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JULY 24, 2023
Good morning, Fearless readers:

In some ways, this summer has been rough poor air quality has kept my family indoors more often than I'd like. Temperatures are supposed to be dangerously high this week. My family caught COVID-19 for the first time recently.

I was feeling a little down, until I started putting together this e-newsletter. The words of the 2023 Women of Influence propelled me forward. I hope their stories and their advice will do the same for you.

In today's e-newsletter, you will find:

  • Half of the Business Record's Women of Influence honorees for 2023. (You can read their full profiles online).
  • A Closer Look at Tanya Keith, owner of Hat Trick Renovation in Des Moines and an internationally recognized soccer expert.
  • In the Headlines: Researchers say women tear anterior cruciate ligaments at a rate two to eight times the rate for men. Many top athletes are sitting out of the World Cup because of ACL injuries.
  • In the Headlines: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says the state will appeal a judge's ruling that temporarily prohibits the state from enforcing new limits on abortion.
  • A Break From the News: There is a new commercial for women's soccer than even non-soccer fans will appreciate.
  • Lots more!

Enjoy the World Cup. And be sure to drink lots of water, take breaks and find shade or air-conditioning during the heat wave this week.

— Nicole Grundmeier, Business Record staff writer
Meet five of the 10 Business Record’s Women of Influence
The Business Record's Women of Influence awards celebrate the work of women who have made a difference. They've devoted their lives to doing things most wouldn't. They've spent countless hours on various boards and they've blazed a trail either personally or professionally for other women to follow.

Now more than ever, we need leaders who operate with strength, resilience and empathy. The 2023 Women of Influence honorees exemplify these characteristics. Their stories of work both past and present are inspiring, especially in a time when we need role models who offer humility and thoughtfulness.

This year’s honorees dedicate time, resources and effort to businesses and community organizations. They lead in top roles at large organizations and at small organizations that punch above their weight class. They plan initiatives and strategies that are transforming Greater Des Moines and its citizens. They have earned multiple degrees. They come from different backgrounds. They have overcome challenges and embraced opportunities.

They are not simply influential because of what they do or have done but also because of who they are.

This is the 24th year the Business Record has honored inspiring and influential women. They’ve amassed a tremendous amount of experience and wisdom and showcased integrity, grace and intelligence.

We hope their stories inspire you as much as they’ve inspired us.

– Emily Barske Wood, Business Record special projects editor

Barbara Quijano Decker
Executive director, Catholic Charities - Des Moines, Iowa

What do you consider the greatest barrier to gender equity?
Our willingness to discuss and discern how to respect and value each person. When we are open to honest dialogue, we can better connect with others, seek deeper understanding, and find common ground. While we may differ in our perspectives, how can we come together in care and support for each other?

Angela Jackson
Senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, Athene; owner, the Great Frame Up

What do you consider the greatest barrier to gender equity?
Silence. If people don't speak up when they see there needs to be changes, the changes can't happen.
Lisa Shimkat
State director, America’s Small Business Development Centers Iowa

What do you consider the greatest barrier to gender equity?
The lack of women’s opportunities for leadership roles can be considered one of the greatest barriers to gender equity. While progress has been made in addressing gender inequality, there are still significant disparities in terms of representation and advancement of women in various fields and sectors. Additionally, there is often a lack of mentorship, sponsorship and networking opportunities for women, which can impede their professional growth. Women may face challenges in finding role models and mentors who can guide them through their careers, provide support and advocate for their advancement, which is why I am so passionate about encouraging other women to step up and support women.
Laura Sweet
Vice president and chief operating officer, Des Moines Performing Arts

What do you consider the greatest barrier to gender equity?
It is critical that women support one another. We need to see each other as allies first – not competition. Equity demands that we create opportunities for each other.
Terri Vaughan
Professional director of the Emmett J. Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance, University of Iowa Tippie College of Business

What do you consider the greatest barrier to gender equity?
The informal networks that don’t include women.
Meet Tanya Keith: She's the owner of Hat Trick Renovation and an international soccer voice
Tanya Keith, the owner of Hat Trick Renovation, has written two books about soccer. Photo by John Retzlaff.
Editor's note: The FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 started on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand. It is expected to be the biggest women's soccer tournament yet. Tanya Keith, who is profiled in a A Closer Look, has written extensively about soccer. She lives in Des Moines. You can follow her on Twitter: @TanyaKeith or on Instagram: @TheTanyaKeith.

