Salt Lake City has a long history of innovative businesswomen.
While exploring the city ahead of the Women’s Leadership LIVE event, I encountered signs that described the architectural and cultural importance of buildings along Main Street. One called The Judge Building caught my eye. It was near the federal courthouse, so I assumed it was named in honor of, well, “yer honor” – some esteemed jurist known simply as “the judge.”
I was wrong.
The historical marker in front of the building noted it was built in 1907 by a “business-savvy widow” named Mary Judge. She had been married to one of the partners who developed the Silver King Mine in Park City. After he died, Mary “multiplied her fortune” with investments in real estate and mines. The historical marker notes, “In addition to proving herself a capable businesswoman, Judge donated generously to a variety of charities.”
Doing well and giving back – a century later, it’s a model that Women’s Leadership LIVE promotes.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski welcomed WLL’s “The DIFFERENT Conference” © as a modern dose of inspiration for the community: “It’s so great this conference has come to Salt Lake City because we really have some work to do in Utah in getting women engaged in a way that says, ‘I can lead and I need to lead.’ This is the type of event that will inspire women. And that kind of inspiration doesn’t leave someone after an event like this. It stays with you and it empowers you.”
Entrepreneur Jennifer Suiter of Santaquin, Utah, said WLL has empowered her to connect with other businesswomen, something that had been a challenge in the past.
“Originally I thought if I ran a business I had to do everything by myself,” she said. “Asking for a mentor was really difficult for me. Coming here, I find people really do want to help you. I’m excited to have mentors now where I didn’t have them before.”
Suiter has big goals for her skin care line called True Love, with her sights set on 20,000 retail locations nationwide. She is confident she is on her way to achieving that goal after being one of fortunate finalists of the Women’s Leadership LIVE Shark Tank contest moderated by the original shark Kevin Harrington.
Back on Main Street, the Judge Building is noted for its “copper cornice, colorful ceramic tile triangles, and swags of carved stone fruit.” Women’s Leadership LIVE also recognizes it as a monument to a pioneer. Mary Judge succeeded in business, gave back to her community, and, more than a century later, inspires women to be just like her.