Plus, how to respond to gaslighting
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Good morning and happy Tuesday! It’s been a long, breaking news-filled month.

To close out May, I’m excited to share some happy news by announcing this year’s class of the Business Record’s Women of Influence. Our sister publication dsm Magazine also recently announced this year’s LGBTQ Legacy Leaders – see who’s being honored below.

We’re also running a guest opinion piece from Harwant Khush at Tero International about gaslighting. Maybe you’ve heard the term in a recent Chicks song or within news articles or conversations. In the simplest of explanations, gaslighting is a form of manipulation that causes people to question their own reality or perceptions. The piece gets into more detail about what it looks like and what to do about it.

Have a great week!

– Emily Kestel, Fearless editor

Announcing the 2022 Women of Influence class
The Business Record's Women of Influence awards celebrate the work of Central Iowa women who have made a difference. They've devoted their lives to doing things most wouldn't and to making an impact. They've spent countless hours on various initiatives, working on major issues, and blazing a trail either personally or professionally for other women to follow.

Full profiles on each of the honorees will be published in the July 22 edition of the Business Record, and we’ll be honoring the women in person at an event on Aug. 4. While general admission sales don’t open until July, you can see details on the event and corporate table opportunities below.

Join us in congratulating this inspiring group of women!

Our 2022 honorees:
  • Dr. Aneesa Afroze, infectious disease consulting physician, president of medical staff and director for antimicrobial stewardship, MercyOne
  • Anne Bacon, CEO, IMPACT Community Action
  • Jessica Dunker, president and CEO, Iowa Restaurant Association/Iowa Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Dr. Hayley Harvey, dental clinic section chief and director of dental education, Broadlawns Medical Center
  • Trudy Holman Hurd, community champion
  • Rita Perea, president and CEO, Rita Perea Leadership Consulting
  • M. Jessica Rowe, president and owner, Rowe Consulting Inc.
  • Julie Stewart, vice president of community relations, Prairie Meadows

Iowa State Ivy College of Business Woman Business Owner of the Year
Blanca Plascencia, co-owner, El Fogón

Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines Emerging Woman of Influence
Jenna Kimberley, vice president, Kimberley Development Corp.

Join us to celebrate these honorees!

Event details
Date: Aug. 4, 2022
Location: Des Moines Marriott Downtown
Time: 4-7 p.m.

General admission tickets go on sale in July. With the purchase of a corporate table, you and your business will be able to fully engage in recognizing the honorees and support this group’s accomplishments live in the room. Your company will also have an ad presence in the Business Record edition that features the honorees.

If you are interested in purchasing a corporate table for the event, please fill out the form and you will be contacted by a representative on our team.

Secure your sponsorship by July 1. There are a limited number of tables that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact your sales representative or Stacey Thompson at if you have additional questions.

Learn more about the awards, our Aug. 4 celebration event and past honorees at
What is gaslighting, and how should we respond to it?
"Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others." P. Yogananda

Gaslighting is a psychological concept to signify emotional and mental abuses that people inflict to gain control and dominance over others. These abuses are hidden because they do not leave physical scars or hard evidence.   

Gaslighting in personal, social, political and business settings has become a menace. People are challenged in their beliefs, confused about separating facts from fiction and find difficulty discerning scientific evidence from biases.   

The origin of the term

Gaslighting is a colloquial term originating from a 1938 play, "Gas Light," and subsequently a 1944 film adaptation titled "Gaslight." The film portrays an abusive husband who confuses his wife by flickering gas-powered lights in their home. When the victimized wife questions his conduct, she is labeled insane, delusional and not in touch with reality. This purposeful and repetitive action by the husband was to confuse his wife, declare her insane and eventually confine her to a mental institution so he could take over her inheritance.  

Gaslighting is a deliberate and systematic psychological manipulation in which a person or a group knowingly creates doubt in targeted individuals' or groups' memory, perceptions and even sanity. Robin Stern, in her book "The Gaslight Effect," states that gaslighting is a phenomenon of mutual participation between the gaslighter (perpetrator/abuser) and the "gaslightee" (victim).

The effects of gaslighting

Gaslighting harms its victims in multiple ways. Victims experience self-doubt, lack of confidence and difficulties making decisions. Eventually, it leads to low self-worth as victims internalize that they are never good enough and suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. Their communication style becomes submissive.

