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Utah Business

2019 Women of the Year honorees

Women Of The Year Honorees 2019

Business is never easy, but for the ladies in the boys’ club, the obstacles on the path to success can be a little harder to overcome. Join us as we celebrate nine women who’ve made it their business to lead Utah forward and challenge what it means to succeed.

Carine S. Clark

President & CEO | Ember (formerly Canvass)

Carine Clark | 2019 Women of the Year Honorees
Portrait and wedding photography – Justin Hackworth

Carine S. Clark starts her day early. Up at 4:30AM, she begins with a swim, a walk, or a bike ride to get ready for the day ahead. Her calls start in the car on the way to the office, and she’s in meetings until she leaves for the day to have dinner with her family. But as a four time president and CEO of high growth tech companies, she’s used to busy days and early starts. Having worked with Allegiance, Inc., MaritzCX, and Banyan, Inc. before coming to Ember (formerly Canvass), she’s passionate about not only building companies, but building teams.

A survivor of ovarian clear cell cancer, Ms. Clark is a fighter. “When you think you’re going to die, it changes you forever,” she says. And she’s using that fighting spirit in her business. “Don’t be bugged, be better,” she advises, hoping that other women can learn from her experience. “Look for ways to lift others up in your personal life and in your career.”

Ms. Clark is passionate about Utah’s tech landscape, as she also serves on the executive boards of GOED (The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development), Domo, and Silicon Slopes. “While there aren’t many women in tech leadership in Utah, it’s a wonderful time to change that,” she says. And she’s working hard to inspire young people to help work for that change. “If more women chose courage over comfort, we wouldn’t have many of the struggles we face today. We’d demand equal treatment and equal pay. We’d show up at the table. And we’d start being the change we want to see.”

Cindy A. Crane – Lifetime Achievement

Retired President & CEO | Rocky Mountain Power

Cindy Crane| 2019 Women Of The Year Honorees
Portrait and wedding photography – Justin Hackworth

Cindy A. Crane has never had a “typical” day at work. “In a single day, I could be working through billion dollar capital programs, meeting with governors or mayors, reviewing and approving foundation grants for the communities we serve, and discussing the business with employees,” she says. And that’s what made her work most exciting. 

Retiring from her position as CEO of Rocky Mountain Power last year, Ms. Crane has overcome a lifetime full of challenges, but she has never shied away from any of them. “I was never afraid to raise my hand and take on assignments or challenges, and did so without expecting promotions or recognition,” she says. “The experiences this gave me allowed me to be someone that others counted on.” And when you’re often times the only woman on the team, that’s what’s important. “Be willing to step in and take on things for the experience, not for the promotion or recognition,” she advises. Instead of worrying about being one of the guys, focus on your own development and internal satisfaction.

Now, as she enjoys her early retirement by spending time with her family, and she hopes her career will inspire and challenge others to pursue meaningful leadership and take risks. “I want to be remembered by our customers and employees as a leader who cared about them and their goals,” she says. “A person who listened and took action to make their lives better.” And according to her successor, Gary Hoogeveen, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain power,  she’s left big shoes to fill. “I often refer to Cindy as the leader at Rocky Mountain Power that brought the heart back into the organization,” he says, and she’s become someone the company will never forget.

Emily Wright

Founding Executive, Sales & Marketing | doTERRA

Emily Wright| 2019 Women of The Year Honorees
Portrait and wedding photography – Justin Hackworth

“My favorite thing to do is develop people,” says Emily Wright, one of the founding executives of dōTERRA. “I love to unlock the potential of the people I work with.” Whether it’s serving her employees or her community, she’s passionate about giving those around her the tools they need to succeed.

Working alongside a team of six men, Ms. Wright founded what is now one of the most trusted essential oil companies in the world. “It’s funny how inspiration plays a massive role in our lives if we are willing to listen,” she says, recounting the vision that lead her to build the company. “I always knew there was a better way to do this, but I never had the intention of kicking off this movement myself.” But with a little encouragement and the support of a group who shared her vision, she’s learned to lean into that inspiration instead of being afraid of it. And now, more than a decade later, she’s made her dream a reality.