Like many Americans, Tanya Keith’s life changed when the U.S. was attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001.

At the time, Keith was working as a commercial interior designer in Des Moines. Her parents and other family members lived in New Jersey.

Keith’s father was supposed to be on an airplane flight from Boston to California that morning and it was several hours before Keith learned that he was safe. Her mother taught at an elementary school in New Jersey. She stayed at the school well into the evening, waiting with her students for parents to walk from New York City to the school, Keith said.

"It was a really impactful day for me," Keith said. "I decided that I did not want to do commercial interior design anymore. I thought that maybe you could go to hell for putting people in cubicles. … I went on a journey to find out what I was meant to be."

Keith left her interior designer job and became an assistant race director for the Des Moines Marathon and then became an event coordinator for the Des Moines Menace and the Stadium Foundation. In July 2003, she started Simply for Giggles, an online — and later brick-and-mortar — shop that provided a variety of items for children as well as design services for children’s rooms.

Keith and husband Doug Jotzke lived in Des Moines but it didn’t feel like home, Keith said. "I was really missing the East Coast. We wanted to live in a historic home. … We had worked with a bunch of different Realtors but couldn’t find that perfect house."

At a networking event Keith met a real estate agent who lived in Des Moines’ River Bend neighborhood, an area south of the Des Moines River roughly between Second Avenue and Ninth Street that is filled with century-plus old houses. Keith told the agent that she’d been struggling to find a house that would keep her in Iowa. The agent asked what she wanted in a house.

"I said I was looking for a four-bedroom house that didn’t cost half a million dollars. I said I was looking for something that needed work; that it needed to be in a racially diverse, economically diverse neighborhood; and that it needed to have at least one fireplace," Keith said. The agent said, "I know exactly the house you need to buy."

Keith drove by the house that December night after working late at her store. The house was in River Bend, on a corner lot along Seventh Street. She used her cellphone flashlight to look at the house, which was in poor condition and in need of numerous repairs.

"I was like ‘Oh, my gosh. This is my house,’" Keith said.

A few months later, Keith closed Simply for Giggles and she and Jotzke acquired the house, a process that took nearly a year to complete and required dipping into retirement money to come up with the $90,000 cash payment.

"I fell in love with working on houses and that led us to working on other houses in River Bend and other areas," Keith said. "I found what I was meant to be doing."

In 2017, she launched Hat Trick Renovation.

We recently caught up with Keith.

How did you come up with the name Hat Trick Renovation?

I’m a huge soccer fan, and a hat trick is the scoring of three goals in a game by one soccer player. It’s a term used in hockey and darts, too. We lovingly call our three kids the ‘hat trick.’ It’s a term that has meaning to us.

Talk about the first house Hat Trick Renovation renovated.

It was a house in the Drake neighborhood that was built in 1901 that had been cut up into eight apartments. It had had a fire and there was burn damage. We gutted it and filled 17 40-yard dumpsters with crap taken out of [the house]. It was a learning experience. That was the house that taught me that tearing out historic plaster is a terrible idea. …

When you tear out all of that historic plaster, first of all, it weighs a ton and you are paying [by weight] to dispose of it. Also, it is a better-quality product than drywall. It’s a better insulator. And we joke that it’s "structural" plaster. In older houses, you’ll often see windows framed with two-by-four [pieces of lumber]. When you take the plaster down, then you have to go back and bring that framing up to code. If you leave the plaster, you don’t have to do all of that work and you’re saving money.  

Hat Trick Renovation got off to a slow start. Explain why.

