August 20, 2012

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Put Employees First, Be Confident Advise Roundtable Attendees

Di Lewis

August 20, 2012

Business is getting better this year, and while women still have some challenges to face in business that men don’t, the playing field is leveling, said a group of female business owners at Utah Business magazine’s roundtable.

While some attendees argued women need to be bolder and more aggressive in business, others said women are already shaping the way their industry does business. Sue Johnson, Futura Industries president and CEO, said as far as she knows she’s the only female extruder in the world, but Futura led action against China leading to successful tariffs.

Sue Rice, president of Cavanagh Services Group, Inc., said she thinks some women are still sitting in the background. “Be big and bold. And I think we as women tend to sit back and not take on things and be aggressive and say okay we belong at the table too.”

Being a woman-owned business in a male-dominated industry has its challenges, but Natalie Kaddas, general manager of Kaddas Enterprises, said those are challenges women are overcoming.


All the people at the table agreed business is getting better in 2012, and a lot of that success comes from a strong commitment to employees. Karen Woodbury, president of Woodbury Technologies, said she would tell other business owners to start offering good benefits as soon as possible.

Verité CEO Kim Jones said their office culture allows dogs in the office. She said in addition to thinks like medical and 401k, the company tries to be creative in making employees happy. “You know, it’s not expensive stuff, but it creates positive energy…. Sometimes all it takes is a little pug looking at you a certain way to break the stress.”

Despite positive changes, many women agreed work-life balance is still a relevant concern, but not just for women. Male employees are also starting to see it as more of a priority and everyone is trying to find a way to achieve balance.

The women-owned business roundtable will appear in the October issue of Utah Business magazine.

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