But her journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Early in her career, Ms. Wright thought she needed to behave like her male counterparts to “be enough” in her business. “I wore pantsuits and hid behind a masculine façade because that’s what I thought was required to be successful,” she says. But after years of trying to embrace something she wasn’t, she found her strength in her femininity. “Rising up  to my full authentic potential gives those around me permission to do the same,” she says. “I encourage women everywhere to recognize and embrace their strengths to empower themselves, their families, and others.”

Erika George

Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law | University of Utah
Director | Obert C. & Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center, University of Utah

Erika George | Women Of The Year 2019

Erika George believes in the power of education. And learning about injustice, inequality, and unfair discrimination is what lead her into her career. “Becoming aware of bigotry and bias disturbed me deeply, and it inspired me to go to law school and work to advance social justice as a lawyer,” she says. And she’s dedicated her life to that pursuit.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, where she worked as the articles editor of the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Ms. George holds her bachelor’s degree with honors and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago. She has worked in firms in New York City and Chicago, underneath Judge William T. Hart of the US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, and has authored a book-length report for Human Rights Watch on education rights and gender discrimination in South Africa, which received international attention. Now, as a professor at the University of Utah, Ms. George has recently been appointed the director of the Tanner Humanities Center.

Ms. George is inspired by the growing number of women in leadership here in Utah, and she’s helping lead the way not just for women, but for women of color. “The gender bias that exists in my industry can make my gender a liability,” she says. “I’ve had to overcome being treated as an outsider, and the risk of internalizing societal stereotypes concerning where women of color are supposed to be situated in society [is the biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome to get where I am today.]” But she’s hopeful for the future, and is using her position to be a role model for other women like her. 

Linda C. Smith

Executive/Artistic Director | Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT)

Linda Smith | 2019 Women of the Year honorees
Portrait and wedding photography – Justin Hackworth

Linda C. Smith began her career as a performer. A Utah native, she began by dancing with Virginia Tanner’s Children’s Dance Theatre. “[It] was a magical place where I discovered my voice, my passion, and my potential,” she says. At the age of four, she knew that dance would be the focus of her life. And today, Ms. Smith is an accomplished performer, teacher, choreographer, writer, producer, and artistic executive director. Her experience spans over 90 creative works, and she’s taught the magic of dance to students in over 1,000 schools. 

But making the move from the stage to the office wasn’t easy. She didn’t have a degree in business management, and she readily admits that her strong suite was the work she did on stage. But she took the risk. “The same kind of courage that you need to step on stage is very useful when you conduct a meeting or ask a donor for funding,” she says. And she looks forward to seeing other women take those same risks. “I appreciate being honored as a business woman, but I accept the honor as a way to encourage other women to find ways to develop their potential and seek opportunities to validate themselves,” says Ms. Smith. 

Ms. Smith uses her creativity for more than art just for the sake of art, too. In fact, she’s using her skills and experience to raise public awareness about healthy environments. From stimulating public dialogue through works like Dancing The Bears Ears to celebrating cultural diversity with Manifest Diversity, she’s passionate about developing thematic artistic projects that hit close to home. “We need more women to use their voices to encourage projects that produce healthier individuals and healthier communities. Use your talents to create stronger communities.”

Mary C. Beckerle

CEO | Huntsman Cancer Institute

Mary Beckerle | 2019 Women of the Year Honorees
Portrait and wedding photography – Justin Hackworth

Mary C. Beckerle spends her days working to save lives. As CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, she models the company’s core values of putting patients first, uniting efforts, and exhibiting excellence in everything she does. “I have the best job in the world,” she says, and whether it’s meeting with clinicians and donors, developing financial sustainability, or building relationships and teams, she’s working to turn ideas into action and meaningful process.

A distinguished professor of biology and oncological sciences at the University of Utah, Dr. Beckerle’s research has had a significant impact on the understanding of cell motility, particularly in Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. “We are at the most exciting time in history when it comes to the ability of scientific knowledge to improve health,” she says. And while she’s had to reduce the time she spends in the lab to dedicate more time to leading the Huntsman Cancer Institute, she’s not slowing down when it comes to saving lives.

“Science led me to where I am today,” says Dr. Beckerle, and she’s working hard to let science lead others to success, too. Because the road she took wasn’t necessarily a straightforward one. “On the one hand, women are under-represented in leadership of science and medicine, so I didn’t have many female role models,” she says. But as she works to engage more young women, she sees that changing. “I think it is great that Utah has more and more female role models for young girls and women.  It sends a message that, in Utah, women can and do lead—and those young people can aspire to do so as well.”

