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Cedar Valley Inclusion

Times have changed.

We have too.

Allen College recruits men and women of all races, ethnicities and abilities for careers in nursing and health sciences. We celebrate diversity, and we are inclusive. It’s our mission and our culture. We’re not the only ones who think so. Allen College just won a Nursing Workforce Diversity grant for $984,000 from the United States Department of Health and Human Services – Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). There were only ten HRSA grants awarded nationwide. We’re proud to be honored, and we’re committed to using the grant to help historically underrepresented students discover all we have to offer and all they can become.

If you see yourself in this picture, call us. You are welcome at Allen College.

allencollege.edu • 319-226-2000

Cedar Valley Inclusion

ArEA EMPlOyErS JOIn TO PrOMOTE & EDUCATE ABOUT

diversity

& Text | Tim Jamison

I

t’s one thing to smile and wave at the new people need to be able to value people moving into the state in the neighborhood. It’s another to invite them to of Iowa that are different from us, and value all of the a backyard barbecue. diversity that we have.” It’s a distinction Jack Dusenberry makes when talk“We’re at a place now where we really need to make ing about diversity and inclusion in the Cedar Valley sure that employers particularly understand the value and its workforce. of everyone,” she added. “Sometimes with diversity, peo“It really struck a nerve with me when I heard some- ple go immediately to gender and race. But inclusion is one (new to the area) say, ‘Everybody is real friendly everyone.” here but I don’t feel like I belong yet,’” said The effort dovetails with the Alliance’s Dusenberry, CEO of Wheaton Franciscan workforce development and talent developHealthcare-Iowa, which operates Covenant ment initiative. Medical Center in Waterloo. “We’re all Trainor said the committee is focusing friendly and cordial, but do we really reach now on three areas: educating employers out? about diversity in the work place, connect“We want to make sure that when people ing employers to groups that can help them join our community we just don’t say we increase diversity and recognizing and are friendly, but we really are,” he added. “I awarding companies that show “best pracwant a community where people really feel tices” in diversity. welcome.” Bob Justis, CEO of the Greater Cedar ValIt’s that philosophy that attracted Dusen- Jean Trainor, CEO of Veridian ley Chamber of Commerce, said the area’s Union and chair of the berry and Wheaton to participate and help Credit diversity can give it a leg up in economic Greater Cedar Valley Alliance sponsor a newly formed diversity committee Diversity Committee. development circles. at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance eco“But we’ve got to embrace it rather than nomic development organization. run from it,” he said. “We need to recognize The committee, which pulled together leaders from that it’s an asset not a liability.” many of the area’s largest employers, is focused on makThe committee planned a Sept. 2, diversity summit ing sure the Cedar Valley’s diversity is celebrated and to make the “business case for diversity and inclusion,” turned into an asset for workforce development and an event that will bring in speakers and panel discushelping the local economy prosper. sions to educate the business community. Jean Trainor, CEO of Veridian Credit Union and forMembers of the diversity committee note the commitmer chair of the GCVA board, helped get the committee tee discussions already are helping their organizations. organized after seeing a similar effort by the Greater “There’s been a lot of eye-opening experiences here, Des Moines Partnership, which promotes economic de- people sharing what they’re doing,” said Steve Sestervelopment around the state capital. henn, of Allen Health System. “People are looking at it “The population of Iowa, the only growth that we’ve from different angles and that will help us as employers had really is from immigrants,” Trainor said. “So we and a community.”

CedarValleyInclusion.com | 

john knox, president and Ceo of allen health system, which also helps sponsor the diversity committee, said the education extends beyond helping employers in hiring those from different cultural backgrounds. “It’s not just a fact that we want to have a diverse employee base,” knox said. “We’re also treating and taking care of a diverse base. “from a hospital standpoint it’s a big deal for us,” he added. “We have to be able to understand the cultural differences when they come in for treatment.”

sailu timbo, director of the logan avenue hy-Vee store, also serves on the committee and sees the benefit of a diverse workforce. “We fight, we compete for the best employees,” timbo said. “and the best employees come from a big pool of everyone. It includes every culture; it doesn’t just include a certain demographic or a certain group of people. “as we hire and look to include these different cultures into our workforce, we become educated,” timbo added. “and it becomes our history.”

We Want to make sure that When people joIn our CommunIty We just don’t say We are frIendly, but We really are. -jaCk dusenberry Ceo of Wheaton franciscan healthcare.

Photo by Brandon Pollock Diversity committee front row, from left to right, Mitzi Tann, Suzanne Burt, Kalola Roby, Renee Christoffer and Mikki Strelow. Back row, from left to right, Vicki Parsons, Lori Hoffman, Sailu Timbo, John Knox, Steve Sesterhenn, Bob Justis, Amy Anderson, Sue Hansen and Tonya Ledvina. Not pictured: Lina Allen, Andrea Barker, Stacey Bentley, David Braton, Jack Dusenbery, Steve Dust, Will Frost, Gloria Gibson, Dyann Longseth, Cindy Mohr, Susan Parker, Mary Phillips, Teri Wray, and Jean Trainor.

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

the Greater cedar valley alliance & chamber would like to thank these business partners for their sponsorship of the diversity event and inclusion publication. Cedar Valley Diversity and Inclusion Partnership is an initiative designed to strengthen the Cedar Valley through promoting diversity, full inclusion and cultural competencies in business. This initiative consists of a series of events and publications that shed light on the valuable diversity found in the Cedar Valley. The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber also looks to celebrate businesses that are strong in their efforts towards inclusion in the workplace. For more information please contact the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber at 22-1156, www.CedarValleyAlliance.com or www.GreaterCedarValleyChamber.com.

premier sponsor

Gold sponsor

Gold sponsor

Gold sponsor

Bronze sponsor

inclusion partners

CedarValleyInclusion.com | 5

Cedar Valley Inclusion

co n te n ts 24 physical

disability hasn’t kept Teri Lynn from successful radio career

28 Tyson’s

workforce reflects and attracts diversity

3 area employers

32 Terry Phillips

8 Bosnian

36 Local Latino

join to promote and educate about diversity and inclusion.

paving way for inclusion

employees share their culture with residents at Friendship Village

sees area’s diversity up close

12 deere

40 Attitude

Priest

works to diversify its workforce community

key to director’s success in workplace

16 muslims

44 Diversity

put down

in military

roots in Cedar Valley

takes a big step forward

20 rights group

48 networking

reflects community inclusion trend

Publisher David A. Braton Editor Nancy Raffensperger Newhoff Project Manager & Advertising Sales Sheila Kerns (319) 291-1448 sheila.kerns@wcfcourier.com

Contributing Writers Emily Christensen Karen Heinselman Tina Hinz Tim Jamison Pat Kinney John Molseed Jim Offner Amie Steffen Matthew Wilde Andrew Wind

opportunities starting to emerge for LGBT community Graphic Designers Angela Dark Emily Smesrud Contributing Photographers Rick Chase Brandon Pollock Matthew Putney Tiffany Rushing Dawn Sagert

A publication of The Courier, Waterloo-Cedar Falls.

www.cedarvalleyinclusion.com

CedarValleyInclusion.com | 

Cedar Valley Inclusion

bosnian employees

share thei r

cu l tu r e with residents at friendship village

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At right: Bosnian employee Ramiza Tricic prepares dinner at Friendship Village.

