Utah Women Leaders Honored at Sundance Film Festival Event
Actors Robert Redford and Heather Graham Headline Event
Actors Robert Redford and Heather Graham joined Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson to honor 12 women leaders at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival Utah Women’s Leadership Celebration. The event took place on Jan. 25 at the Newpark Hotel in Park City.
“These women we have honored are making a significant impact in our community through their extraordinary leadership and contributions in their chosen fields,” Anderson said. “We value the development and advancement of women and support those who are making efforts to improve the gender representation.”
This is the fifth year that Zions Bank and Sundance Institute have hosted the event. During the luncheon, Graham engaged in a moderated discussion, sharing highlights of her career and discussing her directorial debut of the film “Half Magic.”
Redford was honored for his support of women as independent filmmakers since he founded the Sundance Film Festival in 1978. Through his vision, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides residential labs, grants and ongoing mentorships that support more than 900 artists each year. Notably, 40 percent of participating lab filmmakers are women. In 2018, 37 percent of the 122 feature films that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival were directed by women — markedly ahead of the mainstream industry.
Pat Mitchell, chair of the Board of Trustees of Sundance Institute and a past luncheon honoree, introduced Redford’s award.
“Few people anywhere deserve this recognition for advancing the voices of women more than Robert Redford,” Mitchell said. “For Bob, this commitment to supporting women artists begins at home as he sits proudly today with his two daughters, Shana and Amy, both artists, and his wife, Bylle Swaggars Redford, a globally respected artist who was previously honored at this Utah Women’s Leadership Celebration.”
Anderson and Mitchell presented a watercolor landscape of Sundance Mountain Resort by artist Rebecca Livermore to Redford. Offering brief remarks, Redford credited his mother with believing in his potential before he achieved career success. “I’m using this moment for all of you people to celebrate the women in this room, and to say how proud I am to be at a tipping point where your voices are now going to be major,” he said.
Additionally, Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis received special recognition for bolstering gender parity among characters in children’s films and television programs.
The audience offered standing ovations for each of the 12 Utah women recognized for leadership in their respective fields:
Pamela Atkinson, Advocate for the Homeless
Pamela Atkinson works directly with homeless families and individuals, refugees, and low-income people, and collaborates with a variety of nonprofit and governmental organizations as well as agencies who serve these populations. She assists people in finding volunteer opportunities and in collecting bedding, clothing, food and other essentials for families who are making the transition from homelessness to having homes of their own. She explores ways to prevent homelessness. Additionally, Atkinson likes to work with women who are single parents trying to get off welfare and advocates for children wherever and whenever there is a need.
Lucy Cardenas, Owner of Red Iguana
Lucy Cardenas began her restaurant career handing out menus in her parents’ restaurants at age 5. The Cardenas family has owned restaurants in Salt Lake City continuously for more than 50 years. She worked in restaurants large and small in six states, managing and training employees, before returning to Salt Lake City in 2005 to take ownership of the Cardenas family business, Red Iguana. She grew up in Rose Park, Utah, and graduated from West High.
Dianne James, Zions Bancorporation Chief Human Resources Officer
Dianne James is Zions Bancorporation’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer, a position she has held since May 2012. She oversees compensation, benefits, payroll, recruiting, employee engagement, learning and leadership development, talent management, and succession planning. Recognized twice by American Banker magazine as a member of one of the Top Women’s Banking Teams in the country, she is known across the industry for her efforts to enhance employee engagement, diversity, inclusion and leadership development.
Stephanie Larsen, Encircle House Founder
Stephanie Larsen has spent her career working with families and youth. She represented abused and neglected children in inner-city Washington, D.C., while working on Capitol Hill for the Committee for Children, Youth and Families. For a number of years, she stayed at home to raise her six children. While living in Provo, she became aware of high suicide rates for LGBTQ youth in Utah and the lack of resources available to them, which led her to launch Encircle LGBTQ Family and Youth Resource Center. The center provides affordable therapy and other educational resources for the LGBTQ youth community and their families.
