Now Accepting PWN Scholarship Foundation Applications

It’s that time of year when we need your help to get the word out that we are now accepting PWN Scholarship Foundation Applications for the 2023-2024 school year.

We established the PWN Scholarship Foundation in 1992 and we have awarded over $35,000 to women in our community who are completing their AA or BA. Recipients are also provided encouragement and support from the organization’s members.

The application can be completed online. The deadline to submit is July 30th.

The women who are selected to receive the $500 scholarship (we typically choose between 4-5 women each year) are also invited to our annual PWN Presents: A Celebration of Women Helping Women breakfast that we host in September to acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments.

If there are any additional questions please reach out to our Director of Operations, Ann Roushar at

March Madness in More Ways Than One- Jessie Fergesen

In 1939 a high school athletic administrator is credited with coining the phrase “March Madness”; however, it was Brent Musberger who used the phrase during the 1982 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and it stuck.  Personally, I go absolutely nuts for March Madness as a college wrestling and basketball fan, entering staff pools, and watching all three tournaments when I can. Even if you don’t get into basketball or wrestling, March can bring a little madness to all our lives.

Spring Break is often associated with March. Spring Break is supposed to be just that, a break, but for women, is it? Do you truly get a break during this time, or does it just make the rest of your month hectic? Common questions asked by women all over could be, have we booked our trip yet? If you aren’t traveling have you decided what you will do with your kids while they are out of school? Are you taking off work?  What will the weather be like, and can we plan some outdoor outings during spring break? What if the weather causes travel snarls?  See what I mean, madness!

It’s also tax season. No matter when you hear that term, it causes stress. Have you filed your taxes yet?  Do you have all your receipts?  Did you schedule time with your accountant? Are you filing yourself? Ugh! Thank goodness this only happens once a year.

There’s also the WILD weather of March.  Another famous phrase is, March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb. This March certainly seems to have done just this with winter storms and cool temperatures in the first few weeks of March having us all looking forward to spring.

So yeah, March is a busy month, and it can cause us all a little madness. But what I haven’t mentioned yet and what could be the most important thing in March is to celebrate WOMEN! It’s Women’s History Month and while we can get caught up in all these other events that occur in March, I encourage us all to take some time to celebrate the women in our lives and that also means taking time for yourself.

What have you done this March to celebrate the women?  Here are a few ideas of ways you can celebrate women in your life.

Have a dinner party with your close girlfriends.

If you know of a woman in your life who’s struggling to keep things together, send her a note, a text, or some flowers.

Organize a lunch at work with the women in your office or department.

Get together with your mom, sisters, and/or nieces.

Schedule a massage for yourself.

Get your nails done with a close friend or daughter.

Take an afternoon to unplug.

However you spend March, make sure a part of it is spent celebrating women.

Know Your Numbers-Katie Powell, Savant Tax & Consulting

Katie Powell, PWN 2023 Board Member

You see this phrase and many think, what numbers are you talking about?  Are you thinking about how many people will be at the next event, how many stops will be included for the next trip, or what should your monthly budget be?  These are all important questions however this phrase will be the most important and how it can save your life.

Know Your Numbers is the campaign that the American Heart Association kicked off this year to help women be aware of diabetes and what can be done to prevent it.  This phrase helps you know your body and how you can be a healthier you.  It is important to know your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and body weight.  These key areas will help you achieve your health goals.

The best way to monitor your numbers is to ask your physician at your annual exam to run the tests to start the baseline.  Many people today don’t request this with the concern of additional testing and medical cost however if you have a family history that has had heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc., you can provide a valuable reason on why you want to know your numbers.  Instead of looking at the out-of-pocket costs, think about the life-changing measures you can take to live a long and healthy life.  Heart disease is the #1 killer in women and diabetes is a factor that causes this.

So, celebrate a healthier you and join the movement to “Know Your Numbers”.  February is Heart month and Friday; February 3rd is the kickoff!  Join us and wear Red to support your fellow women and to all the heart survivors out there.  Share to the world you are celebrating your health and you have made the goal to “Know Your Numbers” in 2023!

For more information on “Know Your Numbers” click on the link below.–treatment-of-diabetes/know-your-health-numbers

Recently diagnosed with diabetes, this website will help you get a better understanding of this disease.


Welcome to the PWN Board, Mindy Kayser Vice President of Community Engagement, Mercy Medical Center Foundation

Mindy Kayser recently joined PWN in 2021 and we made such a great impression 🙂 she decided to commit to joining the board. We are so excited to have her!

Mindy has more than 20 years of nonprofit administration, marketing, communications and fundraising experience.

Her prior work history includes leadership roles with Operation Threshold (Waterloo), The Salvation Army (Cedar Rapids) and most recently before Mercy, Goodwill of the Heartland as Vice President of Marketing (Eastern Iowa). She started with the Mercy Foundation in October of 2020. Her role with Mercy focuses on creating greater awareness of the Foundation, including donor communication and promotion of hospital needs and giving opportunities. She also works with donors on making planned gifts.

