Women’s Leadership Institute’s Corporate ElevateHER Challenge Proven to Retain Talent and Save Businesses Millions

Salt Lake City, UT—To celebrate ten years in business, the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) reflected on a decade of positive change. Last week, WLI held a press conference on Wednesday, April 17th, in the Zions Bank Founders Room. Guests and speakers included prominent business and community leaders.

In 2015, the Women’s Leadership Institute was established on the recommendation of former Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson. Anderson appointed Patricia Jones, a retired business leader and former Utah legislator, as CEO with the mission to help elevate the stature of women’s leadership in business and politics across the state. 

“The principles that Pat Jones and the Women’s Leadership Institute teach [Utah companies] pay dividends, create value, and create an inclusive economy,” stated Anderson at Wednesday’s press conference. These principles are integral to the ElevateHER Challenge, WLI’s cornerstone product. This non-prescriptive corporate challenge provides companies with tools to introduce family-friendly policies, close the wage gap, and empower and promote female talent. Additionally, participating in the ElevateHER Challenge has saved companies millions of dollars.

“Ten years ago, CHG Healthcare embraced the ElevateHER Challenge. In that time, we have achieved gender parity within our company and implemented family-friendly policies such as family leave, dependent care, and fertility benefits.” shared Kerry Norman, Executive Vice President of Operations at CHG Healthcare, a company headquartered in Midvale, Utah “We’ve also made significant strides in retaining female talent, especially in their child-bearing years, with a current retention rate of 95% of women returning after maternity leave. This retention alone has saved the company nearly two million dollars, a testament to the Challenge’s impact.”

The ElevateHER Challenge is free to take and includes six areas of focus. Those focuses are research-based opportunities for companies to improve their workplace culture and bottom line. The ElevateHER Challenge pillars include increasing the percentage of women in senior leadership, hiring and retaining more women, appointing more women to boards and commissions, creating pay parity, enhancing mentorship and sponsorship programs, and encouraging women to run for public office.

“[When I was] a businessman new to the state, I asked around who might help me build a great workplace culture,” explained Alex Shootman, who came to Utah in 2017 as then CEO of Workfront. “I was told that if I wanted to know the “how” of doing this in Utah, I needed to talk to Pat Jones at the Women’s Leadership Institute. Our company took the ElevateHER Challenge, and several years later, Workfront was acquired by Adobe for one billion dollars. I attribute that acquisition to the culture I learned to implement through the principles of WLI.”

More than 325 companies statewide have committed to the ElevateHER Challenge. These companies span a diverse range of industries, including finance, healthcare, oil and gas, construction, and tech. Other speakers at the press conference included: 

For more information on the Women’s Leadership Institute or Wednesday’s press conference, contact Patti Cook, Communication Director, at pcook@wliut.com. Also, you can find more articles about the press conference on In The Media page on our website.