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Tomorrow’s Leaders Learn “All About the Benjamins”

Teens Get Savvy About Money and Life Skills During Workshop

Heidi Prokop Nov 15, 2017

They want to grow up and become surgeons, lawyers, physical therapists, teachers — even equine specialists. Two hundred girls ages 15 through 18 attended the SUREFIRE Girls Conference Nov. 11 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.  Zions Bank was among the event’s presenting sponsors.

Attendees selected from 10 different workshop topics determined by girls, including “All About the Benjamins” that focused on helping teen girls consider earning money, budgeting and managing it, and giving it away.

Robbyn Scribner, research fellow at the Utah Women & Leadership Project (UVU) kicked off the session with a reminder to the girls: “It’s okay to talk about money.”

Scribner launched into a discussion about career planning, encouraging teens to research the salaries, education and training required for their future jobs, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook as a great resource.

She went on to discuss women’s participation in the Utah labor force and the state’s wage gap.  Women in Utah earn around 71 cents for every dollar a man makes. The group discussed several factors that contribute to the wage gap.  She concluded by providing suggestions for girls to plan for their future:

  • Get informed about the realities of the Utah labor force and make deliberate, specific plans for your financial future.
  • Be flexible and understand that even the best laid plans will change.
  • Get all the education you can — and remember there are lots of options for this as well.
  • Build your network — both to learn about great jobs and to help you find them.
"The conference was amazing! My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot."

Heidi Prokop, senior vice president and communications manager at Zions Bank, shared tips for budgeting, savings and investing. She walked students through a case study demonstrating budgeting to save for a short-term weekend trip. “Pay yourself first,” she reminded the students about saving for both short- and long-term goals.

Kitty Friedman, development specialist at the Park City Community Foundation, closed the workshop on earning and managing money with a discussion of how to be thoughtful in giving it away. She noted that the word “philanthropy” translates to “for the love of humankind” in Latin. 

She encouraged girls to think about causes that are passionate to them and to do research about nonprofit organizations before making donations. She said WWW doesn’t just mean “world wide web,” but it also is a way of thinking about giving: wealth, wisdom and work.  Friedman said volunteering is another great way girls can give back to their communities.

Umu Tafisi, who works for Zions Bancorporation as a contracts manager, volunteered at the event. “There were several key, insightful messages that were inspiring for the teenage girls and volunteers like myself.  I spoke with many of the young attendees, and they had glowing, positive feedback about the summit,” she said.

“The conference was amazing! My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot,” said Becky Allred, a teller at Zions Bank’s Castle Dale financial center.

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