Connecting business and higher education to build Utah’s future workforce

SALT LAKE CITY (October 4, 2018) – Today the Salt Lake Chamber, Utah’s largest and longest-standing business association, along with the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI), hosted the Education & Workforce Forum: Connecting Business and Higher Education.

The event, held at Hale Centre Theatre, included a panel discussion with five of Utah’s exceptional university and college presidents including Noelle Cockett, president of Utah State University; Beth Dobkin, president of Westminster College; Deneece Huftalin, president of Salt Lake Community College; Astrid Tuminez, president of Utah Valley University and Ruth Watkins, president of  the University of Utah.

“It’s an extraordinary time in Utah. Never before have we seen so many of our universities and colleges led by women,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “The opportunity has never been greater for us as a business community to engage with these leaders and collaborate with our institutions of higher learning to have a meaningful impact on educating and training Utah’s future workforce.”

Natalie Gochnour, director, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, moderated the forum and focused much of the discussion around the female leadership that now permeates Utah’s higher education system.

Noelle Cockett, president of Utah State University, said, “There are different styles of leadership: authoritative, translational, and transformational. Women leaders tend to be more transformational, which helped me understand how I handled things and the people on my leadership team.”

Ruth Watkins, president of the University of Utah, added, “The tempting thing is to surround yourself with people who are just like you. That doesn’t challenge you. As leaders we need to surround ourselves with people who are different than us. It will make us better and reflect the community we live in.”

The Salt Lake Chamber would like to thank our event partners and sponsors including the Women’s Leadership Institute, Utah System of Higher Education, EnergySolutions, Westminster College and Rio Tinto, as well as our marketing partners, Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, the Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah Valley University and My529 Utah Educational Savings Plan.

“The Women’s Leadership Institute is proud to co-sponsor this event,” said WLI CEO Patricia Jones. “WLI is committed to elevating the stature of women’s leadership in business and in politics. The five presidents that represent some of Utah’s finest institutions of learning set an important example and contribute their skills, each of them unique, to elevating women in our great state.”

To watch video of the Education & Workforce Forum, click HERE.

About the Chamber
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.

About the Women’s Leadership Institute
The Women’s Leadership Institute is an organization formed in January 2015 by key business leaders in Utah. The purpose is to elevate the stature of women’s leadership in order to boost the vitality of business and quality of life in Utah, to harness the full capacity of women to meet the growing demand for diversity, to engage men who are actively involved in the advancement of women and women who are willing to step into leadership roles, and to encourage advocates who can cultivate space for, and mentor, Utah’s daughters and granddaughters.