On November 2, the Salt Lake Chamber will honor six outstanding businesswomen at the 2023 Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon. One of these women is Natalie El-Deiry, director of immigration and integration for the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, who has been chosen as a Pathfinder honoree. Get to know this 2023 Pathfinder by reading below:
This year’s Women & Business Conference theme is “Thriving in the Hive.” What does that mean to you?
I moved to Utah 13 years ago as a young professional and had the extraordinary opportunity to work at the International Rescue Committee. I was welcomed to the philanthropic and business communities to build relationships and promote the opportunities to welcome refugees to Utah.
Over a decade later, I get to continue that work, building on Utah’s welcoming nature but with a broader message. It’s through the network of people who have supported me in my career and my own hard work and dedication that I’ve been able to thrive in the hive.
Now, my goal is to make sure more people get the opportunity to thrive in Utah, including refugees and immigrants. My own family set out to build on their dreams in America, which I benefited from. Now, I get to help others with their dreams of thriving in our great state.
What is one thing women can do to help each other thrive?
The biggest thing is to make room around the table. Many of us strive to hold space in often male-dominated forums. While we elbow our way into different spaces and places, elbow just a little extra for the women next to you.
The second is to lift up the voices of those around you and help each other build our connections, our networks and the good work so many of us are doing in Utah.
What advice would you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs or business professionals?
Approach your work with compassionate curiosity. It’s something I’ve learned to do more of in my career. I don’t have all the answers, and as a leader, I need to nurture my own intellectual curiosity and compassion for others to better understand the perceptions, challenges and obstacles others face to then work collectively to build solutions for a stronger economy and community.
How do you stay resilient in a rapidly evolving business landscape?
Lots of coffee and making sure I take my personal time to re-energize. For me, that’s time with my family, time in nature and taking time alone. Early in my career, I felt I needed to be at every event, every conference, every meeting…now, that’s changed.
Showing up is critically important in business and community leadership, but I also need to preserve my energy so I can show up for my family and myself.
What is a skill you have that has most served you in your career?
I work with intention – I put my head down, I do the work, and I do it with purpose. My purpose in my work is greater than the business imperative for immigration. It’s about people, it’s about families, and it’s about opportunities for everyone to thrive.
Working with that intention is so critical to staying engaged and focused and persevering when things get difficult.
I have the opportunity to demonstrate the business case and economic benefits of fostering inclusion for immigrants and refugees in our state, but also the invaluable contributions immigrants make to our culture as a state, to shaping our history and our future, and to our communities.
Natalie El-Deiry is a leader in the humanitarian, non-profit, and government sectors working to foster collaborative relationships between organizations, businesses, and communities. She is currently the director of immigration and integration for the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity. She promotes opportunities to grow a global workforce while advancing refugees’ and immigrants’ economic mobility and social inclusion.
Before she joined the Economic Opportunity office, she served as the executive director for the International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake and Missoula offices, serving over 2,500 refugees and immigrants annually. El-Deiry’s passion for advancing opportunities for New Americans is rooted in her lived experience as the daughter of immigrants from Mexico.