Iowa City Better Bridges

Iowa City (I.C.) 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.

History & Overview

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.”

2017 Cohort

The 2017 I.C. Better Bridges cohort:

Spring 2017 attendees - group

 

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

2019 Cohort

The 2019 I.C. Better Bridges cohort and invited panelists:

2019 Iowa City (I.C.) Better Bridges Attendees and Panelists

 

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

Contact

If you have any questions about this program, please contact Ken Morris, Jr., diversity resources coordinator at diversity-resources@uiowa.edu, 319-353-2388.