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South Jordan Journal

Young women in Jordan and Canyons School Districts are shaping the future of business

May 06, 2024 10:21AM ● By Peri Kinder

Nearly two dozen young women graduated from the South Valley Chamber’s Junior Women in Business Program in April, after receiving leadership and entrepreneurial training. (City Journals)

A celebration was held for the 22 graduates of the South Valley Chamber’s Junior Women in Business Program. This year’s cohort was the biggest so far in the history of the initiative that coaches high school seniors through leadership, business and mentoring opportunities. 

Young women from high schools across Jordan and Canyons School Districts spent the year attending women in business events, meeting female entrepreneurs in the area, doing job shadowing, participating in service projects and receiving one-on-one mentoring with prominent business and civic leaders.

Savanna Barlow (Alta High School) said the experience was a valuable way to create connections with female leaders, gain experience with the legislative process and develop relationships with the other young women in the program. She plans to attend the University of Utah to get a degree in business management. Each graduate received a $1,000 scholarship.

“That scholarship was only the tip of the iceberg for what this program gave us,” Savanna said. “It was amazing. First of all, the monthly luncheons and the guest speakers were incredible. We talked to CEOs, authors and entrepreneurs…Each of these women told us about the challenges they faced in the business world and in their personal lives. Those experiences are priceless.”

Sponsored by America First Credit Union, WCF Insurance, Intermountain Health and Crystal Maggelet, president and CEO of FJ Management, the Junior Women in Business program started 12 years ago. 

Along with Savanna, these high school seniors also graduated from the program: Aubrey Campbell (Brighton High School), Ava Pezely (Riverton High School), Brooklyn Woodley (AHS), Chantel Moore (Jordan High School), Daira Camacho (West Jordan High School), Gabriella Martinez (WJHS), Giovanna Grant (BHS), Grace Mahoney (JHS), Grace Palmer (RHS), Hannah Bradshaw (Juan Diego Catholic High School), Healani Hernandez (Bingham High School), Jaci Elzinga (BHS), Kaitlyn Rios (Herriman High School), Kate Taggart (Corner Canyon High School), Kiara Sunil-Singh (Providence Hall), Madison Crowther (Copper Hills High School), Makai Johnson (Mountain Ridge High School), Mya Ruiz (American Preparatory Academy), Samantha Pickering (JDCHS), Sienna Yang (Hillcrest High School) and Zoe Kener (CCHS). 

“At the Chamber, we’re trying to do some good, and I think the community is a better place,” said Jay Francis, South Valley Chamber president and CEO. “We have 22 young ladies who have rubbed shoulders with some of the best business women in the community. We’ll just keep multiplying that and we’ll just be better.”

At the graduation ceremony held at the Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers South Campus, Sarah Davies (The Piano Place), Alma Lopez and Diana Lopez (Cakes by Edith), and Sadie Bowler (SadieB) participated in a panel discussion talking about their business journeys as female entrepreneurs. 

“From the age of 11, I decided I wanted to go to business school and learn how to manage business, how to hire people, how to manage a group of people and eventually how to become an entrepreneur,” Alma Lopez said. “I feel super happy and blessed that my sister and I are able to take the reins of the business and manage the business and be entrepreneurs.”