There’s a Women’s Renaissance happening, and Pat Jones believes students, faculty and staff at the David Eccles School of Business can play a key role.
Jones — CEO of the Women’s Leadership Institute — was the featured speaker at the Eccles School’s Women in Business luncheon this fall, where she urged the women in attendance to step up to the challenge of leadership, whether in the board room, their community or as an elected official.
“There has never been greater need,” Jones said, recalling her time serving in the Utah Legislature. “So often I was the only women on the committee when things really mattered.”
Jones shared her top reasons why women should run for office, though she was quick to point out they would benefit women who serve in leadership in any capacity.
Build your confidence
Jones recalled her first speech on the floor of the Utah House of Representatives, where she spoke passionately — much to her surprise — about the need for licensing aestheticians. A colleague had stood up and mocked the bill with a pair of nail clippers, asking why he needed a license to operate them. Jones found herself propelled to speak about the training required, the dangerous tools and chemicals used and the need for regulation — required by every other state. It was the first of many speeches Jones found herself giving throughout her time at the Capitol, and she said it got easier every time.
Form relationship with key influencers
Since her first run, Jones has been flooded with requests to serve on boards, consult with companies and agencies and mentor other women. Whether you run for the local PTA presidency or Congress, Jones said, there is no other place that will put you into contact with those making policy decisions.
Develop critical leadership skills
Speaking, writing, critical thinking and problem solving are the four most sought after traits by employers, data shows. Those traits are all strengthened by leadership roles, Jones said, and women become more attractive job candidates when they exhibit these skills.
Become a role model
Jones never thought of herself as a role model, until her granddaughter ran for class president at her high school. She told the young women how proud she was, and received “Grandma, you know why I did it,” as an answer. She had worked on all five of Jones’ campaigns, and been inspired to affect change herself.
“Groom those young women to run,” Jones told the audience. “Tell them why.”
Find out who you are
There is nothing like voting on a deeply divisive issue to make you understand what you value, Jones said.
Have a chance to make a positive, lasting impact on public policy
“Becky Edwards once said, ‘As women, we would stand in front of a freight train for our families.’ Why won’t we do that by serving in public office? It’s establishing and making policies that impact our families,” Jones said.
Interested in running, or just finding out more about women’s leadership opportunities? Learn more by visiting the Women’s Leadership Institute.