January 23, 2012

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30 Women to Watch

Passionate, driven and focused, today’s women in business are the definition ...Read More

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30 Women to Watch

Heidi Kulicke

January 23, 2012

Passionate, driven and focused, today’s women in business are the definition of success. Loving what they do while doing what they love, making a difference is second nature to Utah’s fearless female leaders. Taking risks and breaking barriers are all in a day’s work and for these women, it’s paid off in big ways. Join Utah Business as we salute 30 women who continually go above and beyond. Alexandra Hesse Associate Executive Director, The Leonardo The biggest part of Alexandra Hesse’s job is to develop, shape and execute the vision of The Leonardo, a science-tech-art center that’s set to open on Library Square in April 2011. “A lot of what I do has to do with asking what the combination of science, art and technology really looks like, and how visitors will experience it when they walk through the doors,” she says. The quest to uncover how teachers and students will experience the museum, and how she can use those tools to create an environment that inspires creativity and the kind of curiosity that spurs people to make their own discoveries, is what drives Hesse to do what she does. “It’s an incredible, exciting opportunity, both personally and for the community at large. It’s an opportunity I’ll have once in my life—to be part of something this unique, exciting and meaningful.” Hesse believes you can’t go wrong if you do what you love and believe in yourself. “If you are who you are and follow your passions, success will follow in a way that’s most meaningful to you.” ------- Allison Smoot Senior Vice President, MorganStanley SmithBarney Allison Smoot believes in giving back to the community she loves. She serves on the board of trustees for the Columbus Community Center, a community foundation for the disabled, and teaches financial planning to seventh grade students. She’s also writing a book that offers parents tips on financially preparing their children for college and beyond. And when a blind elderly client wanted to meet her grandsons in Vancouver, it was Smoot who volunteered to travel with her. “I learned from this experience that I’m not just an investment advisor—the relationships with my clients go much deeper, and I find that very rewarding,” she says. When Smoot began her career 25 years ago, she was the only woman in a room of 300 people. Even though she’s been a minority throughout the years, she sees her gender as an asset. “Our clients like working with women because we’re patient and caring regarding questions and client finances.” Smoot’s business philosophy reflects her small-town upbringing. “She brings a level of trust and integrity commonly found in a small community, balanced with a sense of pride in working hard, achieving goals, and meeting her clients’ needs,” says Stephanie Mackay, director of development for Columbus Community Center. ----- Dr. Angela Trego, PE Director of Structural Engineering, ATK Not your average rocket scientist, Dr. Angela Trego has three patents, is the author of more than 50 publications, and makes many complex technical decisions on a daily basis as director of structural engineering at ATK. Living by her own personal motto “effective with people, efficient with things,” Trego says success takes three skills in particular: technical ability, determination and effective communication. “Vision and strategic views are required to keep programs and projects moving forward instead of getting sidetracked,” she says. As the first female to earn a doctorate in mechanical engineering from BYU, Trego works with the mentoring program Expanding Your Horizons, a volunteer organization supporting girls in science, technology and math. She also takes the opportunity to speak to female engineering students at BYU and other colleges, encouraging them to continue with their studies. “Being a pioneer, although I never sought out that distinction, breaks ground and shows other women wanting to do the same thing that it can be done.” She recently received the Rising Star Award at the 2009 Women Tech Awards. Trego advises others to look for opportunities which will allow them growth in their field, including networking and volunteering opportunities. “It’s important to seek out mentoring opportunities which can provide you with direction and insight. It has provided me with great opportunities I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” she says. ----- Anne Burkholder CEO, YWCA Salt Lake City Through the years YWCA has been a voice for women, a force for change and a place for hope. The organization’s mission is to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. “Our enduring belief is that better lives for women—all women—will lead to stronger families and communities,” says Anne Burkholder, CEO of YWCA Salt Lake City. “My challenge is to help us stay true to who we are and what’s important to us, stay strong for those who need us most and stay focused on our dreams,” Burkholder says. Yet she has learned over and over that the source of the YWCA’s strength and future lies within the community, and with the “generous, caring people who have confidence in us, as well as faith in those we serve.” Burkholder says the organization is accomplishing its goals with the current construction of the new Shelter and Residence for Women and Children. The