Mindy holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and mass communications from Drake University and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Northern Iowa.

Mindy lives in Cedar Rapids with her family. Her favorite pastime is supporting her three boys in their interests and activities. She also enjoys volunteering for the causes she cares about.

Fun Fact: She has three rescue pugs – one for each of her boys.

Please introduce yourself at our next PWN Meeting on January 27th.


Find ‘The Want’! A Letter from our President, Jamie Meyers

Hello PWN Ladies!

THANK YOU for joining us on this ride that we will call 2022.  My name is Jamie Meyers, and I am THRILLED to be your President for the year.  We are starting off this new year by hopefully sharing some stories, some funny tidbits, and some of our hearts with all of you to grow together as one amazing group of badass women of PWN!  So … cheers to the revival of our blog! 

I want to start things off by saying most days I start typing something and I lose track of the first reason I started typing something, I start retyping a different topic, and then eventually remember the reason and come right back to that initial something … so enjoy the brain dump!  

There is something about starting a new year that feels like magic.  We know it is exciting … we get another chance to make the MOST out of the next 365 days.  We set goals, we set resolutions, we set goals and resolutions in our heads for our kids and spouses, then February 1st hits.  We find ourselves in the hamster wheel of our life and once again lose sight of the new promises, new resolutions, new goals we just set one short month ago.  What if there was a way, we could just choose to stay OFF the hamster wheel?????  OR at the very least … choose when we need to get off of the hamster wheel for just a brief moment to eat a carrot (or a taco in my case) and just breathe. 

My friends … we totally can do this!!!!!  I typed into google “What does it mean to have intentions?” and believe it or not, I hear the google-nator knows all. It answered me back with “to plan or want to (do something): to intend to (do something)”.  What about that???  It’s the WANT that maybe is the first step.  As yourself one question … What is 1 thing you WANT to change about your day?  You want to have more work-life balance, you want more time to read, you want to exercise, you want to go on vacation.  Ok … I feel your wants!  NOW … figure out the “next right thing to do” in order to put that want into motion.  Only YOU can define this next right thing.  Once you accomplish that … then get to the “next right thing” … and so on.  Go get after it, my friends!  Get off the hamster wheel with your want, keep your promise to yourself, grab your taco or carrot, and breathe.

I’ll leave you with this … we have a YEAR to accomplish our goals for this YEAR, so don’t go try to achieve all your life-long goals and aspirations by March … you’ll be tired … I’ll be tired … we’ll all be tired ?.  We are a powerhouse group of women who need to be there to help each other, build each other up, and push through this journey together.  

Keep rocking your January and 2022!


2021-2022 PWN Scholarship Foundation Recipients

It is our pleasure to announce this year’s PWN Scholarship Foundation Award Recipients for the 2021-2022 school year. As it is every year, it was no easy task to determine this year’s winners and we are honored to have these brave women share their stories with us.

Dawn Atkins, Cedar Rapids, IA
While reading Dawn’s story, you learn about her journey as a single mother who against all obstacles has persevered and is finishing her bachelor’s degree. She has had quite the journey up until now and although the story has been put on pause a few times, finishing school has always been on the top of her mind. After graduation, Dawn plans to seek a position where she can make an impact in a domestic shelter to help people heal. Dawn is a true champion, and we celebrate her tenacity and determination!

Meredith Galloro, Newhall, IA
Meredith is studying Human Resources Management and attends Mount Mercy University. She is employed by Second Story Promotions as a Sales Support Manager. Meredith shared in her essay, “A scholarship would be incredibly impactful to me at this time in my life. I run a single-parent household and although I am very practical with finances, I do not want my pursuit of a degree to disrupt my child’s life. Meredith’s goal continues to be to “learn as much as I can, diversify my skills/talents to be an ideal employee, grow in my career (both in development and salary), and impact those around me positively.” We are proud to help this rockstar pursue her goals. Congrats Meredith!

Rosemary Hibbs, Spencer IA
Rosemary is studying Healthcare Leadership at Mt. Mercy University plus working full-time as the Director of Nursing while transitioning to an Administrator at Longhouse-Northshire Care Centers.
In her essay, she shared, “I will be working full-time as an Administrator while taking continuous classes to obtain my bachelor’s degree. I have been working hard to manage my time to keep up with work, school, and family life. Having to keep my physical and emotional well-being in check has been challenging at times. This scholarship will help me decrease some of the burdens of paying for my classes and help with day-to-day expenses.” We feel fortunate to help Rosemary and appreciate her sharing her story with us.

