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Ways Utah business owners can push for true gender equality

While it’s true that there have been some great strides made in the past decades regarding women in the workplace, there is still much to be done to ensure that women have equal opportunities. Business leaders are a great place for this conversation to start and for progress to be made.

Utah Business recently ran a story from two business leaders, working together to outline some ideas for how to advance women in the workplace in tangible ways. Most of their ideas come down to providing a true voice to women when it comes to decision making and learning opportunities.

First Utah Bank can offer any business owner a helping hand when it comes to key parts of making a company more successful. This includes SBA loans, a way to use funds for some of the building blocks or progress-makers a business may find themselves taking on.

Getting those voices heard

The advice from the article in Utah Business is coming from two key players in the Beehive State’s commerce landscape. Joana McKenna is the President and Brad Bonham is the co-founder and CEO of Walker Edison, a furniture company that is one of the fastest growing businesses in Utah. Both write that, over time, their own company has tried to shift the company culture in favor of more equality.

“This is possible through thoughtful leadership, accountability and awareness, clear targets and measurement,” they write. “You also need programs to recruit, retain and develop female talent, as well as internal and external communications, and engagement. We also developed a diversity and Inclusion roadmap. These are all critical pieces of our overall approach to delivering what women have been legally promised for decades.”

Among the advice they give is to start with trainings for all employees. Letting employees know more about how to combat biases, fostering team building and encouraging more professional development can go a long way toward more equality in the workplace. It also hosted a company-wide virtual summit concerning women in leadership.

A president and co-founder, the two also encourage others to support their own leadership in bringing diverse voices to the table when it comes to crucial decisions. “Once managers have that support, they can start within their departments making sure every voice is being heard,” they write. “This is also where listening to feedback and survey results also play a part.”

It’s also key to making sure mentoring programs and sponsorships for future leaders are not only encouraged but enhanced. “These programs will help prepare high-potential women for senior executive positions,” the leaders write. “In addition, these programs will provide support and continued learning for all women and employees within your organization and will help them grow. That growth will ultimately contribute to your overall success.”

Providing a clear path to a better career for all

Another technique they advocate is to hire and promote more women in senior executive leadership roles. They write that having a clear career path helps with the navigation, and they also tie this to providing paid parental leave and flexible work policies. This also helps with employee retention and speaks to a genuine care for the wellbeing and future of those who work for you.

Finally, Bonham and McKenna both write that being a transparent leader is the biggest keystone to success. “We have committed to reporting progress in Walker Edison’s annual Diversity & Inclusion progress report,” they write. “We will be reviewing results with senior leaders to promote gender balance and ensure progress.”

All of this points to the two leaders’ desire to deliver on the promises they are making to women employees concerning equality, something that they assure they will continue. “Let’s make this the decade for women and finally accomplish the intentions of the last 100 years,” they both conclude.

SBA loans and the power they give Utah businesses

When a company is starting out, there are many challenges that can take precious time away from forming the right methods of doing business. First Utah Bank can help companies getting their start with loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

We are the preferred lender for SBA loans in Utah and we have a department built solely for this type of loan. Our SBA specialists can help you navigate the details of receiving one of these loans, which are an option for business owners where traditional or conventional bank financing is hard to obtain or isn’t available.

There are specific needs for which an SBA loan can be used, but they are all a part of the standard world of operating a business, and all can help as your business develops. Among the uses for an SBA loan:

  • Money for leasehold improvements
  • Buying an existing business
Purchasing inventory or receivables
Adding to working capital (a term loan or line of credit)
Refinancing debt that is maturing
Starting expenses for a franchise or a new business
  • Buying or building an owner-occupied commercial building
Expanding or refurbishing facilities in order to modernize them
Consolidating debt to bring in more money
Managing cash flow during peak buying seasons
Buying machinery, fixtures and equipment
Financing exports

As the evolution of your thriving business in Utah continues, also know that you have First Bank Utah on your side to help along the way, whether its as an SBA lender or with any other banking need. Find out more about what we have to offer at our website, or call us at 801-308-2265.