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Elizabeth Haslam has been appointed chairwoman of the Women's Business Development Center, a 17-member independent advisory group that works to improve the economic development of professional women statewide.

Haslam, a partner of the law firm Jones, Waldo, Holbrook & McDonough, is chairwoman of the firm's real estate and environmental department and a member of the firm's board of directors. She has practiced real estate and environmental law with the firm more than 14 years.The vision of the WBDC is to foster economic development in Utah by supporting and promoting the state's women-owned businesses. Working to increase business networking opportunities among professional women, the group also will sponsor free business education seminars, publish a directory of Utah women in business and assist women in obtaining capital.

Other recent appointments to the organization's executive committee include Jean Fox, Small Business Administration representative, first chairwoman; Alison Barnett, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce director of communications, second chairwoman; Holly Cordner, vice president and manager of West One Bank, secretary; Kathi Ricci, Small Business Development Center, representative; and Karin Kane, owner of Domino's Pizza, executive liaisons.

Female-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, women will own more than half of all small businesses by the year 2000.

Female-owned businesses statistically have a greater success rate than male-owned businesses. Seventy-five percent of all female-owned businesses are still in business after three years, compared to the 25 percent success rate of businesses owned by men.