And, it's Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read a first-person account.
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
View as webpage, click here.
Good morning, happy Monday and happy October! If you missed last week’s Fearless Friday where we discussed best practices for mentors and mentees, we’ve got takeaways below.

We’re also rerunning an essay that we published earlier this year by an Iowa executive who is a domestic violence survivor, because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We hope you take an extra moment this month – and every month – to extend empathy and understanding to everyone, because you never know what someone is experiencing. We’ve also got resources for those who may be experiencing domestic violence at the bottom of the newsletter.

Have a great week!

Emily Blobaum, Fearless editor

Women of Influence share tips for mentors, mentees
Clockwise from top left: Suzanne Mineck, Janice Lane Schroeder, Sonia Parras Konrad, Tiffany Tauscheck, Rosalind Fox, Emily Abbas and Marta Codina. Photos by Duane Tinkey.
The topics of mentorship and professional development have consistently been at the top of the list of issues that Fearless readers are interested in.

So we thought, who better to talk to about mentorship than the Business Record’s Women of Influence?

During September’s Fearless Friday event, Business Record Editor Emily Barske hosted a panel discussion with seven of the 2021 honorees: Rosalind Fox, Emily Abbas, Suzanne Mineck, Marta Codina, Tiffany Tauscheck, Sonia Parras Konrad and Janice Lane Schroeder.

Highlights of their remarks are below. To see a recording of the event, visit the Fearless website.

Good mentors help challenge you.

Parras Konrad: "They don’t give me the answers or solutions, they ask me what I think."

Fox: Mentors help give you the confidence to reach higher. "Sometimes you don’t think about how far you can go because you’re just trying to get through the day." They ask, "How are you improving? How are you thinking about the future? What did you do better today than yesterday?"

Mineck: Good mentors "hold up mirrors and ask what I value and if what I’m doing is reflective of those values."

Lane Schroeder: "Always be open and ready for change. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Be willing to accept positive feedback."

Seek variety in your mentors.

Abbas: "Everyone deserves to have people they can count on and people who are invested in their success. People you can be real with, people you can ask advice from. People who will step in when they see that you aren’t doing things well. But also people that can quietly celebrate with you when you’ve achieved something. It’s not just about one person, but many people in our lives."

Mineck: "We learn the most when we have the privilege of walking alongside others. … Some of the greatest mentoring moments have been when mentors have been vulnerable in all their falls."

Men have a responsibility to advocate for and mentor women.

Codina: Help teach male friends, leaders and counterparts on how they can be advocates and mentors for women. They should encourage women to not hold themselves back. "Men brought me to the table, but didn’t tell me what to say."

Don’t hesitate to reach out to leaders in your community.

Mineck: Find people who occupy the spaces you want to be in, then reach out. "If you pick up the phone and reach out to someone, you have a pretty high chance that they’re going to return the call."

Tauscheck: "Leaders in Des Moines are accessible. ... That’s part of what makes our community so special. … Just as many have helped lift up each of us in different ways, it is our responsibility and our duty to do the same for others."

Say yes to mentorship opportunities – but know when to move on.

Parras Konrad: "I don’t wait for people to come to me and ask for help. If I see potential in my crew or staff, I’ll mentor them. Why not develop and uplift them? ... Don’t wait to be discovered."

Fox: "I always say yes to mentoring others. Sometimes I feel like that’s half of my job, which is OK because as leaders, that’s part of our job responsibility, to grow the next generation and help pay it forward. … I always tell my mentees that I’m happy to do it, but that it won’t last forever. It allows them to go off and do something different but it also gives you room on your plate to pick up other folks."

From the boardroom to a safe house: I’m a business professional surviving domestic violence
Illustration by Getty Images.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rarely do we publish pieces anonymously. Part of our journalistic integrity means making it clear where a story comes from. So we don’t take the decision to leave someone’s name out lightly. In this case, publishing the writer’s name could have put them in harm’s way. The writer is a business leader in our state, who does not publicly identify as a survivor of domestic violence. We felt anonymity should be granted in this piece because it shows how truly pervasive this issue is and how unaware we may be that someone in our lives is struggling with it.

The following is an excerpt of their submission. You can read the full essay on our website.

At my best, my resilience is a steaming cup, brimming with hope and possibility, optimism and perseverance.  

But today I’m not at my best. I’m trying to survive.

