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Good morning and happy Monday. Thanks to Emily Barske for taking over the newsletter last week while I was getting married! The universe must have known my big day was coming, because three days before I tied the knot, I came across a piece in the Atlantic titled "The gender researcher’s guide to an equal marriage." Fitting, right? I don’t think its a shock to anyone that mothers in different-sex partnerships do more unpaid labor at home. The piece detailed several ways that couples can even the load out. Anyway, if you have other tips for an equal, happy, fulfilling marriage, I’m happy to hear them!

Now on to the newsletter.

In her regular On Leadership column, BPC President and Group Publisher Suzanna de Baca talked with five female leaders about the role that businesses play in breast cancer awareness. We have an excerpt below, but you can find the full column on the Business Record’s website.

Also in this edition is an excerpt of a story published by our sister publication, dsm Magazine, about how women approach investing differently than men.

That’s all for this week! Have a great one.

Emily Kestel, Fearless editor

On Leadership: Why Breast Cancer Awareness Month matters to business
Brenda Neville, president and CEO of the Iowa Motor Truck Association, launches into high gear during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. "While I am not a survivor of breast cancer, I am a survivor of losing my baby sister Tracy to this disease on July 17, 2017," says Neville, whose sister died at 46, leaving behind a husband, a 14-year-old son and a classroom of kids who lost their teacher. After Tracy’s death, breast cancer education and awareness became a priority for Brenda.

Over time, she has continued to encourage and educate both men and women about breast cancer and the many proactive steps that can be taken to detect it early. "Every employer says they care about their employees," says Neville, "but one way they can really show that ‘love’ for their employees is to raise awareness and to promote mammograms and healthy habits to prevent the disease."

I have known many women who died of breast cancer but am also fortunate to know many who survived because of early detection -- including my sister-in-law. Unfortunately, the CDC recently reported 80% declines in breast cancer screenings during the start of the pandemic, which increases the probability of cancer being discovered at later stages and with worse prognosis. It does not have to be this way.

Businesses and leaders have a role to play in preventing a disease that attacks half of the population and workforce. Early detection and treatment can pave the way for better outcomes for women, so they can get on with their personal and professional lives.

One person who benefited from early detection is Mary Whisenand, senior relationship manager at Mercer Health and Benefits Administration LLC in Des Moines. After years of routine annual mammograms, Mary was surprised by a follow-up call from her physician, who said, "We see something that we can’t quite pinpoint. ... Can we do an ultrasound?"

Mary had an ultrasound, but it wasn’t conclusive so her doctor did a biopsy. The results did not indicate cancer, but were not benign. The radiologist referred her to a surgeon and she was diagnosed with atypical ducal hyperplasia, which her surgeon described as the cells being "all revved up, ready to go, but haven’t turned the corner" to full-blown cancer. She went in for a lumpectomy on a Friday and was released later in the day. She returned to work on Monday and went right back into her routine, saying, "Other than my direct manager and a few very close co-workers, no one was aware why I was out that one day."

Dr. Susan Beck, medical director of MercyOne Katzmann Breast Care, advises all women to get regular mammograms, and also points out that the incidence of breast cancer for white and Black women is about the same, but Black women have a 42% higher chance of dying from the disease.

Beck emphasizes that keeping women healthy is good for business and essential for our community. "Women, especially women of color, play a vibrant role in businesses across the country," says Beck. "Their health is important for business and family dynamics to run smoothly."

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What can business leaders do to support Breast Cancer Awareness?

Make education and support a priority. Neville says since losing her sister, her  awareness of breast cancer increased, noting, "Breast cancer impacts a large number of people, and because of the scope of impact, it needs to be on business leaders’ radar all the time."

Invest in your team’s health. Whisenand says, "Businesses are about investment -- in clients, goods, services and employees." She urges leaders to maintain a culture of promoting basic health screenings and to make it clear that the business stands behind employees taking time away for those screenings.

