Board Of Directors

Diversity Focus Board of Directors


Dee Baird, Ph.D

President, Priority One

Dee Baird is President of Priority One, a division of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. Priority One’s mission is to assist in the creation and filling of jobs and capital formation in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor. This is Dee’s second time with the Priority One and the Chamber. Dee first served as Vice President of Membership Services for the Chamber and Vice President of Business Services for P1 from 1994-1998.

Prior to joining Priority One in 2010, Dee was Executive Vice President at Kirkwood Community College. Dee worked at Kirkwood for 12 years and held various leadership positions. Dee holds a Ph.D. and a M.Ed. from Iowa State University and a B.A. from Simpson College.

She is an active member of the Cedar Rapids community. Dee has served on more than a dozen boards and commissions at the local, state and national level. Currently she is a member of the Eastern Iowa Airport Commission and on the Diversity Focus Board.


Robert D. Becker

CEO, Guaranty Bank & Trust

Robert D. Becker is the CEO of Guaranty Bank & Trust. Robert also owns In Tolerance, a precision contract manufacturer. He is also Vice President of related companies within Offices of Two Thirty, which owns and manages real estate investments throughout the country.

Robert previously served with National Semiconductor as a special project engineer, with responsibility for designing and constructing new semiconductor plants around the world. He holds a degree from Syracuse in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and is a graduate of the University of Madison Graduate School of Banking, Advanced Program.


Dr. David Benson

Superintendent, Cedar Rapids Community Schools

Dr. Dave Benson is Superintendent of the Cedar Rapids Community School District. The CRCSD, with 33 pre-12 schools, has an enrollment of nearly 17,000 students.

Dr. Benson joined the Cedar Rapids Community School District in July 2009 after serving for five years as superintendent in the Ladue School District in St. Louis, Missouri. He had previously served as superintendent of school districts in Kansas and Iowa. Benson earned his B.S. ED. and M.S. degrees from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS; an Ed. S. in school administration from Wichita State University in Wichita, KS; and a Ph.D in educational administration and Foundations from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS.


Kevin Burke

Vice President, Alliant Energy Transportation

In addition to Diversity Focus, Kevin Burke proudly serves on boards for the YMCA of Cedar Rapids, The Carl and Mary Koehler History Center, and the Alliant Energy Employee Public Affairs Network (Epan). Kevin has worked for Alliant Energy since 1981, and was named Vice President of Alliant Energy Transportation in 2007. His responsibilities include the operational oversight of three successful businesses: the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway Co. (CRANDIC), IEI Barge Services, and Williams Bulk Transfer. Kevin earned his M.B.A. from Nova Southeastern University and a B.A. in Business from Mount Mercy College.


Ron Corbett

Mayor, City of Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett was born in Erie, Pennsylvania on October 12, 1960. His family moved to Newton, IA in 1974. Ron graduated from Newton High School in 1978. After graduating from Cornell College (Mt. Vernon, IA) in 1983, Ron moved to Cedar Rapids and has lived in Cedar Rapids since then. Ron worked as an insurance agent for The Equitable of the United States for 10 years. In 1988, he co-founded the Peppy’s Ice Cream Company. In 1986, Ron won a seat in the Iowa House where he served for 7 terms. While in the legislature he became chair of the Appropriations Committee where he focused on eliminating Iowa’s budget deficit. He also helped establish the state emergency cash fund so that Iowa would be better prepared for disasters. In 1995 he was elected the Speaker of the Iowa House, a position he held until 1999, when he resigned to become President of the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce. While at the Chamber of Commerce, Ron worked with a diverse group of businesses to focus on job creation and workforce and community development. He led the effort to pass the school bond issue that was used to make major improvements at Jefferson, Kennedy and Washington High Schools. During his time at the Chamber, he partnered with other local chambers to advance the idea of promoting “the Corridor” to use in the recruitment of new businesses, new residents and new funding for local projects. Ron resigned from the Chamber in July 2005 to take a position as Vice President at CRST, Inc., a position that he still holds. Ron is married to Bénédicte. They have five children – Jeremy, Matthieu, Nicolas, Anaëlle and Thomas.


