Women of Influence speeches, a display of sportsmanship and advice on leading with compassion
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Good morning and happy Monday! I’m pleased to say this week’s newsletter has no shortage of inspiring and uplifting content.

I encourage you to take some time to watch the acceptance speeches from the Business Record’s Women of Influence event.

Then, if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the newsletter, you’ll find a link to a video of a heartwarming display of sportsmanship – and what masculinity should look like – in the game of baseball.

What – or who – has inspired you lately? I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, have a great week!

– Emily Kestel, Fearless editor

Watch the acceptance speeches from the 2022 Women of Influence

"Mental health of the strongest and most resilient health care workers has suffered greatly. It is time we show love, respect and compassion to people around us."

"I have had amazing luck to be surrounded in my life and career by women who influenced me to be fearless and speak not only my truth, but to speak for others whose voices have been stolen or silenced."

"Go out and be critical to making things happen that have nothing to do with you. Stand up for each other. Be dream chasers, be encouragers and remember that it always, always matters."

Dr. Hayley Harvey

"My deepest hope, in addition to honoring my mother, is that I have inspired you to speak hope and possibility into the life of a child."

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"Every woman in this room … is a woman of influence. Influence that she is aware of and for which she is known, or influence that she has not yet discovered."

"You must use your voice to say, ‘enough is enough’ and ‘we must do more.’ Choose to rise above the obstacles. Inspire others to do more."

"Wisdom and success can be gained by mastering the best of what people have already figured out. … Standing on the shoulders of giants is a necessary part of creativity, innovation and development."

"Find your passion, and each day of your life will be fulfilled. Be loyal in business and friendship. And always reach out to someone in need. I challenge you to lift someone up."

"I am an immigrant woman with privilege because I have the opportunity to fulfill my dreams. … This makes me feel responsible to speak up for the Latino community."

"There’s a need for us in the community to work for the greater good. What are your gifts? Your talents? Your abilities?"

Left: Tennis star Serena Williams. Center: Assistant East High School football coach Renate Rice. Photo by Phil Roeder. Right: Actress and singer Olivia Newton-John.
In the headlines
  • Tennis star Serena Williams announced she is retiring from the sport after playing in the U.S. Open. "I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me," including working with her venture capital firm and growing her family, she said in a Vogue article.
  • The Des Moines Public Schools district has hired its first female football coach. Renate Rice is an assistant coach for East High School. "It's kind of been the goal the whole time with coaching. I've wanted to be the first … female coach," she said. "So that's what I've worked for. It's everything I've worked towards. It's everything I've dedicated the 13 years of playing to."
  • Actress and singer Olivia Newton-John, best known for her role as Sandy in "Grease," died last week at age 73. She had lived with breast cancer since 1992 and was a prominent advocate for cancer research.
  • Abortion-rights groups and at least two large employers expressed opposition after Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb earlier this month signed a new abortion ban into law, making Indiana the first state to pass new legislation for an abortion ban since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June. Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, which has more than 10,000 employees in Indianapolis, said it’s looking at growth of the company outside of the state.
  • New data on wages earned by college graduates showed a gender pay gap emerging soon after joining the workforce, even among those receiving the same degree from the same school. The data covers about 1.7 million graduates who received federal financial aid and shows that median pay for men exceeded that for women three years after graduation in nearly 75% of roughly 11,300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs at some 2,000 universities.
  • The NCAA earned praise last year when it agreed to pay referees at its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments equally. The gesture only cost about $100,000. Now, as the NCAA examines various disparities across men’s and women’s sports, pressure is rising to also pay referees equally during the regular season.
  • A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation has ranked Iowa ninth in the nation for child well-being. The report ranks states on 12 factors divided into four categories. Iowa ranked fifth for economic well-being, 11th for education, 17th for health and 11th for family and community.
  • Planned Parenthood officials in Iowa said they have decided to dismiss their challenge to an Iowa law that requires abortion patients to wait 24 hours after their initial appointment to return to the doctor to get an abortion. Instead, the organization will focus efforts on fighting efforts by Gov. Kim Reynolds and Republican lawmakers to limit access to abortion in the state, which included filing a motion to a district court to reinstate a six-week abortion ban last week.
Worth checking out
Far From Home: One year after the fall of Kabul, Afghan women are attempting to build new lives abroad (Time). The midterms, a milestone and the myth of the monolith: How 2022 could build on women’s representation (The 19th). Sheryl Sandberg is officially done as Meta COO. What really changed for top-ranking women during her tenure? (Fortune). Kamala Harris made history — so her husband did, too (The 19th). "God, no, not another case." COVID-related stillbirths didn’t have to happen (ProPublica). Would you work in an Amazon warehouse just to get pregnant? (The Cut). The work-from-home revolution is also a trap for women (Bloomberg).
Leading Fearlessly: Do women do hard things better?
From left: Michelle Book, Miriam Lewis, Dawn Martinez-Oropeza, Sanjita Pradhan, Maddie Rocha Smith and Bobbi Segura.
In last week's newsletter, we ran a column by Business Publications Corp. President and CEO Suzanna de Baca. She talked with six women about the importance of compassion and wisdom in leadership. In case you missed the piece, here are five pieces of advice on ways to lead with those traits.

