Plus, how to juggle parenting and leadership
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
View as webpage, click here.
Good morning and happy Monday! Here’s what you’ll find in this week’s newsletter:

  • The metro’s newest mutual aid organization is up and running and focuses on helping trans Iowans access gender affirming care. We talked with Max Mowitz, one of the organizers of Iowa Trans Mutual Aid, about what the organization hopes to accomplish and some of the barriers that trans people face to accessing health care.
  • If you missed Business Publications Corp. group publisher and president Suzanna de Baca’s leadership column in the Sept. 3 issue of the Business Record, don’t worry – we’re running an excerpt of it here! She talked with several leaders in the Des Moines metro about juggling leadership and parenting.

Don’t forget to sign up for this month’s Fearless Friday event – we’ll be joined by several members of this year’s Women of Influence class.

Have a great week!

-- Emily Blobaum, Fearless editor

New mutual aid organization aims to help trans Iowans access gender affirming care
Artwork by Jamie Malone.
More than 1.4 million adults in the U.S. identify as transgender. Many want to receive gender affirmation care, but can’t afford it.

One new Iowa mutual aid organization is trying to change that.

Earlier this year, Max Mowitz, who is the program director at One Iowa, and a group of board members created the Iowa Trans Mutual Aid group after seeing positive community response from racial justice protests and the creation of other mutual aid organizations. Mutual aid is defined as a collective coordination to meet needs, often through crowdsourcing donations.

Iowa Trans Mutual Aid’s mission is to supply funding to trans and nonbinary individuals seeking gender affirming care. That can be anything from binders, tucking garments, name change documentation fees, surgery support, hormone replacement therapy and copays, Mowitz said.

"It’s really hard to access health care as a trans person," Mowitz said. "This is really, really needed."

Mowitz, through their role as a gender affirmation doula and personal experience when seeking their own gender affirming care, recognizes that while the barriers are plentiful, they’re compounded for marginalized groups.

"I’m a white, financially secure person with a bachelor’s degree and it’s hard for me to get health care. I have great insurance and it’s still really hard for me to access it," they said. "It’s that much harder for trans and nonbinary people in rural parts of the state and who are [people of color]."

Major barriers to accessing gender affirming care include:

  • Lack of inclusive and culturally competent providers. The perspective that providers have on trans care is important, Mowitz said. If they believe that being trans is wrong and that it's something to be fixed – "pathologizing it as a disease or illness" – it’s hard to have care that is loving and compassionate, Mowitz said. OneIowa lists 11 LGBTQ-specific and LGBTQ-inclusive health care providers on its website, many of which are located in central and eastern Iowa. That means that a trans person living in the northwest part of the state may have to drive four hours to see an inclusive provider, Mowitz said.  

  • Cost. Gender affirmation care is expensive. Without insurance, hormone replacement therapy can cost between $40 and $500 per month for trans men. Trans women can expect to pay at least $1,500 per year. Gender reassignment surgeries, which include, but are not limited to, vaginoplasties, breast augmentation surgeries, hysterectomies and orchiectomies, cost thousands of dollars. "There are so many barriers that people experience, we don’t want cost to be one of them," Mowitz said.

Applications to receive aid open Sept. 15, Mowitz said.

Mowitz emphasized that applications are "not a measure of how much somebody deserves aid," but are meant to be a confidential way to gather basic information needed to distribute aid.

"There might be times where we have to make challenging decisions about who gets aid, but for the most part we want to give aid freely and not create restrictions," Mowitz said.

Community members can donate to the fund through Venmo.

More information about the Iowa Trans Mutual Aid Fund, including the application, can be found on its Linktree.

On Leadership: Juggling leadership and parenting in today’s reality
Recently I was on a Zoom business call with a woman whose three young kids and very vocal hound dog all made appearances. She was mortified by the interruptions and apologized profusely. I told her not to worry one bit. Not only have I enjoyed meeting people’s kids and dogs on virtual calls during the pandemic, the blending of work and real life is simply our new reality. But that is easy for me to say since my stepkids are grown and gone; for parents trying to juggle it all, the struggle is real.

Let’s face it – every working parent has been put to the test since COVID-19 hit. Trying to lead teams or manage work while simultaneously handling child care and schooling has become exponentially difficult as lines between home and the workplace have blurred.

The interruptions are constant. A December 2020 survey by the Pew Research Center found that "half of remote workers with children under 18 have found it challenging to get through the workday without interruption, as opposed to only 20% of workers without kids."