Marcella David

Professor of Law and International Studies, University of Iowa

On July 1, 2006 Marcella David became Special Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity & Diversity and Associate Provost for Diversity overseeing the newly reorganized diversity efforts at the university, which combined oversight of the offices of Equal Opportunity and Diversity and the Center for Diversity & Enrichment. She earned a degree in computer and systems engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Before joining the faculty in 1995, her practical experiences included clerking for a federal judge and working as a litigation associate for a New York law firm. Professor David's primary area of scholarship is international law and human rights; she also teaches courses that draw on her litigation experiences. In service to the College of Law, Professor David served for five years as the director of an externally funded pre-law diversity program administered and hosted by the College of Law.


Georgina Dodge

Chief Diversity Officer & Associate Vice President, University of Iowa

Dr. Georgina Dodge, Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President of The University of Iowa. Dr. Dodge previously was an assistant vice provost for the Office of Minority Affairs at Ohio State University. Dr. Dodge earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California, Irvine. She earned her Ph.D. in English at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a member of the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the Modern Language Association, The Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the U.S., the Association of Asian American Studies, the American Studies Association and the National Council of Teachers of English.


Kathy L. Hall, CFRE

Vice President Resource Development, Kirkwood Community College

As Vice President Resource Development for Kirkwood Community College, Kathy functions as Executive Director of the Kirkwood Foundation and leads the initiatives to provide private and in-kind resources for the college.
Prior to joining Kirkwood in 2008, Kathy served as Vice President for the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation from 2003 – 2008, and as Executive Director of the Cedar Rapids Symphony from 1992 – 2003. Kathy holds Master’s of Arts and Bachelor’s of Music degrees from the University of Iowa.
Kathy’s community activities include: current member of the board of directors of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre and board of trustees of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids & East Central Iowa, member of Downtown Rotary and Association of Fundraising Professionals, past-president of the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council and a former state board member of Leave a Legacy Iowa, and past president of the Cedar Rapids Area Cultural Alliance.


Ron Kirchenbauer

Senior Vice President Human Resources & Corporate Officer, Rockwell Collins

Ron Kirchenbauer is responsible for global human resources including Compensation and Benefits, Organization Development and Training, Employee and Labor Relations, Human Resources Business Partners, Talent Acquisition, Human Resources Delivery and Lean, Regional Human Resources and Security. Ron was named to the position in April 2003. Kirchenbauer has extensive senior leadership experience in corporate human resources, which includes more than 25 years in the human resources field including significant international experience.

Kirchenbauer is a native of Dallas, Texas and holds a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics from Tarleton State University.


Christopher Lindell

President & COO, Guaranty Bank & Trust

Christopher J. Lindell is President & COO of Guaranty Bank & Trust. He has been with the bank since 2009. Prior to Guaranty, Lindell was an executive with Alliant Energy. He holds a Bachelor of Science, Computer Science (1981) and a Masters of Business Administration (1989) both from the University of Iowa.

Lindell also serves on the St. Luke’s Board; Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Board; and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Trustees. Chris is past president of the Rotary Club of Cedar Rapids West and president of St. Mark's Lutheran Church.

Sister Susan O'Connor


Vice President of Mission Integration, Mercy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids

Sister Susan O’Connor has held the position of Vice President of Mission Integration for Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids since 2004. She is a native of Waterloo, Iowa and holds a BA from Mount Mercy College, an MSW from St. Louis University, and an MA in Health Care Mission from Aquinas Institute of Theology. She spent many years as a medical social worker prior to serving in leadership positions for the Cedar Rapids Sisters of Mercy. She has served on the Diversity Focus Board since September 2007. Other current board memberships include: Witwer Center, Meth-wick, Waypoint, Healthy Linn Care Network, Mercy Medical Center in Mason City, and the Board of Ethics for the City of Cedar Rapids. She is also currently the chair for the Diversity Task Force at Mercy Medical Center.

Ruth White


Retired Educator, Former Director, Iowa Department of Human Rights

After more than thirty years of teaching in the Cedar Rapids schools, Dr. Ruth White retired from Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. Dr. White also developed The Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success, a summer program for African American high school students and TAP (Toward Advanced Placement), a curricular choice for minority students which encourages students with untapped potential toward enrollment in AP classes.

Following retirement from teaching in 2000, Dr. White accepted an invitation to head the Commission on the Status of African Americans, a division of the Iowa Department of Human Rights. Within six months Dr. White was promoted to Director of the Iowa Department of Human Rights. Dr. White has since retired from the Directorship and has been involved in Cultural Competence training as an independent consultant. Learning never stops for Dr. White whose mantra is "Education Is the Key."

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