J

asminka Salihovic considers the residents at Friendship Village her second family. “They really want to know how we are doing,” she said. Other residents will specifically seek her out to talk about her homeland. Some have visited and will tell of their travels to places that Salihovic remembers from her childhood. And they never fail to remember her birthday. Salihovic started at Friendship Village about eight years ago as a dining room hostess. But she never stopped watching and learning. Three years ago she was promoted to the morning cook. She is one of about 40 Bosnians working for the organization, said Velda Phillips, Friendship Village administrator. Upon hire, most spoke little English and had little training in their current fields. Phillips said Friendship Village has helped many of its Bosnian employees become certified nursing assistants and even provided scholarships for some to go on and become registered nurses through the program at Hawkeye Community College. “It was a selfish move on our part, at first,” Phillips admitted. “Finding enough CNAs was difficult and they could fill that need.” Friendship Village also helped their newly immigrated employees learn the language on the job — though some still like to speak their native language to each other when no one else is around. English as a second language teachers were hired to help during the CNA class and offered support during work hours. The director of nursing even went through the classes with the Bosnian employees. Many of those original employees still work at Friendship Village. Ermina Muheljic’s first job when she came to Iowa in 1997 was as a second-shift environmental aide at Friendship Village. Sabira Kantarevic has worked at Friendship Village for 11 years. Work scholarships helped both

Photo by Matthew Putney

Text | Emily Christensen

Cedar Valley Inclusion

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

2010 census for Black hawk county

White

112,215

97.7% African-American 11,640

8.4% American Indian Asian

297

0.2% 1,707

1.3%

Hispanic/latino 4,907

3.7%

Bosnian Source:

3,500

2.6%

Iowa Data Center and Waterloo Human rights Commission

10 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

Photo by Matthew Putney

Thank-you notes fill a window in the kitchen at Friendship Village.

women advance their positions. The organization helped Muheljic earn her CnA while kantarevic, who already had her CnA, was able to increase her knowledge to become a rehab aide. “Whatever I have needed, they have been there to help me,” kantarevic said. “I don’t want to go anywhere else.” As the Bosnian workers became a greater part of the Friendship Village employee landscape, Phillips realized the new workers brought something to the table that other employees couldn’t offer. “They give wonderful care, everybody here does, but there is a richness of experiences we are able to have because of this cultural difference. They embrace their culture and our residents embrace their culture,” Phillips said. In addition to hosting a traditional Bosnian dinner — which earned many verbal and written praises from residents — the Bosnian employees have also participated in programs that allowed employees and residents to share their experiences of living through a war. “The residents even celebrate with them when one of them earns their citizenship,” Phillips said. “They are very proud of them.”

At the University of Northern Iowa, we educate many of Iowa’s business, education and government leaders—those who will influence our society in the future. Our graduates take with them the knowledge and values they learn or refine while with us. Because we believe that appreciation of diversity is an essential component of an excellent education, we have made it an institutional priority to value, promote and teach about diversity.

www.uni.edu/diversity

Cedar Valley Inclusion

12 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

Cedar Valley Inclusion

DEErE WOrkS TO

diversify ITS WOrkFOrCE COMMUnITy Text | Jim Offner

Courtesy photo

Gregory Scott at Deere’s Product Engineering Center in Cedar Falls.

A

s a global operation, Deere & Co. cultivates its talent from the world over. The Waterloo operation benefits from what the company reaps from that wide field, the company said. “I think it’s very similar across the U.S. and globally,” said Susan Parker, human resources manager with Deere. “We look for people with technical degrees. We’re an engineering organization and, so, we look for engineers. We also look for people with backgrounds in the manufacturing environment. The Cedar Valley also benefits, Parker said. “We work very hard to promote the great things we have to offer in the Cedar Valley and work in tandem with local organizations to feature what they have to offer,” she said. “We also have employee network groups in Waterloo, as well as women’s networking groups that are also helping to be ambassadors for Deere, as well as the community, to help them feel they belong from Day 1. It helps to have employees come in who are advocates for the company and the area.” kathy Taylor, Deere’s mid-career recruiting manager, said the company works closely with recruiters for a particular community. “Deere does offer a great list of benefits and a competitive salary structure to bring them to the company and community,” Taylor said. She said a diverse workforce is a priority. rosalind Peebles, Deere’s director of global diversity & inclusion, agreed and said the company combs universities looking for job candidates. “I have five on my team who directly support diversity and inclusion, but our recruiting teams have hundreds of employees, and we have a team for each of those universities,” Peebles said. “We try to make sure there’s an

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

Courtesy photo

Angela Nieto at the Tractor Cab & Assembly Operations in Waterloo.

adequate amount of diversity on each team so we can adequately represent ourselves when we do campus recruiting. Our employees are the face of the company on campus.” Angela Nieto, a native of Colombia who earned a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Iowa, is a project manager at the Tractor Cab & Assembly Operations in Waterloo who has been with Deere for 11 years, in various positions. She said Deere’s global presence was an attraction. “I had seen John Deere equipment back in Colombia, especially construction equipment,” Nieto said. “We don’t manufacture that kind of machinery in our country and I thought it would be an exceptional learning opportunity. Also, John Deere’s presence around the world, its great variety of products, and its long history as a company made me confident this was a great place to work.” Nieto said the Cedar Valley was a good place to settle. “We also have five other facilities in this area with different core competencies, so the opportunities for learning and development are tremendous,” she said. “In addition, the school system and the quality of life are at a very high level of performance.” Nieto and husband, Juan Madrigal, have two children. She rates the Cedar Valley as “excellent” in terms of being a diverse, multifaceted place to live. “I don’t need to go farther than my doorstep to see it,” she said. “Just in my block we have people from Canada, Mexico, India, China and different U.S. states. People that have little kids, grown-up kids, engineers, bankers, etc. I also see it at my kids’ school and sporting activities. I see 14 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

it everywhere.” Gregory Scott, dynamic system simulation engineer at Deere’s Product Engineering Center in Cedar Falls, has been with the company for five years. Scott, a native of Chicago with no agriculture background, agreed with Nieto’s assessment of the area. “Growing up without a farming background, I originally thought it would be difficult to learn and operate the equipment,” he said. “In reality, the highly sophisticated equipment is built in such a way that it is very user friendly and easy to learn. Even early in my career I felt like my opinion mattered, and when I didn’t understand a system that was intended to be intuitive, I worked with a team of engineers to improve the product.” Scott, who has an engineering background and earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa and a master’s at Purdue University, said he adapted to live in the Cedar Valley readily. “I grew to love the Cedar Valley very fast,” he said. “I actually liked the slower pace of things compared to Chicago. Simply walking down the street people say hello. It was something that surprised me at first but I really liked it. John Deere brought me to the Cedar Valley but the community is truly what keeps me here.” The ethnic mix is an asset of the area, Scott said. “The Cedar Valley has more diversity than other rural communities in Iowa,” he said. “With that being said, there is room for growth. I have noticed that the majority of people here are very accepting of other ethnicities and cultures.”