We started Hat Trick in 2017. I got business cards printed and stopped to pick them up. I got them and drove about three blocks toward picking up my child from preschool and I was rear-ended. I was at a full stop and the guys behind me didn’t stop. They hit me at about 30 mph. I developed a brain injury that changed my life. I would lose my balance just walking. I couldn’t tolerate light or sound. I really became a completely nonfunctional human.

There are things your brain does that we don’t appreciate. You can walk around a grocery store with a million different colors and lights and sounds and you don’t notice it until you notice it. … It would take me three days to recover from being in a grocery store for 10 minutes.

Luckily, I found On With Life [a nonprofit group that provides rehabilitative services to people with brain injuries and neuro-related illnesses]. … They saved my life. It took me over a year to fully rehab from that accident.

Did you finish the first house?

We are very close to finishing. I was able to work myself back to working full time and then the pandemic hit. I became a kindergarten teacher for my child. Everything was put on pause again. We have three houses that will be finished this year.

You recently were involved in an unsuccessful effort to save the Highland Apartment building from being demolished. What did that experience teach you?

It taught me that Des Moines is missing the small, agile commercial developer that is doing historic preservation. Des Moines needs that developer who can do small to midsize projects and who understands the historic marketplace.

The problem with the Highland Apartments was that they were having this historic building bid by contractors that only knew "gut and redo." That meant their [estimates] were coming in high. You don’t have to gut and redo a historic building. You can delicately demo what you need to do to get new building systems in – new plumbing, HVAC, electrical. And then you just repair what you had to demo.

I realized I need to expand into the commercial space but also do some sort of training. … If Des Moines is going to reach [its] stated sustainability goals and their stated development goals, they can’t keep tearing down buildings like Highland Apartments.

Late last year, you started Preservation Corps United. Explain what it is.

It is my educational wing. If you own a historic structure and want me to do the work, call Hat Trick Renovation. If you own a historic structure and you want to do the work yourself or train your employees, that’s Preservation Corps. We are having classes in historic plaster, historic windows, historic storms and passive floors, which is our most popular class. Instead of sanding a historic floor, which takes off part of the floor and shortens its life span, you lift the finish with chemicals, and then you put down a new finish.

In October, Bob Yapp from the Belvedere School [for Hands-On Preservation] is coming here to teach historic window restoration. That will be an amazing opportunity for people to come and train with a nationally known instructor.

Where do you see Hat Trick Renovation and Preservation Corps United in five years?

I want Hat Trick Renovation to be the source for historic renovation in Des Moines, Iowa. I want Preservation Corps to be a nationally known preservation trade school that is based in Des Moines. There are many places across the country that are now seeing that historic preservation is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint as a municipality. The work that we do is in demand. Someone in western Illinois wants to hire me. A person from Maine wants me to teach a class there. … I would love to be able to just spend my time coaching people across the United States about taking care of their historic houses. My hope is that in five years, Des Moines has a vibrant, historic preservation plan that reflects their stated sustainability goals and that we will help Des Moines become a thriving center of historic preservation teaching in the U.S.

What do you do in your free time?

I’m obsessed with soccer. I’m a full-on, rabid supporter of the Des Moines Menace. I’m very excited about USL Pro Iowa Championship Soccer coming to Des Moines. I follow the Portland Timbers [soccer team]. I’ve written two books about soccer. Doing that was part of my [traumatic brain injury] rehab. I wrote a young adult book about soccer and I’ve written a travel memoir about following the U.S. soccer team around the world. I’ve watched U.S. soccer in 14 different countries.
In the headlines
Numerous women's soccer stars are missing this summer's World Cup with ACL injuries, according to ESPN. England, the Netherlands, France, Canada and the United States are among the powers that will be without top performers during the sport's premier tournament, held every four years. Researchers say women tear anterior cruciate ligaments at a rate two to eight times the rate for men. ESPN's story explores the latest research and the reality of rehabilitation.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says the state will appeal a judge's ruling that temporarily prohibits the state from enforcing new limits on abortion, according to the Associated Press. Reynolds signed a law July 14 that mostly bans abortion after cardiac activity can be detected, which often happens before a girl or woman knows she is pregnant. But a Polk County judge decided July 17 that the law was incompatible with the Iowa Constitution. The Iowa Supreme Court has issued a series of rulings and orders in recent years that address to what extent abortion can be regulated under the state constitution, but none has definitively resolved the question.