1. Demonstrate empathy, authenticity and vulnerability. "Today’s employees are not looking for bosses; they are looking for coaches and mentors," says Pradhan, emphasizing that intentionally building one-on-one time with employees – especially important for remote and hybrid workers – and showing genuine interest in their development and growth with a coaching and mentoring mindset is key. Pradhan recommends asking the following specific questions on a regular basis: How are you doing? What is getting in the way of you being productive at work? How can I help?

2. Learn from your mistakes. It takes time and practice to lead with compassion and wisdom. You won’t have the right answer every time. "Learn from your mistakes," says Segura. "Be willing to listen to and consider new ideas." She encourages leaders to exhibit a firm belief in their abilities and to build relationships with potential allies.

3. Build confidence. Leadership often means giving feedback when a team member needs improvement, but leaders have a choice in how to deliver that message. "The most compassionate leaders are the ones who give you the grace to make a mistake and allow you the room to grow and learn rather than burn your confidence," says Rocha Smith. Consider how you can lift your team up and support them, even when growth or progress is needed.

4. Create a healthy atmosphere. "It is important to have a healthy work environment that considers the whole person," says Martinez Oropeza. She encourages leaders to provide a foundation in the workplace where everyone, and the organization itself, can thrive.

5. Be human-centered. "Treat your co-workers as humans first, co-workers second," says Rocha Smith, who emphasizes that this frame of mind shifts how you interact with team members. Lewis echoes this point, saying it is important to first lead with compassion and then connect with one another on a human level. "We’re in the age of personalization and, above all, we’re humans first," she says, "I am a woman of faith, wife, mother, college football fan, and I get to lead inclusion at Principal. Who are you?"
An example of what sportsmanship – and masculinity – should look like
Perhaps you’ve seen the video of a touching moment during a Little League regional championship game in Oklahoma making its rounds around social media recently.

In the video, a 12-year-old pitcher loses control of his pitch, hitting the 12-year-old batter in the head with the ball. The batter was knocked to the ground momentarily, but was fine and walked it off to first base.

The pitcher, however, was visibly shaken. While the pitcher was standing on the mound with his head hung low, choking back tears, the batter called time and walked from first base over to the pitcher and gave him a hug and told him, "You’re doing just great," before being joined by the pitcher’s teammates and coach.

The moment was hailed as a shining model of sportsmanship and kindness. Other people have looked at it through an additional lens of what masculinity should look like.

One columnist wrote that the incident is "a reminder of the need to give kids permission to express a full range of desires, emotions and interests," no matter their gender.

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