Taking teamwork to new levels At John Deere, we believe in the ongoing exchange of ideas. That’s how we’ve become a global leader, known for innovative, breakthrough technologies and respected for our inclusive, employee focused culture. As we continue to strive for diversity and inclusion in our workplace, our community and with our dealers and suppliers, we do our best to make each life we touch, a better life overall. That’s what being a great global citizen is all about. It’s the way we are and the way we’ve always been. www.JohnDeere.com

Cedar Valley Inclusion

MUSlIMS put down roots In CEDAr VAllEy Text | Karen Heinselman

O

n a rainy Tuesday in August, Dr. raja and Salma Akbar carried bulging trash bags out to a trash bin. The Akbars, charter members of the Masjid al-noor Islamic Center in Waterloo, volunteered to clean up after a major feast attended by 600 people. Such a large gathering would have been impossible in the past. For several decades, area Muslims met in a smaller building on West Second Street in Waterloo. And before that, Muslim families rented an apartment in Cedar Falls so they would have a place to pray.

Photo by Rick Chase

16 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

Mohammed Fahmy at the Islamic center in Waterloo.

Cedar Valley Inclusion

OUr rOOTS ArE In PAkISTAn. OUr BrAnCHES ArE HErE.

-SAlMA AkBAr

Member of the Islamic center in Waterloo.

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

A newly constructed Islamic center opened on Sager Avenue earlier this year to accommodate a growing Muslim population that may now total 5,000 in the Cedar Valley, representing a variety of countries and ethnicities: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Syria, Egypt, Bosnia, Turkey. “I think the new building has made a new difference,” Salma said. “Each time we get together it’s really a celebration because we are so happy in this new place.” The new Islamic center, one of three in the area, is a source of pride for many area Muslims. Mohammed Fahmy, a prayer leader at the center, fields calls from Muslims curious about the Islamic center and religious education opportunities for children.

contribute to Muslims’ quality of life. “I think Muslims will come where the opportunity for work is,” Fahmy said. An industrial technology professor and former department head at the University of Northern Iowa, Fahmy immigrated to the United States with his family in 1982 on good faith that a job would follow. One did. “I immigrated to facilitate a better future for my kids,” Fahmy said. Raja Akbar, a native of Lahore, Pakistan, followed his older brother to Independence in 1972. The young psychiatrist, like many other professionals, came to enroll in a medical training program that allowed him to establish

Growing Muslim population may now total 5,000 in the Cedar Valley. “So they call. Many of them will call before they move,” Fahmy said. But in all likelihood, the new Islamic center will serve as a complement to the most compelling reason professionals, academics and entrepreneurs move to the Cedar Valley, according to Fahmy and the Akbars. They say Muslims come to the Cedar Valley looking for jobs and the chance to build a good life. Having an organized, religious community and a new place to meet and pray is just one of many factors that

residency in the U.S. by working in an underserved community. Akbar accepted a job at the Mental Health Institute, rising to the role of superintendent. In 1975, Raja married Salma in Pakistan. The couple moved to Waterloo in 1983. All things considered, the transition from living in a large city, population 10 million, to rural America went smoothly. “It worked out fine,” Raja said. “I don’t really miss being in a big city.”

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

Photo by Rick Chase Sharon Conn, left, of Waterloo receives readings on the hijab from Ibrahim Zaghar, right, during an open house of the Islamic center in Waterloo.

In those early years, the Akbars had to be deliberate about meeting other Pakistani couples. The Akbars also made an effort to integrate into their new community but it was always nice to see someone from home. “If I saw someone with dark hair I would look back and want to see who it was,” Salma said. The couple enjoyed fellowship with other Muslims at the mosque in Cedar Rapids and eventually helped start an Islamic center in the Cedar Valley. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, businessmen and entrepreneurs from Pakistan and India joined doctors and engineers in the Cedar Valley, adding to the Muslim and south Asia population, the Akbars said. The Akbars never expected to settle in Northeast Iowa, but over the years, Raja kept accepting positions that would tie his family to the area. Before he knew it, the Cedar Valley became home. “Then we decided we liked it here and there is no reason to move,” Raja said. Salma maintains a deep appreciation for her homeland, but Iowa is where she raised a family — three sons and one daughter — and where her life is. Raja continues to work for Psychiatric Associates, and Salma, who recently earned a master’s degree in English literature, is working on her first novel. Both are active at the Masjid al-Noor Islamic center. “Our roots are in Pakistan. Our branches are here,” Salma said.

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

rights group reflects Community

inclusion trend

Text | Pat Kinney

M

any in Waterloo and the Cedar Valley used to see diversity and inclusion as a “black and white” issue. Not any more. It’s brown, too. And Bosnian. The demographics of Waterloo and the Cedar Valley have changed over the past 10-15 years. So, too, has the makeup of the Waterloo Human Rights Commission, a microcosm of the community. “There’s always been a concerted effort on the part of the commission to try to find those who represent the broad community,” said the Rev. Abraham Funchess Jr., executive director and a former commission member. The commission reviews discrimination complaints and promotes diversity, inclusion and tolerance. It was founded in the late 1960s during a period of racial strife in Waterloo. While still wrestling with race issues between Waterloo’s indigenous African-American and white populations, the commission makeup has changed to reflect an influx of Latinos as well as Bosnian refugees. “It’s becoming a little easier now, a little more fashionable, to talk about some of these other ethnic groups in Waterloo — which I consider to be the diversity capital of the whole state because of our concentration of (minority) numbers,” Funchess said. “It’s important we focus on those other ethnic groups, outside of black or white. “Obviously we have a pretty big Bosnian population,” he said, and the area has seen a steady stream of new Latino residents for nearly two decades. Funchess was director of the Iowa Division on the Status of African Americans from 2006-2010. Over those four years, he said, “from the time I was on the (city) commission until now, coming back as director, there’s just been more discussion, locally as well as on the state level, on the importance of multiculturalism, and the idea of making sure we’re tapping into all the resources that are available.

