Plus, mental health tips
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
View as webpage, click here.
Good morning and happy Monday!

Earlier this month, Emily Barske and I toured Dorothy’s House's new recovery home. While based in the Des Moines, the organization provides a safe place and programming for survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation from across the state. Learn more about the new home and see photos below.

Dorene MacVey penned this week’s guest opinion piece. In it, she argues that while planning and dreaming are both important for success, true impact is made in the small, daily moments.

I also attended CREW Iowa’s annual panel last week, where speakers discussed mental health. Read an excerpt below, or see the full takeaways on our website.

Have a great week!

Emily Blobaum, Fearless editor

Dorothy's House readies new recovery home
Dorothy's House founder Kellie Markey and director of operations Aimee McDonald. Photo by Emily Blobaum.
2020 was not a great time to build a home – or to kick off a capital campaign to fund it. As the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the economy, the prices of building materials soared and nonprofits struggled to find funding in the same ways they used to.

But as Kellie Markey, founder of Dorothy’s House, stood with other onlookers in mid-December of 2019 and watched a 131-year-old home on the organization’s campus get demolished, no one could have known those economic implications were coming in just a few weeks.

The 2019 demolition was the end of an era for the structure to make way for a new home for the organization, which provides a safe place and programming for survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Much like the resilience the organization tries to instill in survivors, Dorothy’s House had to lean on its ability to adapt in order to move forward with the project and the capital campaign needed to fund it.

Many institutions that would have been interested in helping the project either didn’t have the means at the start of 2020 or instead directed their funding at food insecurity and housing instability.

But the campaign eventually went on after the intermission, starting back up in October of 2020 with a goal to fund the construction and also end with no mortgage on the house. They received just over $200,000 of in-kind gifts like the roof, kitchen cabinets, flooring, paint and more. They raised $180,000 in funds on top of that.

The build has been ongoing since, and after wrapping up what’s needed for its occupancy certificate from the city of Des Moines, participants will be able to begin staying at the home as soon as possible.

Markey and Aimee McDonald, director of operations, recently gave the Business Record a tour of the new home.

One of four bedrooms in the new recovery home. All bedrooms are nearly identical. Photo by Emily Blobaum.
The new home was specifically designed with equity in mind, from the four bedrooms being nearly identical to the same amount of space in the fridge and pantry for each participant. It’s also ADA-compliant. It includes a library, a large outdoor garden, a workout space and other amenities. The house now has a proper office and break room for staff as well.

The home is set up for the first phase of programming on recovery as it allows the participants to learn life skills like financial literacy, cooking, housekeeping, etc.

Who they serve
As it relates to human trafficking in Iowa, many have heard that Interstates 80 and 35 make the state a hot spot – but that is a fallacy, Markey said. Every state has a major interstate intersection, she pointed out, but the crime is bigger than that and happens in every city and state in the country, including every county in Iowa.

"Part of the dynamic that makes it so easy to conduct this business here is we have a few concentrations of large populations with a lot of little outlying areas that are easy to access, a short time distance away where you can come and go," Markey said. "But it's spread out enough that people don't see the traffic patterns, so you can leave your desk in downtown Des Moines and make it to Indianola or Cumming or to a property in a nearby area, buy somebody for sex over lunch, and then come back to work and nobody knows the difference."

Some past participants have been exploited anywhere from one week to as long as 15 years before programming with the organization. Though you can never fully recover from the crime, Dorothy’s House helps teach coping mechanisms.

Markey said they once hosted a Super Bowl party with a past participant, and at halftime the participant went up to bed because she couldn’t recall a Super Bowl weekend where she wasn’t raped the entire time. Her response to triggers was to hide in her closet for three days. Though they could never make that trigger go away, Markey said, they could focus on helping the survivor reduce the time hiding to three hours and eventually three minutes using different trauma coping strategies.

Overcoming trauma is not easy, though.

"Individuals who are recovered from this crime or who find themselves out of this crime aren’t always ready for the rigors of restoration – and don't always want what you have to offer," Markey said. "[They might] need to work on some other things – they might need an inpatient treatment program or they might need a greater level of mental health support than we can provide here. And so we oftentimes are diverting people to other resources before they're ready to come to a place like this."

Many programs like Dorothy’s House expect people to be at least 30 days sober before starting programming, but that isn’t an expectation of the organization because it would be tough to expect survivors to come out of this crime and also have solved addiction issues, she said.

"It's really hard work and you apply two years of your life to working on yourself, which few people ever have the privilege to do – and few people ever want to do. It's a deep dive."

How you can help
There are few state and federal funding sources that directly apply to the work Dorothy’s House does, so the organization relies mainly on community support. Kellie Markey is currently still working on raising an additional $30,000 for the project. To learn more about Dorothy’s House, visit Contact Markey at or 515-423-8353.

Editor’s note: The location of the property and campus were intentionally left out to protect the survivors.

Achieve – and make an impact
I am a planner. I love planning. In corporate America, I was raised on it. Throughout my career, I’ve created strategic and financial plans, annual operating plans and individual development plans. Long-term planning is great for growing organizations and offers us an example of how to model our personal lives and small businesses as well.

