Speakers set for International Women’s Day event in Perry

The portrait, "Many Different Women," was painted by Olesya D. Maupin, a Kazakh artist who attended Perry's first International Women's Day celebration in 2018.

Carol Jackson-Cavanaugh

International Women’s Day will be celebrated in Perry for the second year in a row with a coffee conference Saturday, March 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at La Poste.

Seven speakers are scheduled to share their experiences and observations. Celebration organizer Carol Jackson Cavanaugh will open the event with a short introduction on the history of International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of all women, and she will introduce the theme of this year’s event: #BalanceforBetter.

Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg in January 1910

International Women’s Day was the brainchild of the Socialist Party of America and the International Socialist Woman’s Conference. It was first marked in 1911 and supported by over 1 million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Jackson Cavanaugh was introduced to International Women’s Day while living in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, with her husband, Dirk Cavanaugh.

“I would describe it as a joyous occasion,” Jackson Cavanaugh said. “In Dirk’s office, the men generally greeted their female coworkers with a gift, and they were given the day off work. All Kazakhstani men and children made a point to wish women Happy Women’s Day. All Kazakhstani women wish each other Happy Women’s Day. I, too, as an expat, was greeted with hugs and Happy Woman’s Day wishes. I thought a lot about this after leaving Kazakhstan in 2017. So when March 8 came around my first year of repatriating to the U.S., it just felt right to start a Women’s Day celebration in Perry.”

Seven women will deliver 10-15 minute presentations at the Perry conference:

Theresa Burns of rural Perry is a Certified Masterson Method Practitioner who uses integrated bodywork techniques on performance horses. She is a long time passionate equestrian and will speak on “Horses Helping Humanity.”

Aimee Carlson is the president of Ord Enterprises Ltd. and a contributing author to “The Overcoming Mediocrity Book Project.” Aimee’s story reveals how an accidental opportunity can yield the best discoveries in life. From successful franchise owner to network marketing professional, Aimee has spent the last four years improving her health naturally and empowering families to do the same. You matter, she says. Your family matters.

Mindy May Farmer is an adjunct instructor at Des Moines Area Community College, mom of four, writer, feminist and optimist. She is striving to be eco-conscious and hoping to defy stereotypes. Five years ago, Mindy asked herself, “What if I stop giving my pessimistic inner voice such influence over my choices?” She wanted to see what would happen if she turned her “what ifs” on their heads and gave the optimist in her a chance. This voice asked, “What if I take a risk? – What if I see amazing sites? – What if it’s difficult sometimes? – What if it tests my limits? – What if I discover new things about myself? – What if I expand my worldview? – What if I’m up to the challenge? – What if I love it?”

Becky Greenwald is the project manager for the Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce. Her current activities include being a founding member of the World Food Prize Laureate Society, Waukee School District’s APEX Agri-science and Entrepreneur Curriculum Advisory Board, Rotary Club of Des Moines’ International Service Committee Chair and the Nexus Executive Women’s Alliance, where she served as past president, helping develop the Economic Potential for Iowa Companies (EPIC) challenge. Becky is an active P.E.O., currently serving as president of Perry Chapter DE, and she chairs the tour committee for P.E.O. International’s 2019 Sesquicentennial International Convention. She plays a big role on the statewide 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration Steering Committee, encouraging Iowa communities and organizations to develop 2020 events and educational programs commemorating women’s gaining the right to vote 100 years ago. Becky lives in rural Dallas County and is most proud of her globally aware, adult children, Adrienne and Zach.

Marleni Grijalva is an 18-year-old senior at Perry High School. She competed in the PHS iJAG program at the state level and received first place, advancing to national competition at the National Student Leadership Academy event in Washington D.C. Marleni is the eldest of six siblings, and she is working to pave the way for the generations to come within her family.

Kelly Moore has worked as an RN for 25 years, including 10 years as a women’s healthcare nurse practitioner. She has worked in almost every capacity that a nurse can, from ICU, ER, and OB to home health, and she has been in geriatrics for the past 10 years. Kelly is currently the RN and administrator for Perry Lutheran Homes Assisted Living programs. She has three grown children, three grandchildren and a wonderful husband.

Lynsi Pasutti is the executive director of the Perry Chamber of Commerce. She holds a BA in environmental studies from the College of Saint Benedict in Saint Joseph, Minn., where she studied sustainable community development. She believes it takes creativity, passion and collaboration to enhance the economic vitality of rural communities. Lynsi grew up in Des Moines but has always been drawn to small towns and after living in three other communities over the past 14 years, she is happy to now call Perry home and to experience its creative renaissance, led by women.

“Recent studies suggest that women-owned businesses are on the rise across the nation and especially in Iowa,” Pasutti said, “but this is not news in Perry. It has been women-owned businesses that have sustained the heartbeat of Perry’s downtown for more than ten years. If ‘Downtown’ is the literal and figurative heart of a small town, then the strength of its business network determines the pulse of a community. Perry’s downtown business district is growing and thriving, which is spurring revitalization that extends throughout the community. It is the vision, dedication and leadership of women that have shaped Perry into the community it is today.”

Purple is the International Women’s Day color. “Better the balance, better the world,” the International Women’s Day website says. “The future is exciting. Let’s build a gender-balanced world. Everyone has a part to play — all the time, everywhere. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence. Balance drives a better working world. Let’s all help create a #BalanceforBetter.”


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