Article provided by: Diane Weber, ALI Class of 2024

Being selected to the Ankeny Leadership Institute Class of 2024 has been an eye-opening and rewarding experience for me. The Ankeny Leadership Institute (ALI) mission is; “To enhance the personal leadership skills of participants, increase their insight on issues facing our community and inspire participants to become involved in community leadership roles.”

My class consisted of 24 individuals who took part in monthly in-person class sessions learning about the Ankeny Community and the positive impacts we could make as leaders. We learned about our Top 5 strengths and how to use them to the best of our abilities in our personal and professional lives. Our classroom settings were held at local Ankeny Businesses such as Accumold, Kreg Tool, On With Life, and Easterseals Iowa. Along with The Ankeny Police Department, The Ankeny Fire Department, and The Des Moines Capital Building. With each session, my classmates and I learned more about the operations of the City of Ankeny, its longstanding history, and the community’s current needs and challenges. One class that I thoroughly enjoyed was learning more about local non-profit organizations such as The Ankeny Community Network, 100 Women Who Care, Can Do Cancer and so many more. I did not realize the number of diverse non-profits that are available to anyone seeking help or for anyone to get involved with. If you have a passion for helping others, there is certainly a place that needs you and you can find one with Engage Ankeny. Engage Ankeny is a newer non-profit that was created by members of a previous ALI class to be used as a “resource hub” for ALL nonprofits to be showcased. Its purpose is to create a directory of all current non-profit organizations that need assistance, and to encourage people to become active community leaders. Our class took an interest in helping Engage Ankeny as part of our class project to bring more awareness to all the local non-profits that exist in our surrounding neighborhood. You can learn more about Engage Ankeny at

It was a challenging task to come up with a Class Project that highlighted the knowledge we learned from our sessions. We decided on a “515 Day of Impact” that would get volunteers to sign up and serve 2-3 local non-profit organizations for 1 day while making a positive impact and spreading the word about Engage Ankeny. Be on the lookout for more information on the “515 Day of Impact” (May 15th, 2024) project and how you can be a part of it on social media by following @AnkenyLeadershipInstitute on Facebook. I never truly understood the leadership strengths I possessed before getting involved with the Ankeny Leadership Institute. I was surprised to see how many other leaders shared the same strengths that I have and how our differences could be used together to accomplish the goal of our class project. I have no doubt that I will use the lessons I learned from this class to grow professionally and personally while serving the needs of the Ankeny Community. Thank you to Blake Campbell, the leadership board, our mentors, sponsors, and all the members of the 2023-2024 ALI Class for making this leadership experience a rewarding one. If you want to learn more about The Ankeny Leadership Institute, visit