Deb Haaland, the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary, is crisscrossing the country for her Interior Department's Road to Healing Tour, according to the Washington Post. At events that last four hours or more, Haaland listens to testimony from Indigenous people whose families and lives were permanently upended by the horrors of Indian boarding schools that aimed to erase the Natives' culture and violently insist on a narrow view of assimilation. Under Haaland, the Interior Department has admitted its role in launching the system in the early 1800s. "In a way, we're also healing our country. That history is American history," Haaland told the Post after a Road to Healing event in central Minnesota.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking initiative was recognized by the National Association of Secretaries of State as one of three finalists for the Innovation, Dedication, Excellence & Achievement in Service Award. The program provides businesses with resources and education about human trafficking to empower employees and customers to help prevent and stop trafficking. Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking launched in January 2021 and now includes 700 businesses, as well as more than 325,000 employees across Iowa.
Worth checking out
I felt alone in my period disorder. Then I learned how common it is. (Washington Post). She opened a bookshop in Brooklyn, then moved in above the store (New York Times). She was the Oppenheimer of Barbie. Her invention blew up (Wall Street Journal). A girl's gravestone mystified strangers. We may now know her identity (Washington Post).
Fearless is a Business Record initiative that elevates coverage of and conversation around women’s and gender issues. Our goal is to help Iowa women succeed in work and life.

In doing so, we’re always looking for stories to tell about Iowa women. We believe that everyone has a story to share and that we cannot progress as a society unless we know about one another.

In the past, we've shared dozens of stories, including those of single mothers, survivors of domestic violence, immigrant advocates, civic leaders, women who work in male-dominated fields, cancer survivors and trans women.

Do you know of any women or nonbinary Iowans who have a great story or experience to share? Do you have a story you'd like to tell us about yourself? Let us know.

World Cup begins with more eyes on women's soccer than ever before
The World Cup started Thursday in Australia and New Zealand. Soccer's rapid ascent in the United States has been well documented over the past three decades the sport was all but unknown where I grew up, in western Iowa, in the 1980s and '90s.

At that time, soccer felt like a completely foreign sport. Now, it's just part of growing up in the Midwest.

My daughter tried soccer for the first time at age 2. I still have her first tiny Adidas shin guards.

Women's soccer caught on relatively quickly in the United States, compared with many countries where the men's sport is culturally dominant. Some part of that surely has to do with the enactment of Title IX in 1972, which has lifted girls' and women's sports in America, even as inequities remain. Another piece is our national team's success: The United States won the first Women's World Cup, in 1991, famously won again on home soil in 1999, and captured the last two trophies as well.

Attention to women's national and club teams came more slowly in places such as England, Brazil and Spain, but four of the five best-attended women's matches in history have taken place in the past two years in London and Barcelona, Spain. And in France, a clever commercial takes advantage of affinity for Les Bleus, the two-time-world-champion men's team, to build support for the French in this World Cup. The commercial is fascinating and groundbreaking, even if you're not a soccer fan. Trust me on this one.

For this year's tournament, while many matches take place in the middle of the night in North America, a number kick off in our prime time including the Americans' next match, a rematch of the 2019 final against the Netherlands, at 8 p.m. Central on Wednesday on Fox.

How has soccer made you a Fearless woman?

— Nicole Grundmeier, Business Record staff writer
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At its core, Fearless exists to help empower Iowa women to succeed in work and life. We believe that everyone has a story to share and that we cannot progress as a society unless we know about one another. We share stories through featuring women in our reporting, featuring guest contributions and speakers at our events.

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