About the Conference

The Salt Lake Chamber Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon is the primary fundraiser for the Women’s Business Center of Utah. This event is filled with inspirational speakers that recognize the accomplishments of those helping make a difference here in our local community.

Knowledge empowers us to be the best version of ourselves. When we explore opportunities and possibilities, we can engage with the world in new ways. Come join us and hear from inspirational speakers, learn valuable business insights to further your professional growth, foster relationships with other businesswomen in the community, and more.

During the luncheon, the Salt Lake Chamber will present the ATHENA International Award to an active member who demonstrates creativity and initiative in business, provides valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and assists women in reaching their full leadership potential.

In addition to the ATHENA Award, the Chamber will also recognize business and community leaders with the Pathfinder Award for their work to create new paths and promote the development and recognition of women in business.

2022 Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon
November 14, 2022 | 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Grand America Hotel
555 S. Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Sponsorship Opportunities

Register to Attend

ATHENA Leadership Awardee

Vicki Varela
Managing Director, Utah Office of Tourism

Vicki Varela is the managing director of the Office of Tourism in the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity. She leads Utah’s national and international strategy to create a prosperous and responsible visitor economy.

Varela has been recognized as the U.S. Tourism Director of the Year by the National Council of State Tourism Directors and one of America’s 25 Great Minds by Hospitality, Sales, and Marketing International. Her Utah community service includes the Salt Lake Chamber Board, the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Advisory Board and the Utah Clean Energy Steering Committee. Nationally, she serves on the U.S. Travel Board.

Before leading the state tourism office, Varela’s career spanned many roles in the public and private sectors. Her passion is advancing initiatives that create broad community prosperity.

As vice president of Kennecott Land, she was a key driver in establishing the Daybreak master-planned community and its vision for the West Bench of Salt Lake Valley. As deputy chief of staff and spokesperson for Gov. Mike Leavitt, she organized the communications strategy that helped establish his reputation as a bold public policy entrepreneur and one of Utah’s great governors. As Assistant Commissioner of Higher Education, she led a communications campaign to educate Utahns on the critical role community colleges play in providing career pathways for all students. She has led statewide issue campaigns, including securing citizen support that laid the groundwork for the 2002 Winter Olympics. She started her career as a journalist with the Associated Press and later the Deseret News, where she learned the value of a good story.

Varela has two children and one beautiful granddaughter. She enjoys adventures in Utah and around the world, including biking, hiking, and river rafting.

Pathfinder Awardees

Heather Doggett
Heather DoggettCOO, Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
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Marlise Fisher
Marlise FisherRegional President, WaFd Bank
Read Bio
Natalie Kaddas
Natalie KaddasPresident/CEO, Kaddas Enterprises
Read Bio
Kacie Malouf
Kacie MaloufCo-Founder, Malouf Companies™
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Sui Lang Panoke
Sui Lang PanokeSenior Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Zions Bank
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Dr. Astrid Tuminez
Dr. Astrid TuminezPresident, Utah Valley University
Read Bio

2022 Agenda

Registration & Breakfast
Location: Grand Ballroom

More information to come.

Welcome
Location: Grand Ballroom

More information to come.

Opening Session

Baby, Take Off Your Stress – You Can Leave Your Hat On
Speaker: Vicki Hitzges, Motivational Speaker
Location: Grand Ballroom

Whether you have a job, you’re trying to get a job, you’re an entrepreneur, or you’re involved in Corporate America, you feel STRESS! All of us have too much to do, too little time, and too few resources to get it all done.

Whatever the cause of your stress, this entertaining, interactive presentation will help you relax PLUS…you’ll laugh as you listen.

Take this topic seriously: Stress kills. Learn how to stop it.

Come find out:

  • THREE major causes of stress
  • FIVE main ways to banish stress
  • EIGHT funky ways to obliterate stress (often) instantly!

Volunteers will demonstrate stress-releasing activities on stage. You’ll enjoy this interactive, fun, beneficial presentation.

Join us! Come HEAR, SEE and DO what it takes to relieve the #1 health problem facing Americans today. StReSs!

Breakout Session #1

Let’s Redefine What It Means to Be Selfish
Location: Imperial Ballroom C

Women’s Empowerment: Let’s Redefine Selfish! How do we commit to gender equity in boardrooms, in corporate suites and for elected officials? We start by redefining what it means to be selfish for women. If a woman takes up yoga or starts a book club for her mental health would that be considered selfish? Most people say “no” and would applaud her efforts. If a woman assertively works late and misses her kids’ baseball game, would that be considered selfish? Most people say “yes” and shame her. How do powerful women balance work, love and life? By being selfish.

Speaker:

  • Aundrea DeMille, Author, The Wake Up Stories

Identify & Leverage Your Power Skills
Location: Imperial Ballroom B

Skills you have are in demand and you may not even know it! In this presentation, learn what are the top 5 skills businesses are looking for, which ones you already have and how to identify and leverage them on your resume and LinkedIn.

Speaker:

  • Nicole Carpenter, Director, Women’s Leadership Institute

Mentorship Moments: Learning From Women in Leadership – Influential Women Leaders and Avenues to Mentorship
Location: Imperial Ballroom A

The panel will consist of businesswomen with a wide range of backgrounds from technology to consumer goods to health and wellness to communications. Questions will focus on mentors in their life, lessons in leadership, and how mentorship opportunities can lead to career advancement.

Panel:

  • Seraphine Kapsandoy-Jones, VP of Population Health Clinical Innovations and Programs, Centene Corporation
  • Kacie Malouf, Co-Founder, Malouf Companies™ and Board Chair, Malouf Foundation™
  • Cydni Tetro, CEO, Brandless and Founder/President, Women Tech Council (Moderator)
  • Jess Toolson, CEO and Founder, Mixhers

How to Give Feedback Like a Pro
Location: Imperial Ballroom D

A central skill for women in business is knowing how to deliver feedback directly and calmly. Many of us avoid giving feedback for fear of hurting the other person. On other occasions, we might give feedback, but with poor results. In this session, we will apply tools to be able to deliver feedback effectively in order to accelerate learning while maintaining relationships.

Speaker:

  • Julianna Christie, Chief Training Officer, Crafted Leadership

Changing the Narrative for Minority, Women-Owned Businesses
Location: Murano

Women business owners face several common barriers, but they are not a monolith – in minority communities, they often experience unique challenges both institutional and cultural. Salt Lake CO-OP is a partnership of leading organizations in Opportunity Communities across Salt Lake County to help ensure that entrepreneurship and small business success is equally achievable no matter your race, gender, or zip code.

Panelists will highlight the importance of institutions engaging both recognized community leaders and established services to empower women-owned businesses of all backgrounds and level the playing field.

Panel:

  • Gloria H. Mensah, Executive Director, GK Folks Foundation
  • Antonella Packard, Economic Development Manager, Salt Lake County

Breakout Session #2

Let’s Redefine What It Means to Be Selfish
Location: Imperial Ballroom C

Women’s Empowerment: Let’s Redefine Selfish! How do we commit to gender equity in boardrooms, in corporate suites and for elected officials? We start by redefining what it means to be selfish for women. If a woman takes up yoga or starts a book club for her mental health would that be considered selfish? Most people say “no” and would applaud her efforts. If a woman assertively works late and misses her kids’ baseball game, would that be considered selfish? Most people say “yes” and shame her. How do powerful women balance work, love and life? By being selfish.

Speaker:

  • Aundrea DeMille, Author, The Wake Up Stories

Climb Alternative Peaks
Location: Imperial Ballroom D

Hear an exciting session full of adventurous lessons that will teach you the MoCrazy Method and how to implement it into your life. This session will inspire you to set attainable goals, and perform at your own personal best through each of life’s invisible struggles. The presenter, Jamie MoCrazy, will share her miraculous story of recovery, strength, and breaking boundaries. Listen as MoCrazy takes you on a ride from being the first woman in the world to double flip at X Games, to relearning how to walk and talk. This session will teach you how to climb your own alternative peak after every setback and trauma.

Speaker:

  • Jamie MoCrazy, Founder, MoCrazy Strong

Embracing Your Evolution, Empowering Your Future
Location: Imperial Ballroom B

The presentation will highlight how change is necessary for growth, how embracing that change can be transformative and how encouraging young professionals to do the same, we can build a culture of empowerment through empathy and connection.

Speaker:

  • Nikki Walker, Director, Community Engagement and DEI, Domo

Cultivating Innovation Through Trauma-Informed Workplaces
Location: Imperial Ballroom A

The past two years have been incredibly turbulent, as we’ve faced COVID, racial violence, political upheaval, environmental disasters, war, and more. Anxiety and depression have skyrocketed. Organizations have had to confront issues they never expected and find new ways to support their employees through repeated traumatic experiences. For the past few years, we’ve been experiencing collective trauma. But trauma is not new in our organizations.

That’s why it’s so important there are steps now to build the cultures that can see organizations through this crisis and the ones we’ll all inevitably face in the future. To do that, we need to build trauma-informed organizations, ones that operate with an understanding of trauma and its negative effects on the organization’s employees and the communities it serves and works to mitigate those effects. It may not be possible to predict or avoid the next crisis our organizations will face. The session will show how with forethought, planning, and commitment, we can be prepared to meet the next challenge, whatever it may be, and come through it stronger.

Panel:

  • Melanie D. Davis, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor; Founder, Planted Healing; and Co-Founder, Continuum Mind + Body Collaborative
  • Trina Eyring, Executive Vice President, Director of Recruiting, Zions Bancorporation
  • Trina Limpert, CEO, RizeNext Corp. and Co-Founder, Tech-Moms.org
  • Nubia Peña, Governor’s Senior Advisor – Equity and Opportunity and Division Director, Governor’s Office and Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs
  • Sidni L. Shorter, PsyD, President & CEO, Utah Black Chamber (Moderator)
  • Connie Washington, Vice President, People & DEI, Progressive Learning

ATHENA Awards Luncheon
Location: Grand Ballroom

The Salt Lake Chamber will present the ATHENA International Award to an active member who demonstrates creativity and initiative in business, provides valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and assists women in reaching their full leadership potential.

In addition to the ATHENA Award, the Chamber will also recognize business and community leaders with the Pathfinder Award for their work to create new paths and promote the development and recognition of women in business.

This year’s honorees:

ATHENA Leadership Award:

  • Vicki Varela, Managing Director, Utah Office of Tourism

Pathfinder Awards:

  • 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
  • Sui Lang Panoke, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Zions Bank
  • Dr. Astrid Tuminez, President, Utah Valley University

Breakout Session #3

Finding Your Seat at the Table… And Then Staying There!
Location: Imperial Ballroom C

This presentation features a diverse group of successful experts in Commercial Real Estate and includes a commercial developer, AEC executive, sustainability & valuation expert, commercial real estate attorney, environmental investigation professional, commercial lender, and commercial real estate agent. Each expert has not only joined the table, but has kept their place through strategically focusing on their strengths and goals. In this breakout session, the panel will share insights about how each defined and achieved their own personal success through exploration, engagement, and empowerment.

Panel:

  • Kathryn Carlisle-Kesling, Of Counsel, Holland & Hart
  • Ibi Guevara, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, Hunt Electric
  • Angela Kesselman, Director of Finance, Principal, SunRidge Commercial Capital
  • Julie Kilgore, President, Wasatch Environmental
  • Hoang Nguyen, Managing Partner of Sapa Investments and CEO, Holding Dragons
  • Monica Rafferty, Senior Vice President, Internet Properties (Moderator)
  • Theddi Wright Chappell, CEO, Sustainable Values, Inc.

Identify & Leverage Your Power Skills
Location: Imperial Ballroom B

Skills you have are in demand and you may not even know it! In this presentation, learn what are the top 5 skills businesses are looking for, which ones you already have and how to identify and leverage them on your resume and LinkedIn.

Speaker:

  • Nicole Carpenter, Director, Women’s Leadership Institute

Cultivating Innovation Through Trauma-Informed Workplaces
Location: Imperial Ballroom A

The past two years have been incredibly turbulent, as we’ve faced COVID, racial violence, political upheaval, environmental disasters, war, and more. Anxiety and depression have skyrocketed. Organizations have had to confront issues they never expected and find new ways to support their employees through repeated traumatic experiences. For the past few years, we’ve been experiencing collective trauma. But trauma is not new in our organizations.

That’s why it’s so important there are steps now to build the cultures that can see organizations through this crisis and the ones we’ll all inevitably face in the future. To do that, we need to build trauma-informed organizations, ones that operate with an understanding of trauma and its negative effects on the organization’s employees and the communities it serves and works to mitigate those effects. It may not be possible to predict or avoid the next crisis our organizations will face. The session will show how with forethought, planning, and commitment, we can be prepared to meet the next challenge, whatever it may be, and come through it stronger.

