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The City Journals

Event Celebrate and Empowers Local Women

May 05, 2016 04:36PM ● By Mylinda LeGrande

By Mylinda LeGrande | [email protected]

West Jordan - Salt Lake County Library Services hosted a free event on March 16 to celebrate Women’s History Month. It was called “Creating Conversations: A Celebration of Women’s History Month.” Sponsors of the event were Salt Lake County Library, Utah Education Network, Utah Women and Education Initiative, Utah Women and Leadership Project, Utah American Graduate and other partners.

This event gave women a chance to listen to stories as well as to tell their own through a sound booth provided by KUER radio station. Provided prompts to start the conversation included “What is holding you back from finishing your education, getting that promotion, starting a family or a career?” and “Who has influenced you as a leader?” Women could take a prompt into a sound booth specially set up for this event and could record their personal story.  

The night started out with a film screening of “Raising Ms. President,” a documentary film about raising the next generation of female political leaders. Filmmaker Kiley Lane Parker explored the reasons why women don’t run for office, where political ambition begins and why we should encourage more women to lead. 

Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, senior librarian with Salt Lake County Library Services said, “This (event) started as a conversation. I think everyone has a story; everyone has something to tell, so that is the theme for this event. This is a facilitative conversation because everyone has expertise in their own way. We are trying to encourage women to tell their stories.” 

Four different focuses on leadership, personal development, education and business included discussions, panels or classes. Following the movie screening a panel discussion, “The Conversation in Utah Around Women & Politics,” was presented by Representative Carol Spackman-Moss, Joanne Milner, Nena Walker Slighting and Sasha Luks-Morgan.

The rest of the evening was spent visiting workshops from 7–9 p.m. One breakout session for a discussion on political leadership was lead by Ann Mackin. She is the vice President of Davis Applied Technology College. She was one of the founding members of Real Women Run, a non-partisan organization dedicated to advocating and training women to run for elected office. 

Danielle B. Christensen, the coordinator for the Utah Women Education Initiative and co-planner for the event, said, “We wanted to bring something to the west side [of the Salt Lake Valley]; not a lot happens out here. We are having discussion groups, not presentations. We want the women to talk together, not be talked at.”  

One of these discussions, led by Carly Cahoon, human resources and volunteer recruitment manager at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake, was titled, “A Conversation on Overcoming Body Shame by Finding Your Roots.” Here, women talked about changing the conversation of women being seen as ornaments. Women left armed with ideas, tips and tools to see themselves as an instrument to make changes. 

The program room at the Viridian Event Center highlighted the topic, “The Forgotten benefits of a College Education.” This discussion focused on how women can help their peers realize and benefit from education.  Danielle Christensen, the coordinator of the Utah Women Education Initiative led this discussion. 

The Library Room highlighted “Being a Woman Entrepreneur: Secrets to Success.” Ann Marie Wallace, executive director of the Salt Lake Chamber Women’s Business Center, showed a presentation that revealed opportunities and showed paths to success for women entrepreneurs.

Later in the evening, women could choose from interactive classes such as “How Motherhood Prepared Me to Lead” taught by Bonnie Mortenson, project coordinator for the Utah Women & Leadership Project, Celina Milne, director of School Engagement at Project Lead the Way and Nineveh Dinha, an award-winning Assyrian-American news anchor. They discussed time management, negotiation, budgeting and multitasking.

Other classes included “Education, Family & Career: Secrets of Dynamic Balance,” taught by Jenn Gibbs, an information definer at Utah Education Network, and “Finding Your Path & Marketable Skills,” presented by Pam Okumura, senior program manager at People Helping People.