AAUW of Utah

The 2018 AAUW Rocky Mountain Regional Conference:
Women Unlimited and Undaunted

June 22 – 24 at the Radisson Downtown, Salt Lake City, Utah

The Rocky Mountain Regional Conference has traditionally been held biennially, each state taking a turn in rotation. At least one representative from each Rocky Mountain state included in the Regional conference attended. We had Thirty from Utah, Arizona seven, Colorado four, New Mexico nine, Nevada one and Wyoming one. Plus we had 5 guests for a total attendance of 57. We had 26 registered for the AAUW of Utah Annual business meeting, which was held at 9:00 on Friday morning June 22, 2018.

Claire Turner, Utah; Julia Brown, AAUW

We were extremely fortunate to have three outstanding speakers from AAUW to keynote the conference: Kim Churches, AAUW CEO, Julia Brown AAUW Board Chair (from New Mexico), and Susan Landino, an LAF plaintiff. In addition, we had impactful panels of local speakers and interesting and inspiring presentations by the attending Rocky Mountain State Representatives.

Julia Brown opened the conference Friday morning at 11:00 a.m., speaking on our theme, Women Unlimited and Undaunted.

Laurie Hofmann, Salt Lake City Branch president arranged and participated in an extremely impactful panel on sexual assault, with local women leaders and experts in the field, which opened the session on Saturday. It touched everyone and caused an on-the-spot reorganization of the speakers in order to continue the theme and maintain the importance of the issues of sexual assault, and the various ways they manifest. We heard from Susan Landino, the LAF supported plaintiff, who was the first to bring and win a non-sports related Title IX lawsuit over the illegal and brutal workplace discrimination she faced at Yale and subsequent unwarranted firing for bringing reported issues of sexual assault to the attention of the administration.

Kim Churches was extremely generous with her time, speaking to us on Saturday evening as the banquet keynote speaker and then in an open forum on Sunday morning. Her ten-year old daughter, Ruby was traveling with her, and attended the banquet and the Sunday open forum everyone.
The Open Forum was a lively discussion and question and answer session about AAUW’s current challenges, changes, convention format and schedule, and the new reemphasis on regional events such as ours. The national events are extremely costly, and reach fewer members than the regional events. Other changes are coming and we will hear of them, primarily electronically, in order to reduce costs and still communicate with the membership.

During the Conference open discussion on the future of the Rocky Mountain Regional Conference was held. There was consensus and enthusiasm for continuing the tradition. R.C. Johnson of Wyoming volunteered to work with Stormy McDonald of Colorado on the next Conference. Colorado is the next state in the rotation to host the conference.

Friday afternoon Utah hosted a well-attended bus trip and tour of the Utah Women Artists Exhibition. Sue Nissen discussed the history of the Exhibition and the efforts that have been made to keep the tradition active. Those who attended were very impressed with the quality of the art and the beautiful way the art was displayed in the venue at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.


Presentations from the Rocky Mountain States included:
Wyoming: The Power of Empowerment presented by R. C. Johnson,
Colorado: What is growing and changing in Colorado? By Stormy McDonald
New Mexico: An Increase in Public and Corporate Awareness in New Mexico as a Result of the Continuance of our Tech Trek New Mexico Camp. By Cheri Burch, Helena Whyte, Claudia Poglitsch
Arizona: Education and Persuasion: Efforts to pass ERA in the State, by Gail Parsons

The Utah Contingent

Utah: – A panel from Real Women Run, an organization that AAUW of Utah supports, which highlighted efforts in Utah to encourage women to run for elected office in Utah. An effort that is more successful each year.
–Successful Fund-Raising Projects that Implement the AAUW Mission. Pat Dalpiaz, Shannon Anderson, Sue Nissen, Maxine Haggerty. The Legacy Circle funding through an estate bequest was discussed, and many Legacy circle members were present and the conference.
–A panel of Utah leaders discussed “Accomplishing our Goals for Women, Girls and Human Rights through Lobbying, Coalition-building, and other Forms of Advocacy” led by Claire Turner, with panelists Georgette Kapos, Laurie Hofmann, and Penny Archibald of AAUW and Catherine Weller of the League of Women Voters.
–Kathryn Horvat closed the Conference with a discussion on The Rocky Mountain Region of AAUW, Past, Present and Future.

I want to thank my outstanding committee for their creative and reliable support. The Local Area Committee, chaired by Brenda Clausen and Kathy Boyer, ensured the hotel services were excellent, the meals were well planned and well served and other local coordination went smoothly. Kathryn Horvat began the venue search, locating the Downtown Radisson, which was an excellent choice. She, coordinated the AV services during the conference, was the registrar at the hotel for the conference, and created the printed Conference Program. Lysa McCarroll, St. George, set up and monitored the online registration, and provided final registration reports. Gloria Prahl managed the receipt of the funds. Laurie Hoffman, Claire Turner, Georgette Kapos and Marilyn Shearer organized panel discussions. Georgette Kapos secured the bus for the trip to the Art Exhibit. Sue Nissen provided history and context on the Art show for all who took the bus trip to the event. All on the committee including Teri Jewell, Shannon Anderson, Julie Endres, Stephanie Bagnell, and Mary Barth — contributed ideas, time, and organized materials for attendees. Many items were donated such as bags, AAUW folders, and packages of original photo note cards given as gifts for speakers, panelist and all participants and committee members. And as usual, Janet Bunger provided her guidance and support wherever and whenever needed. She is greatly missed here in Utah since her
move to South Carolina.

Marilyn Shearer and Janet Bunger

Marilyn Shearer, 2017-18 AAUW Program Chair and Chair of the Rocky Mountain Regional Conference.

News from our Branches:

Our Utah branches raise funds to benefit the AAUW Fund and to support Utah women and girls with scholarships, STEM camps and other educational activities.


Wasatch Branch of Salt Lake County held its traditional fall fundraiser to benefit the AAUW fund in October of 2016. “A Passport to Sicilian Food and Wine” was a great success. Read more about this event, featuring Marguerite Henderson, Salt Lake City Chef, and Sheral Showe, of the Wasatch Academy of Wine, in the article on our events page.

Salt Lake City Branch’s traditional Spring Fundraiser held in April 2016, featured Pat Jones of The Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI), an organization that teaches women to be leaders in business, industry and in political Action. The event was held at the Towne Club and was well attended, raising funds for the AAUW Fund and for a local scholarship.

St., George Branch: The branch holds many fundraising activities throughout the year to provide scholarships, education and training to benefit women and girls.  http://aauw-stgeorge.org/about-us/

Brigham City Branch collaborates with other local women’s groups to raise funds for a scholarship which is awarded to a woman returning to school. The scholarship is awarded at a luncheon honoring the recipient and other women who contribute to the local community.

Two of our long-standing branches in Logan and Ogden are reorganizing and coming back:  Do you Identify with the AAUW mission?. Would you like to meet and work with likeminded women in the Logan or Ogden area? Please contact Marilyn Shearer, Membership Chair of AAUW of Utah.  mjshearer1@aol.com