Women’s Work

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By Jeanette Bennett, utahvalley360.com

Utah Valley’s business women take a balanced approach

During the two-month production cycle for this July/August edition of Utah Valley Magazine, I’ve been stalked by the idea of “women in business.”
I was asked to speak to the Women’s Business Network on “networking that works for women.” (My answer? Any networking that can take place between 11 and 11:30 p.m. over e-mail.) I also was part of Connie Sokol’s “Weekend for Women,” where I moderated a panel discussion of amazing local women on balancing work and family. I then gave a rousing speech (I wish — and so do they) to the girls at Dixon Middle School about finding their dreams and about why college is the first step. And then I judged the Mrs. Utah pageant, where several of the 29 contestants were indeed women in business.
The idea of women in business keeps coming up on my mental Caller ID.
Perhaps this is a hot topic here in Utah Valley because we’re not the “break-the-glass-ceiling-or-bust” type of female entrepreneurs. In fact, businesswomen here generally plan their careers around their families. Dianna Andersen, for example, played a supporting role to her creative husband until her kids were all in school. Now she is the heart of Design Spectrum and markets her husband’s talents for creating memorable tradeshow booths and stunning corporate lobbies. The other 23 profiles of Women in Business (page 63) tell similar stories of women who are successful yet do not work 70-hour weeks at their corporate headquarters.
Utah leads the nation in female entrepreneurs per capita, and my personal theory is that women here must have flexibility if they are going to make both family and business a priority. Being the boss is the best way to “have it all,” although I’ve discovered that “all” is nearly impossible. The Merry Maids and Dinner Divas can assist, but they can’t help your children find their shoes, nor take pictures at the appropriate times (think Vaseline disaster) or even act as a PR agent when one of your children needs a little crisis intervention in the neighborhood.
Women are busily changing hats throughout the day, that is if they can find them in the yet-to-be organized coat closet. Moms take business calls at soccer games and plan birthday parties while doing payroll. Women multi-task, multi-dream and multi-struggle to be the best they can be in all categories — without looking like they got any help from the Merry Maids or Dinner Divas.
Even at our magazine company we are two-thirds estrogen. Although this makes things difficult during soccer (and baseball) season, we women add vibrance to the magazine, atmosphere and lunchtime talk. Of course, that’s my opinion. You’ll have to talk to the men to see what they think. Never mind. They are too busy filling in for me while I’m at the baseball game.

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