20 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

Cedar Valley Inclusion

“We do see multiculturalism as a strength. It’s not a weakness,” he said. “In order to maximize the potential of the whole community, it requires that individuals of different backgrounds respect people of different cultures.” A subcommittee of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber, the local economic development organization, shares that view, past Alliance board chair Jean Trainor said. Over less than a year, the group has been planning how to bring that “hospitality” into the workplace, creating a more welcoming environment for workers from established and newer ethnic groups that have broadened Waterloo’s and the larger Cedar Valley’s diversity base. “Our group is really focused on employment, and the business perspective,” said Trainor, and will need other organizations’ help to foster a welcoming environment. “We’re not able to do everything when it comes to inclusion,” she said. “There’s a lot of good work going on, for example, with the Human Rights Commission. We want to make sure that we’re connecting with others that are out there doing the same kind of work and we can focus on employment. “Our objective with the Alliance is to be focused on tal-

ent development, to make sure once we get through this great recession we’re going to have a workforce ready, “ Trainor said. “We need to make sure we’re making use of the talents of all people in our community, and also to connect employers with employees they may not have thought of in the past.” A Sept. 23 summit was planned with about 100 local employers on the issue. The Human Rights Commission has taken a lead on inclusion. Waterloo is about 80 percent Caucasian, including a minority Bosnian population; 14 percent African-American and 4 percent Latino or Hispanic. The 10-member commission is 60 percent Caucasian, including 10 percent Bosnian, 20 percent African-American and 10 percent Latino or Hispanic. “I like it,” Funchess said. “Heterogeneity, as opposed to homogeneity, is a little more exciting, entertaining even. And I think our quality of life improves as we begin to appreciate the differences that God puts in our world. Hospitality means justice — treating people with justice, treating people with respect. “And of course, for business to tap into diversity, I would

This publication takes a look at the many diversities in the Cedar Valley and how we all benefit from having an inclusive community.

Photo by Tiffany Rushing The Waterloo Human Rights commissioners reflect the diversity of the larger Cedar Valley community. Shown here on the steps of the former eastside Waterloo Public Library are bottom row, left to right, Sulejman Dizdarevic, Jennifer Lara, Dustin Cox and chairwoman Rhonda McRina. Back row, left to right, the Rev. Abraham Funchess Jr., executive director, and Sharina Sallis, Ricardo Uranga Jr., the late Beth Huffman, who died Aug. 19, and Steven Buckles.

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

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say that would strengthen their bottom line as they reach out to various communities,” Funchess said, in terms of workforce quality and community support. The newer members of the Human Rights Commission bring talents and diversity to their group. Commissioner Sulejman Dizdarevic works at John Deere and attends the University of Northern Iowa. “I’m Bosnian and there’s a big group of Bosnians here in Waterloo, about 3,500 or so,” he said. He was approached to serve on the commission in 2009. “I and many people from Bosnia came from the (civil) war” in the former Yugoslavia. “When we came here most people didn’t know the language. I didn’t know the language,” he said. They learned the language, started small businesses and younger people went to school. “We learned about other groups in Waterloo too,” he said. The Bosnian community’s challenge from Day 1 in the Cedar Valley, Dizdarevic said, is to “teach our kids our values from our culture. Hopefully they will keep that and borrow from American culture and other people, other groups here in the United States,” he said. “We work hard to better ourselves. By bettering ourselves we better our community,” he said. “My goal as a commissioner is to help all people.” Commissioner Ricardo Uranga Jr. represents the Hispanic community but his interest is not limited to any one individual group. “There are many things I would love to see in the community: The involvement of all, not just part of the community, but all of Waterloo. Sometimes we focus on one (ethnic) community. My intent is to involve not only African-Americans, not only Bosnians, but Hispanic and all those races out there.” New commissioner Sharina Sallis returned to Waterloo after several years in the U.S. Navy and is a 1991 Persian Gulf War veteran. She has a sense of history of what the commission has meant to the community in promoting inclusion and diversity. She also has a vision of what the commission and the community can do. “I was kind in awe of some of the past directors, like Betty Jean Furgerson,” Sallis said. “Those things touched me and inspired me, and when I moved back to Waterloo, I said I was going to be part of this community. “This is new,” Sallis said of the commission’s new, more demographically representative makeup. ”What my hope is, is that we do have a way of putting our stamp on this community, so they can look back and say, ‘This commission was active in making an all-inclusive Waterloo where everyone felt welcome, inclusive and not segregated.’ I’d like to see those barriers dissolved and we all come together and have a great community for everybody. “I think it’s (happening) slow, but I do think now is the time for change,” Sallis said. “It is a different Waterloo than what I was used to seeing when I was younger. But it is a lot more pro-active now than I’ve ever seen it before.”

Keeping the Cedar Valley informed is a great undertaking, and one we don’t take lightly. The community relies on The Courier in print, online and now even on mobile devices to deliver quality, up-to-date information every day. Understanding our community starts with our commitment to serving individuals. We are proud to stand at the forefront of breaking news and information that has an impact on the residents of the Cedar Valley both locally and nationally. First.Best. It’s what the Cedar Valley expects. It’s what we deliver... Anytime. Anywhere.

anytime. anywhere.

Cedar Valley Inclusion

physical disability hasn’t kept teri lynn from

s u c cessful radio career Text | Andrew Wind

24 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

At right: Teri Lynn Jorgensen at KCVM radio station in Cedar Falls.

Photo by Tiffany

T

eri Lynn Jorgensen is an enduring presence on Cedar Valley airwaves after more than two decades as a radio personality. She’s also an example of someone who has built a successful career despite a lifelong physical disability. The KCVM 93.5 FM disc jockey was born with spina bifida and has always had difficulty walking because of the degenerative condition. “My left leg is one inch shorter than my right,” Jorgensen said. She walked with a “definite, pronounced limp” and has been using a wheelchair since undergoing two surgeries in 2002. The 46-year-old is used to people focusing on what they think her limitations are. But she said “‘can’t’ is not in my vocabulary” because of her mom. “Toots, you can do whatever you want to do,” Jorgensen remembers her mom, Pat, always telling her while she was growing up. She faced cruel teasing from some children but always got great support among family and friends in dealing with her physical difficulties. “They didn’t see it as a disability.”

Cedar Valley Inclusion

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

I THInk yOU nEED TO lOOk AT THE EMPlOyEE, nOT THE DISABIlITy, AnD THE JOB THEy CAn DO. -JIM COlOFF Mix 96 owner and general manager.

