Media Release — Announcing 2021 Event Headliners

Angela Connolly and Tiffany Johnson will headline the 23rd annual fundraiser for the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

Media contact: Terri Mork Speirs, Director of Community Relations, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center,, 515-770-5155

2021 Honoree: Supervisor Angela Connolly, Polk County Supervisor

January 12, 2021 – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is thrilled to announce a dynamic lineup of featured guests and co-chairs for the 23rd Annual Women Helping Women event. They, along with a fearless volunteer planning committee, will inspire the community to engage 500 guests and raise $210,000. Funds will support mental health counseling, education, trainings and other services that impact women, children and families who are uninsured or underinsured. Scheduled for May 21, 2021, the event will be presented live online through CLE Productions.

Honoree: Angela Connolly ~ influential, effective, visionary, and beloved community leader

In her role as a Polk County Supervisor, and as a mother, Angela Connolly is a longtime supporter of mental health access, and a champion for women, children and families. Her distinctive leadership and tremendous impact are demonstrated by her many community awards including induction into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 2016.

2021 Speaker: Tiffany Johnson, Producing Artistic Director, Pyramid Theatre Company of Des Moines

Speaker: Tiffany Johnson ~ award winning actor, director, teacher, and change-agent

Described as brilliant and captivating by her peers, Tiffany Johnson is passionate about our community. As producing artistic director and founding member of Pyramid Theatre Company, illuminating Black artists and diverse artistic expression, Tiffany is positioned to speak on the power of storytelling as a force for greater understanding, and uplift the worth of mental health access.

2021 Co-Chairs: Carol Bodensteiner, Renee Hardman, Emily Kessinger

The 30-member volunteer planning committee is led by a superstar team of co-chairs who each bring their own stamp of leadership and commitment to mental health access:

  • Carol Bodensteiner – public relations professional and author of numerous books including Simple Truth, a novel set in an Iowa meatpacking plant that asks complex social and moral questions
  • Renee Hardman – CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, first elected African American Councilwoman in West Des Moines, inducted into the Iowa Women of Hall of Fame in 2020
  • Emily Kessinger – Director of Capital Crossroads, founder of Yellow Door DSM, founding partner at Flag of Des Moines, board member of the After School Arts Program (ASAP)

Carol Bodensteiner

Renee Hardman

Emily Kessinger

“I am proud to work with this bold group of women who assert their authority to care for others,” said Laurie Betts Sloterdyk, director of development at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. “The Women Helping Women event will be a healing balm for all who participate on May 21, and for vulnerable women, children and families who will benefit throughout the year.”

Since 1999, the annual event has raised more than $1.4 million for women who experience violence, poverty, trauma, depression, anxiety, abuse and other issues that can be addressed through counseling, psychiatry, self-discovery, and education.

The Center is one of few providers in Greater Des Moines who serve people from all income levels, including those from low-income households who are underinsured or uninsured – with thanks to generous community support.

For more information about Women Helping Women, or to reserve your seat early through a Leader gift or a sponsorship, please go to Or contact Laurie Betts Sloterdyk at 515-564-5122


The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to walk with people through counseling and education to find hope and healing, and live a fulfilling life. Annually, the Center serves more than 4,000 individuals (including nearly 700 children and adolescents plus their families), offering holistic mental health counseling and education through 30 multidisciplinary clinicians. The Center is one of few providers in Central Iowa who serve those who are uninsured or underinsured.

2021 Women Helping Women home page

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