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Utah Business

The Salt Lake Chamber announces its 41st annual “Giant in our City.”

The Salt Lake Chamber recognizes Governor Herbert

For more than two decades, Governor Herbert has pursued a goal with singular focus—to make Utah the top state in the nation to live and work. For much of this time, I have known him as a boss, mentor, and friend. I learned invaluable lessons by observing his conviction and ingenuity, as well as the care and concern he has for those he serves. 

For Gov. Herbert, the state of Utah is more than a place where he resides and the people are more than just its citizens. Utah is his home in every sense of the word, and in his mind Utahns are family. He cares at a personal level and feels deeply about those he serves as governor, he takes the approach that many of us take within our families, operating from a position of understanding and respect. Toward achieving this dream, there are a few characteristics that define him.

Put people first

Too often, we lose our focus when looking only at the big picture—impersonal data and what things will look like in a month, a year, or even a decade. What makes Gov. Herbert different is that even in a crisis, when most would expect his attention to be consumed by a long-term plan, he does not lose sight of the individual. 

He begins with people—families and the community—and then moves into the data, programs, and processes. Take Utah’s past floods and wildfires, it was amazing how he would know who was affected and talk about them by name. His immediate priority was to ensure that they were okay, their families were safe, and then he would discuss policy. For the Governor, people always come first. 

Listen to all sides

Gov. Herbert also taught me the importance of examining all sides of a situation and engaging in what I call, “deep listening.” In fact, never have I worked with someone who so well exercised Stephen Covey’s fifth habit: seek first to understand, then to be understood. I came to appreciate the important difference between listening to what someone has to say and really hearing their concerns, not only from an emotional perspective but an analytical consideration as well.

Invest in the future 

As Governor, Gov. Herbert’s philosophy was resolute and clearly understood: for Utah to succeed we must invest in our future. To achieve this, he focused on growing Utah’s economy and improving our education system. From the moment he took office, education funding was his number one budget priority, and the results are telling. Under his direction, funding for education has grown more than any other time in the state’s history. Like all of his decisions, policy was predicated on whether or not it strengthened the economy, because he understood that a strong and growing economy would benefit the state overall as well as individuals and families.

Put people first, listen to all sides and invest in the future—lessons that were not only powerful, but proven. From fostering economic growth after the 2008 recession, increasing education funding as his highest budget priority, attracting world-class businesses, supporting innovation and investment, and keeping our communities vibrant—Gov. Herbert has led the way forward. 

But I end where I began, what I came to appreciate most is that he does these things not because it is his job, but because he wants what is best for his extended 3-million-person Utah family. Because of this, on June 11th, 2020 the Salt Lake Chamber will recognize Gov. Herbert as the 41st Giant in our City, a leader who has made Utah a great place to “‘live, work, learn and play.” 

I hope you will be able to join us.