Associate Dean of the David Eccles School of Business and Director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah honored with prestigious national award in recognition of business leadership and community service

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (November 19, 2021) – Local business women heard from inspirational speakers, gained business insights, and recognized the accomplishments of those helping to make a difference in our community at the 45th Annual Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon. 

Four-time Olympian Catherine Raney Norman and National Speakers Association CPAE Hall of Fame Speaker Christine Cashen provided the day’s keynotes to share their first-hand experiences overcoming obstacles and becoming the best versions of themselves, from shifting perspective to utilizing an athlete mentality in everyday life.

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from speakers on a variety of topics that included lessons on leadership, diversity and inclusion, retaining women in the workplace and more.

Following Cashen, the 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award was given to Natalie Gochnour, Associate Dean of the David Eccles School of Business and Director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah for her leadership and contributions to the Salt Lake community. In announcing the award, Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance said, “Our community and state owe a debt of gratitude to Natalie Gochnour. From her time in public service at the state and federal level to her dedication to future generations through her work at the University of Utah, Natalie’s influence will be felt for decades to come. Not only that, her leadership and guidance have been pivotal to Utah’s economic strength and well-being during the pandemic. No one is more deserving than Natalie, and we are elated to present her with the ATHENA Leadership Award.”

In addition to the ATHENA Leadership Award, six women will receive 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 include:

  • Beth Colosimo, Executive Director, The Mill & Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at Salt Lake Community College
  • Ibi Guevara, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, Hunt Electric
  • Representative Sandra Hollins, State of Utah and Program Administrator, Community Engagement and Responsibility, Zions Bank
  • Aubriana Martindale, Division Corporate Affairs Manager, Smith’s Food & Drug
  • Brittany Westover, Market Executive, JP Morgan Chase
  • Lori B. Williams, Associate Director of Marketing, University of Utah Health

The Awards Luncheon took place on November 19, 2021 at the Grand America Hotel and is the primary fundraiser for the Women’s Business Center of Utah. This year’s conference is sponsored by Dominion Energy and WCF Insurance. Wells Fargo is hosting the ATHENA Awards Luncheon. George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation is the event sponsor, and the breakout sponsors are Altabank, Boeing Company, BW Productions, Chase, Mountain America Credit Union and Zions Bank.

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The Salt Lake Chamber is Utah’s largest and longest-standing business association. A statewide chamber of commerce with members in all 29 Utah counties, the Chamber represents the broad interests of the state’s 63,000-plus employers, which employ more than 1.4 million Utahns. This includes thousands of Chamber members and their employees. With roots that date back to 1887, the Chamber stands as the voice of business, supports its members’ success and champion’s community prosperity.


The ATHENA Leadership Award is a prestigious national award presented annually to an active member of the Salt Lake Chamber who demonstrates excellence, 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. 

Established in 1982 in Lansing, Michigan, the ATHENA Award ®Program is now administered from its Chicago, Illinois headquarters and boasts over 300 active communities in the United States, Canada, China, Russia and the United Kingdom. More than 5,000 individuals representing a wide variety of professions and businesses have received the ATHENA Award. Presented by local host organizations in partnership with ATHENA’s national underwriters, local businesses and individual sponsors the award practically demonstrates the quote from Plato, “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.” The award takes the form of a hand-cast bronze sculpture symbolizing the strength, courage and wisdom of the recipient.