Plus, why you should support women athletes year-round
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Good morning, happy Monday and happy August! This week we’re sharing the other half of the Business Record’s Women of Influence honorees. If you haven't already signed up for the free virtual event where we'll celebrate them this Wednesday afternoon, you've still got time!

We’re also still in Olympics mode, so there’s quite a lot of headlines this week about history-making women athletes. Barbara Burke, who is the deputy athletics director at the University of Iowa, wrote about why it’s important to support and celebrate women athletes year-round, not just during Olympic years.

Have a great week!

– Emily Blobaum, Fearless editor

P.S. As a programming note, I’m taking some much-needed vacation time this week. If you have any questions/comments/concerns about Fearless, please direct them to Business Record Editor Emily Barske at

Meet five more Women of Influence

“Don’t make boundaries for yourself.”

“The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create (and support) environments in which great ideas can happen.”

“The true measure of success is how much you do for others.”

Tiffany Tauscheck | Chief operations officer, Greater Des Moines Partnership

“Get in the arena, and don’t be afraid. Don’t stand on the sidelines.”
Let’s support women athletes every year, not just during the Olympics
Women helping women! I am certain most women in leadership positions have either used or heard this phrase. While I am an absolute proponent of women helping women, I like to take it one step further and say, “If not me, then who?”

While a lot of focus and attention are being placed on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, I suggest we have a greater responsibility to continually support girls and women in sports not only in an Olympic year.

With almost 40 years of service in higher education and specifically in the field of athletics, I have grown to love, admire and respect the achievements of girls and women in sports. Through sports, women build character, strength, independence and confidence, as well as a basic joy of competition. But there is more to this – a sense of community. I get to witness the anticipation of competition, the joy of winning and, yes, the disappointment in defeat. But in the end, all skills that will carry these young women through life.

I am confident that without my prior competitive experiences on the court and on the field, and without coaches who cared and mentored me, I would not be the leader I am today. I am keenly aware of the sacrifices that numerous women made before me – they laid the groundwork for success and career opportunities. I take great responsibility in carrying on the work of countless men and women and paying forward opportunities for girls and women in sport. As a professional woman, if I am not willing to support, lead, guide and direct, how can I ask others to support women’s athletics?

If you thought women’s sports are not a viable television product, NCAA Women’s Basketball Sweet 16 saw an increase of 66% viewership, according to ESPN. ESPN noted that the Iowa-UConn game was the most-viewed women’s Sweet 16 game since 2013, drawing 1.6 million viewers. The Women’s College World Series experienced similar increases. According to ESPN, the entire Women’s College World Series averaged 1 million viewers, up 20% and the most watched since 2015.

In addition, the male viewership demographic increased by 45% for men aged 18-34, while in the boys age group, 12-17 viewership increased 75%. It is evident there is value in women’s athletics programming, given all the various media platforms that are currently broadcasting and streaming women’s events. The Big Ten Network alone carries over 800 women’s events annually.

Female athletes deserve our support, both emotionally and financially. Recently at the University of Iowa, we created a program dedicated specifically to our female student athletes. HERkys was created to support, engage and empower young women. Our HERkys community celebrates the rich history and tradition of women’s athletics at the University of Iowa and is committed to providing opportunities for female student-athletes – empowering the next generation of Hawkeye leaders.

One of my goals when I became an athletic administrator was to have someone introduce me as an “athletic administrator,” not a “female administrator.” My goal is to one day be able to recognize our young women as “great athletes,” not “great female athletes.” Our women are athletes, pure and simple. The time is now to recognize and support their achievements, remove the labels, and celebrate their accomplishments.

How can you help? Tell your stories, change the culture, give women their voice and encourage allies. Together as a community we can continue to support, engage and empower. Our athletes are counting on us!

Barbara Burke has served as the deputy director of athletics and the senior women’s administrator at the University of Iowa since 2017.

Left: Gymnast Simone Biles. Center: Gymnast Sunisa Lee. Right: Swimmer Katie Ledecky.
In the headlines – Olympics edition
Empowering Others to Succeed: Betty Lee
“I’m driven to do more to help underserved people understand how money works. If you give them a sense of financial security, the more they have to give back to their communities.” – Betty Lee, managing director, Principal.

Having experienced past financial hardships of her own, Betty now makes a point to emphasize the “why” of money decisions, helping people—particularly those with limited access and means—understand the importance of budgeting, paying down debt, and saving.

And she’s an advocate outside of work, fighting for the underserved. She feels it’s her job to speak up and do more.
Other women in the headlines
Worth checking out
The pandemic drove women out of the workforce. Will they come back? (Politico). A personal history of the C-section (New York Times Magazine). Olympic runner Emily Infeld's harrowing three-year ordeal with a stalker (ESPN). Many Black women felt relieved to work from home, free from microaggressions. Now they’re told to come back (Washington Post). I gave birth, but my husband developed postpartum depression (New York Times). 87 ways to feel healthier at home (Apartment Therapy). When work weighs you down, take a sad day (New York Times).
Thanks to everyone who came out to Jasper Winery last week! It was a hot one, but despite the constant stream of sweat dripping down my back, it was great to see new and familiar faces. Stay tuned for future Fearless events.
Do you know a fearless Iowa woman?
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.

In doing so, the team behind Fearless is always looking for stories to tell about Iowa women.  

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.

Do you know of any women or nonbinary Iowans who have a great story to tell? Do you have a story you'd like to tell us about yourself? Let us know below.
Statewide survey highlights financial literacy gap for women; conference set for Aug. 19
Women are often financially responsible for both their children and aging parents and typically will need more retirement savings because statistically they live longer than men.

However, a majority of women in Iowa — 56% — said they lacked confidence that they were making wise financial decisions when planning for retirement, according to the results of a new statewide survey commissioned by the Iowa Insurance Division.

The SmartHER Money Literacy Financial Research survey, conducted by Amperage Marketing & Fundraising, polled a statistically valid sample of 383 women from a range of incomes and ages across the state about their views on financial management, insurance, retirement planning and investments.

"Financial literacy is critical for women to gain financial independence and to secure a financial future," said Sonya Sellmeyer, consumer advocacy officer with the Iowa Insurance Division. "Our research study pinpointed a clear and present need for the Iowa Insurance Division to assist female Iowans who reported they want to learn more about retirement planning, investments and insurance. We want to help move more Iowa households into the realm of financial security."

The division launched the new SmartHER Money program in early 2021. The program, based on the research outcomes, strives to empower women to face their fears and anxieties about money, financial planning and investing. It also seeks to give them the knowledge needed to increase their financial literacy, set financial goals, develop a retirement plan and achieve financial wellness and security.

The Iowa Insurance Division will launch its inaugural SmartHER Money Conference in Cedar Falls on Aug. 19. More information and registration for the free event can be found at this link on the SmartHER website.  
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