Latest News

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  • 01 Mar 2017 8:19 PM | Heather May (Administrator)

    It is the time of year to submit your membership nominations. There is some new information and reminders about the nominating process. It will take place as follows.

    • Each current UWF member may nominate one person for membership per year. 
    • Those nominated must have attended at least one UWF meeting as a guest so as to familiarize them with our organization.
    • The deadline for applications to be submitted is May 1, 2018. 

    When nominating someone, please inform them of the yearly commitment of $100 dues as well as the monthly meeting/lunch costs and socials. It is important the nominee is interested in engaging with the group.

     If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Rocio Summers whose information is available in the member section of the website.
  • 06 Feb 2017 10:28 AM | Heather May (Administrator)

    Friendship is best nurtured in small groups. That's been the byword of the Utah Women's Forum since its inception, although as the Forum grew, some of us began to grow apart. A few years ago, the Forum drew back on its history and instituted occasional Dinearounds to rediscover one another. The idea is simple. A member hosts breakfast, lunch or dinner at virtually any venue (home, restaurant, theater) and then members sign on to the Dinearound that is most convenient. Each host limits her own guest list, so this becomes a first come-first served event.  The host also sets the price of the meal and the guests reimburse her for her costs.  These offer an opportunity to get to know other Forum members in a more intimate setting. We will be holding Dinearounds throughout March.  

    If you are interested in hosting a Dinearound, please contact Heather May at or (801) 550-3842 today! 

    Please include the following information: 

    Preferred date and time with alternate date to prevent double booking:


    A blurb about your vision for the Dinearound (optional):


  • 10 Nov 2016 10:30 AM | Heather May (Administrator)

    Our very own Pat Christensen was honored on November 9, 2016 by the Federal Bar Association with its Distinguished Service Award.  UWF member Jen Tomchak made introductory remarks commenting on Pat’s strengths as a lawyer, friend and mentor. Pat gave a wonderful acceptance speech, remembering among other things the early days of her career when one federal judge did not allow women to make appearances in his courtroom.   The award is much deserved!

  • 07 Sep 2016 12:32 PM | Heather May (Administrator)
    Every year, the Gandhi Alliance for Peace selects an individual as the recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award. This award is given to an individual who has proven sustained service to a variety of causes and communities, contributions that are consistent with Gandhi's philosophy of social justice, non violence, and peace.  

    This year the Gandhi Alliance for Peace Award will be given to UWF member, Elise Lazar, who has demonstrated leadership in initiating programs and actions which exemplify the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi's life. 

    Forum members are invited to attend the celebration of this exemplary, indefatigable activist and long-time contributor to making the world a better place.

    LOCATION: Tracy Aviary, Old Mill

    WHEN: October 2, 2016 - 3:00 pm

  • 19 May 2016 8:00 PM | Heather May (Administrator)
    Forum Member Peggy Battin ponders some of life's most difficult questions in the University of Utah's Spring Continuum Magazine.
  • 19 May 2016 7:59 PM | Heather May (Administrator)

    Denise Dragoo Was Awarded the S.J. Quinney College of Law Alumna of the Year

  • 12 Apr 2016 1:47 PM | Heather May (Administrator)

    Submitted by: Colette Herrick

    Aileen Clyde: Saying yes to Invitations!  As an active citizen or citizen activist, Aileen Clyde has a long history of contributing to the community by saying yes to invitations. For example, in the early 80’s when Utah was a more diverse political state, Governor Matheson called Aileen to interview her about joining a newly forming Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Three weeks later when she was called to serve, of course, Aileen accepted.

    What were your initial enthusiasms, excitements when you joined UWF thirty years ago?  As a founding member of UWF, I was excited about the idea of getting to know other women and through our diversity broadening our points of view. At the outset we had both an outward and inward focus. We wanted to look out to the community and make our membership as diverse as possible –even though Utah is a tough state to accomplish that. Then our focus was on building community internally with each other.

    You have no doubt had many experiences with this organization over three decades, for now tell me about a time that stands out, a highpoint time when your relationship with the women of UWF had a significant positive impact on you and others? Tell me a story about that time.  When I was the third President of UWF, we did not have the wonderful support that Heather May provides. We did all of the planning, organizing and securing places to meet. It was a big responsibility and we depended on each other. It was so impressive how everyone took charge of responsibilities. Things happened consistently. We still see these levels of collegiality and camaraderie in working together today. The willingness to take responsibility when invited to step up to a role or job within the Forum still exists. It’s wonderful!

    What do you value about being a UWF member today? How has UWF enriched your life?  The word that comes to mind is relationships. Even today the Forum provides an opportunity for me to know women my age and learn from women of all ages with a range of professional backgrounds. I look forward to attending our luncheons and living in Springville I drive 100 miles to attend. The Forum continues to be an enriching experience with our new membership, mix of membership and programs. As a result I get to be a learner.