organization is also set to begin construction on the new Center for Families later this year. Her advice to others is to seize opportunities, take risks and own your choices. “Remember who you are, as a whole person, is as important as what you do.” ------- Annette Colton Christensen Marketing Manager, Grant Thornton LLP Working with the community on a regular basis is what gets Annette Colton Christensen excited. “I thrive on community building, which, to me, is the ability to connect the various arms of our community, uniting them while working toward a greater purpose. It motivates me, provides me with immense satisfaction and makes the work I do worthwhile,” she says. The rewards for a job well done come down to passion and hard work, she says. “Passion for what I do, vision to see what we could become and the ability to unite people behind a cause” leads to a better community and marketplace, she adds. Her success is a direct result of her mother’s example and other women in her family who came before her. “My success honors their sacrifice as professional women during eras in which women did not work outside the home. They paved the way for me and other women to have access to the resources and opportunity to fulfill our dreams and ambitions,” she says. Looking to the future, Christensen hopes to instill that same drive in her own children. “I want to continue to pave the path for them, so they can feel empowered to attain any success they desire in their lives.” ------- Carol Fineagan Chief Information Officer & Senior VP, EnergySolutions Carol Fineagan’s success with EnergySolutions can be traced back to her many years as a Girl Scout. “It allowed me to try new things, step out of my comfort zone as a Baltimore city kid, and gave me the skills and confidence to be a team leader,” she says. Growing up, it never occurred to her that being a female was anything but an asset. “While I am conscious of the male dominated world around me, I am also conscious that [as a woman] I often enjoy a different perspective on issues and approach problem solving in a creative fashion.” When it comes to leadership, Fineagan believes excellent communication skills and humility are necessary in equal portions. “You have to be able to find common ground, understand the intricacies of business operations, balance all the regulations and rules, and ask a lot of questions.” Actively involved in the community, she enjoys being able to give back. “Whenever we are collecting food for the food bank or blankets for the homeless shelter, Carol’s team is always first on board,” says Pearl Wright, executive director of EnergySolutions. Fineagan’s role model is Dr. Martin Luther King, whose passion for civil rights shaped her life. “I learned from his words and actions to think outside the box and that you need to personalize the journey to make it meaningful.” ------- Carolyn Grow Dailey President and CEO, ASCEND Alliance Dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished villagers around the world, Carolyn Grow Dailey’s unwavering humanitarian efforts are truly making a difference. Though many nonprofits struggled during the recession, Dailey’s thrived. “2009 was our best yet,” she says. The company’s mission is to empower those in need with resources to save their children and ascend out of poverty. “Helping others build capacity to change their lives is tremendously rewarding and also incredibly challenging with work on three continents, with different cultures, languages, currencies and time zones,” she says. Dailey says empowerment is key, not only among impoverished beneficiaries but also with staff and volunteers. “Our paradigm is that we are powerful collectively because we are powerful individually. Bringing passion and tenacity to our challenging work is important; as is encouraging initiative and innovation,” she says. Selected by the Romney Institute of Public Management as the 2008 Administrator of the Year, Dailey attributes her success to pure passion. “Love what you do and do what you love. Be passionate about the opportunities you have, and see them as just that: opportunities to serve others and make a difference, even when the going gets tough.” ------- Carrie Dunn Partner and Owner, XO Marketing Group As owner of XO Marketing, Carrie Dunn feels gratitude when she considers the fact that the company has been able to maintain profitability and increase profits during a tough economy. “It’s an accomplishment and a blessing,” she says. “I’m so grateful for the team I work with and I attribute our success to them.” She believes a successful leader must have creativity, tenacity, flexibility, determination, enthusiasm, organization and dedication. “I feel like my leadership style brings a mixture of creativity and enthusiasm. I try to use that to motivate those around me,” she says. Dunn encourages entrepreneurs to embrace failures and challenges by learning from them and moving on quickly. “Don’t dwell on your imperfections and failures. Be strong and become a better person because of them.” “Carrie is one of the most creative, qualified people in the industry. She gives her all to her clients, her family and her friends. She continues to find ways she can serve in the community and shares her talents. She empowers everyone around her to believe in themselves and to always challenge what they can become,” says Alan Seko, director of public relations with XO Marketing. --------- Cathy Cardenas Presidentm and CEO, Designer HomeTending While it’s rewarding to see your business featured in