Jorgensen found the same support from Cedar Falls High School teacher Merel Picht, who encouraged her to go into radio. Her workplace also is a supportive place. Jorgensen called 9.5 FM owner and general manager Jim Coloff an “out-of-the-box-thinker” who is “very good at working with me at removing barriers.” “I think you need to look at the employee, not the disability, and the job they can do,” Coloff said. “It’s easy to kind of go into shutdown mode” when considering the workplace requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. But basically, he said you need to “work with the employee and accommodate their needs.” In Jorgensen’s case, Coloff found it fairly easy to make modifications for a wheelchair. “We had to do a little bit of

remodeling,” he said, changing an entryway and making a bathroom handicapped accessible. With plans already under way for some other building remodeling, a wheelchair-accessible office for Jorgensen was added. “She didn’t ask for anything special beyond what she needs to do her job,” Coloff said. Some tax credits are available for such improvements, although he didn’t make use of those. Another expense that might worry employers is high health insurance premium costs they may end up paying. Jorgensen said she has always carried her own insurance and several years ago learned about Medicaid for Employed People with Disabilities. Available to those who use durable medical equipment, it cut her monthly premiums from $00 to $9. Jorgensen didn’t always encounter support in the office at jobs with a number of radio stations. “you have to develop a pretty thick skin,” she said. A lot of insensitive comments have been directed at her over the years. She strives to educate people with her responses, hoping to make them more aware of people with disabilities. The worst incident, though, involved her last employer. “I actually lost a job because I had to have two back surgeries within nine weeks and was told I could not be kept on the payroll,” Jorgensen said. Coloff doesn’t believe Jorgensen’s disability would have made it easier to hire someone else. He noted that employers sometimes face other kinds of difficulties in working with individual employees that can be at least as challenging as dealing with physical disabilities. “In some cases we’re amazed at the things (Jorgensen) can do that we didn’t think she could do,” Coloff said. “you can’t really make judgments by looking at someone. What you see isn’t what you get.”

iowans with 11,05 The number of Iowans reporting a mental disaBilities disability, such as learning, remembering, or concentrating. 6,665 The number of people in Iowa who have some kind of disability. They represent 16.6% of the civilian noninstitutionalized population age 5 and over. Source:

Iowa Data Center

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10,99 The number of Iowans who reported that a disability made it difficult to work a job or business.

1.9% The percent of Iowans with a disability who have a high school diploma or higher.

Cedar Valley Inclusion

asian/pacific

americans in iowa

49,656 The number of Iowa residents in 2005 who say they are Asian or Asian in combination with one ore more other races. The group comprises 1.7 percent of the total population. The number of Iowa residents who say they are Asian alone was 43,100.

2,290 The number of Iowa residents in 2005 who say they are native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander or native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander in combination with one or more other races. This group comprises 0.1 percent of the total population. The number of Iowa residents who say they are native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander alone was 1,287.

96,480 The projected number of Iowa residents who will identify themselves as either Asian or native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander in 2030 according to Woods and Poole Economics, Inc.

Growing up in Waterloo taught me about bringing together people from different backgrounds. Now, I help students from diverse backgrounds find their way at Wartburg College and in the Cedar Valley community. I’m a people person. This is me. This is what I was meant to do. Wartburg helped me discover that.

5,205 The estimated number of foreign-born people from Vietnam in 2005. Next to Mexico,Vietnam is the leading country of birth for the state’s foreign-born. Also among the top 10 countries for Iowa’s foreign-born population are Korea, India, China and the Philippines.

— Krystal Madlock, Director of Student Diversity Programs

This is my Wartburg story.

What’s yours? www.wartburg.edu/ourstory

Source:

Iowa Data Center

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CedarValleyInclusion.com | 27

Cedar Valley Inclusion

Tyson’s workforce

reflects and attracts

diversity Text | John Molseed

28 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

At right: Tyson's lead chaplain Mary Robinson in Waterloo.

Photo by Matthew Putney

A

visitor to the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Waterloo will see signs in four languages before entering the main plant. The plant employs one of the most diverse workforces in the Cedar Valley with more than a dozen cultures represented in its staff. Teri Wray, plant spokesperson, said the workforce is a reflection of the diversity in the Cedar Valley. However, Tyson is helping cast the image it’s reflecting. Refugees from Burma have been able to move into the Cedar Valley in the last year-and-a-half because of jobs available to them at the plant. The same happened about 15 years ago for Bosnian refugees. Carl McGrone, a 21-year veteran at the plant, said it’s been rewarding to watch the plant have an affect on the demographics in Waterloo. A Bosnian bakery sits between work and home for him, he said. “Sometimes I stop by, get some cheesecake,” he said. In the coming months, the area could see similar Burmese businesses open because of the recent influx of immigrants to the area, Wray said. McGrone was hired at the plant when it first opened as Iowa Beef Processors. He said the number of cultures represented by his colleagues has increased in recent years. The plant operates more efficiently than when he first started despite any language barriers in the workforce “It’s a challenge,” McGrone said. “We overcome them by interpreters.” “For every language spoken at the plant, we have one person who speaks that language and enough English to help us communicate,” Wray said. Burmese will likely be the fifth major language to join the other four prominent languages in which company communications and announcements are printed. The other four most-spoken languages are English, Spanish, Bosnian and Vietnamese. The mix of cultures is celebrated at the plant during major holidays and special food days. McGrone said he enjoys sharing a taste of the food he grew up with.

Cedar Valley Inclusion

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

“It’s good for me to share with them my experiences,� he said, adding he learns a lot from his co-workers sharing their cultures too. Elena reader, plant human resources manager, entered her personal recipe into a recent salsa contest among the latino employees. “I’m a strong believer that food brings us together,� reader said. Food and celebrations help bring the employees together, but the tasks at hand also create cohesion, McGrone said. “It doesn’t matter where people are from,� he said. “After it’s all said and done, we’ve all learned to get along for one purpose.� Wray said the plant hires locally, but when the positions that need to be filled outpace local applicants, the company looks outward. The Burmese refugees are the most recent example. “Those are also people who need jobs,� she said. Diversity in the plant goes beyond cultural identities, Wray added. The company hires veterans and offers opportunities to people with disabilities. “Having so many backgrounds in our workforce will only make us stronger,� she said.

Photo by Tiffany Rushing

At left: Carl McGrone outside the Waterloo plant.

Photo by Dawn Sagert

At right: Poe Beer, left, now of Waterloo, is interviewed through interpreter Pum Piang, right, at Tyson Foods in Waterloo.

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

Terry Phillips

paving way for

T

erry Phillips’ father was known as the dean of Waterloo’s minority construction contractors. Now, Terry Phillips is a successful construction contractor who happens to be a minority. From paving work in downtown Waterloo, to Hawkeye Community College, to the city of Cedar Falls’ new Public Works building by the Target Distribution Center, Phillips, who runs DC Corp., has arrived with an established firm in the local construction community. And he’s “paying it forward,” so to speak. His workforce is a rainbow of black, white Anglo and Latino workers. It hasn’t been easy. Phillips, a 1970 East High school graduate, broke into the business working alongside his father, legendary local contractor Denman Phillips, in high school. About the time his father retired in the 1980s, he and brother Denman Jr. went into business on their own. The company benefitted from the city’s minority business participation goals on city contract work. But Phillips said, “I’ve been told even if it wasn’t for the city participation or minority goals, my business has established itself as just a legitimate contractor.”

