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NOTEBOOK: What are leaders taking into 2021?


This year, the unveiling for our Book of Lists publication looked a little different. It was hosted virtually from the Gerdin Business Building on Iowa State’s campus. And while different from the traditionally party-style event, it offered a unique opportunity to meet someone you didn’t know and learn from them via small breakout rooms on Zoom. 

Angie Dethlefs-Trettin, the chief community impact officer at the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, graciously shared some summaries of the discussions in each of her two breakout rooms. 

What’s a lesson you learned in 2020? 

  • Pivoting business practices proved helpful then – and can be used now.
  • The little things are really what we miss the most – conversations in the hallway, popping into a colleague’s office, etc.
  • Human connection is critical to building community and emotional/mental health.
  • Keeping a routine is helpful for all kinds of reasons.
  • What you say and do – or don’t – matters.
  • Relinquishing control can be good, even when it isn’t a choice.

What do you want to tackle in 2021?

  • We need to double down on collaboration. Consider it radical collaboration.   
  • We need to tackle racial inequality throughout all facets of our community.
  • We need to continue knocking down silos and using them as bridges.
  • We need to take care of each other.
  • We need to think of this as a reset year. We don’t have to go back to normal; we can create a new and even better normal.

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