Access to mentorship
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Good morning. I'm taking over the newsletter production this week while Emily Kestel is out.

  • We start off by sharing what gives our next Fearless Focus speakers courage to take risks. You can register for the free virtual event taking place at noon on Oct. 6. We'll be focused on how risk-taking and failure are part of success.
  • Then we have a guest opinion piece from Megan Brown-Saldana about how access to mentorship is a barrier for working women in Iowa.
  • We've got a story from the fourth annual Flourish Fund event. Find out about the businesses that were awarded money.
  • Your challenge for the week: Tell us about a time that you were fearless! We’d love to share as many stories as we can.
  • And finally, our break from the news is a good reason to get out the apron and do some cooking. Read on for more.

Have a great week!

– Emily Barske, Business Record editor
What gives you the courage to take risks?
Thoughts ahead of our Fearless Focus conversation on risk-taking
For our last two Fearless Focus events, we’ve talked with women leaders across the state about leadership and confidence.

Those conversations serve as a perfect segue for our next topic in the Fearless Focus event series: risk-taking.  

After all, how can you develop confidence in yourself and your abilities without taking at least a bit of a risk?

The most successful people have often failed – many times – before getting to where they are now. They take big risks, which requires taking a leap of faith even through fear.

In our conversation on Oct. 6, we’ll hear from women who have done just that.

Through sharing both personal and business-related examples, our speakers will give advice on how to find success, how to learn from failure and how you can support yourself or women you know in their journeys of reaching toward their goals.

To preview our discussion, we asked our speakers to answer: "What gives you courage to take risks?"

Here’s what they said.

Kirsten Anderson, author and advocate: Learned and built-up self-confidence: Knowing that I'm strong enough, in mind, body and spirit to handle any type of outcome.
Connie Wimer, chairman, Business Publications Corp.: Your "risk muscle" is like all your other muscles – the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. When you take a risk and it works out, it gives you confidence to do so again. When you take a risk and it doesn’t work out, you learn something that will be very useful in the future. You learn to trust your knowledge and instincts and what once would have been a risk becomes simply another decision.
Katie Hoff, team leader, Cyber Security Operations, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield: It's knowing that there will be an end result of taking a risk and that I'll get to discover what that is. It's exciting, and that drive to discover what the end result will be helps me push myself to get there.

To hear more from these leaders, register for the free event, happening Thursday, Oct. 6, at noon.
Access to mentorship is a barrier for working women in Iowa
Mentorship is problem-solving expertise or insight and is a medium in which, with the right influence, you can do anything.

I was matched with my first formal mentor, Amber, at 28 years old through Lead(h)er’s Strike a Match Mentorship Program. As I was searching for my own direction, Amber believed in me. When I navigated my annual contract and compensation package, Amber cheered me on. She believed I deserved the good things long before I did. If you suffer from imposter syndrome like me, you probably borrow the belief you have in yourself and your abilities from others more often than not. Mentorship lets you borrow belief from those around you and prepares you to give it just as freely once you have found it in yourself.

I could go on and on about the influence mentors have had on both my personal and professional journey, but the truth is that mentorship is so unique to each individual. Lead(h)er is so impactful because of the individual stories and diverse experiences of each of the 1,000 women served since its inception in 2016. For most women, a mentor is a person who bridges the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Whether it is landing a promotion, carving out a seat at the table, or finding extra family time each week, one story ripples across entire communities.

Access to mentorship is the sixth-highest barrier for working women in Iowa.

Women are 24% less likely than men to get advice from senior leaders and represent only 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

If the 28-cent pay gap that women in the Quad Cities experience was placed on a list next to pay gaps in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., it would come in 48th, tying with Louisiana and coming ahead of just Utah and Wyoming. Iowa’s gender pay gap is 22 cents. Although often unintentional, the impact of work-based discrimination is far-reaching. To further complicate matters, workplace inequities are greater for women of color. Sixty-two percent of women of color say they believe a lack of mentorship holds them back in their careers.

Mentorship is the great equalizer. When leveraged, the right mentor can teach you the skills needed to overcome barriers such as the second shift, the wage gap and the lack of comprehensive support networks. Through my mentor, I’ve been able to overcome great obstacles and accomplish my "anything." Mentorship matters because you do. I believe in you.

Megan Brown-Saldana started as executive director of the Lead(h)er Strike a Match Mentoring Program in January 2020. Fueled by chaos, caffeine and connection, she is committed to making the Quad Cities a more equitable place to work and live.