Every year, I set annual goals for myself in six life areas: financial, physical, emotional, professional, relationship and spiritual. I also set ongoing personal intentions for 31 days at a time. I put these goals in a frame next to my desk as a constant reminder of what I need to do to move forward. I’ve been living this way for more than six years. My company, ithrive31, is built around the philosophy that short-term actions create momentum for big results.

Along with planning, I love the energy of dreaming. A vision gives you something to strive for in business and in life. There is great energy in visualizing your future and creating the steps that will take you toward your dreams.

Dreams and plans are beautiful things. But if we want to make an impact, our dreams and plans cannot become the thing. Meaningful and lasting impact is made in daily moments. The here and now. Not in the plans. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

If we get so attached to our big dreams and plans that we lose sight of what's right in front of us, we lose our ability to make an impact. Personal impact is made by connecting with that person who needs us to be all in as a listener at lunch. It’s paying attention to that co-worker who comes in and says, "Do you have a minute?" It’s focusing on that client who needs more than their allocated hour.

Living in the moment also means paying attention to having fun (even at work), rejuvenating, laughing with friends, or breaking from your goals to watch your child’s soccer game. This may, at times, take you off your planned path. Often, I hear people say they feel guilty if they are unproductive. These moments may not be on your strategic plan, but they will create strategic, lasting impact.

Your dreams, plans and goals are important and can lead to your achievements. Your presence — how you show up and seize the day — results in your impact. These are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Take steps to plan for next year, next quarter, the next 31 days, but never forget that your impact is made today.

Dorene MacVey is the founder and head coach of ithrive31, a coaching and personal development company. She is a certified professional coach. Dorene blends life and leadership coaching and works with executives, leaders and professionals to help them increase their impact and influence — at work and at home. Connect with her on LinkedIn or reach out at

Left: Gymnast Simone Biles. Center: NFL referee Maia Chaka. Right: Christine Martinez.
In the headlines
A Woman of Quiet Wisdom: Elizabeth Balcarcel
Some people are drawn to their life’s calling almost naturally. For others, like Elizabeth Balcarcel, that larger purpose finds them — perhaps by fate, by chance, or a bit of both.

Balcarcel serves as director of state program technical assistance at Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA), a nonprofit dedicated to providing services to survivors of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault and
preventing sexual violence. She oversees a team that provides training for IowaCASA’s 28 statewide programs for survivors. She couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

But getting there wasn’t so straight and narrow. And as she reflects today, Balcarcel is astonished by how far she has come — as an immigrant turned fearless advocate. READ THE FULL STORY>

Worth checking out
Women carry two-thirds of student loan debt. How does the pay gap, plus this debt, affect women workers? (Ms.). Meet the 2021 class of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people (Time). The reality of parenting during a climate disaster (New York Times Opinion). The United States v. Elizabeth Holmes (The Daily podcast).
Join us this Friday, Sept. 24, at 8 a.m. for the next installment of our virtual Fearless Friday series. We’ll talk about mentorship and professional development, as well as hear from several of the 2021 Women of Influence. As always, registration is free.
Do you know a fearless Iowa woman?
Fearless is a Business Record initiative with women-centered content and events designed to help women and the companies and allies who both value and support them. The elements of this brand can be simplified into one goal: We want to help empower Iowa women to succeed in work and life.

In doing so, the team behind Fearless is 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. We share stories through featuring women in our reporting, featuring guest contributions and speakers at our events.

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

CREW panel: ‘It’s OK to not be OK’
If there’s one thing that was made very clear at the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Iowa annual panel event Sept. 14, it was that attending to your own mental health and wellbeing is more important now than ever.

Centered around the topic of "mind games," the ninth annual CREW Iowa panel discussion focused on normalizing the conversation about mental health and how to address negative thoughts.

Panelists at the event were Melissa O’Neil, CEO at Central Iowa Shelter & Services; Tony Raymer, director of brain health at Easterseals; Chris Wilson, student well-being coordinator at the Johnston Community School District; and Leah Roling, a thought coach and strategist.

Tips that panelists shared:

  • Tell the men and boys in our lives that it’s OK to not be OK. "Being a man means also taking care of ourselves and others," Raymer said.
  • When you compare yourself to someone, do it in a way that empowers you. "I don’t like to look at another woman or man and say, ‘Oh, my gosh, they’re so successful,’ as if success lives in a pie. Success doesn’t work like if she has 80% of the success, that means there’s only 20% for me," Roling said.
  • Be vulnerable with your kids and let them know that it’s OK to feel bad about something. "Share your challenges. They need to know that they have role models that can show them that they can make it even when it gets bumpy," Wilson said. "We have a rule in my house: Don’t feel bad in your bedroom, feel bad in the living room. Let’s talk about it and have a conversation."
  • Take time to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Know yourself and believe in yourself. "When you know who you are, you know what you’re going to do," O’Neil said.
Like this newsletter? Please forward to a friend!
Did someone share this newsletter with you? Sign up here.

Business Publications Corporation Inc.

515.288.3336  |

Contact the publisher and executive editor:
Contact Fearless editor:
Submit press release:
Advertising info:
Membership info:

Copyright © BPC 2020, All rights reserved.
Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content in any manner is strictly prohibited.

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign