Former Utah Senator Patricia Jones Proclaims “The Future is Female”

By April VeVea

Jones, keynote speaker at yesterday’s Level Up Luncheon, believes Washington County is “more than ready” to see more women in leadership positions, Jones “excited to be part of it”

St. George: The Saint George Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Young Professionals of Saint George hosted the Level Up Luncheon at Atwood Innovation Plaza yesterday. The luncheon, attended by Mayor Jon Pike, Washington City councilman Kurt Ivie, Representative V. Lowry Snow and local business leaders, featured Senator Patricia Jones explaining the need for women in the workforce.

Jones, who served in the Utah House of Representatives from 2002-2005 and represented Utah’s 4th State Senate district from 2006-2014, has owned a home in Saint George for 35 years, and said she is “excited to work with the Chamber” on improving women’s employment opportunities in Washington County. Jones explained how women tend to leave the workforce due to factors like feeling undervalued (68%), excluded (65%), male-dominated work environments (64%) and a lack of opportunities (63%). Jones explained how female leaders leaving the workforce is detrimental to companies, citing the famous 2011 Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman study on leadership qualities and which sex tends to exemplify them, showing how women outscore men in 12 out of 16 criteria, including communication and problem solving, and tied in an additional three criterion [Author’s note: Zenger and Folkman completed the same study again in 2019, expanding to 19 different criterion; women outscored men in 17].

Jones believes Washington country is ripe with diversity, and more than ready to help introduce women as a staple in the workplace. Representative Snow, asked by Jones on his feelings, said, “I am very supportive of having women in leadership roles.” Mayor Pike echoed these sentiments as well, saying he wants all four of his daughters to have equal job opportunities. At the end of the luncheon, Jones challenged attendees to take the Women’s Leadership Institute’s ElevateHER challenge, which aims to make companies more female-friendly by taking actions like increasing the number of women in senior leadership positions, increasing companies’ retention rates of female employees, and monitoring and closing pay gaps. Over 300 Companies are currently taking the challenge including Zions Bancorpotation, Maverick and Brigham Young University.

For more information on the Women’s Leadership Institute’s ElevateHER Challenge, please visit https://wliut.com/elevateher-challenge/. To contact Atwood Innovation Plaza and discuss how it may help you and your business, please visit https://innovation.dixie.edu/contact-us