According to the CDC, more than 43 million women and 38 million men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Gaslighters are known to be narcissists and authoritarian – but always with low self-esteem. They perceive themselves as gifted and brilliant and like to be recognized. However, they are also interested in obtaining and keeping power regardless of how they get it. They think in terms of absolutes and project themselves to be always right. If challenged, their delicate egos get bruised, and they feel humiliated.   

It is not easy to spot a gaslighter. Perpetrators can also be charming, charismatic and generous.  

Unconscious gaslighting is when gaslighters may not intentionally annoy and offend others. Expressions such as "I do not understand what you are talking about" show gaslighters being rude and demeaning and ignoring others' feelings. If not confronted, it goes to the next, much harsher level, such as "Let me tell you what you need to do." Such an approach is known as dictating and controlling.

Gaslighting becomes intentional when gaslighters know their actions are harmful and deliberate. For example, saying, "You won't get it forget it, just think, it never happened," conveys abuse, vindictiveness and intentionally hurting others. The highest level is malicious gaslighting, when the intention is to harm, confuse and manipulate the victims purposely. For example, saying, "You're such an idiot – it is not just me; the whole family thinks so too."  
In the headlines
  • A new bill that would get rid of the sales tax on menstrual products and diapers is now headed to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk after passing unanimously through the House and Senate.
  • Lillie Miller became the first Black woman to be a major at the Des Moines Police Department as part of a round of promotions last week. In 2020, she was promoted to captain, which was also a first.
  • The state of Oklahoma has enacted a law that bans nearly all abortions after fertilization, making it the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Under the law, abortions are only permitted when the life of the pregnant person is at risk or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement. It also lets people file civil suits against those who aid or abet the procedure.
  • The number of women-led Fortune 500 companies hit a record high this year at 44, or 8.8%. That’s up from 8.2% last year, when women led 41 of the 500 companies. Two decades ago, there were seven. "We've made steady progress, but it's nowhere near the speed we'd like it to be," says Lorraine Hariton, president and CEO of the women's leadership nonprofit Catalyst.
  • U.S. births increased last year for the first time since 2014. Americans had more than 3.6 million babies in 2021, up 1% from the prior year. The increased birth rate spanned all age groups over 25, while falling for women aged 15-24.
  • President Joe Biden is nominating Iowa native Alexis Taylor, an Iowa State University graduate and Army veteran, as undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Cedar Rapids will host the 2023-2025 National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships. Girls' and women’s wrestling has recently grown in support across the country, including Iowa. Starting this season, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union will sponsor girls' wrestling as an official high school sport, and there are now 13 colleges that offer women’s wrestling programs in the state, including four that could be represented at the championships – the University of Iowa, Wartburg, Simpson and Cornell.
Worth checking out
Business is open for some Iowa Latinas bucking a pandemic trend (Iowa Public Radio). The popular "Ellen DeGeneres Show" is ending, but it leaves behind a complicated legacy (Buzzfeed News). The head of Planned Parenthood has advice for CEOs preparing for the end of Roe v. Wade (Fortune). 7 ways to ease anxiety and stress in children during tragic events (UnityPoint Health).
Meet dsm Magazine's LGBTQ Legacy Leaders
Over the years, Iowa’s LGBTQ community has had a positive influence on our state. Representing a wide range of vocations and avocations, they have led with creativity, vigor and compassion, solving problems and helping build a state that we all can be proud to call home.

In tribute to such inspiring contributions, dsm Magazine, One Iowa and American Equity will celebrate the fourth annual LGBTQ Legacy Leader Awards on Oct. 19, 2022, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the River Center. We will also recognize an ally of the LGBTQ community, someone whose contributions to equality and justice have helped ensure that gender and sexual orientation must not be stigmatized or marginalized in the culture of Iowa.

2022 honorees
  • Dr. Pamela Duffy, Des Moines, retired associate professor, Des Moines University
  • Mark Kassis and Terry Lowman, Ames, retired restaurant owners
  • Jordan Selha, Des Moines, program manager, NuCara Staffing Services
  • Bruce Teague, Iowa City, mayor
  • Aiden Vasquez, Davenport, founder of the Aiden Vasquez Foundation
  • Dr. Rebecca Gruber (ally), Des Moines, former artistic director and conductor of the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus
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