Panel:

  • Melanie D. Davis, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor; Founder, Planted Healing; and Co-Founder, Continuum Mind + Body Collaborative
  • Trina Eyring, Executive Vice President, Director of Recruiting, Zions Bancorporation
  • Trina Limpert, CEO, RizeNext Corp. and Co-Founder, Tech-Moms.org
  • Nubia Peña, Governor’s Senior Advisor – Equity and Opportunity and Division Director, Governor’s Office and Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs
  • Sidni L. Shorter, PsyD, President & CEO, Utah Black Chamber (Moderator)
  • Connie Washington, Vice President, People & DEI, Progressive Learning

Climb Alternative Peaks
Location: Imperial Ballroom D

Hear an exciting session full of adventurous lessons that will teach you the MoCrazy Method and how to implement it into your life. This session will inspire you to set attainable goals, and perform at your own personal best through each of life’s invisible struggles. The presenter, Jamie MoCrazy, will share her miraculous story of recovery, strength, and breaking boundaries. Listen as MoCrazy takes you on a ride from being the first woman in the world to double flip at X Games, to relearning how to walk and talk. This session will teach you how to climb your own alternative peak after every setback and trauma.

Speaker:

  • Jamie MoCrazy, Founder, MoCrazy Strong

Closing Session

You Are Your Own Best Champion!
Speaker:  Mary Crafts, Founder & CEO, Mary Crafts, Inc.
Location: Grand Ballroom

Mary Crafts, Culinary Craft’s Founder and CEO for 35 years, reveals the struggles and challenges she faced in life and her career and shares how she overcame them. It’s a story of success, passion, and fulfillment told by the woman who is living it. In her presentation, Crafts will share photos of herself at different stages of her life. The photos of her life before she found her way through look very different from the photos of her life now. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?! Crafts’s journey demonstrates that living life without fear opens countless opportunities to engage in all aspects of life. Her story is one that today’s businesswomen yearn to hear. Come learn how you can overcome your fears, find your voice, and take control of your journey.

Speaker Information

Vicki Hitzges
Vicki HitzgesMotivational Speaker
Mary Crafts
Mary CraftsFounder & CEO, Mary Crafts, Inc.
Kathryn Carlisle-Kesling
Kathryn Carlisle-KeslingOf Counsel, Holland & Hart
Nicole Carpenter
Nicole CarpenterDirector, Women's Leadership Institute
Julianna Christie
Julianna ChristieChief Training Officer, Crafted Leadership
Melanie D. Davis
Melanie D. DavisLicensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor; Founder, Planted Healing; and Co-Founder, Continuum Mind + Body Collaborative
Aundrea DeMille
Aundrea DeMilleAuthor, The Wake Up Stories
Trina Eyring
Trina EyringExecutive Vice President, Director of Recruiting, Zions Bancorporation
Ibi Guevara
Ibi GuevaraVice President of Business Development and Marketing, Hunt Electric
Seraphine Kapsandoy-Jones
Seraphine Kapsandoy-JonesVP, Population Health Clinical Innovations and Programs at Centene Corporation
Angela Kesselman
Angela KesselmanDirector of Finance, Principal, SunRidge Commercial Capital
Julie Kilgore
Julie KilgorePresident, Wasatch Environmental
Trina Limpert
Trina LimpertCEO, RizeNext Corp. and Co-Founder, Tech-Moms.org
Kacie Malouf
Kacie MaloufCo-Founder, Malouf Companies™ and Board Chair, Malouf Foundation™
Gloria H. Mensah
Gloria H. MensahExecutive Director, GK Folks Foundation
Jamie MoCrazy
Jamie MoCrazyFounder, MoCrazy Strong
Hoang Nguyen
Hoang NguyenManaging Partner of Sapa Investments and CEO, Holding Dragons
Antonella Packard
Antonella PackardEconomic Development Manager, Salt Lake County
Nubia Peña
Nubia PeñaSenior Advisor - Equity and Opportunity to Governor Cox and Division Director, Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs
Monica Rafferty
Monica RaffertySenior Vice President, Internet Properties
Sidni L. Shorter, PsyD
Sidni L. Shorter, PsyDPresident & CEO, Utah Black Chamber
Cydni Tetro
Cydni TetroCEO, Brandless and Founder/President, Women Tech Council
Jess Toolsen
Jess ToolsenCEO and Founder, Mixhers
Nikki Walker
Nikki WalkerDirector, Community Engagement and DEI, Domo
Connie Washington
Connie WashingtonVice President, People & DEI, Progressive Learning
Andrea Watts Thomas
Andrea Watts ThomasOwner/Operator, Sego Lily Children's Garden
Theddi Wright Chappell
Theddi Wright ChappellCEO, Sustainable Values, Inc.