Rounding out Women’s History Month with some of Utah’s remarkable women

A woman who made a career change in her 50’s, three women working on behalf of the Shoshone Nation, Tech-Moms help women in or rejoining the workforce, postpartum mood disorders and four women profiled by ABC4. 

Career change – Salt Lake City Police Officer Michelle Mechling changed careers at age 52 and joined the police force. She’s one of only 10% of the force that is female. She finds that people tell her things, more than the other responding officers. “When I am on a call, people will automatically look at me and tell me the story, not the person asking the questions. They will tell me. I don’t know what it is, but I guess it’s that maternal thing. I have had some things happen, ya know? Like I get. I understand.” She’s raised seven children and believes her life experiences as a mother shine on the force. Way to go, Officer Mechling. (KSL)

Meet 3 women most don’t know – Recently, Brenda Beyal and Heather Sundahl wrote about three women who used their power and influence to make changes on behalf of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. First is Mae Timbimboo Parry, the granddaughter of Sagwitch, a Shoshone chief who narrowly escaped death during the Bear River Massacre in 1863. She devoted her life to sharing the true story of the Bear River Massacre. Next is her great niece, Patty Timbimboo-Madsen who currently serves as the history and culture specialist of her tribe. When asked a few years ago “What would you like the children of Utah to know about your tribe?,” she answered that she wanted people to share the true history of the Bear River Massacre. Finally, we meet Alexis Beckstead, a chapter president of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. She was instrumental in getting the plaque changed on a monument that had celebrated the “bravery” of the soldiers and settlers, to one that centers the Native people. (Deseret News)

Tech-moms – There’s a new program designed specifically for Utah women that helps moms transition into tech careers. These jobs offer opportunities, especially as women have been “hit so hard” during COVID-19 economic downturn, the founders of Tech-Moms say. The culture in the tech industry “hasn’t always felt welcoming to women,” said Robbyn Scribner, one of the co-founders of Tech-Moms. Meanwhile, tech companies have realized they need more diverse talent and are looking to hire more women. Tech-Moms serves as a bridge, she said, helping women transition into those careers. The program teaches women basic skills in coding, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They also bring in guest speakers from the field, she said, to expose participants to a variety of careers and help them network. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Emily’s Effect – After Emily Cook Dyches experienced a severe postpartum panic attack and died five years ago, sister Megan Johnson helped create “The Emily Effect Foundation” to normalize postpartum mood disorders and to help struggling moms and their families. She is now working with Dan Davis to produce a documentary called “The Emily Effect Film,” the first in a series to share real stories of real moms. Megan and Dan are in the process of collecting donations to kick this series off. You can go to their website to donate. The premiere of Emily’s film is today. Watch it on their website. (ABC4)

Remarkable Women – ABC4 profiled 4 Utah women in the month of March as part of a nationwide Nexstar initiative to “honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress, and the quality of life.” The four women are:

  1. Tammy Goldthorpe is the founder of “House of Heart,” a safe place for women to find healing from all walks of life and all walks of trauma. It’s not specific to domestic abuse, or sexual abuse, or drug addiction – it is any form. A survivor of an abusive relationship herself, Goldthorpe says she’s learned many lessons over the years. All the women who came forward to speak said that Tammy Goldthorpe is the ‘heart’ of House of Heart and the work she and her husband Cliff do for the mental health of women in Utah who have dealt with trauma is compassionate, caring, and personal.

  1. Kristen Weeks has developed a reputation among kids in a West Jordan neighborhood. That’s because this wife and mom of two realized early on that some things are simply more important than having a picture-perfect home or lifestyle. Instead, Kristen is known to have the most fun house on the block. She has made it a special point to be a second mom to 11-year-old Linkoln, the son of Kristen’s best friend who passed away a couple of years ago.

  1. Keicha Christiansen’s life was changed forever when she learned her beloved younger sister died by suicide. She longed for support and found it at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention– people who know the kind of pain from losing someone to suicide. Following innumerable hours of work and over a decade of dedication, Keicha now serves as the Executive Director of Family Counseling Service of Northern Utah, a nonprofit mental health agency. 

  1. Jeanetta Williams is the President of the NAACP, Salt Lake Chapter. Along with Utah, she also oversees Nevada and Idaho. She works with the national organization in Baltimore, Maryland, the oldest and most recognized civil rights organization in the country. Jeanetta is constantly working to overcome the current challenges facing our communities and is actively working with Utah police to help them bridge the gap with the communities they serve. She’s also tackling the eviction crisis that’s gripping many low-income families and individuals across the state and is pushing for reforms to the Utah education system that she thinks fails to place enough importance on black history. “People need to know that black history is American history and it should be taught year-round”, she says.