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Salt Lake Chamber Women’s Business Center Holds 40th Annual ATHENA Awards

Salt Lake City—The Salt Lake Chamber Women’s Business Center held its 40th Annual American Express Women & Business Conference and Wells Fargo ATHENA Awards luncheon on Tuesday, recognizing the accomplishments of the women’s business community in the city, as well as the accomplishments of individual business leaders.

The Chamber recognized four women for their continued support of women and women’s issues: Maura Carabello, founder and president of The Exoro Group; Dr. Ivy Estabrooke, executive director of Utah Science Technology and Research; Laura Kaiser, executive vice president and COO, Intermountain Healthcare; and Kathy Luke, vice president, Center for Community Development, American Express.

In her keynote speech, Kristin Armstrong, a professional road bicycle racer and three-time Olympic gold medalist, noted that there could be no excellence without deep commitment to one’s cause. For women to achieve—in their careers, though obstacles, or while attempting to find balance between their work and their home lives—a commitment to excellence is necessary, she said.

“We are all [in this room] committed to excellence. I think of the word commitment as the key to achieving excellence,” she said. “Personally, I don’t believe that anyone can dream of excellence without total commitment… To me, excellence is actually a state of mind. It’s an attitude.”

Excellence and tenacity can be found in the career of the 2016 ATHENA award honoree, Lori Chillingworth, chief credit administrator, small business, for Zions Bancorporation.

“34 years ago as a single young woman, I never would have thought this was going to be possible,” said Chillingworth. “I was a single mother with a two-year-old, working as a drive-up teller in a small bank. That was my very first job, and the reason I wanted to work in banking was because I wanted to be professional.”

Chillingworth recounted how she rose from her teller position through seeking out an education by taking night classes, although she had to sacrifice precious time with her son by doing so. “But as I look back, that was the only way to do it. It was the only way to progress forward and create a better life for the two of us,” she said.

Chillingworth was hired at Zions Bank to be the founding manager of the Zions Bank Women’s Financial Group in 1997. The next year, Zions Bank Women’s Financial Group received the Advisory Council Award from the SBA. The agency also honored Chillingworth as its 2001 Women in Business Advocate of the Year. Chillingworth was also a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Government from 2007-2013, and served as the 2015-2016 chair of the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors. She still continues to promote and mentor women, and now serves the inaugural board chair for the Women’s Leadership Institute.

“There are three things [the WLI] wants to accomplish,” she said. “We want to get more women in politics, so we can have an equal voice on the Hill for the things that matter most to women and families. The second is to get more women in the c-suite, because it’s proven that organizations that have women in the c-suite and leadership positions are more profitable because of the diverse opinions around the table. Also, to get more women on boards. If you have more women on your board, you will be more profitable; you will surround yourself and get a diverse group of people that will help you move your company forward.”