United Way of Central Iowa Announces Inaugural Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer


Des Moines, IA – United Way of Central Iowa has appointed Rubén Vázquez as the organization’s first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Officer. 

Vázquez will join the organization’s senior leadership team on Monday, September 19, 2022. In this newly created role, Vázquez will support and continue the organization’s internal and external equity initiatives as part of the UNITED to THRIVE strategic imperative.

“We are so excited to welcome Rubén to our community and to our team,” said Mary Sellers, President of United Way of Central Iowa. “Creating and filling this role was the first action I asked of our Board of Directors when I came on as 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.”


Vázquez has more than 20 years of experience in social justice; advocacy; civic engagement; community-based initiatives; and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at personal, institutional, and systemic levels. He has dedicated his career to advocating for underrepresented populations and engaging them to become primary stakeholders in their community. 

“I can’t wait to join the fantastic team at United Way and the dynamic community of central Iowa,” said Vázquez. “My philosophy is that diversity is what makes us different, and inclusion is how we incorporate those differences to yield stronger communities of belonging.”


Vázquez joins United Way of Central Iowa after a rigorous and extensive national search led by a diverse committee of board and community leaders. United Way partnered with Koya Partners, the executive search firm with an exclusive focus on recruiting senior leaders to mission driven roles to conduct 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.”

Vázquez and his family immigrated to the United States from Mexico City more than 40 years ago. As a member of the LGBTQA, the Latino, and the immigrant communities, Rubén’s lived and professional experiences and perspectives will inform his work in his new role.

About United Way
United Way of Central Iowa is UNITED to THRIVE – fostering an equitable, engaged, and empowered community. For more than 100 years, United Way of Central Iowa has brought together nonprofits, businesses, government, leaders, volunteers, and people across the community to identify and strategically address the most pressing needs in central Iowa. Focusing on issues such as affordable housing, early grade-level reading, poverty, physical and mental health, high school graduation, and workforce training – United Way of Central Iowa inspires central Iowans to give, advocate, and volunteer to improve lives and empower everyone in our community. For more information about United Way of Central Iowa, visit www.unitedwaydm.org.


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