Learn more about the leadership and who contribute to the mission and goals of Black Excellence.
La Toshia Burrell
La Toshia Burrell, a Fort Dodge, Iowa native, is known for her passion to serve and give back to the communities she lives and works within. Now a resident in Des Moines, she has found her footing in a new role at Broadlawns Medical Center as Community Impact Manager, where she can apply her past experiences and personal passion directly to the community members of Polk County.
One of the ways Toshia has made impact in the community is personally through her efforts with ‘Embrace: Celebrating Diversity’, a grassroots organization she co-founded that focuses on education through the use of diverse books and authors for school-age children to adults. As a result, the knowledge shared creates opportunities for truth, courageous conversations, and awareness with an end goal of change through unity and the celebration of diversity. From these efforts, she was named one of Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa’s 2020 20 under 40 recipients. Toshia’s continued vision for making an impact to unite others encouraged her to create an annual event called ‘Embrace the Race-5k’ which allows for unity through exercise and continued educational awareness on culture, embracing diversity, and health equality.
As the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors for Black Excellence, it is no surprise that Toshia will be within the Classroom Pillar. Her love of lifelong learning has been embedded in her since childhood. As a high achieving student-athlete in the classroom and on the playing field, dating back to highschool where she was the only student athlete in her class to play four sports year round. In college, on top of being a tutor and supplemental instructor and serving on the Executive team of Black Student Union, Toshia was also a two sport student athlete while at Coe College for two years before transferring and graduating summa cum laude from Wartburg College in ’07 with her BA in Fitness Management. She then continued on to earn her master’s degree in Exercise Science from UNI in ’09 while completing her thesis and beginning her collegiate coaching career. Additionally, Toshia also completed her certificate in health science before passing the bar exam for massage therapy. She has been a practicing licensed massage therapist, passionately serving clients part time now for the past 8 years.
With career experiences varying from health and wellness, to the classroom settings and on the basketball court at the collegiate level into other leadership roles in corporate settings, Toshia is excited to be a representative of Black Excellence, contributing as a positive role model to help empower young adults. Lacking access to Black leaders and mentors throughout her childhood and most of her adult life, is not lost on the magnitude Toshia’s presence alone will influence others. Black Excellence creates opportunities to unite Black leaders in the community, bringing our individualized efforts together for a stronger ability to make positive change and impact lives for generations to come.
Since calling Des Moines home in 2021, she spends her quality time with her son, Jordan, volunteering as his pee-wee sports coach, maxing out their membership at the Blank Park Zoo, and exploring the many great restaurants and fun events happening throughout the city!