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Outstanding Women in Business Honored in Event

Salt Lake City—Though diverse in age, industry, experience and background, Utah Business’ 2017 30 Women to Watch all share a common trait: the ability to rise above their peers and succeed brilliantly in their respective ventures. Keep an eye on these outstanding women in business.

The honorees of Utah Business’ 18th annual award were recognized at a luncheon Wednesday. ABC4’s Kim Fisher, who emceed the event, said the women being honored represented a significant part of the strong business foundation in Utah.

“These incredible women represent just a glimpse of Utah’s many outstanding women in business,” she said. “We are fortunate in this state to have a strong, vibrant community of women business leaders who are working to open doors for themselves and their peers.”

The variety of industries—everything from large technology companies to nonprofits to financial institutions to startups—make for a diverse group of leaders from all across the state, said Donnie Welch, publisher of Utah Business.

“As always, the honorees are a group of extremely talented and ambitious women. They are business owners and entrepreneurs; they lead major divisions in large corporations; and they are passionate advocates of the causes they believe in,” he said. “We at Utah Business are pleased to be able to recognize their accomplishments and the impact they have on our community.”

Women still lag behind in many facets of the business world, including pay and workforce participation. Amy Sorenson, a partner with presenting sponsor Snell & Wilmer, said the law firm was trying to even out the odds with some workplace policies now enacted in each of their eight offices. The policies include a women attorney advancement program, which matches new female associates with mentors; a reduced schedule program, allowing female attorneys to advance to partnership on a part-time basis; and a ramp-up/ramp-down program that ensures attorneys of any gender who take parental leave are eligible for bonuses and can more easily navigate the process of leaving, and returning, to work.

“We recognized that the expectations of our very talented workforce and, just as importantly, the expectations of our clients, would not be met without putting into place thoughtful policies to ensure that our workplace is flexible and supportive enough to encompass all stages of our women attorneys’ careers, and their lives outside of the office,” Sorenson said.

Those kinds of family-friendly workplace policies ultimately stoke business’ bottoms lines, said Patricia Jones, CEO of the Women’s Leadership Institute. Policies such as making sure workers are paid the same regardless of gender and allowing for some flexibility in when and how employees work can boost morale, attract a higher caliber of talent and increase retention, she said. Utah is fortunate to have many leaders at every level who understand and promote this, said Jones.

“Men have bought into this [in Utah] at the highest levels in seeing how it helps the bottom line to elevate women,” she said. “Men as allies are critical to the advancement of women.”

A full list, and descriptions, of each of the honorees can be found in our May 2017 issue, or in our digital magazine.