Meet Eames: Ames’ new DEI coordinator


Courtesy of Casandra Eames

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Casandra Eames began working with the city March 29, 2023.

Ames welcomes a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Coordinator Casandra Eames, an Iowa State alum, who said she intends to be collaborative and work with the community in her role as coordinator.

Eames began working with the city March 29 and has lived in Ames since August 2004. Eames said her family is from Guadalajara, Jalisco, in Mexico, but that her family moved to Pullman, Washington, following her father who received his doctorate in plant genetics from Washington State University.

Aside from Guadalajara and Washington, Eames said she and her family have also lived in the Netherlands, central Mexico, near Mexico City and Fargo, North Dakota.

Eames began her college education at North Dakota State University and transferred to Iowa State after her parents moved to Iowa. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s in organizational leadership from Colorado State University.

“My undergrad was in sociology, so my intention was to go into human and social services, which I did,” Eames said.

Eames said she has worked for: Mid-Iowa Community Action, Youth & Shelter Services (YSS), Octagon Center for the Arts, the Story County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer and the Story County Attorney’s Office as a legal assistant.

“It was really through that process and just the journey of school that I formally learned about DEI,” Eames said. “I just feel like me as a person, just the experiences that I’ve already been through culturally but then learning about it at an educational level, really is what brought me to where I am now.”

Eames said her love for the Ames community drove her to the position.

“I love this community,” Eames said. “I love the things that it focuses on, and I love how small yet big we are [with] not too much traffic.”

Eames said with her position being new to the city, she values the plasticity the role offers, adding that she plans to incorporate the success of others in comparable positions across the state into her own.

“Right now, the things that I have on my plate are things like looking into other plans, models, formats that already exist within other cities in Iowa that could resemble the makeup of Ames,” Eames said. “I’ve reached out to Dubuque and West Des Moines, and I have some meetings coming up with Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines just to kind of see what work they’ve done.”

Eames said she plans for there to be collaboration across cities within her time as diversity, equity and inclusion coordinator.

“There’s a lot of collaboration that we want to do with them as well–not reinvent the wheel–and a lot of brainstorming and jumping ideas back and forth from each other and working together whenever possible,” Eames said.