I’m walking through the fire of domestic violence. Internal inferno, external smoke and mirrors. Emotional, verbal, and ultimately physical. With each stroke of debasing words, each brush of flesh, I lose a piece of myself. I try to rise, to apply my skills, the insights I bring to the marketplace, the empathy I bring to the staff, the accuracy I bring to the boardroom – but they can’t be forced to apply the complexities of people. If only the human wounds of shame and insecurity, defensiveness and anger could be healed with business solutions, an economic stimulus loan for trauma – a temporary reprieve of pain.

Until now my life has been one of opportunity, even privilege. Yet the emotional, logistical and financial barriers to safety now feel insurmountable. I can’t wrap my head around how to keep moving forward, or how other victims, people with fewer resources, ever have a chance of survival or escape. I want to throw them a life preserver, shout that I finally see the incredible hardship and offer each victim love, kindness or silverware. But I can’t shout today; my survival balances precariously on a thin veneer of wintry ice. I can only be still in my hope, whispering a plea of awareness.

Look hard for the walking wounded – even in unexpected places. See them, meet them where they are, forgive their shame, offer them support. From a hug to a donated box of housewares, you could be the life preserver.

I’m Jane Doe. You may know me from the podium, the coffee shop, the boardroom. I’m your neighbor, your peer, perhaps even your leader.

Left: MacArthur fellow Lisa Schulte Moore. Center: Singer Britney Spears. Right: GM CEO Mary Barra.
In the headlines
  • Lisa Schulte Moore, a professor of natural resource ecology and management at Iowa State University, has been named the school's first faculty recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. As a 2021 MacArthur Fellow, Schulte Moore will unconditionally receive $625,000 to be used toward her work to implement "locally relevant approaches to build soil, improve water quality, protect biodiversity, and strengthen the resilience of row crop agriculture." Schulte Moore was named by the Business Record as the 2020 Ivy College of Business innovationENTREPRENEUR Award winner.
  • A Los Angeles judge ruled last week that Britney Spears’ father should be suspended as her conservator. The singer has described her situation as "abusive," saying that she has been prevented from getting married, having more children and living a full life.
  • GM chair and CEO Mary Barra will lead the Business Roundtable, which is an association of CEOs of top American companies. She will be the first woman to hold the position in its nearly 50-year history.
  • R&B singer R. Kelly has been found guilty of serving as the ringleader of a decadeslong scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex. Charges include sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, racketeering and sex trafficking. He faces a possible sentence of 10 years to life in prison. The conviction represents a major #MeToo moment for Black women, who have often said they felt left out of the conversation.
  • Five female police officers and employees of the Des Moines Police Department are suing the city of Des Moines and the police department over claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation.
  • Facebook is pressing pause on its Instagram Kids project after lawmakers and others voiced concerns about the platform’s effects on young people’s mental health, particularly teenage girls with body-image concerns.
  • The latest Women in the Workplace report found that 42% of women reported feeling consistently burned out in 2021. Additionally, 1 in 3 women has considered downshifting her career or leaving the workforce altogether in the last year, up from 1 in 4 women in 2020. The annual study is completed by Lean In and McKinsey.
  • Women are no longer allowed to attend or teach at Kabul University in Afghanistan due to Taliban restrictions, the institution's chancellor said in a tweet last week. The policy echoes the Taliban’s rule in the 1990s, when women were only allowed in public if accompanied by a male relative and were kept from school entirely, despite Taliban leaders insisting that this era would be better for women.  
  • Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames has opened a new birthing and neonatal intensive care unit that’s designed to keep newborns together with their moms. The 23 birthing suites are part of a nearly $15 million renovation project.
  • The Ames Chamber of Commerce has named a newly renovated space in its lower level after Julia Laughlin, who was the only female station master in the country when she worked as the Ames Train Depot master from 1917 to 1924.
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
Simone Biles chose herself (The Cut). Girls are being socialized to lose political ambition – and it starts younger than we realized (The 19th). The future of work should mean working less (New York Times Opinion). COVID-19 is making new moms feel even more pressure to breastfeed (Time). The 10 commandments of salary negotiation (Lenny’s Newsletter).
For last month’s Fearless Friday event, we heard from many of the Business Record’s 2021 Women of Influence. Ahead of the event, we asked them about what being fearless means to them. Watch their responses:
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, visit these resources:

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