local and national news, for Cathy Cardenas the real satisfaction comes from helping those in need. “I get the opportunity to help families who desperately need affordable housing in today’s economy. People trust my staff with their living situation,” she says. Although this puts a lot of pressure on her company, it motivates Cardenas to work even harder for her clients. Cardenas believes success takes real determination. “Never let what others say or think about you or your abilities get you down,” she says. “I’m blessed every day for trying to be a better person and business owner. My company not only provides for my family and my employees’ families, but it changes the lives of so many others that we serve.” The concept of her company is simple: create a no-cost service to owners of vacant homes by providing experienced and pre-qualified temporary residents to maintain and care for homes while they are on the market. The result? Homes that sell faster and affordable housing for temporary occupants, a win-win situation for everyone involved. “It wouldn’t be too bold to state that Cardenas is the epitome of an exceptional leader as she works every day to spread hope through her inspiring leadership,” says Bruce Merrin, owner of Bruce Merrin Public Relations. -------- Chamonix Larsen Energy Program Director, State of Utah Division of Facilities, Construction and Management When it comes to creating successful construction projects, communication on all levels is very important, says Chamonix Larsen. As energy program director for the State of Utah, Larsen must be able to communicate with construction industry professionals about details, and explain energy-efficient strategies with a vocabulary and conceptual understanding that makes it clear to an investor or legislative entity. Often the only woman at meetings, Larsen says she must speak strongly and present herself in a clear way so others see her as a valuable team member. “At the same time, I find that being a woman makes me approachable, which allows others to confide in me with hopes that I will listen, which enables me to help them overcome barriers and make progress,” she says. Somewhere along the way, Larsen learned she must “be the change you seek in the world.” This idea helps her focus her efforts and create success. “I think people have the capacity to do many jobs, but what makes me excited is feeling like what I do every day matters.” ------ Christie Hawkes Senior VP of Corporate Communications/Provider Relations, Educators Mutual Insurance Association One of the most rewarding parts of Christie Hawkes’ job is coordinating community relations campaigns, charitable events and employee recognition programs. “Because of my communication responsibilities, I have worked at some point with literally every department and every committee in the company,” Hawkes says. And even though “the insurance industry as a whole is suffering from a bad reputation,” she feels fortunate to work with a remarkable group of people who truly care about their members and doing what’s right for them. “We don’t just post our mission statement on the wall and forget about it; we live and breathe it every day,” she says. Hawkes believes the secret to success is having a team whose strengths complement each other and then putting those strengths to work to achieve a goal the team is passionate about. “I remember reading somewhere that it’s not enough to have the right people on the bus, you have to have them in the right seats. I would add to that you have to know where you’re going as well,” she says. Her advice is to know your strengths and find an occupation where you can use them. “It takes just as much energy to bring a weak characteristic up to a mediocre level as it does to take a natural talent from good to great—and achieving greatness is a lot more rewarding, both to you and the organization for which you work.” --------- Cristie Richards Senior VP of Retail Banking, Zions Bank Currently responsible for the sales culture and customer service of 128 Zions Bank branch offices throughout Utah and Idaho, Cristie Richards has a lot on her plate. Yet she still finds time to mentor others. “It’s very rewarding to see someone’s growth,” she says. “I’ve found that I probably get more from those I mentor than they do from me. They each have unique skills and accomplishments that assist me in my professional growth.” Richards, also an avid runner, believes that we too often sell ourselves short and let fear get in the way of growth. She applies her favorite quote from a marathon training book to her work at Zions: “‘The miracle isn’t that I finished, it’s that I had the courage to start.’ This quote reminds me to have the courage to do anything.” She applied this courage during her seven-year professional banking experience in Japan, which was difficult at times, she says. “There were times when I wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt during a first meeting with a potential client due to my nationality and gender, but thanks to the confidence my male boss showed in me and my ability to deliver on what I promised, I was able to overcome any obstacles that arose.” ------- Erica Baxter Human Resources Consultant, Employer Solutions Group Working with clients in a variety of industries from construction to technology to fitness keeps Erica Baxter on her toes. The variety keeps Baxter “constantly challenged with the array of workplace issues and employee problems that clients encounter in their individual businesses,” she says. The challenges are exactly what make her job enjoyable, though. “I love the fulfillment I receive from advising and assisting my clients in their employee matters. It’s very satisfying to know my role helps somebody else focus on why they went into business in the first place,” she says. Leadership requires a lot of flexibility and prioritization skills to respond to client's changing needs, says Baxter. “One phone call from a client with an urgent need can necessitate rearranging my plans for the entire day.” Her business advice is to never be afraid to network with business professionals who work in the industry you want to pursue. “Ask to job shadow a professional to learn what that industry is really like. It’s never too early [or too late] to learn more about what you think you want to do.” -------- Gail Bedke Vice President, Strategic Solutions O.C. Tanner Company As vice president of strategic solutions at O.C. Tanner, Gail Bedke oversees the team that supports the company’s largest sales opportunities. “I love my job because it allows me to not only work with incredibly talented people within my own team and within our global sales force, it also allows me to travel the world and work closely with some of the largest and most admired Fortune 500 companies,” she says. Bedke believes an effective leader must lead by example. “I wouldn’t ask anyone I work with to do anything I wouldn’t do myself,” she says. Working in a very “roll up your sleeves” environment results in quality work, she adds. Her advice to those beginning their careers is to look for opportunities that will help them stand out above the crowd. “Volunteer to work on extra projects and do things that are outside of your everyday job description. The exposure and experience you will gain will be invaluable.” -------- Gloria Boberg Executive Director, ARK of Little Cottonwood As executive director for the ARK of Little Cottonwood, Gloria Boberg understands the importance of working to ensure the very best possible treatment is available for people with mental health and substance abuse issues. “It is so awesome to watch our clients re-claim their lives and become healthy and spiritual. Families come back together and the great reward is to see the client recover and pass it forward,” Boberg says. But the bittersweet isn’t complete without the bitter. “We see the possibility of change in each person but sometimes the client is not ready to give up their addiction or accept help.” The hardest part, she says, is when someone walks away from treatment and ends up overdosing. Alan Seko, director of public relations with XO Marketing, says Boberg is dedicated to giving back to the community. “Gloria has been a tireless proponent of helping those with problems through her work with her own facilities and with various local and national professional organizations.” She also gives a voice to the children of addicts through a dance group called KADA (Kids Against Drugs & Alcohol). “It's expanding the very real perception that addiction doesn’t just affect the person using—it affects entire families,” Seko adds. ------- Heather Tritten Executive Director, Community Action Partnership of Utah Two things get Heather Tritten out of bed every morning: the belief that poverty in the U.S. does not have to exist, and the desire to make this world a better place for her children. Step by step, her dreams are getting closer to becoming a reality. When Tritten began working at CAP Utah she was the only full-time staffed employee. Through hard work, passion and relentless dedication, the organization has earned a reputation as the expert of poverty issues in the state and now has seven employees. Tritten’s success with the nonprofit didn’t come easy, though. She fought long and hard to overcome stereotypes surrounding her gender and young age, and in the process gained respect and credibility among peers, funders and state legislators. “Without a passion for the work I do, I would not be able to be an effective leader in my organization or within the larger anti-poverty movement,” she says. While passion may not be a skill, it is an essential ingredient in what makes her successful. “I believe whole-heartedly in what I do and I want to make a difference in people’s lives.” ----- Ibi Guevara VP of Business Development and Marketing, Hunt Electric Meeting new people and putting Hunt Electric’s resources to work is what Ibi Guevara loves to do. “There is absolutely nothing like the feeling I get when we win a big project, knowing that I was a part of creating the synergy between our companies.” Guevara says effective leadership is a result of hard work, dedication and continuous learning. “I choose to lead by example, so I hold myself to the same high standards of quality that I expect from those with whom I work,” she says. Although she is one of only a few women in the company, she doesn’t feel discouraged. “Perhaps that’s because I work for an owner who values hard work and commitment to the company rather than considering seniority or gender.” She credits her parents for teaching her to work hard and to always do her best, saying success then will show itself. “Modeling this attitude has paid off in my career,” she says. “To describe Ibi as an exceptional leader is an understatement. Her energy is contagious and her drive is inspiring,” says Mark Rocco, vice president and operations manager with Hunt Electric. “She has very high expectations of herself and this translates to the quality of her work and the teams she takes part in.” ----- Julia