Rebecca Livermore, Watercolor Artist
Rebecca Livermore comes from a long line of artists: a great-great grandfather who painted the decorative details on coaches in Germany, a grandmother who took her on painting trips when she was a child, an interior designer grandfather, an architect father. She has developed her unique style of watercolor painting throughout her life. Livermore joined the Utah Watercolor Society and earned Signature Membership. She has attended numerous lectures and workshops, taken painting expeditions with fellow artists, traveled extensively visiting museums and galleries as often as possible, and shown her paintings in many juried shows.
Senator Ann Millner, State of Utah
Dr. Ann Millner serves as the State Senator for District 18. She is chair of the Education Standing Committee and serves on the Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee as well as the Higher Education and Public Education Appropriations Committees. She is a Regents professor of health administration and former president at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Millner currently serves on the board of trustees for Intermountain Healthcare, the board of directors for Merit Medical and Zions Bank’s advisory board.
Patricia Morton, Dean at U of U School of Nursing
Dr. Patricia Morton is a tenured professor and holds the Louis H. Peery Presidential Endowed Chair at the University of Utah. She is also an acute care nurse practitioner. Prior to her position at the U, she was a member of the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Nursing. Morton is an educator and scholar and is known for her work in critical care nursing and nursing education. She is a member of the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics board of trustees and a member of the advisory board for the Maliheh Clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Honorable Jill Parrish, U.S. District Court
Judge Jill Parrish was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Utah by former President Barack Obama in August 2015. At that time, she was serving as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, a position she was appointed to by then Gov. Michael O. Leavitt in 2003. During her 12-year tenure on the Utah Supreme Court, she served as a member of the Utah Judicial Council, as chair of the Supreme Court Committee on Professionalism and Civility, and as chair of the State Law Library Oversight Committee. She is known for her mentorship to other women in the legal sphere.
Virginia Pearce, Director of the Utah Film Commission
With 20 years of experience in the film industry, Virginia Pearce has been the film commissioner for the state of Utah since 2014. Working closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Office of Tourism, Pearce has grown the state’s reputation as a leading filmmaking destination. She came to the film commission with a goal of increasing production, specifically bringing television series to the state to ensure sustainable growth for Utah’s industry. Under her leadership, major networks, including ABC, HBO, Disney Channel and Paramount, have brought TV series to Utah, creating an economic impact of almost $100 million.
Heidi Redd, Utah Land Conservationist
Heidi Redd has been ranching in southeastern Utah for most of her life. Bordering Canyonlands National Park, her Dugout Ranch’s 350,000 acres of forest, BLM and private land comprise one of the largest and most scenic ranches in the Southwest. For 50 years, she ran a cow-calf operation at the Dugout (a method of raising beef cattle in which a permanent herd of cows is kept by a rancher to produce calves for later sale). Her approach to ranching emphasized traditional cowboying skills and treading lightly on the land. In 1997, Redd and her family entered into a unique partnership with The Nature Conservancy to ensure that the Dugout Ranch will never be developed.
Sheriff Rosie Rivera, Salt Lake County
With 24 years of experience in law enforcement in a male-dominated industry, Rosie Rivera was appointed in 2017 as Salt Lake County’s first female sheriff. Prior to becoming sheriff, she was assigned as the chief of police services for Riverton City under the Unified Police Department. She also worked for Weber State College, Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Taylorsville Police Department. She is the past president of the Utah Women in Law Enforcement Association and the past president of the International Footprint Association Salt Lake Chapter.
Carrie Romano, CEO of the Intermountain Ronald McDonald House
Carrie Romano has served as the chief executive officer for Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area since 2010. The organization provides a temporary home-away-from-home that serves and sustains families of seriously ill or injured children receiving treatment at area hospitals. Under Romano’s leadership, the charity has completed a $12 million expansion with a new Ronald McDonald House on Salt Lake City’s South Temple Street, and a Ronald McDonald Family Room at Primary Children’s Hospital. This expansion has increased the number of pediatric patient families positively impacted by 400 percent.