Not only do those interruptions cause stress, they also interfere with leading effectively, meeting performance goals and even advancement opportunities. While we know the pandemic has disproportionately affected women in the workforce, challenges are reported by both mothers and fathers. And while virtual work has unique challenges, those who are not working remotely are also pulled in multiple directions.

How are working parents adapting and coping with this new and continuing reality? With school starting and the variants delaying or changing back-to-work scenarios, I turned to local leaders with kids and asked: "What is one of the most important lessons you have learned as you have juggled your professional career and parenting kids through so much recent change and uncertainty?"

Sophia Ahmad, senior director of development, MercyOne Des Moines Foundation; founder and principal, Mobile Music Lessons LLC: The lesson I learned was to keep growing. I became a mom three days into the pandemic lockdown. As our world slowed down, I focused on small, frequent disciplines that reap long-term rewards while being deeply present with my family, co-workers and clients. I started an MBA and expanded a side business, while embracing the compelling work at MercyOne.

Jenna Knox, external relations manager, Broadlawns Medical Center: The importance of clearing the slate. Over the last 18 months, my children have felt a great amount of uncertainty and change in their worlds. I have had to learn to be mindful about not adding my own pressures to "juggle it all" onto them as well.

Jorge "Junior" Ibarra, CEO and team leader, Ibarra Realty Group: Being an entrepreneurial family and having three kids under the age of 5, the most important lesson has been that it’s OK if things aren’t perfect. We have to give ourselves -- both parents and kids -- flexibility with our routines and workload. As long as our family is healthy -- physically and mentally -- then everything else will get figured out. It all works itself out in the end.  

Left: Meteorologist Anne Campolongo. Center: Singer Britney Spears. Right: Entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes.
In the headlines
  • KCCI, Des Moines' CBS affiliate, has announced a new meteorologist will join its team. Anne Campolongo will join as a full-time meteorologist on Sept. 20.
  • Britney Spears’ father, Jamie, asked a judge last week to end her conservatorship, which would allow the singer unfettered control over her life, her finances and her health care decisions for the first time in 13 years.
  • The criminal trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes began last week in California. Holmes is facing federal charges of defrauding patients and investors with claims of revolutionary blood-testing technology.
  • Finalists of this year’s Flourish Fund are Jessica Anderson, Wendy Broich and Marti Payseur. Anderson is a baker and owner of Jess Desserts. Brioch is a dance and sexual empowerment coach at Wendy B LLC. Payseur is a baker and owner of Thistle’s Summit Bakery & Catering. The community event is designed to give women business owners a chance to earn funding by pitching their ideas to spark, grow or revamp their business to a live audience.
  • Popular dating apps Match and Bumble, both of which are led by women, are kickstarting funds to help Texans access abortion services following the new anti-abortion law that bans the procedure after roughly six weeks. Lyft and Uber are also saying they will cover the legal fees of their drivers who get sued under the law, which gives private citizens the right to file civil suits against anyone they believe is aiding an abortion, including those who transport people to clinics.
  • A new University of Iowa study found that the "beauty premium" – the idea that tall men and skinny women earn more money – is real. Researchers found that men with $70,000 annual household incomes saw a $998 income increase for every one centimeter increase in height. Women who met the same income criteria saw a $934 income increase for a one unit decrease in body mass index.
  • Mexico’s supreme court voted last week to decriminalize abortion. The vote comes as a powerful women’s movement is transforming the country. Female politicians now make up half of the National Congress, and an ambitious constitutional reform passed in 2019 aims to ensure gender equality in senior government positions.
  • The National Women’s Hockey League has changed its name to the Premier Hockey Federation. The new name is part of a rebranding to reflect sweeping changes to its management structure, while also making a social statement by removing gender from its title.
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
Debunking myths about menopause (Talk of Iowa podcast). Portrait of the artist as a mother (Rolling Stone). How 10 female journalists covered 9/11 (Elle). Meet Fortune’s 40 Under 40 (Fortune). Men fall behind in college enrollment. Women still play catch-up at work (New York Times).

Join us Friday, Sept. 24, for a free virtual conversation about mentoring and professional development. We’ll also be joined by several of the Business Record’s 2021 Women of Influence. Have a question you’d like to ask them? Send them my way! Register for the event on our website.
Share your fearless story with us
As part of the 2021 annual Fearless edition of the Business Record, we want to know when you've been fearless. We also want to know what it means to find confidence, to be a leader or to take a risk. We want to know your life experiences.

We'll select some of the submissions to feature in the Fearless edition – which publishes Nov. 12 – and other Fearless publications, including our website, social media and e-newsletter.

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