Iowa City Better Bridges

The Iowa City (I.C.) Better Bridges Institute is a day-and-a-half day event designed for business owners and managers to learn more about identity, bias, and strategies to have inclusive customer service. Each participant will receive a toolkit during this section. Upon completion of the institute, participants will receive a certificate and formal recognition from the Chief Diversity Office at the annual Diversity Catalyst Awards and Reception.

Key partners in the initiative are the UI Chief Diversity Office, Iowa City Downtown District, UI Tippie College of Business, UI Office of Outreach and Engagement, City of Iowa City, Iowa City Area Development, and Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce.

Information

In response to the 2015-2016 climate sessions, University of Iowa and Iowa City community members partnered to increase education and training for downtown businesses to become more culturally intelligent.

The inaugural Iowa City (I.C.) Better Bridges Institute is a day-and-a-half event designed for business owners and managers to learn more about identity, bias, and strategies to have inclusive customer service. The inaugural Institute was held January 10 – January 11, 2017.

The training consists of content from the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) training session on Leadership for Equity & Inclusion, socially just customer service, equitable hiring practices, leading and managing a diverse team, and inclusive marketing. Each participant also receives a I.C. Better Bridges Toolkit and has the chance to apply for a Micro Grant to support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at their organizations.

“Diversity and inclusion are crucial concepts for owners, managers, and the general business person. Working with a diverse team means new ideas, innovation, and (ultimately) increased profit, but only if that team is well supported and different experiences are acknowledged and valued. This institute provided a wonderful opportunity to discuss those experiences, and receive informative training on best practices,” said Brianna Marcelo, director of Diversity Resources in the Chief Diversity Office. “We appreciate all who participated, and we look forward to continuing to work together with our partners to talk about and implement steps we can all take to continue to improve the climate both on campus and in Iowa City for all members of the community.”

Representatives from the following businesses/organizations received their certificates:

Beadology Iowa

City of Iowa City

Cole's Quality Foods

Englert Civic Theatre

High Ground Cafe

Hills Bank and Trust company

Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce

Iowa City Downtown District

JMI Laboratories

Johnson County

Leepfrog Technologies, Inc.

Prince International

The Java House & Heirloom Salad Co.

Yotopia Frozen Yogurt

Zion Lutheran Church

Representatives from the following businesses/organizations received their certificates:

Cedar Rapids Community School District

FilmScene

Hayek, Moreland, Smith & Bergus, LLP

Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce

Iowa City Area Development Group

Johnson County

Rape Victim Advocacy Program

Summer of the Arts

Think Iowa City

If you have any questions about this program, please contact Bria Marcelo., diversity resources director at diversity-resources@uiowa.edu (link sends e-mail), 319-353-2388.