Washington-area women tout self-care, empowerment, diversity during chamber event – St George News

Patricia Jones, CEO of the Women’s Leadership Institute, addresses the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Committee, Washington, Utah, May 13, 2022 | Photo provided by Thomas Dyches, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Celebrating the Power of Women was the theme of a luncheon hosted by the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Committee on Friday. 

Springdale Mayor, Barbara Bruno speaks at the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce Women in Business luncheon, Washington, Utah, May 13, 2022 | Photo by Stephanie DeGraw, St. George News

Guest speakers included Springdale Mayor Barbara Bruno, Hurricane Mayor Nanette Billings and Patricia Jonesco-founder and former president of Dow Jones and Associates, a public opinion and market research firm. Currently, Jones is the CEO of the Women’s Leadership Institute, which strives to elevate female leadership in the state of Utah. Jones was a substitute for St. George Mayor Michele Randall, who had come down with COVID.

Bruno said her experience in the corporate world prepared her to become the mayor “CEO” of a small town. She and her husband owned a home in Springdale before retiring and moving there from Salt Lake City. Bruno said she was asked to talk about self-care. 

“I think that’s a really interesting topic because it means different things to different people,” Bruno said. 

When Bruno was in the corporate world, she didn’t have much control over the amount of travel she did for her job. Still, she was grateful she had great support from family and friends. And she learned to make time for exercise to help her make time for self-care.

Hurricane Mayor, Nannette Billings addresses a luncheon sponsored by the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce Women in Business, Washington, Utah, May 13, 2022 | Photo provided by Thomas Dyches, St. George News

“I like to exercise in the morning, and if I wait until later, I have lots of reasons I don’t want to do it,” Bruno said. 

Bruno said she has a lot of energy, but she has learned to resist the urge to do everything put before her. It helps with her self-care to not try to do everything and prioritize. 

Some of her goals for Springdale include not just paying attention to the visitor experience but having the town focus more on the residents. Some priorities include securing faster internet service, better cell phone service, more workforce housing, expanding the medical clinic, and bringing a retail pharmacy to town. She is also hoping to find alternatives to the trend of rentals being turned into transient rooms. And she would like to have UPS and Fed-Ex drop-off boxes for residents.

Bruno expressed her appreciation for the “fantastic” town staff who helps her manage Springdale. 

Another way she practices self-care is by setting boundaries, such as meeting people for work at her office in town and not at her home. 

“I will continue to do my best to serve the town of Springdale, but not at the expense of my physical and mental health. And I believe that this is possible,” Bruno said. “I also believe that serving your community is something you should consider when the time is right.”

Hurricane Mayor Nanette Billings said she was asked to speak about empowerment. Billings said she hoped everyone attending the luncheon would feel empowered.

“If there is something one wants to do, whatever it is, they gain that feeling that they can do it, she said.

She shared a quote from Abraham Lincoln, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Billings said a way to become empowered is to be willing to learn new things. When she first went into politics, she went to many council meetings beforehand to learn about issues in her community.

“I recognized that I could learn it even if I didn’t know something,” Billings said.

She said people need to be willing to put in the time to master new skills. Billings said her mother had a friend from Poland, where her family is from, who performed concerts on the piano. One day, an audience member gave up after the show and said she would give anything to play like the performer. And the performer said, “I have.”

Jones was the final guest speaker. For 35 years, she helped manage the company while serving on numerous community and company boards. Jones is an experienced and highly regarded researcher specializing in qualitative research and served in the Utah Legislature for 14 years. 

Jones discussed diversity in the workplace. It is vital to understand that men and women think and view things differently. Jones said scientific studies show men’s brains tend to work front to back. For example, if there’s a problem in front of you, men focus on getting to the solution very quickly and then move on to the next thing. 

“There’s some really good research showing that women’s brains tend to work more across between the left and right side of the brain,” Jones said. “And sometimes it takes a little bit longer for those two sides of the brain to connect. But most of the time, there’s a more comprehensive answer to that solution, a different perspective.”

Another difference Jones noted is how men and women experience stress differently. When women have pressure, they feel isolated. To help deal with this, women tend to want to share their thoughts with others. 

But men, on the other hand, prefer to have some alone time, such as screen time or watching a ballgame. 

“I think these findings are important for us to understand who we’re working with, who we are living with, and who we’re dealing with,” Jones said. “Understand that we’re different. And it’s okay. But we need to have this diversity to leverage those positive things that happen when we have diversity in the workplace.”

After the program, the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Committee installed its new officers and gave away prizes.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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