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30 Women to Watch

Devin Felix, Di Lewis, Heather Stewart | Photography by Eric Delpenich

May 6, 2013


Utah is home to many talented, dedicated and inspirational businesspeople—individuals who have worked to make Utah one of the nation’s best states for business. In this special recognition feature, we pay tribute to 30 women who work every day to make Utah a better place. Some are entrepreneurs who have launched industry-changing businesses. Some are pioneering scientists and engineers, working to improve the way we live. Others are enriching the community through nonprofit and government service. All are luminaries who are committed to improving their companies and communities. Join us in celebrating the 2013 30 Women to Watch, individuals who have accomplished much and inspire many.

Emily Whitehead Bleyl
Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers, Utah Chapter

“I believe that a successful leader builds bridges instead of fences and has a long-term vision of sustainability and good practices,” says Emily Whitehead Bleyl, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers, Utah Chapter, and associate instructor in the College of Social Work at the University of Utah.

That is a quality Bleyl demonstrates in her daily work. In the last few years, she’s developed and drafted two bills passed by the legislature that enhanced social work practice in Utah. She was one of the founding members of the Utah Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and a policy panelist for NASW national school violence policy statement. Bleyl also developed the NASW Committee on Social Justice and developed and published the Utah Social Work Licensing Handbook.

“I most enjoy the almost daily intersection of policy and practice, and working with and on behalf of professional social workers,” she says. “ I enjoy being part of a profession with a rich tradition of activism, service and social justice.”

Marianne Wander
Principal Architect, FFKR Architects

“I grew up in the American West,” says Marianne Wander, who is from Montana. “There is something special here. In a way, it is the essence of who I am. I try to share my understanding of the ‘special-ness’ of our place with my co-workers. I think it is important for the architecture we do.”

Wander created a sustainable design studio within FFKR, making the company a leader in sustainable architecture in Utah. In fact, she designed the first LEED Platinum certified building in Utah, the Rio Tinto Regional Center.

She also spearheaded the development of a studio within the firm to address the mining and energy development industries. “It takes special planning for these industrial sites to not only address efficient plant operations, infrastructure and the economy, but perhaps most importantly, the environment,” she says.

Wander dedicates a great deal of time to community efforts. Some of her roles include Net Zero project coordinator for the University of Utah College of Architecture, Tracy Aviary facilities board member and U.S. Green Building Council member, among many others.

Susan R. Madsen
Professor of Management, Founder of the Utah Women and Education Project; Woodbury School of Business, Utah Valley University

When Susan R. Madsen was asked four years ago by the state to research why more Utah women weren’t graduating from college, she decided researching alone wasn’t enough. So she founded the Utah Women and Education Project, which seeks to encourage women to attend and graduate from college. She now serves as senior adviser for the Utah Women and Education Initiative.

As a full professor at Utah Valley University, Madsen has become one of the nation’s top experts on women in leadership, a topic she’s written about in more than 60 published scholarly articles and multiple book chapters. For her research she has interviewed dozens of female university presidents and political leaders. She has also presented on women and leadership all over the world, including at United Nations sessions in New York City and Geneva. 

“Dr. Madsen’s passion in life has been to help girls and women in the process of reaching their full leadership potential,” says Susan Thackery, Madsen’s colleague at UVU.

Erin Trenbeath-Murray
Head Start Director, Salt Lake CAP – Head Start

Over the past 15 years, Erin Trenbeath-Murray has transformed Salt Lake CAP – Head Start from being entirely dependent on federal funding into a forward-thinking agency with sustainable revenue sources. Additionally, she spearheaded the purchase and construction of facilities for SLCAP – Head Start, an unusual move for a nonprofit organization.

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