32 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

At right: Terry Phillips of DC Construction at a project at Hawkeye Community College.

Text | Pat Kinney

Photo by Matthew Putney

inclusion

Cedar Valley Inclusion

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

His workforce is a rainbow of black, white Anglo and Latino workers.

Phillips credited several white majority contractors with trusting the quality of his company’s work and giving him a chance. Among those locally are Gale “Cork� Peterson of Peterson Contractors Inc. of Reinbeck and Milt Dakovich of Aspro Inc. of Waterloo, Ed Larson of Larson Construction in Independence and Chuck Benton of Benton’s Ready-Mixed Concrete in Cedar Falls, among many others. “Terry does well,� Peterson said. “He’s got good people, he manages his work. He’s like all of us: He never has enough work or too much; that’s how contractors are, you know? Also, Phillips said, he credits his employees.

“They’re the ones who make it happen,� he said. �All I do is coordinate, bid and sign checks...and get the gray hair.� Phillips said his firm had its doubters but has proved its mettle. “Competitors in the paving business, they know we’re here. They know we’re a viable player,� he said. “He’s been at it a long time,� Peterson said. “I don’t consider him a ‘developing’ contractor.� “I couldn’t have done all this without the influence and the schooling of my father, the late Denman Phillips, and with dad and my brother looking down over us,� Terry said.

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

local priest sees area’s diversity

up close 36 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

Cedar Valley Inclusion

The Rev. Jose Luis Comparan at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Waterloo.

Photo by Brandon Pollock

Text | Jim Offner

V

irtually every time he celebrates Mass at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Waterloo, the Rev. Jose Luis Comparan tries to insert a joke. The joke may be old or new. Sometimes it’s a variant on a joke he has tried before. None of that matters. Worshippers, on cue and in unison, unleash a hearty laugh from the pews. “Father Jose,” as he is known among the more than 700

parishioners at Queen of Peace, flashes a sly grin only a comedian cognizant of his on-stage achievement can know. Perhaps the humor serves as a defense against the sober responsibilities of his job, not only as pastor of Queen of Peace but also as vicar of the Hispanic Ministry in Waterloo. Or maybe it’s symbolic of his desire to bring together a

CedarValleyInclusion.com | 37

Cedar Valley Inclusion

parish comprised of many cultures. In fact, he says being a unifier is his most important function. “It’s pastor of all the community, and it’s so diverse that I have to be aware of that all the time,” he said. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 3.7 percent of the population of Black Hawk County is Hispanic, up from 2.6 percent in 2000. The ethnic balance is perhaps most acute in Queen of Peace Parish, which counts as many as 300 Hispanic families among about 700 families on its registry. But that diversity transcends a simple Anglo-Hispanic dynamic, Comparan said. “It’s very diverse within the Hispanic community, as well,” he said, pointing out that, even among the Hispanic population, there are about five native languages spoken. “I have come in contact with families that speak a different native language, and that’s their first language,” he said. “They’re second language is either Spanish or English. So, it’s eye-opening and also gives me the reality of the richness that is out there.” It doesn’t stop there, he said. “We also have a lot of diversity within the already-established community,” Comparan said. “Within the Anglo community, we have Irish, German, Italian and there are other groups like the Latino, Vietnamese, Chinese, so I

know there’s more diversity than we imagine, and that brings a lot of richness.” Comparan said he likes to learn something about each group. “For example, if I learn a Chinese phrase like ‘God bless you,’ I try to learn and remember it so the next time I see some people, I greet them in it, just to show a gesture of appreciation for their culture. “So, my job is to be pastor of the people here who are so diverse.” He’s also a facilitator, as he demonstrated in the fallout of the 2008 federal immigration raid at the Agriprocessors meat packing plant in Postville. In the wake of the raid, Comparan’s church held a vigil, which attracted about 100 people, all of whom clutched flickering candles in tribute to the nearly 400 workers who were detained in the raid. Comparan, 46, a native of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, moved to nearby Brownsville, Texas, when he was 11. He was ordained in Marshalltown in 2003 and came to Waterloo in 2006. He was a vocal critic of the Postville raid, calling it an ineffective fix that neglected larger related problems that needed attention. He also did what he could to offer help to all those involved, he said. “First was to bring spiritual comfort and support,” he

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The Rev. Jose Luis Comparan in front of the Queen of Peace Parish in Waterloo.

Photo by Brandon Pollock

Cedar Valley Inclusion

said. “From there and that approach, we would find out if there were any other basic needs they had and we found a lot. I tried to see what was more important for the people — the spiritual or the basic. From that moment, I realized it was both. They were holding onto God at the same time they were seeking ways to survive and to overcome all the tension.” Some of the people Comparan helped have since moved on. Others have stayed in the Cedar Valley. “Some came to Waterloo and some of the local organizations and ourselves were able to help them get established,” he said. Those who remain are numerous and often need help, if only to have a listening ear at the ready, Comparan said. They don’t have to be members of the parish or even Catholic, either, he said. “When we come in contact with non-Catholics, it would be related to social issues and, like anyone else, we help them in any way we can,” he said. “Sometimes they already have a community of faith and I find out because they share about it. Other times, I don’t know whether they are in a faith community or not, but we invite them, as well, if we know they are not. Comparan said he sees the diversity of the Cedar Valley firsthand and likes what the community has shown him. “I’ve always had an open mind in terms of that, because I see the community at Masses,” he said. “I’m always open for opportunity and was happy to see diversity was more than just the Anglo-Hispanic. Within each group there is a lot of diversity. So, to me, that was a positive thing. It was an opportunity to learn more about all the different cultures.”

Latinos in iowa 151,544 The estimated Latino population of Iowa as of April 1, 2010, making people of Latino origin the state’s largest race or ethnic minority. Latinos constitute 5.0 percent of the state’s total population.

415,890 The projected Latino population of Iowa as of July 1, 2040. According to the 2011 Woods & Pool Economics Inc., Latinos will constitute 11.9 percent of the state’s total population on that date.

113,816 The number of Iowa residents age 5 and older in 2009 who speak Spanish at home Among those who speak Spanish at home, more than two-thirds say they speak English “very well.”

58.6% The percentage of Iowa Latinos age 25 and over, who had at least a high school education in 2009.

2,455 The number of Latino-owned firms between 2002 and 2007. Source:

Iowa Data Center CedarValleyInclusion.com | 39

Cedar Valley Inclusion

at t i t u d e

key to director’s success in workplace

40 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

At right: Chris Hoffman outside of Pathways Behavorial Services in Waterloo.