Wulf CEO, American Red Cross Blood Services Julia Wulf’s job simply wouldn’t exist without people. “Blood Services is very dependent on people—staff, blood donors and sponsors, hospital customers and patients,” she says. Adding emphasis to the importance of people, she says leadership requires “the ability to develop relationships with people and support them in their everyday roles and let them do what they know how to do.” She says her professional career was launched by a former employer. “He taught me about professionalism, persistence and pursuit of my education. He really brought me along from a very young woman to the person I am today.” Her own advice to others includes preparation, through “education, or experience in your field, or networking. Then be willing to take a risk when opportunities come along.” Wulf’s biggest challenge is the constant juggling of priorities, as they can easily change. But she takes comfort in knowing the company’s mission of providing safe blood services through voluntary blood donations will never change. “Countless lives are saved in Utah each day, because Julia has the business acumen to ensure that the right blood products are supplied to the right patients, at the right locations, at the right time,” says Stephen L. Mikkelsen, operations director of Intermountain Healthcare Laboratory Services. -------- Juliette Tennert Chief Economist, Governor’s Office of Planning & Budget Over the past two years, state revenues have dropped by approximately $1 billion, making Juliette Tennert’s job very challenging. But the challenges are also what makes her job enjoyable. “Juliette plays a major role in decisions that profoundly affect the lives of Utahns. Her actions and insights suggest she seeks integrity in all she does. She is always honest and sincere and seeks the extraordinary in everything she does,” says Natalie Gochnour, executive vice president of the Salt Lake Chamber. Tennert's role with the Governor’s Office of Planning & Budget is one that she does not take lightly. “Like the leaders I respect, I strive to demonstrate integrity and openness,” she says. Her colleagues say this translates into genuine authenticity in her interactions and analysis, and that being open to new ideas from her team leads to true progress. “Juliette is an economic genius, but her true ability is being able to communicate with those who aren’t familiar with the economic speak,” says John Nixon, state budget director of the Governor’s Office of Planning & Budget. “The field of economics has a reputation for being somewhat elusive and I enjoy helping people see its relevance,” Tennert says. -------- Kristen Knight VP of Product Management, Kynetx The variety and vibrancy of working at a company that’s creating cutting-edge solutions for Websites is what makes Kristen Knight love her job. “It’s rare you get to be part of something ground-breaking from the beginning. I love the speed, innovation, teamwork and never ending stream of possibilities from working with technology,” she says. In the past year, Kynetx went from being a two-person team to gaining nearly 20 employees and signing its first major customers, including a $1 billion-plus strategic investor. Yet the company’s efforts remain a team effort. “We’ve pulled in some of the best talent in the state and have created a rich, flexible culture that allows our team to innovate on a daily basis,” Knight says. When it comes to career satisfaction, Knight recommends taking the time to know your likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. “Know where you want to go with your career and express that to everyone. In my experience, the most unhappy workers are those that have not defined what they want from their job.” She says good employers will do everything they can to place people with the positions and tasks they want. “I know they’ll be happier and more productive if they’re where they want to be,” she adds. -------- Marilyn K. Mariani Chief Nursing Officer, Lakeview Hospital It’s quite an accomplishment when one person can be cited as the cause of a complete company turnaround, which is exactly what Marilyn Mariani did when she joined Lakeview Hospital in 2006. She learned the hospital ranked in the bottom 2 percent for following an important safety medication process. To address the problem, she launched an extensive educational campaign. The following year the hospital was ranked in the top 10 percent for facilities, and has maintained the position ever since. Understanding what employees are experiencing has been part of her success. “It’s important to walk in their shoes, to truly understand the challenges they face every day,” she says. “A leader needs to have skills in finance, organizational behavior, people skills, planning skills and a strategic vision.” Mariani doesn’t believe a person’s gender is what determines success, but who you are inside. “I truly encourage all individuals that have caring in their hearts to join the profession of nursing,” she says. “But most importantly, have passion.” Choosing a profession because it has a high salary will only cause job dissatisfaction, she says. “You will be more likely to job hop which will not allow you to truly grow in your career.” -------- Mary Dondiego Senior Director of Marketing, VitalSmarts As senior director of marketing, Mary Dondiego believes in what VitalSmarts stands for: helping teams and organizations achieve the results they care about most. “The skills we teach individuals and companies help improve peoples’ lives. They have