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Friday PM Daily | October 29, 2021
Report: More women are being added to the C-suite, but ‘glass cliff’ could be at play
By Emily Barske | Editor

Many have heard of the "glass ceiling" – the invisible barrier to professional advancement, especially affecting women and people of color. But I had not heard of the "glass cliff."

Amy Kristof-Brown, dean of the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, brought it up during remarks at Wednesday’s CEO forum at the Women Lead Change Central Iowa conference. More women are being added to C-suite and upper management positions, according to the Women in the Workplace 2021 report from McKinsey & Co. Despite progress over the years being slow in business leadership representation, Kristof-Brown was not surprised by this – particularly because of the glass cliff.

The glass cliff is "the research-backed phenomenon where a woman or person of color is promoted to a senior leadership position during a difficult time for a company, when the risk of failure is high," Business Insider reported last year. Can anyone think of any difficult circumstances for business recently? (Sarcasm.)

The problem with a cliff, though, is that it can set you up to fail when the stakes are that high and you don’t have enough support. And then if you fail, it can be used to rationalize why there isn’t more representation in leadership. It can also lead to much greater feelings of burnout, which the McKinsey & Co. report found are much higher among women.

"The path forward is clear," the authors wrote in the report. "Companies need to take bold steps to address burnout. They need to recognize and reward the women leaders who are driving progress. And they need to do the deep cultural work required to create a workplace where all women feel valued."

Pieces to check out:
  • The psychologist who coined the term 'glass cliff' explains what it is, and why companies need to be more wary of it now (Business Insider)
  • The 'glass cliff': How women and people of color are set up to fail in the workplace (Today)

MORE NOTEBOOK ITEMS: Read more Insider bits and bites of the finer side of Iowa business online.

Athene makes lead investment in $5B merger of fleet management companies
Athene Holding Ltd., a Bermuda-based financial services company and parent company of Athene USA in West Des Moines, announced it has closed a transaction in which it is the lead investor in a merger of a global automotive fleet leasing and management company, Wheels Inc., and Donlen LLC, a fleet management technology company based in Northbrook, Ill. Financial details of the merger or lead investment were not disclosed. Merging the complementary operations of Wheels and Donlen will allow the combined company to enhance its services and products for a broader range of clients, Athene said in a release. The new company has about $5 billion in assets, a broader product suite, a highly diversified, highly rated customer base, and is expected to be rated investment grade. "For Athene, this transaction follows our long-standing strategy to invest in businesses with strong fundamentals, underwriting and direct origination capabilities, and the combined platform is expected to be rated investment grade," said Jim Belardi, chairman and CEO of Athene. "Over time, we see opportunities to invest in the combined company and look forward to partnering with the management team to help position the business for long-term success."

Architectural award ceremony set for Nov. 16
The Iowa Architectural Foundation will present its annual Community Enhancement Through Architecture & Design Awards at a virtual ceremony that will be held from 5 to 5:20 p.m. Nov. 16. Honorees are Principal Financial Group, a global insurance company with its headquarters in Des Moines, and Marc Moen of Moengroup in Iowa City. To sign up for the event, click here. More information about the award winners can be found here.

East Village Holiday Promenade to return for 20th year
The 20th annual Holiday Promenade is scheduled to return to the Historic East Village, beginning Friday, Nov. 19, and continuing each Friday through Dec. 17. The Holiday Promenade is presented by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Historic East Village Neighborhood Association. It will feature family-friendly, holiday-themed activities, entertainment and shopping. Stores and restaurants in the area are being encouraged to stay open until 9 p.m. on those dates. "Holiday Promenade gives residents from across the region another reason to shop local and experience the Historic East Village in Downtown Des Moines heading into the holiday season," said Colleen Murphy, downtown events director at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. More details for each date of the Holiday Promenade will be announced in the coming weeks.

On The Move: Week ending October 24
Nathan Converse (pictured)
Weinhardt Law Firm
Hired as an associate attorney

Vince Horras
Graham Construction Co.
Promoted to superintendent

Cindy McCauley
EMC Insurance Cos.
Promoted to vice president - administrative services

Submit On the Moves: Submit announcements regarding company promotions, staff additions and changes, including photos, via our online submission form: Click here

Click here to see all of this week's promotions and job changes.


Iowa joins lawsuit over federal vaccine mandate
Iowa Capital Dispatch: The state of Iowa has joined a lawsuit against the federal government, arguing that a requirement for federal employees to get vaccinated is "unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise." President Joe Biden in early September signed an executive order that requires federal employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 with no opt-out. The rule is scheduled to take effect on Dec. 8. Iowa has just over 18,000 federal employees, including U.S. Postal Service workers and National Guard members.
Women may be better investors than men. Let me mansplain why.

New York Times: Merrill was a guy, and so was Lynch. Goldman? A dude, and Sachs as well. Charles Schwab is a man, and so was E.F. Hutton. Gordon Gekko was an alpha male. And Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street? Total bro. Heroes or villains, winners or losers, real or imagined, our iconic investors are very, very male. But that’s a mistake — because it turns out that women are often better at investing. Fidelity offered up the latest evidence this month: Over a 10-year period, its female customers earned, on average, 0.4 percentage points more annually than their male counterparts. That may not seem like a lot, but over a few decades it can add up to tens of thousands of dollars or more. "Invest like a woman is what you learn from this," said Lorna Kapusta, head of women investors and customer engagement at Fidelity. This isn’t the first time that researchers have found women to be the better investors. The surprising thing about this phenomenon, however, is that neither women nor men seem to be aware of it — and they end up depriving themselves of some lessons that might help both genders invest better.

Breeder with 120 violations agrees to give up dogs to the Iowa ARL
Federal court documents show hundreds of dogs owned by Daniel Gingerich, a southern Iowa dog breeder who amassed 120 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, will now be rescued by the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Records show Gingerich has permanently surrendered all of his dogs at three sites in Lamoni, Seymour and Davis City. The 64 dogs at the Davis City and Lamoni sites were taken to the ARL of Iowa on Tuesday. Two hundred and forty dogs housed in rural Seymour will be transferred starting on Monday, records show. "The parties are making arrangements regarding the transfer of the remaining dogs and will keep the Court updated on that front," court records state. Monday was supposed to be the day a federal judge ruled on where the dogs should go. Gingerich wanted them to go to an Indiana-based rescue called the Love Pet Project. But the Department of Justice and the USDA requested they be transferred to the ARL of Iowa. Read more
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