C

hris Hoffman gave a brief tour as he led the way to his office. “This whole hallway all the way down is substance abuse counseling,” said the executive director of Pathways Behavioral Services. He stopped at a crossroads. Continuing straight down a hallway would bring you to the agency’s 18-bed residential treatment unit, he said. Or take the first right to find prevention staff, which works with schools, policy and tobacco in six counties. He then made his way upstairs to the administrative spaces. “Most nonprofits don’t get a skylight and everything,” Hoffman noted, pointing to the ceiling at the University Avenue location. Fellow employees and visitors often forget he is blind. After 13 years as director, those who question his abilities seem few and far between. The Dunkerton native was born with congenital glaucoma. Until age 13, he could see to ride a bike and drive a tractor. Surgery failed to fix the issue. His brother also is blind. Sitting at home doing nothing was never an option, he said. They were expected to do chores, and Hoffman raised hogs to earn extra cash. He spent a summer working at the petting zoo at the National Cattle Congress grounds.

Photo by Tiffany Rushing

Text | Tina Hinz

Cedar Valley Inclusion

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

“That attitude, I guess, got me pointed in the right direction a long time ago,” Hoffman, 50, said. He refers to his career choice as “pragmatic.” One may have the intelligence to earn a degree, but a job in the field is not always practical, he said. Counseling was something he felt he could do well, and his employers over the years have believed in multiple ways to complete jobs and accepted reasonable accommodation. “I didn’t really make any bones about it at the inter-

42 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

views,” said Hoffman, whose professional career began in 1985. “A few things would have to be done differently.” Some tasks he realistically cannot do, he admits, such as sorting the mail. Others, he adapts to or makes do. His computer is equipped with a voice output system to read email. Occasionally, he has to ask for help when the computer can’t figure out a word or format a document. When putting together a lengthy report, he first types notes in Braille. He co-writes documents with grant writer Vicki Mueller, and they swap tips for improvement. As part of a checks and balances system, expenses pass through a couple of managers before he signs off on the payment. Travel to meetings can be a challenge. However, interns through the University of Northern Iowa social work department double as chauffeurs. “The return they get on that is they get to meet all these people,” he said. “They’re there with me. They get to watch this process.” Alice Baruth, supervisor of the Pathways prevention team, remembers when Hoffman was one of about six candidates who interviewed for his position in 1998. “He was willing to deal with any issues that we had,” she recalled. “He didn’t back down from questions. He had ideas for how he would handle situations. It’s not like he’s a novelty. He just interviewed the best. He’s very good at what he does, and he’s really been able to grow the agency.” Hoffman has gained respect beyond the Pathways community. During the last legislative session, he was called three times to testify at the Iowa Capitol about changes to the mental health system. He has been appointed by the Department of Human Services to serve on a mental health redesign work group. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, gardening and reading. In addition, two years ago he visited “various projects” in Nicaragua with a group of UNI social work students and continues to devise ways to distribute psychiatric medications to those who need stabilization there. He is a member of Martin Lodge No. 624. Hoffman also has become vocal on issues relating to kids with disabled parents or siblings of disabled kids. His middle child, Mitchell, 17, was born at 28 weeks and has been diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. He uses a wheelchair and now stays in housing through Comprehensive Systems Inc. “If you’re in that situation, you need to be thinking about the fact that sometimes you’ll be focusing on the person with the disability in the family a lot,” he said. “It’s important you remember you have other kids, too, and they have their own things going on and their own needs. Don’t let them think whatever they need is secondary.” Hoffman and his wife, Vicky, have two other children, Tristan, 18, and Meredith, 14.

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

diversity Text | Matthew Wilde

“D

on’t ask, don’t tell” is history. In the minds of state and local military officials, it’s been a nonissue for quite some time. The government policy established in 1993 forbid openly gay, lesbian or bisexual people from serving in the military. It also prohibited the military from asking potential and current service members about their sexual orientation and allowed homosexuals to serve — without fear of harassment or discrimination — as long as they remained in the closet. Congress passed legislation late last year to repeal the rule. President Barack Obama, along with top military leaders, certified the armed forces were ready for the change in July. It went into effect September 20. Iowa military officials applaud the action, saying more diversity in the military is a good thing. Plus, it could be a boon for recruiting. Col. Greg Hapgood, spokesman for the Iowa Army National Guard, said the military is a microcosm of society, meaning homosexuals have always served. However, keeping quiet about one’s sexuality isn’t as big of a deal today as it was decades ago, Hapgood said, and discrimination of any form isn’t tolerated. Today’s soldiers are more worried about protecting the country than if a fellow service member is gay or straight, he said.

44 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

At right: Capt. Forrest Moore, company commander of the Waterloo U.S. Army Recruiting Company.

big step forward

Photo by Dawn Sagert

in military takes a

Cedar Valley Inclusion

CedarValleyInclusion.com | 45

Cedar Valley Inclusion

Lincoln Elementary students at the Army recruiting tent at the Thunder in the Valley Air Show in Waterloo.

Photo by Dawn Sagert

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46 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

Cedar Valley Inclusion

Nearly 3,000 Iowa Guard members returned from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan recently without an incident pertaining to sexual orientation, Hapgood said. “It’s really a nonissue in Iowa. We’re pretty broadminded people,” Hapgood said. “We’re a military force that looks for talented teammates. If you can do the job, you’re accepted.” Potentially, Hapgood said abolishing “don’t ask, don’t tell” could encourage individuals who wanted to join the military but didn’t because of the rule. “Previously people might have felt like they didn’t belong and now they’re able to serve,” Hapgood said. Capt. Forrest Moore, company commander of the Waterloo U.S. Army Recruiting Company, said it’s too soon to tell if repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” will boost already good recruiting numbers. Exact figures weren’t available. Moore said the policy hasn’t been an issue since he started recruiting last November. “We’ll continue to process qualified people into the U.S. Army regardless of sexual orientation,” Moore said. That’s good news to Troy Price, executive director of One Iowa, the state’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization. It’s committed to the full equality for LGBT individuals. The change in military thinking brings the country one step closer to that goal, Price said. “We couldn’t be happier that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ (has gone away). Now people can be themselves as they defend the country,” Price said. “I certainly think more will be willing to serve now.” Obama previously said “don’t ask, don’t tell” effectively undermined military readiness and violated American principles of fairness and equality. “As Commander in Chief, I have always been confident that our dedicated men and women in uniform would transition to a new policy in an orderly manner that preserves unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness,” Obama said. “... As of September 20, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country. Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.” Local Marine Corps and National Guard recruiters said this week’s milestone, while significant, won’t affect their jobs. Signing smart, motivated, athletic and patriotic young men and women is more important than sexual orientation. Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Gibbs, detachment officer for the Waterloo Marine Corps Recruiting Station, has 31 recruits ready for boot camp. “We’re looking for highly qualified individuals. As long as they fit those parameters, that’s good enough for me,” he said.

