Plus, ways to celebrate International Women's Day
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
View as webpage, click here.
Good morning, happy Monday and happy International Women’s Day! (Yes, I know it’s tomorrow, but why not start celebrating a day early?)

Last week I gave a brief presentation to the Business Publications Corp. team about the work that Fearless does. I answered a question that I occasionally get from community members, who ask, "Why is a business publication covering women’s issues?" Here’s my answer: Because women continue to lack equal opportunities, equal treatment and equal representation in spaces they occupy, including the workplace. So until women experience true equality, coverage of their experiences is necessary.

That’s what I’ll be thinking about throughout Women’s History Month (and beyond), and I encourage you to reflect on the barriers – and successes – that women have and continue to experience. You can start doing so by spending some time with this week’s newsletter.

Here’s what you’ll find below:

  • Emily Barske and I had a great time meeting with local leaders in the Quad Cities last month. Read what they have to say about the barriers that women face in their community, and what should be done to address them.
  • Brittany Heard of the Foster Group penned this week’s guest opinion piece. She talks about how you can get started with aligning your investments with your values.
  • We also stopped by Oh So Sweet by Tiphanie while in the Quad Cities; meet Tiphanie and read her advice for other women business owners.
  • We’d be remiss to not celebrate International Women’s Day without uplifting the stories of fearless Iowans. Spend some time looking through our collections of fearless profiles from 2021 and 2020.  
  • If you want to take your International Women’s Day celebrations a step further, you can find a list of resources at the very bottom of the newsletter.

Have a great week!

– Emily Kestel, Fearless editor

Education, poverty, lack of women in positions of power seen as barriers to women in Quad Cities, local leaders say
From left: Megan Brown-Saldana, Maria Bribriesco, Ashley Hicks, Marcie Ordaz. Photos by Emily Kestel.
Since the beginning of the Fearless initiative, we’ve been adamant about connection being one of its core values.

Women are often seen as the glue that holds communities together – but women often lack opportunities to sit at tables where decisions are made about how the communities they occupy – be it their city, workplace, school, club, etc. – should function.

But when women are given the chance to be in a position where they can openly express their thoughts and opinions, change often happens. We believe that the best ideas come from sharing stories, experiences and thoughts with each other, and the team behind Fearless believes it’s our responsibility to provide opportunities to do so.

Last month, Emily Barske and I spent a day in the Quad Cities talking with several women leaders about the issues that are affecting women in their communities most.

Here’s who we talked with:

  • Marcie Ordaz is the director of resource development at Family Resources, a local nonprofit social services agency. Ordaz has lived in the Quad Cities area for 12 years and is originally from Ohio. She is also a commissioner for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and runs the Quad Cities Mom Squad Facebook group.
  • Megan Brown-Saldana is the executive director of Lead(h)er, a local nonprofit that focuses on mentorship and women’s success and engagement in the workforce. She is passionate about talent development and working with at-risk youths on career and college readiness.
  • Maria Bribriesco is a retired government attorney. In 2012 and 2014, she ran for the Iowa Senate and Iowa House, respectively, but lost both times. She’s also been involved with the League of United Latin American Citizens and the American Association of University Women. She grew up in South Texas.
  • Ashley Hicks is the Women United director at United Way Quad Cities, where she works with local women who create opportunities for young children. She previously spent 15 years in the field of finance. She grew up in Hampton, Ill.

Here’s what they said:

Poverty is a real issue – and it starts with the wage gap.

Brown-Saldana encouraged people to keep Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory in mind when thinking about gender issues. Think of it this way, she said: You’re not likely to get a college degree and work at your dream job and move up in the world if you aren’t safe and secure.

The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 17% of people in the Quad Cities live in poverty, compared with a statewide rate of 10%.  

"What I do every day is help with goals that are based out of privilege. … When we look at what are the gender issues … people might assume that they’re a sense of inclusion … moving up… but we also forget about wage inequity," Brown-Saldana said.

Women who work full-time in the Quad Cities make 72 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

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.

Brown-Saldana challenges communities to participate in equal pay challenges and complete internal audits.

"If for the last 10 years you’ve promoted 70% men, what are you going to change about that?" Brown-Saldana said. "We know what the wage gap looks like, but what are we going to do about it?"

Lack of education about money is also a barrier for many women.

