Iowa City Better Bridges

I.C. Better Bridges Institute | January 9 - 10, 2019 | The Iowa City (I.C.) Better Bridges Institute is a day-and -a-half event for business owners and managers to learn about diversity and enhance strategies to create more inclusive environments.

I.C. Better Bridges will take place once again on January 9-10, 2019!

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 “Diversity and Inclusion” toolkit booklet during this section. Upon completion of the institute, participants will receive a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate and formal recognition from Tippie College of Business and the Chief Diversity Office at the annual Diversity Catalyst Awards.

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 Chamber of Commerce, and UI Student Government.

Spring 2017 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

History

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.

More than 20 participants spent the first day in a National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) training session on Leadership for Equity & Inclusion. This training was conducted by members of the UI NCBI affiliate. The second day was a discussion-based review of implicit bias, microaggressions, and case studies related to customer service. Each participant also received a “Diversity and Inclusion” toolkit booklet and had the chance to apply for a Micro Grant to support diversity 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.”

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.