View as webpage, click here.
AUGUST 21, 2023
Good morning, Fearless readers:

It’s a bit early, but happy Women’s Equality Day. The holiday is celebrated on Aug. 26, although the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote nationally on Aug. 18, 1920. Here is a good explainer by the National Constitution Center of why the day is celebrated on Aug. 26. And, here is a pretty rad shirt you can give a child in your life to celebrate the 19th Amendment. (While the 19th Amendment secured the right to vote for women, it was much more difficult or impossible for women of color to vote until later legislation.)

On a somber note: Did you grow up in Maui and now live in Iowa? Or, alternatively, did you grow up in Iowa and live in Maui now? I am searching for a woman who would feel comfortable writing a guest column for Fearless about the wildfires and recovery efforts. (If you are interested in helping Hawaii residents displaced by Maui wildfires, more information can be found here.)

In today’s e-newsletter, you will find:

  • A column by Krista Tedrow about overcoming childhood abuse and workaholism to find the magic again.
  • A story about a Des Moines women’s investment club that is disbanding after 25 years. Have you considered starting an investment club of your own?
  • In the headlines: New research has found “forever chemicals” in the lining of period underwear, the wrappers of tampons and in other menstrual products.
  • A break from the news: Fearless readers submitted their own “Barbie” stories and photos. Learn whose Barbie doll lost her feet to a younger sister.
  • Lots more!

– Nicole Grundmeier, Business Record staff writer

Krista Tedrow: Magic prevails after childhood abuse and workaholism
Editor’s note: Adverse Childhood Experiences, also known as ACES, are traumatic events that happen to a person ages 0 to 17. Examples include physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, the death of a parent, the incarceration of a parent, witnessing a parent being abused, and more. The higher a person’s ACES score, the more likely that person is to suffer from poor health throughout life – not just depression and anxiety, but also heart disease, cancer, diabetes, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and other diseases. A history of childhood abuse can also affect adults in the workplace in various ways. The following column was written by Krista Tedrow and published on her 33rd birthday on LinkedIn. Fearless contacted Tedrow and received her permission to publish her story and her photos here. As Tedrow told me in an email, “Shame dies when stories are told in safe spaces.” Tedrow shared with Fearless that she has an ACES score of 10.

– Nicole Grundmeier, Business Record staff writer

Krista Tedrow and her daughter. Submitted photo.
I was born 12,045 days ago. Today I turned 33.

Last year, I gave myself and my family the birthday gift of commitment to overcome workaholism.

The gift gave me back time with my daughter, husband, family and community.

Most importantly, it gave me time with myself to examine life’s proverbial question: Who am I?

As I pondered this question, my mind seemed to produce a door labeled “past.” I paused.

Opening a portal with power to suck me into the black hole of my past, swirling with memories from my traumatic childhood experiences of neglect, abuse, pain and abandonment was not something I had time for.

Except … I did have time because I wasn’t working 80-plus hours a week.

Then I heard a gentle voice somewhere inside of me whisper, “Do you trust if I ask you to open a door with darkness that I will also reveal the light? Do you trust that I love you and will show you how to let go of the darkness?”

A key appeared and unlocked the door. It opened slowly. It was dark. No light. Just like I expected.

I heard the whisper again, “Look deeper. The light is trapped beneath the dark surface of circumstances that contradict the good memories. If you trust me, I will show you the beauty through the pain.”

I looked deeper, and suddenly, the childhood I couldn’t recall for most of my adult life was illuminated.

Some of the memories were almost too painful to bear, and I wanted to close the door … but I knew to heal, I had to keep looking. When all of the dark memories were revealed …

The magic began. For the first time, I witnessed de-LIGHT-ful and happy memories prior to the age of 7.

  • I was laughing and playing at a park with my little brothers as we splashed in a wishing well.
  • I was getting my ears pierced and so excited as I picked out “big girl” sparkle earrings – two pairs – so I could wear a narwhal in one ear and a unicorn in the other.
  • I was in first grade defending my belief in magic and unicorns with relentless conviction as I told the teacher it wasn’t my fault other people choose not to believe.
I heard the whisper again, “You see? There is so much magic to remember and so much magic to create because you are magic.”

The gift of time revealed that I am not my experiences, yet my experiences are part of the magic of me.

This year I am giving myself the greatest gift of all – expressing me with authenticity and restoring my 6-year-old self’s belief that anything is possible even when reality contradicts it.

Who am I? I am magic.

