In 2016, Tanei Henry wanted to move. She had read an article outlining why Utah was the worst state for women’s rights and wanted to do better for her two young daughters. After a conversation with her husband, this mother of four decided two things: To stay in Utah and to flip the script.
Then Tanei started frantically emailing with her friend Allison Lew, a then-employee of Provo City, about organizing an event of some kind. The next March, they hosted the first Provo Girls Summit, a women-run career fair for girls ages 8-12.
“We want to open up young girls’ eyes so that when they think of a specific career, they also think, ‘The only person I know in that career is a woman, so of course I could do that,’” Tanei says.
For the first event, Tanei asked Good Thyme to sponsor and provide food for about 150 people. When the day arrived, she was pleasantly surprised that she had underestimated attendance — 400 showed up.
Since then, the Provo Girls Summit has continued to grow. Each year, Provo Girls Summit provides free tickets to about 600 girls and has a waiting list of about 100 people. Professionals are only allowed to present once every three years, so they’ve had more than 80 women total present at the career fair.
The Provo Girls Summit functions under the nonprofit organization of Introducing Tomorrow and is completely run by volunteers.
“Gratefully, a number of women feel passionately about making Utah a better place for girls and the women they’ll be in the future,” Tanei says.
Tanei spends much of her preparation time recruiting female professionals from a range of industries to present at the fair. In past years, they have had professionals with job titles such as stop motion animator, children’s book illustrator, author, software developer, graphic designer, entrepreneur, mechanical engineer, astronomer, viola professor, news anchor, paleontologist, OB/GYN, veterinarian, construction project manager, social worker, district judge, information architect, manufacturing executive director, geologist, painter and more.
This year’s Provo Girls Summit will be hosted at the Provo Library on March 19. Tickets are available via Eventbrite. For information about volunteering or presenting at the Provo Girls Summit, visit provogirlssummit.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.