BY CINDY JONES, PHOTOS BY DAWN PAUL
When asked about their career choices, each of the women I reached out to for this year’s Women in Business feature said it came down to their desire to connect with others. Each is dynamic, intuitive, and creative in her career. What sets each apart is the ability to meet people wherever they are in their lives–whether running a well-loved business while building and giving back to the community or teaching, speaking and serving families in need. It was a great privilege and an inspiration to learn about each nominee, and I hope their stories inspire you too.
Ogden School Board
Watching her son encounter difficulties as a neurodiverse student not only inspired Stacy Bernal to run for Ogden School Board, it made her realize that facing obstacles are the key to developing grit and strength.
“Seeing everything my son has faced has been my fuel to keep going, become stronger, and make things better.”
As a member of the Ogden School Board, comprised of entirely women for the first time in history, Stacy helps review policies and procedures that come from the State Board of Education. She feels her role on the board is to advocate for kids in special education. “They’re often the least noticed and least funded.”
Stacy is also an author, a Ted X speaker, and was recently hired as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manger for the Utah Jazz. “In all of my work, overcoming obstacles is the nature of what I’m meant to do.”
Suazo Business Center
Flor Lopez is a testament to achieving success despite life’s obstacles.
Born in California but raised and educated in Mexico, Flor moved to Utah in 2016. She didn’t speak any English at the time so enrolled in an ESL program, and soon after began to pursue a business degree.
Currently Flor is the office coordinator at Suazo Business Center, a community resource that empowers entrepreneurs from Latino/Hispanic and other underserved communities to start and grow small businesses. Flor is also co-owner of Little Rainbow Candy store in Ogden.
Despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2021, Flor continues to be a driving force for minority empowerment in Weber County. “I want my daughters to understand there aren’t limitations to what they can do.”
EMILY VAUSE OYLER
Weber School Foundation
Emily Vause Oyler knows first-hand the importance of someone believing in the abilities you can’t necessarily see in yourself.
Nine years ago, former director Chris Zimmerman approached Emily to apply for a secretary position at the Weber School Foundation. Emily accepted the position, not dreaming she would lead the Foundation.
“Chris saw something in me that I couldn’t at the time. He acted as a mentor to me and over time I began to believe in myself too.”
Now in her sixth year as the Executive Director, Emily says the best part of her job is getting to see the impact of the programs the Foundation helps facilitate.
“Being able to impact the life of a child, help them understand they can be contributing members of the community, is the best part of my job. It’s the most important goal of the Foundation.”
Click the photos below to read about these incredible Women in Business!
AH-HA Riding School
Mrs. Insurance Broker, LLC
Cadet Mallorie Andersen
Utah Military Academy