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Board of Directors


Katie Lanius

Katie Lanius studied accounting and political science at Valparaiso University and graduated in 2003. She continued her studies at the University of Missouri’s School of Law and earned a J.D., with a Certificate in Taxation, in 2006. She worked at CPA firms in Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Cedar Rapids, specializing in partnership, individual, and tax-exempt compliance and planning. She returned to school and earned a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction: English as a Second Language from Arizona State University in 2015. She has taught immigrants, refugees, and international students from more than 60 countries at multiple colleges and non-profit organizations in Iowa. She is currently an Education Supervisor at Lutheran Services in Iowa, overseeing ESL, citizenship, and career pathway programming for refugees in Des Moines.


Eric Idehen Photo

Eric Idehen
Vice President

Eric Idehen was born in Nigeria, lived in the Ukraine and Spain and is now a naturalized citizen of the United States. He has been a community development and diversity consultant, as well as a banker and construction economist. His wide-ranging career trajectory has given him a tremendous wealth of experience to assist clients in the areas of diversity training and education, community development and leadership. Mr. Idehen is currently the Vice President of Community Development for Wells Fargo Bank  Mr. Idehen is fluent in English, Spanish, Russian and five Nigerian dialects. He holds a undergraduate degree in Quantity Surveying, a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), and presently working on his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with emphasis on Organizational Diversity and Social Change.



Juan Garcia

Originally from Lima, Peru, Juan Garcia is a graduate of the Harvard Business School program of Leadership Best Practices. He currently oversees the Strategic Partnerships for the Center for Equity in Learning at ACT, working with existing and new partnerships fulfilling ACT’s mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success.   Prior to joining ACT, Mr. Garcia was the Executive Director of ICAN. In this role he became a champion of college access and readiness for the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN). He was able to established relationships with school, district administration, state and local leaders, as well as other nonprofits to reach ALL students, ensuring that these students were aware of the support that was available to them for pursuit of higher education.  He is fluent in Spanish.



Deann Cook

Deann is the executive director of United Ways of Iowa. UWI is the statewide association of 24 Iowa United Ways and focuses on public policy, training, and networking. Deann has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience as both staff and board member at the local, state and national levels. She currently serves on the United Way Council of State Executive Committee, the Association of Junior Leagues International Board of Directors, the Iowa Literacy Council and the Diocese of Des Moines Board of Education.