Empower women to get regular mammograms.
"Early detection represents one area where women can take charge of their health," says Cook. "Businesses interested in creating a culture of health and well-being can support women in being proactive about mammography," she says, pointing out that the earliest possible detection and medical intervention for breast cancer equals less treatment, recovery, and time out of life and the workforce.
Left: Iowa Review Editor Lynne Nugent. Center: Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa. Right: Basketball player Nneka Ogwumike.
In the headlines
  • This summer, Lynne Nugent became the first nonwhite woman (Nugent is Asian American) to serve as editor of the Iowa Review, which is the prestigious 50-year-old literary magazine at the University of Iowa. The first woman to serve as editor was Mary Hussman.
  • Maria Ressa, who is a Philippine journalist, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Russian journalist Dmitri Muratov last week. Ressa became just the 18th woman to be selected for the award in its 126-year history. Other women to receive the honor include Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai, Jane Addams and Aung San Suu Kyi. In other Nobel prize analysis, all seven winners of this year’s three main science prizes were men, which frustrated many scientists. Since the Nobels were first awarded in 1901, there have been just four female physics laureates, 12 female physiology or medicine laureates and seven female chemistry laureates.
  • WNBA players will now have free access to fertility testing services through Modern Fertility. The arrangement was organized by Los Angeles Sparks player Nneka Ogwumike, who said she wants to break assumptions that women athletes can’t have kids until they retire.
  • Lego announced last week that it will work to remove gender stereotypes from its products and marketing. Lego's efforts are part of a growing trend to make childhood toys more inclusive: The company's announcement came just days after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation requiring large retailers to have nongendered toy sections beginning in 2024.
  • The National Network to End Domestic Violence has announced Isabel Martinez Santos as the 2021 recipient of its annual DREAM Award. Martinez Santos is the co-director of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Legal Clinic.
  • Sian Proctor, a geoscientist and the pilot of SpaceX’s all-civilian Inspiration4 flight, will speak at the Advancing Women in Leadership event to be hosted by the Greater Des Moines Partnership on Nov. 2. Proctor, who became the first Black woman to pilot a spacecraft, will discuss how to advocate for diversity from within, especially in STEM fields, as well as ways to build a talent pipeline that contributes to the success of businesses at the free, virtual event.
  • Women Lead Change has announced the three honorees for its annual Women of Achievement awards. The honorees are Barbara Lee Boatwright, Lou Henry Hoover and Jessie Field Shambaugh. The women will be commemorated with permanent plaques on the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge in Des Moines.
Seeing the World Differently
"When you have a disability, you’re fearless every single day of your life. There’s always a challenge."

Marilyn Swinney is familiar with feeling like an outsider, just for being who she is. More than 20 years ago — after graduating from the University of Manchester in England with a textile technology degree — Swinney made the selection process for a graduate production manager role at a manufacturing facility, affiliated with an international, blue-chip company.

Raised in Malaysia, of Sri Lankan-Chinese descent, Swinney was diagnosed at birth with Stargardt’s disease, which is a genetic disorder that causes progressive vision loss, eventually resulting in blindness.

Worth checking out
A guide to caring for your mental health (Self). 30 years after her Senate hearings, Anita Hill explains why gender-based violence persists (Iowa Public Radio "River to River"). Are women on a collision course with the COVID ceiling? (Fortune). How one 18-year-old woman’s life has been transformed under Taliban rule (The Daily podcast). Meet Time’s Next Generation Leaders (Time).

How women may approach investing differently than men
It is true that women don’t invest as much as men. It is not true that they have poorer results. Financial services giant Fidelity, in a survey done in 2017, determined that women outperformed men by 40 basis points, a small but notable advantage given their perceived lack of interest in investing. In 2015, a down year for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, men lost 3.8% of their portfolio value, while women gave up 2.5%.

So women can invest, and wisely. But they tend not to, for a variety of reasons. Fear of losing money, or control. Fear of failure. Or marriage — once a woman marries she tends to let the husband handle investing. But trouble lurks due to the "3 D's": divorce, death and disability. Any of those events promotes a woman from passenger to driver and not necessarily on her timetable.
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