Ibi Guevara is a shareholder and the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Hunt Electric, where she has played a significant role in driving the company’s consistent growth over the past 16 years. Ibi’s passion for cultivating mutually beneficial relationships based on connecting, taking the initiative to give support, and mentoring those who need it has played a prominent part in her contributions to Hunt Electric’s growth. She is a member of the ULI Utah, Salt Lake Chamber, EDCUtah, UMA, Truss, Downtown Alliance, and IFMA. She currently serves as chair of the ULI Utah District.
On November 19, the Salt Lake Chamber will recognize Ibi Guevara as a 2021 Pathfinder Award recipient at the Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon. This award is given to community leaders who “create new paths” and promote the development and recognition of women in business.
We asked her a handful of questions to get to know her a little better:
- What are you passionate about? I am most passionate about helping those around me succeed. Every day I have the opportunity to work and collaborate with some exceptional and talented women and men. I love to get to know them, identify their needs, and then help them grow and progress. I find it tremendously gratifying to cultivate mutually beneficial connections and relationships. Watching someone achieve a goal, experience a win, or keep a promise because of a meaningful connection I created with them is an energy boost – because I know if they succeed, I succeed.
- Describe how creating connections and providing mentorship in your position at Hunt Electric have strengthened you as a leader? Having exceptional mentors has been a critical factor in my success. This fuels my passion for giving back by mentoring others. Helping my team members grow and become the best version of themselves is a goal that drives my daily actions. I do this by encouraging team members to leave their comfort zones, empowering them to make their voices heard, urging them to find mentors outside their team, and helping them surround themselves with people and connections who will lift them and push them to be better.
- What is your most rewarding professional experience? 17 years ago, when I started working in the AEC industry, I was surprised to see how few women work in the construction industry and that even fewer of them held leadership positions. Although I can’t say it was always easy, I was fortunate to have many mentors that helped me along the way to become the confident leader I am today and serve as a member of Hunt Electric’s executive team. I am proud to be part of this exceptional company and have the opportunity to influence initiatives that positively impact our organization and the people I work with.
- What does your organization do to support women in business? Hunt Electric has been promoting career opportunities in the construction industry at high schools and even elementary schools for years. We use these career events to emphasize the opportunities available to and the need for women in the industry. We invite women in different roles, from electrical designers to marketing professionals, to speak to the students and describe how they succeeded in the business environment. As a merit-based company, we pride ourselves on promoting based on talent and accomplishments, rather than gender. In the apprenticeship program, compensation is set based on education and not on gender. Considering the low percentage of women in the construction industry, we are proud to have two women on our executive team.
- What do you see as the biggest challenge women face in business today? How do you think it can be overcome? One of the biggest challenges women face in today’s business environment is a bias against their perspective. For example, when women raise issues in terms of feelings and emotions, many times, they are told that they are being too sensitive. Dismissing women’s perspectives and insights simply because they tend to be based more on feelings and emotions is a loss to any team and a source of friction. Leaders need to be more aware of this and listen to understand instead of listening to respond. Also, when women set high goals and embrace demanding expectations and pursue them with rigorous followthrough, they are often perceived as being too forceful. When in reality, they are driven professionals who give 100% of their effort and energy to their work and they expect the same from others. Empowerment and clear expectations from the top can address this issue.
- What does having grit and grace mean to you? For me, grit and grace go hand in hand. I consider grit one of the primary fuels of my success. I never expected overnight growth. I have always known it is something you have to work hard at every day, every month, and every year. Grit stops me from ever giving up and encourages me to keep working, learning, and improving until I prevail. Grit motivated me to learn from my mistakes and keep working in spite of opposition or failure. It got me back up on my feet and forced me to try again. Along the way, grace is what helped me be true to myself. It grounded me and urged me to use my influence to elevate and assist others. Growing in grace means more than just working hard for my own success – it means working hard to make sure others succeed along with me.