Celebration of Excellence


    Celebration of Excellence Honorees

    The 2018 Celebration of Excellence photo gallery can be viewed here:

    Many thanks to Whitney Warne of Ivory House Photography
    for her unique talent, for her exquisite photography
    and for her support of women business owners!

    Celebration of Excellence
    2018 SPONSORS


    Barbara Crowley - NAWBO Iowa's 2018 Hall of fame legacy award honoree

    Barbara Crowley is CEO of Brokers Clearing House, Ltd. in West Des Moines Iowa.  She joined her father in 1977, where she learned every aspect of the insurance business.  With 40 years in the industry she brings experience, knowledge, and continued passion in an ever-changing industry. 

    Barbara is past chair of the National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) and serves on the board of the NAILBA Charitable Foundation.  She’s a founding member of LifeMark Partners, one of the largest independent insurance marketing organizations in the U.S.  Her commitment to her industry is why she is also a member of AALU, NAIFA, SFSP, and FPA.  Dedicated to furthering opportunities for women, Barbara also is a member of Women in Financial Services (WIFS) and NAWBO. 

    During her career Barbara has been involved in all facets of the insurance industry.  She has served on multiple insurance carrier advisory boards, acted as a consultant for special carrier projects, authored articles for trade publications, and has been a featured speaker at industry events. 

    In 2013 Barbara was honored to receive the award for “Woman Business Owner of the Year” by the Des Moines Business Record as well as being recognized by Life Health Pro as one of ‘20 Women in Insurance You Need to Know’. 

    Barbara is a strong supporter and advocate of the West Des Moines Human Services Programs, Hope Ministries, the Salvation Army, the Blue Ribbon Foundation for the Iowa State Fair, the Food Bank of Iowa, and Iowa Special Olympics, just to name a few.  She is also a long-time supporter of Des Moines Performing Arts. 

    Barbara lives in Urbandale where the deer roam all over her yard.  She enjoys traveling, reading, watching movies, and helping others, but much of her free time is spent with family.  She has a son, Rob, and a beautiful, rambunctious granddaughter, Quinn. 

    Karen Taylor - NAWBO Iowa's 2018 Advocate of the YeaR

    When Karen Taylor moved to Iowa from her beloved home state of Texas several years ago, she did what she has done at every stage of her life:

    Make friends and empower women.

    That was her approach during her nearly 30 years in the insurance industry. It’s what she did as a financial advisor for UBS Financial Services and as vice president of sales for Tribeza Magazine in Austin, Texas, now the city’s leading locally-owned arts and culture magazine.

    And it’s what she’s doing as a business consultant for Taylored Benefits, a health insurance company in West Des Moines founded by her husband, Layne.

    Karen is being honored today as NAWBO Iowa's Advocate of the Year, and it’s as if the award was created with her in mind.

    Karen’s arrival in the Des Moines area was like an unexpected gift to NAWBO. She welcomed every volunteer assignment she received, including membership and programs.

    During the past two years, she has served as Event Chair for the NAWBO Celebration of Excellence Annual Awards Luncheon. She surpassed fundraising goals and filled tables for the award luncheon in record time. Look around. This event wasn’t always this large. Karen helped make that happen. She made everyone, including recipients, sponsors and attendees, feel welcome and important. She attracted more sponsors than we had ever had previously. She listened to suggestions for making this a must-attend event on the calendar.

    But helping NAWBO grow represents one part of Karen’s mission. Empowering other women is the other. We doubt there are few people here that Karen hasn’t taken the time to get to know and, if possible, help. She believes in the power of women working with, and assisting, each other, and we’ve certainly experienced that in Iowa.

    She takes the time to know each individual NAWBO member, becoming their friend, mentor, advocate and cheerleader.  Above all, she listens. If she sees a way she can offer support or a practical solution, she steps in. If she knows another NAWBO member who may understand the problem better, she’ll serve as the connection. What’s truly impressive is that she does all of this while helping run her own business. That’s commitment.

    We shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. A cursory glance at Karen’s time in Texas shows that she served a number of volunteer roles, from a member of the board of directors of Hospice Austin to the Austin Museum of Art.

    Clearly, Texas’s loss is Iowa’s gain. We can think of few people more deserving to be named NAWBO’s Iowa Advocate of the Year 2018. Congratulations to Karen Taylor -- business owner, NAWBO advocate and, most of all, our friend.

    Kimberly baeth - Nawbo iowa's 2018 business owner of the year

    “Where on earth can I find giant scissors that really cut?” Kimberly Baeth was asked this question while working for a chamber of commerce. Giant scissors that cut seemed like a simple idea, but it was a unique novelty at the time. So Kimberly drew a pattern and asked her dad to construct huge scissors that actually cut.

    Utilizing these giant scissors to help businesses celebrate their grand openings, Kimberly started Golden Openings, Inc. in 1997. On the way home from the three week early arrival of her daughter, Kimberly stopped at her very first grand opening.

    Shortly thereafter Kimberly invented the original giant stainless steel scissors that cut. Her business specializes in grand openings, ribbon cuttings, ground breakings, and special events. Golden Openings now has over 10,000 products including wide custom ribbons, big bows, keys to the city, keepsakes, and several other unique awards and gifts for special events. The company ships out hundreds of packages daily all over the world and has grown an average of 34 percent each year for the past 21 years.

    Kimberly has worked with many prestigious entities including Lady Gaga, The White House, Oprah, Disney, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, plus colleges, universities, professional sports teams, Fortune 500 companies, restaurants, and TV shows. She also helped orchestrate—and set a world record for—the longest ribbon cutting (4.5 miles of continuous ribbon) in Florida in 2011. Over 8,000 chambers own her scissors.

    Kimberly speaks to many groups, inspiring them to achieve cutting edge success in life and business. She has written three guidebooks and authored a book called Guerrilla Grand Openings, which is soon to be published. She has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX TV, plus had articles published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and more.

    Demonstrating exemplary levels of leadership and engagement, Kimberly has positively impacted her community. She mentors teenagers by offering paid internships and school-to-work programs. She’s served on several boards including Urbandale Economic Development, YMCA, and Campfire USA.

    To help her community heal in 2016, Kimberly assisted in creating the Central Iowa Blue Ribbon Campaign, plus donated 35,000 yards of blue ribbon to grieving residents and businesses. Her company also coordinated pick up sites for ribbon distribution and group outings, to tie ribbons around trees and lamp posts. The entire metro area was covered in blue ribbons.

    Kimberly’s entrepreneurship, enthusiasm, and compassion has been noticed. Along with six local and statewide business awards, she received these national awards:

    • Dream Big Small Business of the Year—U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    • Community Excellence Award—U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    • National Enterprising Woman of the Year Award—Enterprising Women’s Magazine
    • National Business Woman of the Year Top 3 Finalist—National Association of Women Business Owners

    Kimberly and her husband, Kevin, have two daughters, Stephanie and Emily. Along with being heavily involved in her children's schools, sports programs, and activities, Kimberly is an avid triathlete and marathon runner, running six marathons and raising $10,000 for charity.


    2017 Celebration Highlights

     View the 2017 Celebration of Excellence Photo Gallery >>
    Thank you to Ivory House Photography for our gallery of beautiful photos!

    Watch Highlight Video of NAWBO Iowa's 2017 Celebration of Excellence >>
    Thank you to Bing Bang LLC for this amazing video summary!