Krista Tedrow lives in Ottumwa and owns a consulting company called No Opportunity Wasted. She can be reached at

After 25 years, women’s investing club finishes profitable run
The S&B Investing Club. Seated from left: Kathleen Murrin, Maureen Keehnle, Chris Sidwell, Beth Stelle Jones and Mary Riche. Standing: Bonnie Green, Becky Anthony and Lillian Dittrick. On screen is Cheryl Morton, tuning in from Santa Fe, N.M., and on the wall is a print by member Amy Worthen, who splits her time between Des Moines and Venice, Italy. Photo: Elise Huang.
Mary Riche recalls, unfondly, that when she wanted to buy a car in 1972, she couldn’t even do it in her own name. That didn’t fit well with the lifelong feminist’s notion of women’s equality and empowerment, including in money matters.

Two decades later, a group of grandmothers from Beardstown, Ill., inspired her to take action. The women had formed an investment club and had chalked up some pretty impressive gains in the stock market. Riche read their book, “The Beardstown Ladies Common-Sense Investment Guide,” and followed in their footsteps to form an investing club in Des Moines called the S&B Investing Club. (You might think that’s “stocks and bonds,” but it’s actually “stockings and bondage.” They’ve had a sense of humor from the get-go.)

The National Association of Investors Corp. had created the investing club format, which the Beardstown Ladies, S&B and hundreds of other clubs across the nation have used to pool their money and talent to find worthwhile investments.

But money came first. Members were asked to kick in a set amount every month, to build their capital. “I thought I should probably be saving $50 a month, and this seemed like a good way to get me to do that,” S&B member Kathleen Murrin said.

Members were assigned stocks to research and then make recommendations to the club about whether those stocks were worth buying. “We were all learning together,” Riche said.

The S&B club’s first purchase, in 1998, was 50 shares of Johnston-based Pioneer Hi-Bred International. They did well: The seed corn company was bought out just a year later by DuPont.

“We knew Pioneer as an Iowa company, so there was some confidence” in their decision, Riche said. But they questioned that strategy after investing in Maytag Corp. and then watching it struggle and, eventually, get taken over in 2006 at a bargain basement price by Whirlpool Corp.

The club found a new confidence builder in Value Line, an independent investing research firm, whose reports were available for free at the local library.

Over the years, there have been more winners than losers, and members have more than doubled their money. The club has enjoyed some distributions, too. One member used the money to buy a new car. Another put a new roof on her house, and Riche said she repaved her driveway.

The members are older now, and some live only part time in Des Moines. One member has passed away. So after a quarter century, the S&B club is disbanding and will make its final distributions by the end of the year.

There don’t seem to be any regrets, just good memories. The club has made sense as a financial savings tool. Riche said its members have learned more about finances and money — and more about empowerment.

If you’d like to learn how to start a club of your own, find more information from the National Association of Investors Corp. website at
How risk-taking and failure can help women succeed
Tuesday, Oct. 10 at noon (online)

The most successful people have often failed – many times – before getting to where they are now. They take big risks, which require taking leaps of faith even through fear. In this conversation, we’ll hear from speakers who have done just that. Girls and women are often taught, or put pressure on themselves, to be perfect and are less likely to shoot for a goal than boys and men if they don’t think they’re qualified. 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 those you know in the journeys toward reaching goals. Find more information here.
Getty Images
In the headlines
‘Forever chemicals’ found in period underwear, tampon wrappers: Period underwear have been a practical and environmentally friendly menstrual product for many women and girls. However, new research has found “forever chemicals” in the lining of period underwear, the wrappers of tampons and in other menstruation products, according to the Washington Post. Forever chemicals, or PFAS, are man-made compounds that can potentially accumulate in the body over time and take years to break down in nature. PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been implicated in a number of serious health effects, including some cancers, high blood pressure, disruption of the endocrine system and developmental problems in children.

The women’s multiplier effect: By turning out in groups, women created a multiplier effect and propelled watershed success for the "Barbie" movie, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Women have always been a deeply underestimated economic force,” said Blair Kohan, a partner and agent at talent agency UTA, the agency that represents “Barbie” co-writer and director Greta Gerwig. They embrace shared experiences across generations, she said. Not exactly activism, but more than just entertainment, this summer’s hottest events drew crowds compelled by a common theme: art made by women that speaks to the experience of being female. The megastars on stage and screen seem otherworldly but share stories that are familiar.