African-American

population in iowa

at a glance Top 5 counties: African-American Population 2009 1980 Polk County

24,133

13,884

Scott

11,946

6,453

Black Hawk

10,871 8,733

Linn 7,990 Johnson

2,962

5,460

Woodbury

1,019

Top 5 cities: African-American Population 2000 1980 Des Moines

16,025

Waterloo

9,529 8,398

Davenport

9,093

6,229

Cedar Rapids 4,481

2,743

Iowa City

13,164

2,333

Sioux City

1,015

3,548 The number of Iowa African-American veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2009. Source:

Iowa Data Center, 2006

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

networking

opportunities starting to emerge for LGBT community

48 | CedarValleyInclusion.com

Organizers of other LGBT resource and community groups in eastern Iowa say that’s not because there aren’t enough gays and lesbians in Northeast Iowa, however. “I definitely think Waterloo/Cedar Falls is large enough; I just think nobody’s been able to organize a group,” said Arthur Breur, editor-in-chief of ACCESSline, a monthly, statewide LGBT newspaper. “My guess is that nobody up there feels the need for that kind of an organization there ... and if they do, it’s just a matter of doing it.” For some, the local bar Kings and Queens is the only place around to meet people, but that’s not ideal from a professional networking standpoint, said Eastern Iowa Pride founder Renee Evans of Marion. “In a bar setting, you can’t get to know anybody,” she said. Some, like state chapters of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, are good for networking but exist more as a support group for LGBT individuals and their families and friends. “Sometimes that’s the first place where they learn where some other resources are or ask questions,” said Diane Peterson, chairwoman of PFLAG Linn County and Beyond. Ultimately, Northeast Iowa has work to do in regards to professional networking opportunities for the LGBT community. But there’s hope that a group like that could happen. “It’s very easy to start them,” Breur said. “The important thing is to have people who are responsible enough to keep the organization going.”

At right: Sara Holmes, left, and Ellie Hail, co presidents of UNI Proud at UNI in Cedar Falls.

A

s she described the challenges faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and ally students, and briefly described the programs the university has put in place, Melissa Payne was realistic about why they were all at the Rainbow Reception. “We didn’t want a long program because we want socializing and networking to be the focus of this,” said Payne, coordinator of the University of Northern Iowa’s student assistance and outreach program. With the new school year just kicking off, networking was indeed the reason student and community groups set up booths inside the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center for the second annual event. “It’s a great way to meet people,” said Aleigh Glazier, who is involved with a few organizations there to meet and attract LGBT UNI students. “(It’s to) say there are liberal, welcoming groups.” For students coming from smaller or less-welcoming places, that kind of gathering is a huge self-esteem boost. “Particularly for new students, it’s great for them to see other people, (like) out couples who are faculty and staff,” Payne said. “It ends up being a place where they can identify some people who can be great allies to them.” UNI Proud, the campus LGBT-and-more group, has been around since the 1980s connecting students with each other and with campus and community resources. “Proud definitely serves as a middle ground,” said copresident Ellie Hail. Outside of a school setting, however, networking opportunities for the LGBT community in the Cedar Valley are few and far between.

Photo by Matthew Putney

Text | Amie Steffen

Cedar Valley Inclusion

CedarValleyInclusion.com | 49

native americans

3

in iowa

Number of American Indian areas in Iowa, which include the Omaha, the Sac and Fox/ Meskwaki, and the Winnebago. The Sac and Fox/Meskwaki Settlement is the only one in Iowa with residents totaling 669 in 2000.

13,248

1,150

The estimated number of Native Americans in Iowa in 2009. Census Bureau estimates a 39.4% increase in population between 2000 and 2009

17,300 The projected Native American population of Iowa in 2040. According to Woods & Pool Economics Inc., Native Americans will constitute 0.5 percent of the states total population on that date.

The number of Iowa residents age 5 and older in 2000 who speak a Native American language at home. Among those residents, 49.6% speak Fox.

748 The number of Iowa American Indian and Alaska Native veterans of the U.S. armed forces in 2009. Source:

Iowa Data Center

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

Veridian Credit Union recognizes that being accepted is important. We embrace this by recruiting, educating and retaining employees who represent and value the members we serve. Our dedication to diversity and inclusion is shown by developing a wide range of innovative, high-quality financial services that meet the needs of our diverse field of membership. Veridian is held accountable to these promises by gathering feedback and finding opportunities to grow throughout the organization. As part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, Veridian is developing a Diversity Supplier program. To learn more, please visit www.veridiancu.org/suppliers. Find exciting employment opportunities at www.veridiancu.org/careers.

www.veridiancu.org

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Cedar Valley Inclusion

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ቫሩሶቀ To take great care of our community, it takes the whole community. That’s why at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare inclusion is more than just this month’s “buzz word” – it’s recognizing the fact that we are all individuals. It extends beyond inclusion to treating others how they would like to be treated – and how they truly deserve to be treated. The richness of our people allows us to learn from one another and provide exceptional care and service for our patients. By investing in programs that promote inclusion, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is simply carrying out the Mission of our sponsors and St. Francis of Assisi himself, who understood that every human being is special. If you would like to be a part of carrying out our Mission, visit WheatonIowa.org/employment to learn about current job opportunities and apply online. Para brindar un óptimo servicio de salud a la comunidad hace falta la participación de toda la comunidad. Por esta razón la cual en Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Inclusión es más que la palabra de moda del mes, significa el reconocimiento de todos los individuos, y va más allá de la inclusión del tratamiento de las personas y como ellas desean que la traten; y la manera o el modo que realmente merecen ser tratadas. La riqueza de nuestra gente nos permite aprender el uno del otro y brindar un tratamiento y servicio excepcional a nuestros pacientes. Al invertir en programas que promueven la inclusión Weathon Franciscan Healthcare lleva a cabo la misión de nuestros promotores y del mismo San Francisco de Asís que veía a cada ser humano como un ser especial. Si usted desea ser parte de la realización de esta misión, visítenos en Wheaton Iowa.org/employment para ver las oportunidades de empleo que hay actualmente y haga su solicitud en línea. Za dobro očuvanje društva potrebno je cjelokupno društvo. To je razlog zbog čega je uključivanje Wheaton franjevačke zdravstvene njege više nego “alarmantno“ –raspoznavanje faktora da smo svi individue. To prevazilazi uključivanje tretmana drugih na način na koji oni žele da budu tretirani – u stvarnosti i kako zaslužuju da budu tretirani. Jačina naših ljudi omogućava nam da učimo jedni od drugih i pruža izvanrednu njegu i uslugu našim pacijentima. Investiranje u programe koji propagiraju uključivanje, Wheaton franjevačka zdravstvena njega jednostavno provodi misiju naših sponzora i Svetog Francisa od Assisi , koji podrazumijeva da je svako ljudsko biće izvanredno. Ako želite biti učesnik u provođenju naše misije, posjetite našu stranicu WheatonIowa.org/zapošljavanje, saznajte više o trenutnim radnim mogućnostima i aplicirajte preko interneta.


Cedar Valley Inclusion - September 2011