"I grew up middle class … but my parents didn’t teach us about money," Ordaz said. "I’m going to be 42 next week and I’m still trying to learn and teach myself about money."

Aligning your investments with your values
Clients are more interested than ever in aligning their investments with their beliefs and values. This may be correlated to the fact that people are more likely to work in jobs that they feel reflect their values compared to prior years.

That’s why companies are doing a better job of making everyone feel like they are doing something for the greater good. We all want to feel like our lives are meaningful. Investing with our values is just taking that to another level.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment strategies and products have flourished in the past five years. At Foster Group, we have added a few options of ESG portfolios as a result of client feedback and interest. Our clients have been asking about how to make investments more aligned with their values and we wanted to provide low-cost options that also align with our investment strategy.

We all know that warm feeling when you drop money in the offering plate at church, or after you provide a donation of time or money to a charitable organization that is important to you. You may get that same feeling from your investment strategy while also working to be sure your financial goals will remain secure.

For some people, there may be a clear issue or concern that they want to help address, such as climate change or environmental stability. I had one client who was extremely opposed to investing in any weapons manufacturing and we were able to help by using our social portfolio, which helps to screen out controversial issues. She felt confident knowing that her portfolio aligned with her values while still achieving long-term asset growth and income. Another example was a client who values organizations that have women in leadership and sustainability. In both cases, we were able to help them. And if people aren’t quite sure how to approach an ESG investment strategy, we can help.

In the headlines
Worth checking out
Meet Time Magazine’s 2022 Women of Year (Time). These women don’t want it all. They want better (New York Times). The secret to getting more women on corporate boards: The $100,000 threat (Politico). What’s causing your burnout? Take this quiz to find out (Wall Street Journal). 'Wellness, community, justice and God': New Des Moines nonprofit promotes Black women's health (Des Moines Register). 4 things I regularly do to manage my time and get stuff done (Twitter). ‘Traumaversaries’ can be hard. Here’s how 4 sexual assault survivors honor theirs (Washington Post). Love Girls provides young women a safe place to tell their stories (Talk of Iowa). The strength of Ukrainian women is on display (Washington Post).
Meet Tiphanie Cannon
Tiphanie Cannon poses for a portrait at Oh So Sweet by Tiphanie. Photo by Emily Kestel.
It’s our goal with Fearless this year to get out across the state and meet folks who are working to empower Iowa women. We know there are so many who are passionate about women’s and gender issues, and we want to meet you and tell your stories.

While in the Quad Cities meeting women leaders for Fearless, we stopped by Oh So Sweet by Tiphanie. (Very delicious – 10/10, recommend!) Owner Tiphanie Cannon talked with Emily Kestel and me about advice for other women business owners. The store will have been open for eight years coming up in June and Cannon operated out of her home for three years before that.

She was often told the age-old adage "fake it until you make it," and it’s always helped her.

"Is that bad?" she said with a laugh. But it’s the truth, she said. And her business has empowered her in all other areas of life. "The only thing holding you back is yourself."

As far as business growth, she said how big or how small you want your business to be is completely on the business owner. Anything from making a bigger lunch menu to deciding to offer soup or deciding you’ve outgrown your space is all within your court as an entrepreneur. "It’s all up to me" at the end of the day, she said.  

Thanks for having us, Tiphanie!

Meet six fearless Iowans
From left: Teresa Zilk, Dalia Kyi, Mary Kramer, Maria Gonzalez-Alvarez, Suzan Erem and Jo Allen. lIllustration by Kate Meyer.
What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than by starting your week off with some stories of fearlessness?

For Jo Allen, being fearless is making the choice to be honest about who you really are.

For Suzan Erem, being fearless is demanding to not be invisible.

For Maria Gonzalez-Alvarez, being fearless is taking care of your family after an immigration raid.

For Dalia Kyi, being fearless is moving to a new country after spending 10 years in a refugee camp.

For Mary Kramer, being fearless is saying yes when the president asks if you would consider serving as a U.S. ambassador.

For Teresa Zilk, being fearless is continuing to move forward after unimaginable loss.
Women's History Month resources
March is Women’s History Month. Take time to celebrate and reflect by checking out the following 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 2022, All rights reserved.
Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content in any manner is strictly prohibited.

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign