Article

30 Women to Watch

By Heather Stewart, Rachel Madison and Devin Felix

May 8, 2014


DeLaina Tonks, Director, Mountain Heights Academy

Under DeLaina Tonks’ direction, Mountain Heights Academy (formerly Open High School of Utah) was quickly catapulted onto the local, national and international stage as a pioneer in education, technology and digital learning. This impact is what Tonks enjoys the most about her work.

“It’s a win-win-win environment because the students perform better and get what they need, the teachers have more autonomy to customize and create content, and since their curriculum is freely available, tens of thousands of people across the world have access to high-quality open educational resources,” she says. “That’s powerful.”

Tonks holds herself to the highest of professional standards and expects the same of her faculty and students. As a result, Mountain Heights Academy has been the highest-ranking online school in Utah since it opened in 2009, based on both quantitative and qualitative data including transfer and retention rates, test scores, school grades, student performance, awards received and satisfaction surveys.

“Don’t settle. The sky’s the limit. If you think you can be a great secretary, why not a great CEO?”


Elise “Lisi” Whitworth, Managing Partner, Satdaya LLC

Elise Whitworth is a self-described “idea person.” She says, “I get thrilled by new ideas and just want to run and make it happen.”

This creative energy has led Whitworth through most of her life, up to her current role as managing partner for Satdaya in St. George. Since the company began, she’s taken it from a web development service with a few contractors juggling projects to a full-fledged creative services firm.

Whitworth, who is deaf, also works to serve as a role model to other females in her industry, particularly deaf women.

“[I want to] do my part to help them prosper, to create a balance in the industry where men learn that women communicate differently and adapt,” she says. “I am also very passionate about advocating for ASL. I believe that all deaf children should be taught ASL and have the opportunity to interact with peers using a language they are able to 100 percent understand and not be left out or behind.”

“Do one thing at a time and you will be more likely to be more successful.”


Jessica Thompson Yurgaitis, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Industrial Supply Company

Industrial Supply Company has been a part of Jessica Yurgaitis’ life since before she was born. “Some of our employees have been working for this business longer than I’ve been alive,” she says. “Many knew my mother when she was pregnant with me—she was a former employee—and they’ve watched me grow up and grow in the business.”

And grow she has. Yurgaitis started her career on the warehouse floor and worked her way up to vice president of sales and marketing. Over the years, she’s also watched how the company has changed.

“Accomplishment is measured by adaptability to change through adversity,” she says. “With 98 years of history, change is inevitable and you either change as business conditions do, or you struggle. Staying on top of our industry during this time is key to the success of our business, and for me that is my biggest accomplishment.”

Yurgaitis also works to provide a collaborative team environment to engage as many people as possible to make educated decisions without slowing things down.

“Having a successful career doesn’t always have to compromise being a good wife or mother. We can be powerful at work and gentle and nurturing at home.”


Heather Deason Zynczak, Chief Marketing Officer, Domo

Heather Zynczak has spent her 20-year career focusing on bringing value to business through technology. She’s held executive marketing and product management positions at some of the world’s largest enterprise technology companies and currently serves as the CMO at Domo.

“This is my second full year at Domo, and I’m most proud of the amazing team I’ve built and the data-driven principles upon which we operate,” she says. “I’m also proud that our marketing organization is a best-in-class example of how our own product changes the way marketers do business.”

These results haven’t come without challenges, but that’s where Zynczak excels. She loves having tough problems to solve. “I love the challenge of strategically breaking problems apart, determining the solution and executing through to resolution,” she says. “The most rewarding part, though, is seeing the result.”

Zynczak is also a board member at Park City Day School and co-founder of Women at Domo, a mentoring community.

“If you want something, you need to go for it. Just do it. Believe in yourself. Prove to those around you that you can do it.”

 

 

 

 

 

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