‘Humble warriors:’ Women in business honored at inaugural awards ceremony

ST. GEORGE — The St. George Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the inaugural Element Awards ceremony and banquet at the Dixie Convention Center on Friday evening. 

Danyelle Evans, owner of Mobile Dental Hygiene, poses with her Element Award at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George, Utah, March 26, 2021 | Photo by Megan Webber, St. George News

The ceremony was created to recognize Washington County women “in their element” as business and community leaders. Sixteen women were honored, including a posthumous honor for Cindy Clemens, a life coach and creator of “Living Life InJOY.” 

The awards were presented by the Women’s Initiative Committee, a one-year-old program under the Chamber of Commerce that advances women in business, entrepreneurial and community leadership, according to their website. 

The Women’s Initiative was founded last spring, just as the coronavirus pandemic hit, chair Kelli Charlton said before presenting the awards. During that time, the committee began to brainstorm ways they could recognize and serve women in Washington County. 

“We knew we had to get to the root, the real meat of what women really needed, especially as we were moving to home offices,” Charlton said. “I realized that there are really some amazing women in Washington County who were simply unsung heroes. Many of them were not in the public light, many of them work tirelessly and completely behind the scenes. … These women are humble warriors who are changing the world all of us live in. They are at ease in their element, which is why we are here tonight.”

The list of award recipients includes:

  • Stefanie Bevans, co-owner and CEO of Steamroller Copies, Inc. and Design to Print, Inc.
  • Choli Ence, St. George Police Department sergeant.
  • Danyelle Evans, owner of Mobile Dental Hygiene.
  • Martina Gaspari, consulting senior scientist at GeneSTAT Molecular Diagnostics.
  • Nicole Goulding, co-founder of Tan’s Treats.
  • Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop.
  • St. George City Councilwoman Danielle Larkin.
  • Donna MacBean, founder of Neighborhood Connection.
  • Kat Puzey, founder of the Modern Farm and Artisan Co-Op.
  • Rosie Sevier, volunteer and community partner coordinator at Root For Kids.
  • Carmen Snow of Washington City.
  • Sherrie Lou Tate of Staheli Family Farms.
  • Tazia Taylor, marketing and communications manager at Intermountain Precision Genomics.
  • Launa Williams, Washington County School District educator.
  • Lori Wright, CEO of Family Healthcare.

For some of the recipients, the award came as a surprise in the midst of a chaotic year. Evans said that this is one of the first times outside of the dental hygiene community that she has been recognized, and receiving it alongside other women was an honor. 

“I think it’s a great thing for women,” she said. “I think far too often, we’re not taught to speak up and speak out on the things that we’re doing, and I’m just completely honored.”

Williams added that as an educator, it’s exciting to see the business world collaborating with education professionals and opening opportunities for students. 

Washington County School District educator Launa Williams poses with her Element Award at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George, Utah, March 26, 2021 | Photo by Megan Webber, St. George News

“To see this come through an education side is pretty exciting,” she said. “Sometimes, educators don’t get to see the business world like that, but we pride ourselves on what our students do and accomplish. So that’s, I think, the most exciting thing about this award, is to really see what it does for our students, not really for me.”

Sevier said that the award means more for women in the community than it does for her individually. She felt a little uncomfortable at first about receiving the award, she said, because there are so many women in the community who were not selected as a recipient but should still be recognized. 

“I feel so blessed to be among these amazing, incredible humans that just change our world every day,” she said. “This one is for all of those women that did not get selected. This one is for all of the women, not for me, but for all the women in our community.”

The Women’s Initiative offers women’s business and leadership training and invites women in business to join its committee. For more information, visit the Chamber of Commerce’s website.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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