Business community honors outstanding leaders and recognized their commitment to economic development and community action

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (November 14, 2021) – Local businesswomen heard from inspirational speakers, gained business insights, and recognized the accomplishments of those helping to make a difference in our community at the 46th Annual Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon, hosted by the Salt Lake Chamber.

Award-winning journalist and motivational speaker Vicki Hitzges gave the opening keynote address at the conference. She shared how stress is one of the silent problems facing women, what causes it and how one can reduce and remove stress through fun-focused activities.

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from speakers on a variety of topics that included lessons on mentorship and empowerment, mental health in the workplace and more.

Following the keynote and breakout sessions, the 2022 ATHENA Leadership Award was presented to Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. Vicki leads Utah’s national and international strategy to create a prosperous and responsible visitor economy.

In announcing the award, Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber said, “Vicki Varela has been a pillar of public service in Utah for decades and one of the chief champions of all our state has to offer. Her leadership spans from serving in Fmr. Governor Leavitt’s office, higher education, and her most recent work with Fmr. Governor Herbert and Governor Cox in leading the Utah Office of Tourism. Vicki truly embodies the Utah brand of ‘Life Elevated’ and does her best to lift others and showcase what Utah has to offer. We look forward to honoring and adding her among the prior ATHENAs to inspire generations to come.”

In addition to the ATHENA Leadership Award, six women received Pathfinder Awards at the conference. The Pathfinder Awards are presented annually to community leaders who create new paths promoting the development and recognition of women in business. The six Pathfinder recipients this year included:

  • Heather Doggett, COO, Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
  • Marlise Fisher, Regional President, WaFd Bank
  • Natalie Kaddas, President/CEO, Kaddas Enterprises
  • Kacie Malouf, Co-Founder, Malouf Companies™ and Board Chair, Malouf Foundation™
  • Sui L. Lang Panoke, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Zions Bank
  • Dr. Astrid Tuminez, President, Utah Valley University

The 46th Annual Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon took place on November 14, 2022, at the Grand America Hotel. This year’s conference was sponsored by Dominion Energy and WCF Insurance. Wells Fargo hosted the ATHENA Awards Luncheon. George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation was the Event Sponsor. The Boeing Company, BW Productions, Chase, Mountain America Credit Union and SelectHealth were Breakout Sponsors, and the exhibit hall sponsor was City Creek Center. Supporting Sponsors were American Express, Boart Longyear, CBRE, Deseret Management Corporation, Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, Housing Assistance Management Enterprise, Holland & Hart, Intermountain Healthcare, Modern West, O.C. Tanner, Rio Tinto, Rocky Mountain Power, Staker Parson Materials & Construction, The Larry H. Miller Company, Utah Office of Tourism, and WaFd Bank.

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