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Vázquez named United Way of Central Iowa’s chief DEI officer

The United Way of Central Iowa has named its first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

The organization announced today that Rubén Vázquez will join it in the newly created role starting Sept. 19. The position, part of the senior leadership team, will support and continue United Way’s equity initiatives, both internally and externally.

Vázquez, who is a member of the LGBTQIA, the Latino, and the immigrant communities, has more than 20 years of experience in social justice, advocacy, civic engagement, community-based initiatives, and advancing DEI at personal, institutional and systemic levels.

“My philosophy is that diversity is what makes us different, and inclusion is how we incorporate those differences to yield stronger communities of belonging,” said Vázquez, who emigrated to the U.S. with his family 40 years ago from Mexico City.

The United Way of Central Iowa conducted a nationwide search, which was led by a diverse group of board members and community leaders. The organization partnered with the executive search firm Koya Partners in the search.

“We felt strongly that the process of filling this role needed to be thorough,” said Sean Vicente, United Way of Central Iowa’s board chair. “The role reflects our commitment to equity in all we do, and we are very excited to welcome Rubén and look forward to what he will bring to our team and our community.”

Mary Sellers, president of the United Way of Central Iowa, said creating and filling the role was the first thing she asked the board to do when she became president in 2021.

“This work represents a central priority for our organization, and we are confident that Rubén’s combination of expertise and leadership is exactly what our organization needs,” Sellers said.

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