Salt Lake Chamber hosts 43rd Annual Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon

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Local businesswomen heard from inspirational speakers, gained business insights, and recognized the accomplishments of those helping to make a difference in our community at the 43rd Annual Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon. 

Two-time Olympic medalist and U.S. National Champion Nancy Kerrigan provided the opening keynote, encouraging attendees to move boldly forward no matter how many hurdles may come in life. According to the athlete, the key is to face them head on and become strengthened in the process. 

Following Kerrigan, Gail Miller, owner and chairman of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, and Professor Theresa Martinez of the University of Utah discussed how Utahns can approach critical issues using civility as a lens to ensure we rise above the discord and deliver meaningful change. According to Miller, “We have a responsibility to lead by example, to show our coworkers, families and future generations that we can engage in dialogue, and disagree at times, with respect and decency. We have to stand together to eradicate hate, bullying and intolerance.”

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from speakers on a variety of topics that included combating the gender wage gap, harnessing the leader’s mindset and using data for good.

The 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award was given to Linda Wardell, general manager of the City Creek Center and Chair of the Salt Lake Chamber for her leadership and contributions to the Salt Lake City community. In announcing the award, Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance said, “To know Linda is to become a better person. Both in business and the community, Linda is an exceptional example of what servant leadership can achieve and how it inspires others. As chair of the Chamber, she has made it her mission to tackle one of Utah’s most pressing issues facing business today–the gender wage gap. Her efforts will ensure Utah has a fairer and more equitable pay environment and that everyone has the same incentives and opportunities.”

In addition to the ATHENA Leadership Award, the following five women received Pathfinder Awards: 

  • Theresa Foxley, president & CEO, EDCUtah
  • Mikelle Moore, SVP, Chief Community Health Officer, Intermountain Healthcare
  • Christy Tribe, president & CEO, Junior Achievement of Utah
  • Melanie Vartabedian, partner, Ballard Spahr, LLP
  • Jennifer Williams, Chief Brand Ambassador, Dental Select

The event took place, November 12, 2019, at the Grand America Hotel, and is the primary fundraiser for the Women’s Business Center of Utah. This year’s conference was sponsored by Dominion Energy and WCF Insurance, and Wells Fargo hosted the ATHENA Awards Luncheon. Boeing, Intermountain Healthcare and Larry H. Miller Group of Companies were event sponsors, and the breakout sessions were presented by American Express, Ancestry and Chase.

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Honoree bios below:

ATHENA Leadership Award: Linda Wardell, general manager, City Creek Center

Linda Wardell is the general manager of City Creek Center, the retail portion of City Creek, one of the largest mixed-use downtown redevelopment projects in the nation. With more than 30 years of experience managing and marketing shopping centers, she oversees retail operations for the landmark shopping and dining destination in the heart of Salt Lake City. Linda is involved in the community including being chair of the Salt Lake Chamber and serving on the current Board for the Downtown Alliance, Executive Committee of the Women’s Leadership Institute, Zions Bank Advisory Board and the Business Advisory Board for Westminster College.


Theresa Foxley, president & CEO, EDCUtah

A Utah native, Theresa Foxley is passionate about promoting the Beehive State. She has served as EDCUtah’s President and CEO since 2017 and has helped usher in a new era that is highly focused on internal team culture, driving stakeholder value, and economic development preparedness. 

A recovering attorney and self-described “deal junkie,” Foxley has enjoyed being part of Team Utah’s efforts to attract dozens of companies on expansion and relocation projects representing various industries throughout the state, including Goldman Sachs, Vista Outdoors, Stadler Rail, and Facebook.

Prior to joining EDCUtah Foxley was a senior leader at the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Earlier in her career, Foxley represented a diverse set of clients in private legal practice on a multitude of general corporate and financial matters.

Mikelle Moore, SVP, Chief Community Health Officer, Intermountain Healthcare

Mikelle Moore has been a part of Intermountain Healthcare’s leadership team for over 20 years. In April 2017, Moore joined the Executive Leadership Team and serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer. In this role, she leads system-wide prevention and community health improvement efforts in support of Intermountain’s mission of helping people live the healthiest lives possible. Prior to this role, Moore served as Vice President of Community Benefit. She also serves as President of the Intermountain Community Care Foundation and Intermountain Accountable Care Board of Managers. 

Previously, Moore served as the Administrator of Intermountain’s LDS Hospital from 2004 to 2011. She joined Intermountain as an Administrative Fellow in 1998 after working in a provider-owned health plan and at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Christy Tribe, president & CEO, Junior Achievement of Utah

Christy Tribe is the President and CEO for Junior Achievement of Utah. She spent the first 10 years of her career in the corporate world in various roles, including managing art production at FranklinCovey and as a Senior Interactive Project Manager at Dahlin Smith White Advertising. Tribe has worked as a development officer in the nonprofit arena over the past 15 years for a number of organizations including the Oquirrh Institute and the University of Utah College of Nursing. Most recently, she has spent 15 years with Junior Achievement of Utah where she is passionate about helping students reach their full potential with JA’s proactive approach to breaking the poverty cycle. 

Tribe loves learning about people and their communities with the goal of impacting both for good. She graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in Family and Consumer Studies and minored in Political Science. Tribe is a graduate of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Leadership Utah program. She currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Women Tech Council, on the Executive Board of Silicon Slopes, is a member of UCFEE and a sustaining member of the Junior League of Salt Lake.

Melanie Vartabedian, partner, Ballard Spahr

Melanie Vartabedian focuses on complex commercial litigation matters, including commercial contract and real estate disputes, securities litigation, and intellectual property litigation.

Vartabedian has litigated cases in state and federal courts across the country, and also has experience representing clients in arbitrations and government investigations. She represents real estate developers and private and public companies in business disputes relating to land-use decisions, and she defends mortgage lenders and servicers in financial services disputes, including foreclosure-related lawsuits. In addition, she has represented accounting firms and auditors in Securities and Exchange Commission investigations, and has worked on cases involving allegations of trademark infringement, achieving preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, seizure of infringing items, and other remedies.

Jennifer Williams, Chief Brand Ambassador, Dental Select

Recently named Chief Brand Ambassador, Jennifer Williams brings six years of experience working in different capacities for Dental Select, including Product Development Manager and Chief Experience Officer. In her new role, Williams oversees distribution channel relationships to help drive awareness of the Dental Select brand and technology–specifically, the ways the company is modernizing dental insurance for this new experience economy. 

During Williams’s professional career, she has held a variety of educational, technical, financial, and real estate positions. These include special education teacher in Bakersfield, California and on the island of Oahu, healthcare information System Consultant in Boston and San Francisco, and real estate investor in the Bay Area.