improved both my personal and professional relationships,” she says. Dondiego believes it is vitally important for a leader to express that the team’s opinion matters and that you’re willing to take the time to listen. “I’ve learned that allowing others to voice their concerns and ideas is key to making the best possible decisions.” Dondiego has been integral to VitalSmarts’ success, literally building the company brand from scratch and catapulting the company’s three training books to New York Times bestselling status. “[Mary] has powerfully influenced our strategy leading its execution in ways far beyond her job description,” says Joseph Grenny, co-founder of VitalSmarts. Brittney Maxfield, corporate communications manager of VitalSmarts, says Dondiego’s secret to success is her willingness to work hard, no matter the task or project at hand. “She expects her team to display a similar work ethic and is willing to jump in and help in any way she can. She treats each team member as a partner, regardless of their position or title.” ------- Melanie Behunin Regional Director of Academic Affairs, University of Phoenix Because many Americans are unable to pursue higher education, the University of Phoenix adapted its programs to help individuals get a degree without forfeiting wages or time with family. As an advocate of lifelong learning, Melanie Behunin believes flexibility is necessary in today’s colleges and workplaces. “Our organizations don’t stay the same and neither should the people who lead them. I am not afraid to learn new things,” she says. Behunin believes an educated world is a better world. “My goals involve helping others succeed. I enjoy helping our faculty members discover new ways to teach concepts so our students can reach their educational goals.” Deciding early in life to be a lifelong learner, Behunin made a goal to earn a master’s degree and didn’t let life get in the way. She says that choice opened doors that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Her advice is to have a full life while giving back to others. “Find ways to succeed in whatever work you choose to do, and once you have made yourself strong, go out and make someone else strong.” ------- Michele Mattsson Chief Appellate Mediator, Utah Court of Appeals Working with people from all over the state to resolve legal disputes at the appellate level is Michele Mattsson’s daily routine, along with negotiating win-win solutions. “The best part of my job is helping people resolve disputes that have been plaguing them for years and to see and feel the relief a settlement brings to them,” Mattsson says. “The work is intense and emotional, yet rewarding.” But mediation doesn’t always come easy, she says. “The challenging part of my job is working with people who are immersed in trying circumstances involving high stress, high stakes and high emotion.” She’s found the trick is to stay calm and focused, while addressing the conflict straight-on. Ann Waters, marketing and communications director of Parsons Behle & Latimer adds, “The job requires patience, understanding, compassion and perseverance. Day after day, Michele embodies these traits.” Successfully mediating more than 900 cases, Mattsson belongs to a small group of master mediators in the state. “My job is always an adventure, never knowing what the day will bring. I start with an understanding of the dispute and the legal issues, but I cannot predict how the participants will act, interact, or what information will emerge. The challenges of adapting to the many variables presented, making human connections and searching for solutions are what make my work fulfilling and worth waking up for,” she says. --------- Molly Mazzolini Partner/Brand Integration Director, Infinite Scale Design Group When Molly Mazzolini moved to Utah 11 years ago, she didn’t know a soul in Salt Lake City. But she enjoyed the environment and quality of life so much she decided to start a design studio with a few partners. “Infinite Design Group is the only environmental graphic design firm in this city, state and region. You typically see specialized design firms like ours in New York or Los Angeles,” she says. The company has been involved with several high-profile events, including the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and the 2004 Super Bowl in Houston, Texas. One of her favorite experiences was working on the Super Bowl. “Our program was a great win,” she recalls, but it was really the journey, more than the win, that was so meaningful to her. Mazzolini’s influential icons are disciplined people who find original ways to be successful while making it look effortless. Her advice for those just starting out is to work hard, play hard and find a balance between the two. “Do not fall under the umbrella of the entitlement generation; be original,” she says. ---------- Pollyanna Pixton Co-founder, Accelinnova Pollyanna Pixton feels truly rewarded when she sees the results of her work create success for other companies. “Leading through collaboration is the opposite of micro-management and many leaders have trouble relinquishing control. However, when leaders stand back and let teams take ownership, [the teams become] highly motivated, deliver innovative solutions and operate at high productivity,” Pixton says. High-profile clients, such as IBM, have benefited from the principles of collaboration that Pixton has practiced and refined for the past 30 years. She and her co-founders recently collaborated in writing a book detailing the tools successful leaders use in rapidly changing environments. Pixton says that when she previously worked in the computer industry, being a woman was a liability. “I had to prove myself not just once but many times. However, I never compromised my values and ignored prejudices,” she says. As a result, she always treats people equally based on their contributions and ideas, not on their gender. Through her experiences, she’s learned that if you give people interesting work and ownership, “they will make it happen.” -------- Sandy Ewell Chief Nursing and Clinical Officer, Timpanogos Regional Hospital Due to the increasing demands of health care, Sandy Ewell feels like her skills are tested every day, which gives her the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. “The thing I enjoy the most is the wonderful team of administrative leaders and department directors that I work so closely with each day as we try to solve the challenges that come before us,” she says. Some of those challenges are creating excellent patient satisfaction, quality outcomes and continually training employees while providing them with a satisfying work environment, she adds. She says success is enjoying what you do and having the ability to successfully put a team together of highly skilled individuals who have the same common goals and desires. “As a team, we possess all of the skills necessary to lead our business forward,” she says. She stays motivated by seeing measurable improvements through charts and graphs and knowing that she is helping improve the quality of life for her patients. ”It’s the letters from happy patients and the people I interact with that makes it all worth it,” she says. Cecilia M. Romero Attorney, Holland & Hart LLP With primary practice areas in commercial litigation and labor and employment, Cecilia Romero has seen her fair share of courtrooms. And even though she says the practice of law can be demanding, she “enjoys the challenge of the law and the strategy and collaboration that is involved in working to secure solutions for clients.” She places emphasis on the value of hard work, saying, “A willingness to work hard is a must. Each day presents a new challenge and, together with the intelligent people with whom I work, we tackle those challenges.” Her advice to new lawyers is to embrace this work ethic. “It may be harder than you initially thought, but keep at it and it will get more manageable and rewarding.” Greg Lindley, administrative partner with Holland & Hart says, “Cecilia leads not only through her actions, but by example. She is a strong advocate for more women and attorneys of color in the legal profession and works with professional organizations that encourage and support professional development of the underprivileged and minority individuals.” “I want my children to see they can achieve whatever they want as long as they are willing to work for it,” says Romero. “As a woman and attorney of color, it is also important to me that others see that an individual like me can make a meaningful contribution to the practice of law.” ----- Kay Lin Hermansen Director of Corporate Communications, Clyde Companies, Inc. The enjoyable parts of Kay Lin Hermansen’s job are also the challenging parts. But as with any startup, “building something great with limited resources including staff and budget is very rewarding,” she says. Although Hermansen says being a woman in her industry is certainly a challenge, she sees it as more of an asset. “No doubt that women and men bring different things to the table and we think very differently, so be willing to subliminally educate with patience and without being defensive as you adapt and bring strength to the industry,” she advises. “Kay Lin truly is a remarkable leader. She has accomplished much in her tenure as a communications professional and her future is bright. She will continue to work to advance the role of women in her industry,” says Chuck Penna, CEO of Penna Powers Brian Haynes. She says she loves what she does and the people she works with, and “loves that feeling at the end of the day when you have made a difference.” ------- Donna Creighton CEO, Image Reborn Foundation Donna Creighton loves knowing her foundation is making a difference in the lives of women throughout the world. The Image Reborn Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides retreats free of charge to participants who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. In the past 10 years, Image Reborn has served more than 1,700 women from the United States, Europe, Canada and South America. “I admire the survivors who attend our retreats. They inspire me. They are courageous women who have learned to live in the moment and are filled with gratitude for every new day they are given,” says Creighton. A two-time breast cancer survivor herself, she’s able to relate to other survivors and understands the challenges they face. As a result, she is “better able to implement a program that meets the needs of our participants,” she says. Through fundraising and generous grants, the foundation is able to fulfill its mission. Adversity has taught her to “trust your instincts, love what you do and never, ever give up.” “Donna is passionate about helping other women become empowered by their circumstances,” says Dr. Renato Saltz, founder of Image Reborn and Saltz Plastic Surgery. “She has made an impact in the life of every single breast cancer survivor who has attended the foundation’s retreats for the past 10 years.”
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