necessary to create successful new ventures or innovate within an existing company.

CoffeeBreak10:45 a.m. Break

Stand up, stretch. Check your voicemail. Get more coffee. Be back in 15 minutes to start the next panel.


11:00 a.m. Cross-Sector Challenges, Opportunities, Successes

  • Greensboro & High Point Cluster  Say Yes Partnership.
    Walker Sanders, President, The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro; Rachel Moss Gauldin, COO, High Point Chamber of Commerce /Business High Point; Mary Vigue, Executive Director, Say Yes to Education Guilford

Greensboro_City_ScapeGreensboro & High Point have partnered with Say Yes to Education to form a national model on how to leverage private dollars with public funds to make a college scholarship available to every student, and to bulldoze the predictable barriers that prevent students and their families from seizing that opportunity. The partnership, which includes the school district, business leaders, government officials and local foundations, has raised more than $30 million in private donations on behalf of the Say Yes initiative. That money will seed a fund providing “last dollar” tuition scholarships to students from the community attending in-state public institutions.

  • Indianapolis Cluster – Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW)
    Mark Kesling, Founder + CEO, daVinci Pursuit; Corrie Meyer, President, Innovative Planning; Jim Walker, Founder + Executive Director, Big Car

2865439900_472570a9fd_bA collective impact initiative bringing together cross-sector partners in Indy. The panel will bring diverse viewpoints to the audience by sharing first-hand experiences of bringing not-for-profits, fortune 500 companies, city agencies, and volunteers together to make Indy Waterway neighborhoods equitable in quality of life. The collective impact aspect of ROW was birthed out of the 2024 CEO for Cities Cincinnati conference.

  • Waco Cluster – Collective Impact to Promote Education, Health, and Financial Security.
    Matthew Polk, Executive Director, Prosper Waco; Malcolm Duncan, Former Mayor of Waco, Prosper Waco Board President; Brett Esrock, Providence Healthcare Network President + CEO, Prosper Waco Board member; Kristyn Miller, CampusTown Waco Program Director, Prosper Waco

66859317_6249289b5e_bProsper Waco is a collective impact initiative focused on measurably improving the health, education, and financial security of the Greater Waco area.  Some of the cross-sector efforts with city and county government, hospitals, school districts, higher education, direct service organizations, foundations, and the business community include work around kindergarten readiness, post-secondary success, access to healthcare, women’s health, talent retention and workforce development.


courthouseFM12:15 p.m. Closing Luncheon // City Cluster Meetings + Report-outs

Overview of the Columbus, Ohio National Meeting September 27-29
Dan Sharpe, Director, Community Leadership & Nonprofit Effectiveness, The Columbus Foundation
Kelley Griesmer, Director of Special Projects, The Columbus Foundation

Following the presentation by Dan and Kelly, Clusters will meet to identify takeaways from the workshop and to determine next steps in their cities. If you are not from a Cluster city please join Lee Fisher at his table.

coffee-post2:30 p.m. Closing Remarks

Honorable Frank Cownie, Mayor, City of Des Moines
Lee Fisher, Senior Advisor, CEOs for Cities