Thank you for joining the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children on May 4, 2019 for our Spring Leadership Institute, Better Together, for Our Future.


Understanding cultural differences and building an inclusive organization isn’t just a skill for global businesses. Educators with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to value the diversity among colleagues will contribute to an educational system designed to serve all families and students well.

Iowa AEYC, as part of the work with the national office, NAEYC, has been holding conversations about what it takes to be a High Performing Inclusive Organization (HPIO).

An inclusive organization values the individual and group differences within its workforce. Inclusive organizations not only have diverse individuals involved, they are learning centered organizations that value the perspectives and contributions of all. Cultural competence and inclusive practices enable a company to embrace the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives of the employees, which in turn, increases their talent, innovation, creativity and contributions. Diverse and inclusive workplaces are more innovative, efficient, productive and successful.

When leaders focus on building cultural competence they also build better rapport. In inclusive competent organizations people feel valued, there is better workplace communication, and higher job satisfaction.


Date: Saturday, May 4, 2019

Location: Hilton Garden Inn - Des Moines/Urbandale | 8600 Northpark Drive, Johnston, IA 50131

Time: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm | Check-In/Registration begins at 8:00 am

Registration: Click here to view the full registration booklet.

Thank you to University of Iowa Community Credit Union and Polk County Early Childhood Iowa for Sponsoring the Spring Leadership Institute!


Keynote: Courageous Conversations about Race, Implicit Bias, and Cultural Humility

Ashley Hopkins and Jesse Thomas will take the audience through interactive dialogues and activities to initiate having courageous conversations about race, implicit bias, and cultural humility. Information from Race: The Power of an Illusion and Understanding Implicit Bias: Rewiring our Perceptions and Intentions Learning Exchanges, will lay the foundation for understanding issues of race and how our biases perpetuate inequities within child welfare and educational settings.

Statistical data will be presented to create a clearer picture of disproportionality and disparity within Iowa’s systems along with defining the different levels of racism and other common terms to guide the audience in having effective courageous conversations. This will include differentiating between cultural competence and cultural humility and will enhance their capacities and skills to work across different cultures and diverse groups to improve outcomes for children and families of color.

Keynote Speakers


Ashley Hopkins

Ashley Hopkins works at Four Oaks to provide leadership to staff providing Family Safety Risk and Permanency services to families involved with the child welfare system. She has a BA in Psychology from Wartburg College as well as extensive work experience in the child welfare system; including three years as a Social Worker II and III with the Iowa Department of Human Services. Ashley is a member of the Cultural Equity Alliance Steering Committee, a statewide multi-disciplinary group working to combat disproportionality and disparity. Over the past ten years Ashley’s work has primarily focused on working with families of color and helping to ensure they are receiving equitable services. She is a facilitator for Race: The Power of an Illusion Learning Exchange as well as Understanding Implicit Bias: Rewiring Our Perceptions and Intentions Learning Exchange.


Jesse Thomas

Jesse Eash Thomas currently works as a F/YTDM Meeting Facilitator and Coach for Four Oaks in the Cedar Rapids Services Area. Jesse has facilitated meetings and coached other facilitators since 2009; however, she has worked in the child welfare system for 19 years in a variety of other positions. Jesse is an approved Iowa State Trainer in the Family Team Decision Making and Youth Transition Decision Making Trainings. In addition to her work with facilitation, Jesse also sits on the Linn County BSC team as well as the Shared Decision Making Committee for the Linn County CPPC. Jesse is facilitator for Race: The Power of an Illusion Learning Exchange as well as Understanding Implicit Bias: Rewiring Our Perceptions and Intentions Learning Exchange.


Breakout Session Speakers

Attendees will choose three of the five sessions offered throughout the afternoon.

The Leadership Journey of an Immigrant | Marta Codina

This workshop will highlight the leadership journey of an immigrant. Coming into the US as a refugee when she was a small child, Marta will share her experiences that helped shape her into a leader today. Her journey includes her passion and awareness around diversity and inclusion and the power of starting that appreciation in our youth today. This workshop will also include how her company, Wells Fargo, keeps diversity and inclusion at the forefront in today’s culture. She will also touch on the impact of understanding generational diversity for people of all ages.

LGBTQ 101 | Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel

This interactive training will include an icebreaker activity related to creating a safe and welcoming environment, LGBTQ terminology, learning multiple specific applicable skills to creating a safer and welcoming environment, and application of skills in scenario planning and roleplaying.
•Increase your knowledge regarding LGBTQ terminology
•Learn at least three specific skills to apply in creating safer and welcoming environments for the LGBTQ
•Improve self-efficacy of applying skills

I Hate Kimchi, but Love English Mustard | Anna Magnusson

Anna shares how in many ways, we all experience adoption. We adopt relationships, careers, communities, political viewpoints, and core values to define who we are in this world. She discusses the assumptions that were made about her by teachers, friends, strangers and how that has impacted how she views and deals with intentional or unintentional racism.

Inclusion 101 | Kyle Roed

Common sense actions to drive results: As the war for talent heats up, the organizations who win will have the best people practices. Come learn about specific inclusion practices utilized to set organizations apart. Simple steps taken by an organization can pay big dividends to organizational culture and results. Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce requires inclusive practices and a new way of doing business. Come learn about the approach businesses are using to set their organizations apart, and create an opportunity to find the best talent.

This session will include: A business case for inclusion, how changing workforce policies and benefits can benefit an employer, workforce statistics and how to leverage them, and how collaboration between public, private, and community organizations can pay big dividends! Also included: Specific examples of businesses and organizations who have implemented programs and strategies and seen results.

We will all get there! Embracing the Aging Workforce | Rosemary Thierer

During this session attendees will evaluate their unconscious bias of the older worker, receive information about the myths of the aging workforce, become familiar with the work values of five generations, and receive strategies to become an inclusive age friendly workplace.


A small block of rooms has been reserved at the Hilton Garden Inn. Please call 515-270-8890 to make reservations and mention the Iowa AEYC Spring Leadership Institute Room block.