‘Fearless is having the courage to honor your truth’ Meet 6 fearless Iowa women
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Good morning, and happy Monday! This is always my favorite edition of the year, because it’s the one where we publish our annual profiles of fearless Iowa women.

The six stories this year feature women who are resilient, ambitious, courageous, passionate and visionary. We’re excited to have three of them share their stories in person at our Fearless celebration this Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Sheraton West Des Moines from 10 a.m. to noon, and we hope you’ll join us.

Have a great week!

– Emily Kestel, Fearless editor

P.S. There's still time for you to submit your own fearless moment! We'd love to read and share them.

‘Fearless is having the courage to honor your truth’: Meet 6 fearless Iowa women
The Business Record’s Fearless initiative is celebrating its second birthday this year. We remain steadfast in living up to our goal of empowering Iowa women to succeed in work and life through our articles, stories and community events.

At its core, Fearless aims to amplify the perspectives, stories and insights of Iowa women and gender-nonconforming individuals.

Our magnum opus each year is the annual publication of profiles of fearless Iowa women. We do this because we believe it’s our duty not just to report on what somebody does, but also to share about who they are.

The stories we’re publishing this year are deeply personal, and are ones of overcoming, perseverance, achievement and hope. They feature women who are resilient, ambitious, courageous, passionate and visionary. Their stories weave together to create a colorful tapestry of what it means to be fearless and how fearlessness manifests itself.

Fearless is using your experience as an immigrant to mentor others.
Read Mayada Alwan’s story.
Fearless is leaving an abusive relationship, and making it your mission to help others do the same. Read Courageous Fire’s story.
Fearless is summiting the highest peaks on the seven continents despite growing up in a state with no mountains.
Read Jen Loeb’s story.
Fearless is saying yes to new opportunities, and lifting other women up along the way.
Read Denise O’Brien’s story.
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Fearless is not letting your age hold you back from achieving your dreams and goals.
Read Sydney Rieckhoff’s story.
Fearless is finding a way to move forward when you’ve been broken into a million pieces.
Read Patty Sneddon-Kisting’s story.
In the headlines
Maura Healy made history as the first woman elected as governor of Massachusetts and one of the first openly lesbian governors in U.S. history. Tina Kotek was elected as governor of Oregon and is also one of the first openly lesbian governors in the country’s history.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be the first female governor of Arkansas.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Reps. Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks won reelection. Rep. Cindy Axne lost her bid to Zach Nunn in the 3rd Congressional District race.

Vermont elected to send Becca Balint to the U.S. House, becoming the last state to send a woman to Congress. Balint is not only the first woman to represent Vermont in Congress, but the first openly LGBTQ person to serve in the chamber.

Iowa State University and the University of Iowa saw upticks in reports of rape in 2021. There were 64 reported rapes at UI, an increase from 38 reports in 2020, 50 in 2019, and 22 in 2015. Iowa State had 22 rape reports in 2021, up from 10 in 2020. Most rapes and sexual assaults, however, go unreported. The universities also saw increases in stalking, fondling and dating violence.

Iowa is losing $30 million in federal funds that would have helped families access basic child care services. The governor’s office says the loss of that money is the result of a deliberate decision to avoid having to commit $3 million in matching state funds toward child care, though one Democratic state lawyer said it’s her understanding that Iowa’s application for the $30 million in federal grants fell victim to the state’s inability to review the paperwork and submit it on time.

Worth checking out
Black women and the glass cliff: ‘I was supposed to bring some kind of Black Girl Magic’ (Fortune). Women CEOs speak: Embrace discomfort, do what scares you (Forbes). New endorsements for college athletes resurface an old concern: Sex sells (New York Times). The challenge for ‘chauffeur mums’: Navigating a city that wasn’t planned for women (The Guardian).
We invite you to join us and others equally passionate about empowering Iowa women as we celebrate two years of the Business Record’s Fearless initiative. Women, gender-nonconforming individuals and male allies are all encouraged to be fearless with us.

To celebrate Fearless, a lineup of inspiring women will share their stories of fearlessness and courage. Attendees will be seated at a table with female leaders, including some of our past Women of Influence honorees, who will lead powerful discussions to share perspectives and insights on succeeding in work and life. Attendees will build additional connections with leaders and other participants as they rotate to different tables throughout the event.

As part of our Fearless core values, this event will create an atmosphere where everyone has a seat and voice at the table. This dynamic interaction will give you not only a chance to learn from others’ experiences and engage in topics facing women in the workplace, but you’ll also have the opportunity to develop and deepen your relationships with women across the state.

Details: Thursday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Sheraton West Des Moines

  • Patty Sneddon-Kisting, director, Urbandale Food Pantry
  • Sydney Rieckhoff, CEO, Almost Famous Popcorn
  • Courageous Fire, entrepreneur/owner Courageous Fire LLC
When was a time that YOU were fearless?
Fearless is a Business Record initiative with women-centered content and events designed to help women and the companies and allies who both value and support them. The elements of this brand can be simplified into one goal: We want to help empower Iowa women to succeed in work and life.

As part of our ongoing profile series on stories of fearless Iowans, we want to hear from YOU. Tell us: When have you been fearless? At the time, these experiences may have felt minor, momentous or anywhere in between. We want to know about moments because we believe that sharing stories of courage can inspire others to take leaps of faith.

We'll select some of the submissions to be featured on our website, social media and e-newsletter. Note: These will get shared throughout the next year, so keep that in mind if you are sharing a time-sensitive story. By filling out the form, you agree to have your submission published by the Business Record.

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