    What three wishes do you have for UWF going forward?  My main wish is that we can succeed in our efforts to integrate newer members so it strengthens relationships within the Forum. I’d also like to see us continue to get even better at understanding the broader community we live in statewide and beyond and our strengths and weaknesses. We can do this by knowing women who represent part of the community. I’d like to see us work hard at informing one another and continue to be non-partisan.

  • 30 Mar 2016 1:44 PM | Heather May (Administrator)

    The Ruby Award is given each year to a woman of distinction who has been helping women in our community. This year Samira Harnish received the award at the Soroptimist’s Annual Ruby Award Gala on the 24th of March.

    The Soroptimist Club is a worldwide organization with clubs in over 132 countries and 80,000 members (see also and  The local club supports our international activities plus activities in our local community specifically for women and girls.

  • 06 Feb 2016 9:38 AM | Heather May (Administrator)
    Submitted by: Colette Herrick and Kim Grob

    As we continue to celebrate 30 years of Utah Women’s Forum, we are delighted to share interviews with founding members, Genevieve Atwood and Mary Kay Lazarus. We know you will be as inspired reading their stories, as we were by our conversations with these champions of women.

    Genevieve Atwood: Wisdom in being part of a tribe    As a scientist, leader and trailblazer, Genevieve Atwood holds a deep curiosity of our collective human affinity for tribalism. For her, Utah Women’s Forum is a tribe that has endured and enriched her life and one she remains proud to hold membership. From the formative days of gathering in member’s living rooms, to her hopes for the future of our organization, Genevieve shares her heart and wisdom.

    What were your initial enthusiasms, excitements when you joined UWF thirty years ago?

    It seems such a long time ago, half my life, and a couple of different careers ago. At the time UWF formed, I was State Geologist and the head of the Utah Geological Survey. I had been appointed by Governor Matheson and was the first woman in the country, or probably the world, to hold the position. In this role, I brought many strengths as well as weaknesses.

    At the same time, Karen Shepherd and I were buddies. We ran long distances together with our dogs and we recognized we needed each other. We knew women needed women to succeed. It was such an exciting time, but there were just so few of us.

    We were feeling this need, when Mary Kay Lazarus contacted me. She knew the leader of the women’s forum in DC and their mission to foster women’s forums in diverse cities around the country. Karen Shepherd suggested we have a few people over and I volunteered my house. We did. I think there were eight of us that evening.

    We sat around, recognizing how sincerely we were committed to each other’s success simply because each of us was relatively “lonely at the top.” That became the basis for our group. The structure from DC encouraged a forum for powerful women to connect. At some point, Ilene Fisher who was such a wonderful conscience for the group suggested we have a forum strong on social conscience and not necessarily power. Our criteria for membership became (a) a women tops in her field clearly (b) committed to the idea that when one women succeeds, all succeed.

    In those early years we learned a lot about each other. Life was not as polarized as it is now. We really needed each other!

    You have no doubt had many experiences with this organization over three decades, for now tell me about a time that stands out, a highpoint time when your relationship with the women of UWF had a significant positive impact on you and others? Tell me a story about that time.  I can remember there was a situation that I just did not know how to handle, something verging on discrimination. I sat with Jinnah Kelson, and Karen Shepherd. Their reaction was, “you’re in real trouble on this one!” They each pitched in to help me problem solve. We were hanging out. Essentially, they saved me from being blind-sided by the obvious. I’m still grateful even though the details fade. Recognizing a problem is an important first step. I had thought things were the way I wanted them to be. For that evening five or six Forum members were my “partners in wisdom.” I knew I was safe sharing my dilemma.

    And it wasn’t just problems. We could knock out stuff together to help each other succeed. For example, when I was working on a big conference for Governor Matheson on natural hazards, I met with Peggy Battin, who specializes in ethics. A couple week's later, Matheson gave a rip-snorting speech taking on greed, ignorance and who knows what else!

    The early Forum had a very real sense of people caring about each other’s success, perhaps because we were new to “success” and vulnerable to the unforeseen. Or at least it seemed that way to me. I loved hearing each others’ problems and the tradeoffs we faced. It’s a different organization now. Forum members today appear confident with success, not so vulnerable. Today’s Forum can accomplish as a group of successful women who as individuals have achieved sufficient power to bring about change as a group. We are able each month to celebrate outward visible signs of success from recognition in the news to national and local awards. Much has changed to the benefit of women, while some things have not. How can we be most effective?


    What do you value about being a UWF member today? How has UWF enriched your life? I am fascinated by tribalism. I value being part of the Utah Women’s Forum tribe. It seems tribal is hard-wired in humans, how to tell “others” from ourselves. Healthy tribes see their commonalities and also recognize differences in others. I like the identity of being part of a group that shares a common social conscience…a group of women working with women can provide that sense of higher purpose and identity. While I am not as active as I used to be I love having common values and working towards a common purpose. When I walk into a UWF event and put on my name badge, I value how UWF gives me a lovely identity as a champion of women.

    What three wishes do you have for UWF going forward?  Wish #1. Hmm, I wish we understood our tribalism better.  I feel kind of fringe at present, as it seems UWF has become so strongly political and so much of our politics today is negative. In the early years our common challenge was white male chauvinists. Now it seems the enemy is Republicans! And some folks assume I’m one of “them” rather than one of “us” just because I identify with the Republican party of long ago.

     Wish #2. Perhaps it’s wistful… I wish I knew members well enough to be able to contribute to their success, and happiness. But that being said, it brings considerable happiness to attend meetings and cheer for each other. So that wish doesn’t really count.

     Wish #3. I wish for the Forum to continue to make a difference and not rest on past accomplishments. We can as individuals, as we share with individuals of our Forum. We also can by group effort. For example, I hope the Forum will make a difference on women and education. It’s the only hope for the world. It can unite the Forum with purpose. I love it when we see ways we can accomplish something together.

    Postscript. It’s no change from the early days to the present. We probably can’t help ourselves from supporting each other individually. This past year has been a tough one for me. I didn’t miss a single stage of grief as I lost Don to dementia and then in October to death. Forum members were there for me, even not knowing it. So Wish #1 for the Forum really is, that I wish for every member to tap the reservoir of Forum women’s heartbeat wisdom!  We have so much wisdom and caring amongst us!

  • 06 Feb 2016 9:34 AM | Heather May (Administrator)

    As we continue to celebrate 30 years of Utah Women’s Forum, Colette Herrick and Kim Grob are delighted to share interviews with founding members, Genevieve Atwood and Mary Kay Lazarus. We know you will be as inspired reading their stories, as we were by our conversations with these champions of women.

    Mary Kay Lazarus:  Creating a safe place for dangerous ideas.      Like all great innovators, Mary Kay Lazarus started the Utah Women’s Forum by identifying a problem—and then setting out to solve it. In 1980s Salt Lake City, powerful women often found themselves shut out of executive meetings, board rooms, and business-elite clubs like the Alta Club. Worse, they suffered these injustices in isolation, without knowing just how common the experiences were among their female peers. Mary Kay’s solution? Bring the women together to talk, commiserate, and change things. Thirty years later, the organization she founded is 160-members strong and actually meets in the club that once excluded them. We spoke with Mary Kay about the origins of her brilliant idea—and her hopes for the future of all women in Utah and beyond.

     What were your initial enthusiasms and excitements when you founded UWF thirty years ago?    It all started with a visit from my old college roommate, who had gone on to become an airline executive in DC. I was lamenting the fact that there was no networking in Salt Lake City for women, except for Mormon women, and she suggested that I start my own network. It was around the same time that Karen Shepherd had started Network magazine, which had sent a real electric shock through our community just by focusing on women’s workplace issues. So I felt like the time was right, and the Utah Women’s Forum was born. We started with six women—and we were all so wonderfully diverse! We would just sit around on the floor of my apartment, complain about the men, and talk about all that we wanted to do. We talked about working our way up the ladder. We talked about not being taken seriously in certain realms that were reserved for men. And we talked about changing the system. It was a safe place where we could open up about the issues we were facing, without being ostracized or punished. It was so gratifying to learn that we shared the same concerns, even though we were coming from different professions.

    Talk about a high point in your relationship with the women of UWF, when you really felt its significant positive impact on you and others.  It’s hard to identify a single high point; it has been more of an ongoing sense of elation and confirmation that this was a very good thing to have done. Watching the Utah Women’s Forum expand and seeing how the women in the group support each other has been an ongoing treat. I remember one meeting during the time when we were getting so big. There was a real concern for keeping the excitement and mission intact as we grew, and we were worried that we couldn’t restore the initial intimacy when our numbers were so great. So we brought in a facilitator who demonstrated the importance of maintaining in-depth relationships rather than just holding routine meetings. She put us at tables of four and gave us very meaningful questions to ask each of the women at our table. We learned to know each other so well during that meeting. And it was a real turning point for our group. We decided we wanted anyone who attended our lunch meetings to be able to make those kinds of personal connections. And I think we’ve been able to do this. The leadership has really kept the electricity going.

    What do you value about being a UWF member that long ago embraced, “as one woman gets ahead all women get ahead.” How has UWF enriched your life?  At the beginning, the idea seemed so wild—but it worked! Seeing the Utah Women’s Forum succeed gave me the confidence to initiate other things. I felt free to tackle tough issues, create new programs, and be more adventuresome that I would normally be by nature. Through the ongoing success of the Utah Women’s Forum, I realized that if I have an idea, I should at least consider it and maybe even go for it. Right now, I’m doing something I never would have done before the Utah Women’s Forum—I’m leading efforts to create a functional dam as a work of environmental art in Sugarhouse Park. The highlight of the design will be a 30-foot sego lily at the entrance of the park tunnel—one of the petals will actually serve as a bus shelter. With its cultural focus, I believe it will bring the whole community together in celebration.

    What three wishes do you have for UWF going forward?  I have just one wish. I hope we will continue to nurture each other, support each other, and keep the excitement and the meaning of the Utah Women’s Forum intact. It’s about the pride we take in each other, the lessons we learn from each other, and the support we can draw from each other anytime we need it.

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