Emily Steele

Emily helps make Des Moines through yoga and her enthusiasm with some weekend napping.

Tell us what your childhood home was like. I grew up in Pella, the most picturesque town in Iowa. I grew up in two different homes with two parents and one younger brother. Our home was filled with hundreds of Beanie Babies and legos, but we were mostly outside rollerblading, jumping on the trampoline, or lip syncing to all the 90s pop songs.    

What was your favorite subject in high school and why? I loved French class. I didn't take all four years, but my two best friends were in the class and the teacher was awesome. I got to pick a fake name, Jacqueline, and loved the challenge of conjugation and speaking. 

What was your first job? You'll know I'm from Pella when I say this one... De Roomijswinkel. It was an ice cream shop that yes, included an option to get a Dutch Letter blended with soft-served ice cream. Yum!

If you could write the Des Moines area a mission statement what would it be? To create amazing opportunities for people to enjoy life, learn from one another, and instill change for our community & greater world. 


What’s currently keeping you busy? Well, I'm in a job transition from the neighborhood revitalization, nonprofit world to the private sector. I'm heading to Think Digital in July, which provides digital marketing services to clients locally & nationwide. I'm also knee-deep in POP UP YOGA DSM event planning & execution, as well as planning a wedding with my fiance. 

If you could identify your number one strength and weakness what would they be? I would say my greatest strength is my enthusiastic, optimistic nature. I think that's rare in a world that can be so negative and critical of others. My weakness is that I am a "yes" person, though slowly changing. I love any and all "cool" opportunities so I quickly commit and then suddenly I am dictated by my Google Calendar and have no time for spontaneity. 

What is one thing you can't leave home without other than your phone? My Beautycounter lip sheer. A pop of color & moisturized lips make me feel ready to conquer the day. 

Walk us through your typical weekend. I adore mornings, so I'm up around 7:00 or so brewing coffee & hanging out with my cats. I've also made an attempt to make pancakes (from a box) and mimosas most weekend mornings and then eventually hit up a yoga class or get on my bike if it's summertime. Almost all weekends involve napping, making a Hy-Vee Aisles purchase, and working on small projects in the condo. 

Who is someone you admire that others may know in the Des Moines area and why do admire them? A gal by the name of Lori Neely is a sergeant in Des Moines that I've gotten to know from my neighborhood revitalization work. She works in the "Neighborhood Based Service Delivery" unit, so you may see her around the East Village, downtown or in the Capitol East neighborhood. She approaches policing in a proactive way and inspires everyone around her. Recently, she noticed that crime was higher on Monday mornings at a local high school, so she is recruiting volunteers and program providers to offer breakfast at the school once a week for an entire school year starting this fall. Truly, this woman is a rock star!

From one maker to another what is your tip or advice? Be kind to yourself. You'll mess up, you'll say something dumb, people won't always like you or your work. Show yourself some compassion and keep doing what makes you light up inside.

If you could grant the Des Moines area one wish what would it be? I love all of the conversation around waterways in our city. There are some great concepts out there that improve access from paddling to kayaking to boating. I know there have been some forums to explore the possibilities. So if I could grant a wish, I would come up with millions of dollars to make ideas like this a reality.  

Derek Jensen