Wednesday, Nov. 1 | 10 a.m. to noon | Des Moines Marriott

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.


Heidi Ernst

Heidi Ernst is a 74-year-old physical therapist who has long believed in practicing what she preaches to patients and has done powerlifting, swimming and scuba diving. After her 524th dive on June 7 in the Bahamas, a shark attacked her as she was climbing the boat ladder after completing the dive. She had to have her left leg amputated below the knee at a trauma center in Miami. She lives in Marshalltown. Read her story

Abigail Johnson

Abigail Johnson is the founder and CEO of Veterans Tech Support, which offers classes in technology basics to military veterans in eastern Iowa. Johnson started the nonprofit in 2021, when she was 14 years old. Two years ago, Johnson saw a need to help older veterans gain computer skills and realized that she could do something about it. A grant helped get Veterans Tech Support off the ground, and now classes are offered regularly in the Scott County area. Johnson lives in Blue Grass, Iowa, just west of the Quad Cities. Now 16, Johnson has plans for Veterans Tech Support to grow, and she’s looking ahead toward the next moves in her own education and professional careers. Read her story

Monique Scarlett

Monique Scarlett founded Unity in the Community in Sioux City after the slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. Unity in the Community has a close, ongoing relationship with the Sioux City Police Department and other law enforcement. Scarlett’s goal is to make Sioux City a welcoming, safe and empowering community for everyone – and her dreams aren’t small. In September, Scarlett was one of several partners who came together to host Deaf Awareness Night at a football game. The play-by-play of the big Sioux City North versus Sioux City East game was signed by an ASL interpreter. She works full time at U.S. Bank in addition to leading Unity in the Community, which is a nonprofit. Read her story