Stephanie Kronlage, Washington, IA
Stephanie is studying Healthcare Leadership at Mt. Mercy University. Stephanie shares, “Returning to college in my late 30’s was something I never thought would happen, let alone, to going to college to get a bachelor’s degree. My road to pursuing a bachelor’s degree has been a long one, but one that I am blessed to be taking.” Stephanie’s career trajectory exploded when she was given an exciting opportunity to become the Assistant Executive Director at Lutheran Living Senior Campus in 2019. She shares, “Upon accepting the position, it was determined that I would indeed need to work towards and receive my bachelor’s degree to sit for the exam of the Iowa Board of Nursing Home Administrators. The accelerated program at MMU worked best with my busy schedule. The program allows me to continue to maintain my busy work schedule, attend my kid’s sporting events, and spend occasional downtime with my husband, all while providing education that will set me up for success for the rest of my career. Congrats Stephanie, we wish you all the best!!

Staci Vigil, Cedar Rapids, IA
Staci is studying finance at Mount Mercy University and is a Finance Analyst at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Cedar Rapids. Through furlough beginning in March 2020 from DoubleTree, she worried that she would not return to her position and after many signs, decided to reach out to Mt. Mercy; although it was not easy with fear and failure looming in her mind, she overcame the negative thoughts and risked a lot to return to school to earn her bachelor’s degree while returning to work. Staci shares, “The journey and adventure are only beginning for my family and I can’t wait to graduate in 2023 and have that final reminder that this is all worth it!” Congrats Staci, we are excited to see what your future holds!!

PWN February 2021 Virtual General Meeting: Change Blows: Leading through the mess with Courtney Smock

Join us this Thursday, February 25th as we hear from Courtney Smock, Founding Partner of SlingShot25.
When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can become deadly projectiles. That’s because every person touched by the change will react based on their personal thoughts and feelings – even when those thoughts and feelings seem hopelessly irrational.

This session teaches us that helping people move through change is not an exercise in logic and reasoning. Rather, the key is to consider feelings “data” and use that data to care for people (Yes, we said care) and be the leader they need most during the messiest of times.

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” – Chinese proverb.


New Year, New Board

We are thrilled to introduce the PWN Board for 2021; but first, we would like to extend our gratitude to the board members who have given of their time and themselves and have successfully completed their terms with us.

Jillianne Moore and Kara Patton have been on the board since 2015 (two years past the original three-year commitment mind you, so bonus points for the extra support). Over the past five years, we have seen a lot of change with our small but mighty group and we appreciate that they are a part of the PWN story.

Sarah Specht will continue to be on the board one final year, as the outgoing Board President. We appreciate her leadership and dedication as she took on this role during a pandemic, with kiddos at home going to school, as well as helping us pivot to online meetings, all the while, studying for her Certified Financial Planner exam and starting her own new side hustle with Modere. It is proof that her commitment to our mission of “Women Helping Women” runs deep.

Now to introduce the 2021 Executive Board:
President: Ashley Leverty
Vice President: Jamie Meyers
Treasurer: Sarah Murphy
Secretary: Cyanna Boggess
Past President 2020: Sarah Specht

Board Members:
Jessie Fergesen 
Courtney Misener
Lenchen Raeside
Ashlee Vander Hoek

Jessie and Ashlee are new to the PWN Board this year, so here is a little more about them. 

Jessie Fergesen is the Senior Director of Corporate Sales and Marketing for the Cedar Rapids Kernels and the Waterloo Bucks. Jessie has been a PWN member since 2019 and her commitment to our community is impressive; we are truly fortunate to have her join the PWN Board.

Ashlee Vander Hoek is a Wealth Management Banker with US Bank since March 2020. She has been with US Bank for 7.5 years, where she started as a Retail Banker and moved up to Branch Manager before taking the Wealth Management role. She is brand new to PWN this year; she was introduced to our amazing group by Kara Patton.

We do believe fully that we will convene in real life in 2021, but until then, do not hesitate to contact any of our board members directly and get to know them better.

PWN Featured Member, Melissa Miller

We are excited to announce that we are reintroducing our PWN Featured Member piece to the newsletter.

Our first participant is Melissa Miller, Owner of Office Evolution, a shared workspace for professionals. Melissa joined PWN two years ago; she is a positively genuine influencer within our community.

Let’s learn a little about Melissa!

When asked who is the one PWN presenter that has really spoke to you and why? She states, “I love listening to Courtney Misener. She has so much knowledge to share and does it in a very fun and interactive way to keep everyone engaged.”

How are you coping with quarantine? “Quarantine life has been hard! I miss people. I miss restaurants. I miss my hairstylist!! I’ve been dealing (or not dealing) by trying to be more mindful, slowing down to breathe, doing yoga, ordering take out, doing lots of baking (and drinking), and having virtual social calls…which just isn’t the same but will have to do!”

What’s the first thing you will do when life returns to “normal”? “The first thing will be to get on my hair stylist’s calendar! After that, I can’t wait to sit on a patio with friends and family with some good food and drinks.”

Thanks, Melissa I feel like our hairstylists are all going to get a lot of love as soon as we are allowed to resume our real lives. If you would like to learn more about Melissa, send her a message to connect.