Project Staff

Dr. Susan R. Madsen
Project Director
Orin R. Woodbury Professor of Leadership and Ethics
Utah Valley University, Woodbury School of Business
(801) 863-6176

Dr. Susan R. Madsen is the Orin R. Woodbury Professor of Leadership and Ethics in the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University. Susan has been heavily involved for over a decade in researching the lifetime development of prominent women leaders, as well as studying many aspects of women and leadership more broadly. In the past few years, Dr. Madsen released eleven briefs through the Utah Women Leadership Project, which she founded, on Utah women and leadership in all sectors and settings. Overall, Susan has authored or edited six books and has published well over 200 articles, chapters, and reports. She is a sought-after speaker in local, national, and international settings. She has presented in NGO sessions at the United Nations and in such places as the New York Times, the Argentina Parliament Palace, the House of Commons in England, and in many countries around the world. In addition to a host of awards and recognitions, Susan has most recently been recognized as the 2016 "Distinguished Woman of the Year" by the Wasatch Chapter of AAUW, a 2016 honoree of the Sundance Film Festival's Utah Women's Leadership Celebration, and the 2014 "Women and Leadership Scholar of the Year" for the International Leadership Association. Since 2009, when she founded the Utah Women and Education Initiative for the state of Utah, Susan has led efforts to determine how to get more Utah women to graduate from college. She also serves on several nonprofit and community boards, including the United Way of Utah County, Real Women Run, and the Women's Leadership Institute. Dr. Madsen received her doctorate from the University of Minnesota in human resource development.
For more detailed information about Dr. Madsen, please see her detailed bio. For more information about her speaking, see the UWLP Speaking Request page and Madsen Global Leadership.







Deirdre Miller
UWLP Coordinator
Utah Valley University

Deirdre Miller is the Utah Women & Leadership Project Coordinator where she manages projects, events, and coordinates with volunteers and ambassadors. She studied Communications Research and Business Management at Brigham Young University, where she helped conduct research on the global impact of social media. With a background in Digital Marketing and Content Management, Deirdre has several years of experience in growing digital communities and strategizing the best practices to reach targeted audiences. She enjoys the accessibility that digital communication has brought in creating communities. She also has experience in organizing international trade show events as well as local events in the Utah community. As a business owner and having worked in the private sector, Deirdre has fostered a strong desire to strengthen women in business and is honored to work with Dr. Madsen on the Utah and global initiatives focused on strengthening the impact of girls and women worldwide.



Robbyn Scribner
Development & Grant Writer
Utah Valley University

Robbyn Scribner works within the areas of development and grant writing for Dr. Susan R. Madsen, focusing on projects that concern women in Utah and worldwide. She holds a Master's degree in English with an emphasis in composition and rhetoric from Brigham Young University, and a Bachelor's degree (also from BYU) in European Studies. Robbyn specializes in promoting excellence in writing; she has taught university writing at all levels and co-directed a cross-curricular writing tutoring program at BYU. She has also led seminars and workshops for scholars in various fields, training them on teaching and incorporating more writing in their specific disciplines. Robbyn has also worked as a copy-editor and researcher for various academic and professional projects. Most recently, she has been researching and writing on issues affecting women and careers, with an emphasis on women who've taken time away from the workforce and are looking to return. Robbyn is thrilled to be working with Dr. Madsen on research and projects that can help improve the opportunities and experiences of women both locally and globally.



Ashlie Hew-Len
Graduate Assistant | MBA Candidate
Woodbury School of Business, Utah Valley University

Ashlie Hew-Len is an MBA Graduate Assistant working under the direction of Dr. Susan R. Madsen. She is very goal oriented and focused in all the areas she pursues. This mentality had started at an early age, and as such, she graduated with both her high school diploma as well as her Associates in Business from Olympic Community College at the age of 18. Soon after, she transferred to Brigham Young University Hawaii to complete her Bachelor's in Business Management with emphasis's in both Human Resource and Organizational Behavior, and Finance. Ashlie believes that there is always a way to pursue all your dreams, if you are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to accomplish those goals. She currently lives that dream today as she pursues her MBA. In the future, Ashlie would like to own her own business as well as create a non-profit organization that helps reintroduce the homeless to the workforce. Her interests do not end there. She has a passion for assisting others in their pursuit towards higher education and helping them develop the necessary leadership qualities to further them in their careers.



Dr. Amber Thackeray
Utah Women & Education Initiative Coordinator

Amber Thackeray organizes projects, activities and strategic communications with the Utah Women and Education Initiative. She holds a bachelor degree in philosophy from UVU, a master of science degree in management from the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU and a doctorate of education in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University. Her research interests are informed by her background in philosophy and are focused on ethics, empathy and authentic leadership. Her industry experience includes years of management, training and entrepreneurship. She is a Utah native having spent the last decade living/studying around the nation and abroad. Amber is sincerely dedicated to expanding the resources and opportunities offered to the women of Utah and increasing women's presence in leadership and higher education globally.




Catherine Jeppsen
Research Fellow

Dr. Catherine Jeppsen is a sociologist and demographer specializing in fertility, family demography, gender inequality, and sociology of religion. She earned bachelor's degrees in sociology and political science from the University of Utah, a master's degree in sociology from Brigham Young University, and a PhD in sociology and demography from The Pennsylvania State University. Her recent research projects include a multilevel, cross-national analysis combining multiple datasets to understand how religion and gender inequality help shape childbearing, a mixed-methods study of Mormon mixed-orientation marriages, and fertility projections for the state of Utah for the next 60 years. Dr. Jeppsen is currently using data from the American Community Survey (ACS), Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) to understand the state of postsecondary educational participation and attainment for women and men in Utah. This research will help determine what and where women are studying, how participation and attainment has changed over time, how women's and men's educational activities compare within Utah and to the rest of the nation, and what the strengths and weaknesses are of various datasets. Dr. Jeppsen is thrilled to be working with Dr. Madsen on this project and is grateful for funding from the Utah Women in the Economy Commission that supports this research.



Shirlayne Quayle
Research Fellow

Shirlayne is dedicated to equipping girls & women with the knowledge and skills to understand and celebrate their worth, develop their ideas, and shape our world as leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs. She co-founded the Women's Influence Center in 2017 to support southern Utah women in all stages of transition and growth, and her for-benefit company, SASI, invests in the power of girls & women through camps, coaching, consulting, and global connection. Shirlayne has worked with the State of Utah/USTAR, Dixie State University, and the University of Utah to build public-private partnerships and foster economic growth. She works with the Horasis Global Visioning Community to bring women's voices to the conversation and equalize social and economic opportunity globally, mentors young international innovators and entrepreneurs with the U.S. State Department's Global Innovation in Science and Technology (GIST) program, and has presented and worked in Europe, India, China, Korea and Africa. Shirlayne earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology and an MBA from the University of Utah, is a member of the Dixie State University Innovation Plaza task force, an ambassador for the Utah Women and Leadership Project, and serves on the boards of the Women's Influence Center, Real Women Run, and the Southern Utah Makers Council.