What's In a Name?
October 20, 2022
The name speaks for itself: Greater Des Moines Partnership — an organization that drives economic growth, creates jobs and promotes Des Moines as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. When it comes to enabling great things in Des Moines, Andrea Woodard has what it takes to make it happen.
As senior vice president of government relations and public policy of the Partnership, Andrea serves 6,500 businesses members and 365 investors across 10 counties. “We are a regional Chamber of Commerce,” said Andrea. “Through our work, we are coming up with a strategy for how we can help these organizations succeed in the government process at the local, state and national level.”
Andrea’s been with the Partnership for almost seven years, but one of the most rewarding parts of her job occurred at the beginning of her tenure, when her main task was to coordinate the organization’s annual trip to Washington D.C. Andrea’s efforts have enabled hundreds of participants to explore the nation’s capital, speak with members of congress and network with each other. “There were the inevitable hiccups,” said Andrea, “but they were minimal. Getting to provide that opportunity to people is probably one of the things that I'm always most proud of at my time at the Partnership.”
These days, one of Andrea’s priorities at the Partnership is the Iowa Confluence Water Trails (ICON) project — an initiative that’s been years in the making. ICON will build 80+ amenities along 150 miles of rivers and creeks in Central Iowa. Once complete, ICON will not only improve the quality of water in our state — it will improve the quality of life. The goal is to encourage water safety and conservation, as well as kayaking, rafting, paddling, hiking, camping and more for individuals and families in Iowa. “It's not unsimilar to how our bike trails have developed over the last few decades,” said Andrea. “We’re trying to get people to recognize the value and opportunities that exist by engaging with our rivers.”
The ICON project is only possible through community collaboration and millions of fundraising dollars and government grants. That’s where Andrea comes in. “I work closely with the lobbyists from other organizations to identify federal and state programs where we might apply for those grants,” said Andrea. “We talk often with our elected officials about the project itself and the economic impacts it will have, such as helping to recruit and retain talent, which is probably the number one issue we hear from our members right now.”
From supporting small businesses to creating value for investors to improving our beautiful waterways, the Greater Des Moines Partnership is certainly living up to its name. So, what is the secret to enabling great things? “My boss and our CEO, Jay Buyers, outlines four things,” said Andrea. “It's leadership, public-private partnerships, community visioning and regionalism. Those four elements, I think, are how Des Moines and the Des Moines area come together to create these instrumental projects, efforts and initiatives — to do good work.”
Like Andrea, we believe in working hard on behalf of our clients, our team members and our community, as reflected in our own values: Be people centered. Bring your best. Enable great things. Think big. At Bank Iowa, we strive to live out our values every day to support our vision and fulfill our purpose.
NOTE: Comments have been edited for length and clarity.
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