Website art -- speaker Maureen Collins

Community development expert Maureen Collins will kick off The Tomorrow Plan 2016 Speaker Series this month with a talk on the sharing economy.

Collins – a trainer, speaker and author specializing in community economic development, entrepreneurship and technology innovation – says the Iowa economy, like the rest of the country, is undergoing profound change. New business models such as Uber and Airbnb create opportunities for business, while putting public policy to the test.

“Understanding where we are headed is a critical part of successful community and economic development,” said Collins, principal at Entrepreneurial Communities, who previously held roles in entrepreneurship outreach and technology transfer at University of Northern Iowa.

The Collins presentation is from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 22, at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, 700 Locust St. #100, Des Moines. The event is free to attend; no registration is required.

ABOUT: The Tomorrow Plan Speaker Series is an implementation strategy of The Tomorrow Plan, a plan for the sustainable development of Greater Des Moines, as a resource to community leaders to learn best practices from some of the country’s leading thinkers. The 2016 Speaker Series will touch on a wide range of topics related to creating a high quality of life in metropolitan areas, including the sharing economy, the effects of transportation and housing on public health, walkability, water quality, public transit and more. For more information, please visit

NEXT: The Housing Matters Symposium, hosted by the Polk County Housing Trust Fund, is the next event in The Tomorrow Plan 2016 Speaker Series. Speakers Carol Payne of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Amy Slonim of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will discuss how housing and transportation relate to public health. The free event is from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 14, in the Kelley Conference Room at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, 1415 Woodland Ave, Des Moines. For additional details and to register, go online to