Litigation over mifepristone, a key abortion drug: A federal appeals court on Wednesday said it would restrict access to a widely used abortion medication after finding that the federal government did not follow the proper process when it loosened regulations in 2016 to make the pill more easily available, according to the Washington Post. A three-judge panel of the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit said Food and Drug Administration decisions to allow the drug mifepristone to be taken later in pregnancy, be mailed directly to patients and be prescribed by a medical professional other than a doctor, were not lawful. Despite the court’s ruling against the government and the drug manufacturer, mifepristone will remain available for now under existing regulations while the litigation continues, in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling this spring. Wednesday’s decision is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

VA insurance won’t cover IVF for LGBTQ and unmarried veterans: A lawsuit filed in federal court would push the Veterans Health Administration to cover the treatment — the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology — for people who are single, or who are in LGBTQ relationships, according to the 19th. Currently, the VA does not provide IVF coverage for women in those groups. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month by the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women, could have significant implications for the growing cohort of women and LGBTQ veterans. Veterans are more likely to benefit from fertility treatment, the lawsuit argues, because they have often delayed pregnancy and parenthood until after they have finished their military service.

Worth checking out
She wasn’t able to get an abortion. Now she’s a mom. Soon she’ll start 7th grade. (Time magazine). The ‘risk tax’ and ‘punishment tax’ could be derailing women’s careers. Here’s how to recognize — and avoid — them in your organization. (Entrepreneur). ‘His name was Bélizaire’: Rare portrait of enslaved child arrives at the Met (New York Times). Iowa aims for the women’s basketball attendance record at Kinnick in preseason game with DePaul (Associated Press). Banned in Kuwait, ‘Barbie’ sparks delight, and anger, in Saudi Arabia (New York Times). Women survive Maui fires by waiting for hours in a swimming pool (Washington Post).
Fearless readers share their own ‘Barbie’ memories
One month after the “Barbie” movie’s release, there is seemingly no end to her (dance?) party.

I asked Fearless readers to share photos of their own Weird Barbie dolls and other feedback.

Although fans can pre-order their own Weird Barbie on Mattel’s website based on Kate McKinnon’s character, I prefer the authentic childhood versions like this one.

Annette Hacker, vice president of communications for the Food Bank of Iowa, sent Fearless a photo of her own childhood Weird Barbie. “Poor Malibu Barbie,” Hacker wrote. “Her swimsuit, towel and sunglasses long gone. Mismatched 70s clothes. (Pants made by Mom, mod-striped coat purchased by Dad as a gift during my lone hospital visit as a child). Missing feet thanks to my little sister.” Hacker said one of her other favorite Barbie dolls is Working Woman Barbie, who could talk. The doll's accessories included a tiny copy of "Working Woman" magazine.

Susan Judkins, client development director for RDG Planning & Design, told Fearless that she noticed a shift from her own childhood to her daughters’ childhood. “I remember playing with Barbie as a child, and it was always about the clothes since I thought she needed to look great when having fun,” Judkins wrote. “It was a big ‘aha’ moment for me in about 1990 when I came upon my two young daughters playing with their Barbies – who were ‘going to the office.’ There had been a generational shift in one generation based on what female members of my family were experiencing. Mattel figured this out and rolled out Barbies with many career roles, but the imagination of young girls doesn’t just depend on Barbie’s clothing options. Their play will most likely be influenced by what they see and know.”

Finally, here is my own childhood Barbie anecdote – a mix of business ownership and improbable fertility. I decided my Barbie and Ken dolls’ last name was Campbell. And yes, they owned the Campbell soup factory. Barbie and Ken Campbell went to the office daily to oversee soup production and left their quintuplets in the care of Babysitter Skipper and Babysitter Courtney, both marketed as “Everybody’s favorite babysitter!” Hijinks ensued. Sadly, only two of the five Campbell quintuplets survived to 2023. The survivors are pictured above.

Barbie’s history is rocky and, at times, offensive. But I like to think she expanded our imaginations and our childhoods in ways that can unite us.

– Nicole Grundmeier, Business Record staff writer

Be fearless with us
At its core, Fearless exists to help empower Iowa women to succeed in work and life. We believe that everyone has a story to share and that we cannot progress as a society unless we know about one another. We share stories through featuring women in our reporting, featuring guest contributions and speakers at our events.

We are always looking for new stories to share and people to feature. Get in touch with us!

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 group publisher of BPC:
Contact Fearless staff writer:
Submit press release:
Advertising info:
Membership info:

Copyright © BPC 2023, All rights reserved.
Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content in any manner is strictly prohibited.

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign