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2020 Elevate U Women’s Symposium (Online)

Virtual Symposium

Tuesday, April 28 | 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. MT
Wednesday, April 29 | 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. MT

Join University of Utah David Eccles School of Business faculty and some of Utah’s most influential women for a virtual symposium full of research-driven content and engaging dialogue.

Ticket Price: $299 $99


The Elevate U Women’s Symposium combines interactive speeches by top faculty, a powerful keynote address by Mary Nickles, and thoughtful panel discussions. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to energize your career and learn from inspirational women who are making a difference and shaping Utah’s business landscape.

Symposium Agenda


Individual Ticket | $299 $99

  • One ticket to the 2020 online Elevate U Women’s Symposium
  • PDF workbook filled with symposium content and notes

Email ExecEd@Utah.edu if you are interested in being a sponsor.

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Keynote: Mary Nickles, KUTV 2 News
“Positivity Through Adversity: Facing Negativity With Optimism and Humor”

Mary joined KUTV 2 News in 1991 as weekend anchor and reporter. She currently co-anchors the news weekdays on 2 News This Morning and 2 News at Noon. After a mammogram for a news story in 2011 found a malignant tumor, she chronicled her surgery, chemo, and radiation while continuing to work. Those stories went on to win her an Emmy.


Speaker: Jennifer Cummings, University of Utah
“Anticipate Roadblocks – Break Down Barriers”

Dr. Jennifer Cummings is an Associate Professor (Lecturer) in the management department at the David Eccles School of Business and is a certified conflict mediator and emotional intelligence consultant. Cummings’ areas of research include interpersonal and professional communication, leadership, conflict management, team relations, and public speaking, among others. Her papers have won several top paper awards from the Western States Communication Association and the National Communication Association, and she has been recognized at the David Eccles School of Business with the Daniels Fund Leadership in Ethics Education Award and the Brady Faculty Superior Teaching Award.


Speaker: Sui Lang L. Panoke, Rethink International
“Rethink Your Value. And ACT Now”

Sui Lang L. Panoke is the founder of Rethink International, a global social enterprise and international training organization designed to challenge people to rethink how and what they think. Sui Lang has trained thousands of leaders around the world leading in politics, business, government, higher education, nonprofits, and the media. Her areas of expertise include global leadership, personal empowerment, communications, branding, civil discourse, power speaking, diversity, inclusion, and unconscious bias.

Most recently, Sui Lang co-founded the Inclusion Experience Project, which offers corporate diversity training to Utah’s business community aimed to elevate the consciousness of leaders for the purpose of driving trust, stimulating growth, and building a culture of inclusion in the workplace. She holds an MPA from American University with a Certificate in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership and received a BS in Political Science from the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics after completing her first year of undergrad at Brigham Young University’s Hawaii campus. She currently serves on the executive board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association, based in Washington, D.C.; the Advisory Board of YWCA Utah’s Real Women Run; and is an Ambassador for the Utah Women & Leadership Project. 


Panel Moderator: Jessica Ferguson, 97.1 ZHT 

Jess graduated from Arizona State University in 2001 with her broadcasting degree. Before graduating, she had a shift at her college radio station and interned for a news talk station in Phoenix. After graduation, she worked for a radio network where she made some awesome contacts that led her to Salt Lake City. Jess has been on air with Frankie at 97.1 ZHT for over 14 years. She thought she would only be in Utah for a few years but she fell in love with the people of the state and she is passionate about her career. She is best known for her laugh and for being a strong female voice in the Salt Lake Valley.



Panelist: Selma Mlikota, O.C. Tanner

Selma Mlikota is the Product Manager for O.C. Tanner award lines. Over the 20+ years of her professional career, she served in various leadership roles in client success, sales, and people teams. As a marketing product owner, Selma’s primary responsibilities focus on defining the product vision and working closely with engineering and sales to ensure the product supports the company’s overall strategy and meets the unique clients’ needs.

Additionally, while a paid employee of O.C. Tanner, between April 2017 and June 2019, Selma served as the Executive Director of Careers and Corporate Partnerships at One Refugee, a Utah-based non-profit organization aimed at improving refugee prosperity. She has worked closely with over 200 refugee students and young professionals in Utah and Idaho on their professional development and preparing them for future careers.

Selma holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and science from Utah State University and is a certified human resource professional and serves as the Director of Diversity on the Salt Lake SHRM board.


Panelist: Neelam Chand, Zions Bank

Neelam Chand is an accomplished diversity, equity, and inclusion expert with a decade of experience embedding multiculturalism into business strategy and facilitating critical dialogue on systemic change within a workplace environment. She currently works at Zions Bank as a Senior Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, where she provides workshops on topics including social justice, tokenism, microaggressions, implicit bias, intersectionality, and women of color in the workplace. When it comes to inclusion work, her philosophy is to “keep it real” and to skip the etiquette of making people feel comfortable. She believes that through discomfort, we can begin the process of actual change.

Before joining Zions Bank, she was Director of Marketing and Communications for the University of Utah’s Office for Equity and Diversity. From 2009 to 2013, Chand was Executive Director of Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit fair-trade retailer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from the University of Utah. Chand serves on the Salt Lake City Human Rights MLK Commission Board and the University of Utah Tanner Center for Human Rights Advisory Board. She is a former member of the University of Utah Presidential Anti-Racism Task Force.


Panelist: Rebecca Johnson, University of Utah

Rebecca Johnson is the Director of Research & Academic Affairs for University of Utah’s Department of Orthopaedics. While raising four children, she has built bridges and led change for over 20 years. An expert in program management in clinical research and biology, she professionally educates on issues of global health and international research, domestically and in developing countries.

While completing her Masters of Public Health, she managed the development of a clinical research unit in Tanzania, supervising NIH studies to further understand the pathology of pediatric severe malaria. She also managed multiple industry-sponsored HIV ART clinical trials for the University of Utah Infectious Diseases Division, evaluated reproductive health clinics in Guyana for the United Nations Population Fund, and revamped surgical suites with Globus Relief in Chamba, India.

Rebecca enjoys travel, nature, and spending time with her family. In her spare time, she skippers sailboats on the Great Salt Lake, and practices Argentinian tango, anywhere they will let her.

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  1. Katrina Vastag

    “I had an inspirational, amazing day! I was on a high as I left feeling like I could conquer the world. I left with actionable items that I can use in my personal and professional life. Thank you for putting on such a wonderful event! It was such an honor to be in a room full of such amazing women. It really awakened my desire to bring these messages into the workplace and start conversations. There is still so much opportunity for growth in our organization and want to be part of that changing!” -Elevate U 2018 attendee

  2. Katrina Vastag

    “Elevate U was absolutely incredible. I left feeling empowered, motivated, and inspired. It was such an honor to be sitting among such powerful women.” -Elevate U 2018 attendee

  3. Katrina Vastag

    “The Elevate U event provided me with a day to reflect on my personal brand – what it is now and what I want it to be. The presenters gave me the tools and confidence to work towards bettering myself. It was also great to be in a room of working women, most who were mothers, and share our ideas throughout the day. I’ll definitely attend again!” -Elevate U 2018 attendee

  4. Katrina Vastag

    “Wonderful! Empowering! Smart! All of the speakers were well thought out and topics that were needed for today’s woman.” -Elevate U 2018 attendee

  5. Katrina Vastag

    “Excellent planning. It felt like every detail had been considered. Very smooth – congrats on an excellent job.” -Elevate U 2019 attendee

  6. Katrina Vastag

    “The event was wonderful and I fully intend to go again next year. It still has me talking and telling every woman I come in contact with about it.” -Elevate U 2019 attendee

  7. Katrina Vastag

    “I enjoyed all the topics and expertise. I left very fulfilled and rejuvenated.” -Elevate U 2019 attendee

  8. Katrina Vastag

    “I am highly impressed with the caliber of the faculty! I got an undergraduate business degree over 20 years, and boy has business education changed for the better. I felt like part of the discussion during the Symposium, and that makes all the difference.” -Elevate U 2019 attendee

  9. Katrina Vastag

    “Each presentation provided a different insight that I could relate directly to my current work/life situation helping me to put every into perspective.” -Elevate U 2019 attendee

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