Misty Copeland performs onstage during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. Kevin Winter/Getty Images for the Recording Academy.
In the headlines
    • Misty Copeland is creating an after-school dance program for children of color in New York. Called "Be Bold," the initiative will make ballet more accessible, affordable and fun. Copeland was the first Black woman to be named principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre company.
    • For the first time in 230 years, there is full representation by the country’s indigenous people in the U.S. Congress. Rep. Mary Peltola, the first Native Alaskan to serve as a representative, was sworn in last week. The other Indigenous representatives are Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele of Hawaii, who is Native Hawaiian; and Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas, who is Native American.
    • A new resource to address the public health crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women is launching in Sioux City. The Great Plains Action Society is offering a series of workshops on how to heal, protect and organize against gender-based violence. More than 80% of Indigenous women experience violence in their lifetimes, according to a 2016 report from the National Institute of Justice.
    • A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the vast majority – 84% – of deaths among pregnant people and new parents between 2017 and 2019 could have been prevented. Based on the findings, examples of prevention recommendations include better access to insurance coverage to improve prenatal care and follow-up after pregnancy, better transportation options and better systems for referral and coordination.
    • Sept. 21 marked Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day of the year on which the median earnings of a working Black woman will have caught up to the median 2021 annual earnings of a non-Latino white man. This year’s observance was over a month later than 2021’s appointed day, Aug. 3.
    Worth checking out
    The case for allowing yourself to be bad at something (Wall Street Journal). As Iowa's only inpatient eating disorder unit closes, families fret: Where will patients get care? (Des Moines Register). Day care workers can manage more kids. But is it helping workers stay in these jobs? (Iowa Public Radio). Shakira is making new music, healing and having her say (Elle).

    Community raises $3,000 for new Des Moines joint bakery during Flourish Fund event
    Photo by Emily Kestel
    Imagine pulling open the door to a small neighborhood bakery. The homey smell of yeast, butter, sugar and spices gently wafts through the air. You peruse the counters for freshly baked sourdough bread and pie to take home to share with the people you love the most.

    Kristen Daily and Chelsea Smith want to build that in Des Moines. Daily is the baker and owner of Pie Bird Pies, a home-based bakery in the Drake neighborhood. Smith is a self-taught sourdough bread maker and runs an artisan sourdough bakery called Bread by Chelsa B.

    "Our bakery is a place where you know your bakers and run into your neighbors. It’s a place that celebrates local food and ingredients. You know where your flour, eggs and fruit is coming from," Daily said. "The bakery we want to build is truly an extension of our homes."

    Both Daily and Smith started their popular businesses in the midst of the pandemic as a form of self-care and a way to connect with the community.

    "I love how food and cooking brings people together," Smith said. "Over the past few years, Kristen and I have been amazed by demand for our pies and sourdough bread, and we’re excited to grow and serve more people."

    The two are joining forces to build a brick-and-mortar bakery together. "Partnering is the most sustainable way for both of us to grow," Smith said.

    The two hope to open the bakery in the heart of Des Moines within the next year, and after winning $3,000 from this year’s Flourish Fund event, they’re that much closer to their dream.

    The Flourish event was started by local business champion Emily Steele in 2018 to give women and gender-nonconforming business owners a chance to earn funds by pitching their business ideas to the community.

    Applications are open to any Des Moines-area woman or nonbinary individual who runs a small, for-profit business. An external review committee narrows down the applicant pool to three finalists. From there, eventgoers listen to the finalists’ pitches and vote on their favorite. Whoever gets the most votes takes home the entire proceeds, which are generated through ticket sales, T-shirt purchases and sponsorships.

    This year’s finalists were Morgan Chicchelly, founder and creator of Des Moines Girl, Cassandra Spence, owner of DSM Culinary, and Daily and Smith. As runners-up, Chicchelly and Spence both walked away with $500 for their businesses.

    I don't know about you, but to me, fall is soup season. The cooler temperatures make for an opportunity to get out the slow cooker and casserole dishes. Cooking is not just a fun hobby (I know not everyone finds it fun), but it can also be good for your mental health. Today's break from the news is about just that. Here's an excerpt from a 2018 piece in Bustle about the emotional benefits of cooking.

    When you're having a bad day, science says you shouldn't automatically collapse on the couch; it might be a better idea to break out the recipe books. The emotional benefits of cooking are myriad; many programs around the world help people with mood disorders and other issues get into the kitchen as part of their treatment, a practice known as "therapeutic cooking." And it's something you can replicate in your own home, with a bit of effort and an ingredient or two. Read the entire piece
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