UVU and the Utah Jazz host second IMPACT: Women Empowered educational forum for high school students


Utah Valley University and the Utah Jazz hosted 150 young women from 18 high schools in Davis and Salt Lake counties at an event designed to inspire the next generation of female leaders. From freshmen to seniors, students actively participated in the daylong event, which began with breakfast and a keynote speaker, and ended with breakout sessions after lunch. Sessions included overcoming adversity, interview skills, social media awareness, and preparing for college.
Speakers at the Salt Lake City forum included female leaders from UVU, the Utah Jazz, OC Tanner, Eide Bailly, the Utah Symphony, and the Gail Miller Women’s Leadership Group.
The morning keynote was given by Molly Mazzolini, partner and director of brand integration for Infinite Scale, a sports design consultancy. With over 20 years of experience in the sports industry, Mazzolini’s career path has included summer and winter Olympic Games, five Super Bowls, college football bowl games, and all-star games.
She spoke on three important matters: resourcefulness, experiences, and manners. She taught students the value of the “B.A.B.E. Effect” meaning, “best attitude, best effort.”
Opening up for questions after her address, one young woman stood and asked Mazzolini, “Do you have any suggestions for fellow entrepreneurs trying to start right now?”
Other questions after her keynote included why she continued to pursue her master’s when she already had a successful career, and how to find balance between work and a personal life. 
That sort of curiosity and drive were evident in the girls throughout the daylong event.
Brynn Armstrong, a junior at Jordan High School in Sandy, attended the event to put it on her resume and to get better experience. Pulling out the journal she used to take notes, she shared the most valuable thing she learned that day — confidence.
“I can do amazing things, and I don’t want to limit myself,” she said.
Speakers Briana Carr and Rebecca Macias led a breakout session on interview skills, and addressed the importance of confidence. Macias had them stand up and introduce themselves to one another, practicing a firm handshake and confidence in an introduction.
Carr urged the girls to make sure a company is a good fit for them, and to not sell themselves short. She also had the girls think of three qualities that make them unique, to help build their brand and use in interviews.
The cherry on top of the session was when Carr and Macias displayed their email addresses on the screen, encouraging the girls to reach out with questions they have as they prepare for college and entering the workforce. Cell phones came up, and the girls eagerly snapped photos to use later.
“You’re our future, and we want to hire you,” Carr said.
Kelsey Rudd, another junior from Jordan High School, said she’s gotten a behind-the-scenes look at the starting and selling of a business from her father. Watching that process has fostered in her an interest in business, and that’s why she came to the conference. Her takeaway was the importance of networking.
“I never realized how big social media, connections, and networking are,” she said.
In a breakout session about social media and brand awareness, speakers Katie Clifford and Angie Treasure encouraged the girls to “take people up on their offers.”
Kellie Yeates, a licensed clinical social worker, led the girls in a meditative exercise, giving them tools to use when they’re under stress.
In the last session of the day, Whitney Sanchez and Cassandra Fuimaono spoke about preparing for college. Sanchez shared the statistics that in Utah, three in four women work, and one in four women are the primary or sole provider for their family. When you combine full and part-time work, women in Utah work at higher rates than other women nationally.
They told the girls that because they will most likely work, college is important for their future. Going beyond just getting a degree, they admonished them to pursue a career they are passionate about.
Fuimaono gave students vital information on how to apply for FAFSA, and explained what they can do now to qualify for scholarships later. She emphasized the importance of being involved in sports, clubs, music, and student leadership.
One thing is clear: these girls are taking chances and starting right now to prepare for their futures.
Kalee Eldredge, a senior at Alta High School in Sandy, has already started her own business connecting small business owners with business professionals. She was sure to shake hands with each speaker after their presentation.
“I came to this so I could network with women who are at the level I’ll be at someday,” she said. “If there’s a chance to network, I always take it.”