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Utah Business

2020 Women of the Year honorees.

Meet our 2020 Women of the Year

Here in Utah, women leaders are hard to come by. Not because they don’t exist, but because they have to fight harder for spaces to succeed. So join us in honoring and celebrating the women in our state who are making a difference while leading us through a year of crisis. 

Alison Flynn Gaffney, FACHE

Executive Director, Service Lines, Ancillary, & Support Services | University of Utah Health

Twitter | LinkedIn

Meet our 2020 Women of the Year honorees.
Alison Gaffney photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business.

What organizations are important to you? Why?

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain West. I have served as a Board member for a number of years. The work the team does, lead by CEO Carrie Romano is life-changing for families and children. It inspires me daily. I have also had the privilege to serve Saint John’s Middle and Elementary Schools Advisory Board. Giving back to my community feeds my heart and mind!

What is your favorite part of your job?

Helping to create an environment through culture, resources, and transparency that enables our healthcare professionals to thrive in and deliver the highest quality of care on behalf of our patients and communities.

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Juli Blanch

Shareholder & Litigation Department Chair | Parsons Behle & Latimer

Juli Blanch photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business.

What organizations are important to you? Why?

Right now, The Ronald McDonald House and The Guadalupe School are important to me. They are really well-run and they build close, supportive relationships with the families they serve.  

What is the most challenging obstacle you’ve overcome?

I like to think of my life in terms of opportunities, not obstacles. My biggest opportunity was being born to parents who did not have college degrees but who were absolutely single-minded and unwavering in the fact that their children would get college degrees. Because I was lucky to have parents like this, I try not to not squander the opportunity they gave me.  

Kimmy Paluch

Managing Partner | Beta Boom

Twitter | LinkedIn

Kimmy Paluch | 2020 Women of the Year Honorees
Kimmy Paluch photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business.

Who inspires you most? Why?

Mellody Hobson is an inspiration to me as an investor, leader, Black woman, and person championing the need for us all to be “color brave.”

What’s something that gives you hope for the future of other women in Utah?

That there are organizations and people that are fighting for equal rights, and as long as we have that we have hope.

Kristi Knight

Chief Marketing Officer | InMoment

Twitter | LinkedIn

Kristi Knight | 2020 Women of the Year
Kristi Knight photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business.

What is one piece of advice you have for other businesswomen?

I had a colleague once tell me that an educated mistake is better than no action at all. I’ve grown to really appreciate the sentiment behind this statement and to value speed over perfection. Our world is changing rapidly and we should be fearless in our pursuit of what’s important to us.

What would you tell your younger self?

Trust your instincts. Until you have experience, the [best] way to get experience is to do something you have never done before. It’s okay to not know all the answers, just do the best you can. 

Lianna Kinard

VP of Marketing | The Buckner Company

LinkedIn

Lianna Kinard | 2020 Women of the Year
Lianna Kinard photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business.

Who inspires you most? Why?

Frank Tataseo, retired SVP of the Clorox Company. Frank has been a mentor to me most of my life. He encouraged me to work hard, always do what is right, and to be “at cause” when things don’t go as planned. Tataseo is a phenomenal leader, successful executive and the best uncle a girl could ask for.

What organizations are important to you? Why?

Hale Centre Theatre holds a very special place in my heart. I serve on their Board of Trustees and have the utmost respect for what they’ve built in our community. Their hard work, dedication and passion to bring smiles and laughter to so many is what makes them so great. 

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Rikki Hrenko-Browning

President | Utah Petroleum Association

LinkedIn

Rikki Hrenko Browing | 2020 Women of the Year
Rikki Hrenko Browning photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business.

What is one piece of advice you have for other businesswomen?

Support other women! Too often I see women being even more critical of other women, with or without merit. There is nothing wrong with competition, but supporting other women’s development by leading through example, purposeful feedback, engaged mentoring, and directing towards leadership growth opportunities is far more effective.   

What would you tell your younger self?

After starting a family, it became all the more evident to both my husband and I that having a partner who shares all of life’s “to dos” evenly, the sacrifices and responsibilities, is critical for success. Make sure you and your partner view your relationship as a team of equals. 

Susan R. Madsen

Karen Haight Huntsman Endowed Professor of Leadership & Director of the Utah Women & Leadership Project | Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University

Twitter | LinkedIn

Susan Madsen | 2020 Women of the Year
Susan Madsen photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business.

What is the most challenging obstacle you’ve overcome?

A few political leaders in Utah have attempted to halt or stop my work through the years. I have ignored those negative voices to do what I am “called” to do. 

What organizations are important to you? Why?

Colleges and universities. Learning and education is the key to strengthening the impact of women in business. 

Tobie Spears

Founder & Director | Guatemalan Humanitarian Tours

Twitter | LinkedIn

Tobie Spears | 2020 Women of the Year
Tobie Spears photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business.

What is your favorite part of your job?

That we are making lifelong changes in the lives of children in Guatemala and empowering local teens with real world experience. I want volunteers who travel with us to get a sense of the wonder of Guatemala, the obstacles and hardships of living in a developing country, and to discover a way that they can give back in their own lives. 

Who inspires you most? Why?

The women in my family. My grandmas, my mom, my aunts, my sisters, and my daughters. I come from a long line of hardworking, fun-loving, and amazing women. We make lemonade out of lemons!

To learn more about our 2020 Women of the Year honorees, check out the playlist of embedded videos below:

Lindsay Bicknell is the project coordinator for Utah Business magazine. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, she graduated from Miami University of Oxford with a degree in communications. She has a background in television, print, and web media, as well as public relations and event planning. As a transplant to Salt Lake City, she can't get enough of the mountains and loves snowboarding.

Comments (2)

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    Laura Thackeray

    Congrats ladies I am so proud of you all! You all inspire me to do better.
    President of Budd M. Rich Plumbing, Inc. DBA: BRPI Mechanical

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    Carey Valentine

    Really outstanding to see so many successful women in Utah. Very inspiring messages from all of you!

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