Mary Crafts

Founder & Chairman of the Board | Culinary Crafts
Founder & CEO | Mary Crafts, Inc.

For 35 years, Mary Crafts was the founder and CEO of Utah’s largest and most-awarded catering company. “The need to feed my little family and keep my children with me rather than in daycare inspired me to start a career of which I knew nothing about,” she says. But from that career, she learned some of her greatest life lessons. 

“The decisions of my life used to be made from a place of fear,” she says. “I was always afraid that someone would find out that I was truly not enough.” But at the age of 50, she made the decision to stop doubting herself. Since then, she’s found her true north. And earlier this year, she even summited Kilimanjaro. “The mountain has a way of separating the doers from be wannabes.” And Ms. Crafts is a doer.

Since her retirement from Culinary Crafts, Ms. Crafts works as an author, podcaster, speaker, and life coach. And in this new chapter of her life, she’s working to help others build their dreams. “I hope that both men and women in hospitality will allow their creative selves to be set free,” she says. “I hope that the revolution in the food industry continues to create a new vision for service, sustainability, and the art of breaking bread together.”

Nicole Davis

Investor Relations | Mercato Partners

Nicole Davis | 2019 Women of the Year Honorees
Portrait and wedding photography – Justin Hackworth

Nicole Davis has been working in her field for almost two decades, and she has no intention of changing careers. “I’ve come to believe that supporting entrepreneurship is the optimal place to invest one’s skills, especially when companies are in the growth stage where lasting enterprise value is created,” she says. Serving as the liaison between the investment community, limited partners, and the firm, Ms. Davis has supported the entrepreneurial ecosystem by deploying strategic initiatives in business development, communications, and marketing. And before working with Mercato Partners, she worked with ThomasARTS and EY. 

Described as a democratic leader, Ms. Davis is someone who is engaged with her colleagues and values their feedback. “When working with Nicole, I always feel like my voice is heard and my contributions matter,” says Kate Racker. “She is an inspiring example of a powerful woman, killing it at the top of her field but also in the trenches, helping to make the world a better place for everyone.” And she’s dedicated to making sure everyone in her workplace has a voice across the spectrum of gender, too.

Ms. Davis is passionate about helping entrepreneurs find the opportunities they need to succeed, and she wants to see female entrepreneurs continue to beat the odds. “If you understand how your organization makes money and tie nearly everything you do to that goal, you will be in alignment with the success of the company,” she advises. “[And] be intentional with how you present yourself. After you leave a room, what three words would you want to be used to describe you? You choose the words, then you live up to them. Just three is all you need.” 

Noella Sudbury

Owner |  Sudbury Consulting, LLC

Noella Sudbury | 2019 Women of the Year Honorees
Portrait and wedding photography – Justin Hackworth

Noella Sudbury spent the early days of her career being mistaken as a receptionist. And as a young, female lawyer in a field dominated by men, the road ahead of her was challenging. “It was difficult for me to feel confident, voice my opinions and ideas, and feel like I was taken seriously by supervisors and peers,” she says. But her passion for social justice and for serving the community kept her pushing forward. Even now, she’s only looking ahead.

Ms. Sudbury has worked hard at reshaping policy in Salt Lake County. Including her effort to help pass Utah’s Clean Slate law. “While having a criminal record is extremely common, clearing your record can be very costly and complicated,” she says. And as a result, close to 90 percent of those eligible to clear their records can’t take advantage of the expungement process. But with this law, she’s helped remove barriers and create opportunity for those who are trying to rebuild their lives by automating the criminal record expungement process for low level offenders, positively impacting millions of lives for years to come.

Now at her own consulting firm. Ms. Sudbury is working on broadening the scope of her efforts, including helping her clients use data to help drive policy and support criminal justice reform, drug policy, community health, and affordable housing. “Being a woman in my industry can be difficult, but I think it’s an asset,” she says. And she’s encouraged by the changing landscape of women in leadership here in the state.

Photographs in this piece were shot by Justin Hackworth.

To learn more about our Women of The Year, take a look at the YouTube 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.