“Having women at the table is a proven way to improve political discourse and policy outcomes,” says Morgan Lyon Cotti, associate director of the Hinckley Institute. “But in Utah we have some of the lowest numbers of elected women in the country.” Utah Women Run, a nonpartisan, nonprofit initiative housed at the Hinckley Institute of Politics, is one of the organizations in Utah working to change those numbers.

This Saturday is Utah Women Run’s annual training. This exciting and dynamic event will take place on March 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and is geared toward helping women who want to become more engaged in politics gather the tools they will need. It’s for women who are running for political office, those who want to run in the future, those who want to get more involved in politics, but aren’t yet ready or not interested in running, and everyone who supports them.

Recently elected Rep. Celeste Maloy will be the keynote speaker in the morning. “I am happy to have been asked to keynote the Utah Women Run event. I’m excited to share my experience running for office. It’ll be an honor to give an update to this incredible group of women on the many things I’m working on in Washington and why we need their unique perspectives,” she said.

Why aren't more women running for elected office?

Susan Madsen will present the latest data on the status of women in Utah, and Becky Edwards will moderate one of the annual event’s most popular offerings: Tales from the Trail. Recent candidates Stacy Bernal, Sarah Reale and Eva Lopez will be the panel participants.

Getting on the ballot in Utah can be confusing, so Brook Taylor from the Utah Elections Office will be there to walk candidates through the process of getting on the ballot. Heber City Mayor Heidi Franco will teach “Successful Campaign Planning” while Mary Catherine Perry and Kilo Zamora will teach “Effective Advocacy.” Mary Catherine Perry is the director of policy and government affairs at The Policy Project where she has worked on the team’s most recent effort, the Child Safe Project. Zamora is a community engagement consultant and a teacher in the College of Cultural and Social Transformation at the University of Utah.

Being politically active can also look like serving on boards and commissions, and Utah Women Run also offers a class on how to get on a board or commission. Even after the Utah legislature trimmed the number of boards by 70, there are still hundreds in the state of Utah. Brooke Scheffler, director of boards and commissions for the state, will be sharing her insights on getting appointed.

“We are excited to host this annual training event to help women in Utah become more engaged in politics,” said Melanie Hall, the event’s host. “The event promises to be an excellent opportunity for women to learn from experienced female leaders and build meaningful connections that will enable them to make a difference in their communities.”

This year’s partners and sponsors include Zions Bank, Holland and Hart, A Bolder Way Forward, Governing Group PAC, Mormon Women for Ethical Government, Utah Women’s Leadership Project, Women’s Leadership Institute and Women’s Work Utah.

Registration for the event is now open, with a cost of $30 for general admission and $15 for students (register with a student email). Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to connect with other women in politics, gain invaluable insights and build the skills you need to make a difference. Register now for the 2024 Annual Training event by visiting the Utah Women Run website.

Holly Richardson is on the board of Utah Women Run.