Salt Lake Chamber Hosts Education & Workforce Forum

The Salt Lake Chamber, Utah’s largest and longest-standing business association, along with the Women’s Leadership Institute, 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.

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 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 a recording of the forum, please visit: