EPISODES
  • S6E5. What Can We Do About the Student Loan Crisis? with Adam Looney

    As we continue exploring the topic of economic equality and the different factors that influence a fair and equitable economic experience, today we are tackling the topic of student loan debt. 


    Americans owe $1.77 trillion in federal and private student loan debt as of the second quarter of 2023, and questions about whether and how borrowers should be required to repay that debt have become part of an ongoing national conversation.  


    Here to help us unpack all of this is Adam Looney. Adam is a professor and executive director of the Mariner S. Eccles Institute for Quantitative Analysis of Markets and Organizations here at the Eccles School. He is a nationally recognized expert on student debt, having testified before Congress multiple times on the topic of student debt forgiveness.


    With host Frances Johnson, Adam shares his thoughts on how we got to this place of burdensome student debt. He’ll dive into the quest for equity in higher education accessibility, repayment options, and his thoughts on student loan forgiveness.


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University.FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    Can we make higher education equitable and efficient?


    [23:48] The reality is that college is a very good investment for a very large share of Americans. And I think the problem is identifying programs and institutions that are effective at serving disadvantaged, low-income students who historically had not enrolled in very high numbers. If we could have increased enrollment at good-quality programs and provided better guidance to steer students into programs that they can complete and that lead to good-quality jobs, then I don't think we would have a repayment crisis.


    Why do we have student loan programs?


    [08:36] We have a student loan program for two reasons. One is to help people pursue. a college degree and graduate programs. And second, to make access to college more equitable in the U.S. and around the world, whether you go to college, whether you complete college, whether you go to graduate school, is closely related to family income, your family background, and whether your parents went to college.


    The uneven burden of student debt


    [11:18] On average, college students do well because student loan borrowers, to a large degree, reflect who goes to college; the outcomes of student loan borrowers look a lot like the outcomes of typical college students. And so, it's important to remember that student loan borrowers are more likely to have a job. They earn more, they're more likely to be able to own a house, and they're more likely to become married. So, it's not a universal impediment to being able to launch a career and a life.


    Why does Adam think that college is a high-quality investment?


    [10:10] I think college is a very high-quality investment. It is a key way where Americans move up the economic ladder. It's a vehicle of social mobility. It's obvious that there are huge inequities in terms of who gets to go to college, who's able to persist and complete a degree, and who gets to go to graduate school. But it seems like access to financial aid alone is not able to overcome those barriers and, in fact, seems to have made many millions of these often disadvantaged students worse off.


    Show Links:

    26m | Feb 22, 2024
  • S6E4. Financial Inclusion and the Impact of FinTech w/ Steve Smith & Ryan Christansen

    When it comes to creating more equitable access to economic opportunities, like buying a house or getting a loan to start a small business, financial technology innovations are moving the needle faster than almost anything else. 


    Joining us today to talk about FinTech and the role it plays in economic equality are Ryan Christiansen and Steve Smith. Ryan Christiansen is the Executive Director of the Stena Center for Financial Technology at the University of Utah. In this role, Ryan directs and coordinates the labs, venture fund, incubator, and student programs at the center.


    Steve Smith is one of the co-founders and creators of the Stena Foundation and currently serves as Chief Engagement Officer, Global Open Banking for MasterCard. He believes that financial inclusion and quality education can be a catalyst for change and can break the chains of generational poverty to lift local economies.  


    Steve and Ryan join host Frances Johnson to discuss how FinTech innovations can help bridge the gaps in economic inclusion, how Utah plays a role in the greater FinTech landscape, and building out the intention and future of the Stena Center. 


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    The small and medium-sized business success in global financial inclusion


    [25:24] Steve Smith: The success of the small and medium-sized business is really important in the world economy for driving economic impact and financial inclusion at a higher level. Think about this: if every small and medium-sized business, to the extent they hire employees, were more successful and able to hire just one more employee next year across the world, what level of economic impact would that have?

    You start thinking in terms of that, and then you start thinking about where the center can play a meaningful role in helping individuals, families, communities, entire nations kind of lift themselves from the foundation up, rather than trying to put band-aids on problem sets that are always repeat problem sets. So, I think that's where the focus is in fintech and financial services and really democratizing financial inclusion in very meaningful ways.


    The role of intention at Stena Center


    [15:00] Ryan Christansen: What I think is so important about the Stena Center is intention. So we've had a lot of success, as we've both talked about in the state of Utah around FinTech, and there's some other cities around the world or areas around the country that have had some success. I think what makes it really special here in Utah is truly that intention.


    Small and medium-sized businesses fuels the world economy


    [25:24] Steve Smith: What's really important for the Stena Foundation is: What are the fundamental building blocks of economic success and economic mobility—let's call it—that create enduring economic empowerment? For individuals, I think that you always have to wrap in small and medium-sized businesses because they fuel so much of the world's economy. And so, I think the center is great. A great example of bringing academics together with industry together with philanthropy, right? So you've got three verticals that sometimes operate independently and a center that does best in class, bringing them all together.


    On Utah as an epicenter for Fintech


    [09:05] Ryan Christansen: It's a really exciting place here in Utah when you look at it from various aspects. And I'll start with maybe the universities in Utah. You've got a lot of highly educated people coming out of the university system that have been starting these businesses, whether they're technology businesses or FinTech businesses, and there's really been a long history of that in the state of Utah...So you've got a lot of kinds of startup mentality with the educational system, doing a lot of innovation as well.


    Show Links:

    31m | Feb 15, 2024
  • S6E3. Making Capitalism Work for Everybody w/ Ashley Bell & Sui Lang Panoke

    We are exploring economic inclusion this season, and today we are diving into the history of banking and financial structures in the United States and how they have often excluded minority groups.


    Ashley Bell is the co-founder and general counsel of the National Black Bank Foundation, which provides nonprofit expert legal, regulatory, and operational support to Black-owned banks. And Sui Ling Panoke currently serves as Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Zions Bank.


    In this episode, Ashley and Sui Lang sit down with host Frances Johnson and discuss how banks were leveraged against people of color from the very beginning, finding a bank that supports your values, minority depository institutions, and some exciting developments right here in Utah, aimed at addressing and closing the racial wealth gap. 


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    The power of risking in yourself


    [14:14] Ashley Bell: There's been several studies that show there's been over a trillion-dollar impact that discrimination and lack of access to capital to underserved communities is costing us a trillion dollars annually in our economy in spending. This is spending power that communities would have more of if they had access to the capital. And when you think about it holistically, the more you stymie the economy by telling people they can't have access to capital to take a risk and start their own business, to be able to receive the right capital to own their own home and create assets that way through appreciative home value. Then you take a marginalized community, and you leave them with fewer options, many of which become the burden of the state. Many of that, which becomes welfare programs, become more government assistance, and these people have to be reliant on that to be able to survive. So if you really want to see less reliance on the government having to step in and take care of people that can't make it work, then give them the opportunity to take a risk on themselves.


    There's no greater act of self-determination than entrepreneurship


    [15:05] Ashley Bell: If you really want to see less of a reliance on the government having to step in and take care of people that can't make it work, then give them the opportunity to take a risk on themselves. There's no greater act of self-determination than entrepreneurship. And you have so many entrepreneurs in these marginalized communities that just need access to create businesses. And many times, these are small businesses that could easily be sustained in these small economies in their own community, but they don't get the access to do so.


    On Zion’s bank commitment to close the gaps


    [22:33] Sui Lang Panoke: One of our core values is equality. Equality, opportunity, and access. So, we are very committed to closing gaps. So, it could be the gender pay gap, it could be the racial wealth gap, and it could be the trust gap and opportunity gaps that still exist in our communities as well. So, it's very important to us to invest not just monetarily but through building relationships, right? Mending those trust gaps that still exist in ways in which we can build meaningful relationships, meaningful partnerships, and work towards building the world's most inclusive economy.


    What is the core of redemption?


    [18:54] Ashley Bell: Throughout our history, people in marginalized communities have not received any grace or mercy from our financial system. This is what redemption is about. With grace and mercy, there can always be redemption. And we think that we can give that opportunity to people who are looking for it. And we'll start in Salt Lake, but be the center of gravity for an entire nation.


    The key to institutional sustainability


    [24:38] Sui Lang Panoke: A critical part of building a long-term sustainable and profitable institution in our industry is staying true to who you are and focusing, honing in on what your values are, who you are as an institution, and what is going to carry you through the next generation.


    Show Links:

    25m | Feb 8, 2024
  • S6E2: Embracing Financial Feminism w/ Jacki Zehner

    We are exploring economic inclusion this season, and today we are focusing on the intersections of gender inequality and finances. 


    Here to talk a little bit more about this is Jacki Zehner. Jacki refers to herself as an enthusiastic and dedicated financial feminist. In 1996, she became the youngest woman and first female trader to be made partner of Goldman Sachs. 


    Today, she works to provide women with the tools to grow social capital and achieve financial freedom through her companies ShePlace and SheMoney. 


    She chats with host Frances Johnson in this episode all about the false narratives many women have around money, building community through talking about money, starting active money management earlier in our careers, and what stigmas we might have attached to money that don’t belong there.


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    Time is the biggest variable when it comes to money


    [26:44] My biggest thing to remember, like a big money tip, is to know that time matters. Time is the biggest variable when it comes to money and having a healthy financial future. So the earlier we educate our kids, the earlier we take responsibility for our money. The compounding effect of that is extraordinary, and one of the things that hurts my heart the most is to be in conversation with people that are my age or older, saying, "Shoot, why didn't someone tell me to talk, think about this, do it, take care of it earlier?" It's like our health—the same thing. Don't wait for a crisis to catalyze your curiosity or necessity.


    How do women experience inequality financially?


    [05:16] The wage gap is one of the biggest ways that women experience inequality. Of course, we have the investing gap, which is women, in general, invest later, invest less. So what that means is in the context of the investing experience or those participating in wealth creation through investment, and we can talk about the reasons for that, there's also a big gap. There's also the wealth gap and, equally, the retirement gap. And you can imagine if you make less because they all build and interconnect with each other. If you make less and invest less, and again, these are huge averages, and talking about sort of these bigger macro things, not how that might manifest at an individual level, but that means, and women live longer, so what that means is you have less money in your later years, which means a different, perhaps, standard of living, on average, and less money to take care of your future self. And there are other gaps, too, as it relates to money, which is, again, one of the reasons I started SheMoney: is confidence gap.


    Talking about money is not bragging about money


    [17:27] Talking about money is not bragging about money. Talking about money is not making money; it is something bigger than it is, which is a resource, a medium of exchange, and a store of value…[17:51] And we tell a story about money too, that is especially tied up with status and achievement—that, if you were smart, you'd have a lot of money. If you were this and made good life choices, you'd have a lot of money. And that's just not true. There's a lot of luck involved.


    On normalizing money talks


    [18:31] I think we all have these beliefs and behaviors that came from somewhere, and to be able to debunk those myths and normalize talking about money in the context of recognizing its value around our own well-being is, I hope, going to take away from those fears that we all have that we're going to be judged either for not having enough or having too much.


    Show Links:

    Guest Links: 

    28m | Feb 1, 2024
  • S6E1: Economic Decision-Making 101 w/ Yung-Yu Ma

    Welcome to Season Six of the Eccles Business Buzz podcast. We are so glad to have you back as we kick off another series of great conversations with our Eccles Community. This season, we are continuing our discussion of equity, diversity, inclusion, and empathy by focusing on economic inclusion. 


    A key part of building an economically inclusive experience for ourselves and others is understanding what is actually happening in the economy. We all hear economic terms and forecasts in the news, but do we really know what they mean and how they should impact our decisions? Here to help dispel some of the mystery is Yung-Yu Ma.  


    Yung-Yu is Chief Investment Officer at BMO Wealth Management in the U.S. He joined the organization in 2016, bringing a dynamic combination of academic achievements and industry experience to the Investment Strategy team. Yung-Yu is also an Eccles alum, earning his PhD here in Finance.


    He kicks off season six with host Frances Johnson by helping us understand the economy. He’ll touch on inflation, interest rates, navigating the job market, and how to stay informed while not becoming overwhelmed by it all.  


    And if you’d like to hear even more from Yung-Yu, join us for our next Eccles Alumni Network Forum on Thursday, February 1st, from noon to 1 p.m. Yung-Yu will be here on campus in conversation with Adam Looney, executive director of the Marriner S. Eccles Institute to discuss the 2024 Market and Economic Outlook and considerations amidst global tensions, political choices, and the year ahead. 


    Register to attend the event in person or via live stream today! 


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    The value of experience


    [12:31] One thing that I would always coach students about is, early on in your career, by far, what matters is the experience you get in a particular job. Whether or not you get an extra few thousand dollars or whether your salary is a little bit more or a little bit less is not going to impact your long-term trajectory. But in those early years in your career, having a good mentor, building a good foundation, and learning a lot of skills and knowledge can then benefit you later in your career when you do actually get into the higher-earning years. Having that skill set, that knowledge that you built up early in your career, is going to be tremendously valuable.


    The importance of investing on yourself


    [21:25] I think that daily action, or consistent action, in terms of building out one's knowledge and skill set, or reading up on topics that could be beneficial to them, or learning skills—whether it's presentation or communication skills or technical skills, any of the above, depending on what fits with their interests and career trajectory—that is, first and foremost, the investment that people should be thinking about when thinking about investments.


    What’s the advantage of consistent investing?


    [18:15] I think for most investors, it doesn't pay or it's not favorable to try to make short-term, small changes. What's the Fed doing this month versus what it might do in two months? The big thing is really keeping a consistent investment program and being aware of the times. When there might be bigger events taking place.


    When is a good time to invest and where is a good place to invest?


    [21:53] How do I look for investments or things we recommend to clients? It can take a few different flavors, but certainly investing in equity markets overall, and that refers to stocks, whether it's in the U.S. or internationally. One favorable aspect of the structure of investing in stocks is that when you take on risk, the stocks in the marketplace are priced in a way that should benefit you over time for taking on the risk of ownership. Now, that doesn't mean in any given year, stock, or investment, it can't turn out unfavorably. It certainly can. Everybody knows that there's risk involved, but the reason that people still invest in the stock market, in companies, in mutual funds, or whatever vehicles is because, over time, there's a risk premium that plays in your favor. So you should benefit over time by investing in the equity markets, or even the fixed-income markets, and investing in bonds.


    Show Links:

    33m | Jan 26, 2024
  • Season 6 Trailer

    The countdown is on to season six of the Eccles Business Buzz podcast. In this new season, we are focused on economic and financial inclusion and how economic and financial empowerment contribute to opportunity in our personal, professional, and academic lives. I'm your host, Frances Johnson. Join me to get an Economy 101 crash course and learn what all those terms you hear on the news really mean for your economic future and decision-making.


    We'll hear from one of the nation's foremost experts on student loan debt and from a self-proclaimed financial feminist. We'll learn about how innovations in financial technology are helping to even the economic playing field. And we'll hear from investors in Utah's first minority depository institution about efforts to make the country's banking system more racially diverse. And we'll be highlighting the great work happening right here at the David Eccles School of Business to create a culture of belonging for students on campus and alums out in the world.


    The first episode of season six drops January 25th, with new episodes coming every Thursday. I know you won't want to miss a single one, so make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and invite a friend or fellow alum to listen with you too. We can't wait for you to join us again.

    1m | Jan 18, 2024
  • S5E8: Check Your Humble At The Door feat. Katie Abby

    We’ve been talking this season about the challenges women face in the workplace, especially here in Utah. But today, we are going to pivot to talk about some solutions, and how the Eccles School is working to prepare women – and all students – for a more successful and equitable workplace experience.


    With us today is Katie Abby, Special Advisor to the President of the University of Utah and Assistant Dean of Business Career Success and Corporate Outreach at the David Eccles School of Business. An experienced staffing executive, Katie graduated from the U in 1984 and, in 1990, co-founded VISTA Staffing Solutions, where she served as COO and then President. 


    She transferred her skills as an entrepreneur to build a professional placement firm at the Eccles School and is now scaling this program to other colleges on the University of Utah campus.


    In our last episode of season 5, Katie sits down with host Frances Johnson and chats about building confidence, becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable, practicing empathy in the workplace, and what millennials and boomers can learn from each other.


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    Expanding company perspectives on women's skills


    11:25: We encourage employers to treat women differently. The key point is, women have different skill sets. They have different things that motivate them. They bring a different set of values to the organization. So if you try to hire a group of women or individuals from underrepresented groups and then treat them as you would the white male population in your organization, you're probably not going to succeed. We encourage employers to do bias training for all of their staff, and in particular, people in management and leadership positions.


    On teaching the value of speaking up


    18:03: We want our female students to stop saying, "My work should speak for itself," and teach them how to speak up for themselves, know and appreciate how important they are to any employer, and know and appreciate that they have a unique skill set.


    The importance of articulating your strengths and value as women in the workplace


    09:24: It all starts with building that confidence, understanding what it is that you bring to the table, and then learning how to articulate that.


    Why putting employees first is the key to a successful workplace


    03:52: We decided to create this incredible environment where our philosophy is that the customer comes second. And by that, we felt it was very important to put our staff and our employees first.


    Show Links:


    31m | Nov 16, 2023
  • S5E7: Shifting From Allyship to Activism in the Workplace feat. Kate Cañas

    This season, we are focused on the experience of women in the workplace, and, as we’ve heard, women are facing a lot of challenges when it comes to professional opportunities, balancing family and work obligations, advancing to executive leadership, and more. 


    But we’ve also heard some great advice and some solutions for the unique challenges women face in the workplace, and that is what we are going to talk about today.


    Here with us today is Kate Cañas, a professor in the management department at the David Eccles School of Business. Her teaching currently includes courses on managing diversity and business communication. She is also the author of the book, “Opportunities and Challenges of Workplace Diversity.” 


    Kate and host Frances Johnson sit down to discuss the up-and-coming generation of women in business, opportunities companies have to create inclusive workplaces, the role of empathy in DEI work, and how COVID-19 has changed us as a workforce. 


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    The power of allyship in amplifying diversity


    [11:35] I am all about voicing yourselves. I try to teach it in my classroom, but I do think it's the responsibility of other women and other people, like men, in the company to be allies so that women don't have to feel like they're alone to advocate for themselves. People are already doing it for them. So an ally is, the definition is a person who supports diversity and wants to learn more, right? So, it's that person who is supportive, that person who participates in DEI initiatives, and who is there for other people. Sometimes, those allies, if they do have more power, they can speak on behalf of those with less power.


    Empathy is a quality of a great leader


    [13:54] Empathy is a quality of great leadership. In my mind, if you want to create this ethos of empathy, it has to come from the top, and it's so important. And I talk about leadership so much, and we do case studies and all the CEOs and chief diversity officers, but really, the CEO has to show empathy toward human beings. And there are some characteristics of an inclusive leader, whether they have to have some courage. They have to back up what they're saying with actions, right? So we have some famous CEOs who will march in women's marches or march in a pride parade, right? So it's showing like I'm talking about it, but now I'm going to do it. Also, in terms of leadership, they need to know their leaders, their kind of DEI shadow. That's what they call it—how people view them as leaders in light of DEI. And so there's all this stuff in terms of great, inclusive leadership. And empathy is one of those characteristics.


    Creating a workplace where everyone belongs


    [06:04] The whole idea around diversity, equity, and inclusion is that you want to make sure that every single employee in your organization has a sense of belonging so they can bring their whole selves to work…So that happens in a systemic way, but really, it becomes this idea of everyone should be able to bring their whole selves to work, right? And they shouldn't have to hide part of their identity. That's the biggest problem, and usually when they're hiding part of their identity, it is connected to diversity.


    What Kate hope’s to see in her students future in the workplace


    [21:15] I hope to see some of my students I have right now in leadership positions. I mean, they are so amazing. I hope they never lose their spirit. So, for that to happen, we have to have intentional strategies in the workplace. Following, when I attempted to talk about my integrated model, that has to be working on all levels. Recruiting, retention, you know, metrics, leadership, communication, outreach to the community—so many different levels. So people can walk in; these women can walk into these organizations and feel that I have a sense of belonging. I can be a leader. And I can have a family if I want to, if that's a choice. It doesn't matter. That's just a piece of it, but I can feel empowered. I can see myself as a leader in this organization. These organizations have to be welcoming to women.


    Show Links:

    27m | Nov 9, 2023
  • S5E6: Establishing a Workplace Culture Takes All Of Us feat. Dr. Susan Madsen & Nubia Peña

    This season, we are exploring the experience of women in the workplace, especially here in Utah. In a recent study published by Wallet Hub, Utah ranked as the worst state for women’s equality. The study put Utah last for women in education and health and 49th in both political empowerment and workplace environment for women. The study also found that the income gap between men and women was worse in Utah than in any other state and that Utah is seriously lacking when it comes to women in executive leadership positions. 


    Here to help us make sense of the numbers and to paint a picture of the landscape for professional women in Utah and beyond are Dr. Susan Madsen and Nubia Peña. 


    Dr. Susan Madsen is the founding director of the Utah Women & Leadership Program and the inaugural Karen Haight Huntsman Endowed Professor of Leadership at Utah State University, and Nubia Peña is the Senior Advisor of Equity and Opportunity for the Cox/Henderson Administration and the director for the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs.


    Listen to this dynamic conversation as these three women discuss women who live at the intersection of sexism and other marginalized communities, working on making workplace culture a more intentional product, and their shared optimism for the future of working women in Utah.


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    Turning gaps to opportunities


    [10:13] Nubia Peña: I created the opportunity framework for our team that follows a three-pronged approach, which is data-informed, opportunity-driven, and people-inspired. By using the data to understand employee climate, culture, and satisfaction, we can then identify the gaps that may cause us to lose great talent to other companies. And those gaps would then be turned into opportunities so that we better serve our employees, which are our most important assets. So, we really want to tell the story of Utah. While we know that there are challenges, we also know that there are some great successes coming out of our industry and corporate leaders. We know that Utah is probably, and most likely, in the next five to ten years, going to be leading for being some of the best and family-friendliest corporations in the nation.


    The power of collaboration in leadership


    [15:48] Dr. Susan Madsen: Don't just do a side women's network; connect with your leadership team, align your goals with the goals of the company, be strategic, and help your leaders understand how important this is. And I'll tell you, there's numbers, research, and there’s the business case. It's going on and on that when men and women work together in more equal numbers on teams, in leadership roles in the C-suite, on corporate boards, there are so many benefits for the teams, for the individuals, for the communities, but then in society as well. When you learn things at work, you take them to your family, your congregations, and your community.


    Utah's unique approach to empowering women in the workforce


    [21:59] Dr. Susan Madsen: Utah is unique, and the leaders of this, as we're calling it in A Bolder Way Forward, are looking even differently than other states. There are so many women who want to work professionally but want to work part-time; that is unique. And so the leaders in that spoke and another one on workforce development are working on helping companies understand that women can work part-time and contribute, and it can benefit everyone involved.


    Utah way: Having the value of choice for women


    [18:14] Nubia Peña: Our desire in championing the beauty of all of these pathways that can create thriving for women in the workforce and women to choose to stay at home is the value of choice. And as we partner with our corporate leaders with our legislative sector, when we're thinking about all the people that are needed to create the type of state where there is an abundance of opportunities, there is something that many of us know, which is called the Utah way. And we think differently and out of the box.


    Show Links:

    33m | Nov 2, 2023
  • S5E5: Career Growth Is All About Learning Where You Can Have An Impact feat. Amy Frampton

    This season, we are focusing on the experience of women in the workplace – especially here in Utah. And today, we are exploring the experience of women in leadership positions in particular. Why is this so important? According to a recent study published by Wallet Hub, Utah ranks 48th in the nation when it comes to women’s representation in executive leadership positions. 


    Here to talk about her experience as a woman in the C-suite is Amy Frampton. Amy is the Chief Marketing Officer at NoFraud, the leader in eCommerce Fraud Prevention and Revenue Protection. She also served as Head of Marketing at BambooHR and Vice President of Product Marketing at SmartSheet.  Amy is a proud graduate of the U and is passionate about mentoring young women on their own college and career journeys. 


    Amy and host Frances Johnson discuss speaking up to make an impact for yourself and the women who come after you, remembering women are not a homogenous group, pressure testing our thinking, and how a good mentor can change your career journey.


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    The role of mentors in academic and career success


    10:35: People that are willing to give you their time are our mentors. Sometimes, it's an explicit corporate program where every executive is supposed to mentor X number of people, and every person that's identified as high potential is supposed to have many mentors, and those can work great because they facilitate introductions. They kind of help all of us understand the importance of mentorship, but a lot of it has just been, for me, really organic for people, men and women, that I've worked with that have been willing to take the time. To say, "Hey, here's something to think about," or why don't you run that by me before you go through it with everybody else?


    How empathy empowers women to shape inclusive culture


    19:04: All of us need empathy. And I think as women, we can model that and hopefully help change the culture that allows everyone, no matter the space they come from, to be their whole selves and have an impact on the business. I just think there's a real opportunity for all of us to grow in that way, and that women can leave that in a lot of ways and help change the culture.


    How do you distinguish a great mentor?


    11:55: Great mentors give you time and understand the value of bringing new people into conversations and helping them find their place and their voice.


    On pressure testing your thinking 


    19:17: The more diversity you can get in a room to test ideas from different perspectives, whether that is finance testing this from their perspective, a person of color testing this from theirs, or a different gender testing this from theirs, whatever it is, the more testing we can do before we go to market. This is so important to the great running of a business, from my perspective, to great marketing and to helping your salespeople know how to go out and talk to folks. All of that is lifted by diversity of questioning and thought.


    Why are women's unique perspectives important in executive leadership?


    05:43: Women aren't all the same. Men aren't all the same. Humans aren't all the same. It's always hard when someone says, Well, women bring this, right? Because we all bring different things, but I do think that what we know from brain chemistry is that women do have the ability to look across kind of situation and see all of the dots and connect them in a really unique way, and to have empathy and understanding of where people are coming from, that is often something that women are good at. And then we just bring our own perspectives from where we are, whether we're moms or grandmothers or in marketing.


    Show Links:


    26m | Oct 26, 2023
  • S5E4: Fostering a Sense of Belonging at Work feat. Michelle Smith and Jennifer Robinson

    As we continue our season focusing on women in the workplace, today we want to examine some of the cultural and policy frameworks at play that put Utah so far down the national rankings when it comes to women’s equality and workplace experience. In a recent study published by Wallet Hub, Utah ranked as the worst state for women’s equality and was ranked 49th in workplace environment for women. So, what is going on, and how can we all work to make it better? 


    Here to help us understand the landscape for professional women in Utah and beyond are Michelle Smith and Jennifer Robinson. Michelle is the Chief People Officer for The Larry H. Miller Company and interim president for LHM Sports + Entertainment, and Jennifer is the Chief of Staff at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and oversees the institute’s communications, human resources, and finances.  


    Listen as these women join host Frances Johnson to talk about their experiences as women in the Utah workforce, how company cultures can perpetuate these challenges, fostering a sense of belonging in your company’s culture and learning to speak up when we need help or flexibility at work.


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    On creating workplaces that value diversity, work-life integration, and child care


    24:22: [Jennifer Robinson]: 23% of our population is a racial and ethnic minority. And that's just projected to continue to increase. We want to continue to create workplaces that create a culture of belonging for the workers. And we absolutely have to do that with the type of migration we're having and those population changes, those demographic changes that we're experiencing.The second thing is I want to keep the cultures growing in our businesses, governments, and nonprofits that value that integration of work and home life. It's very important, and we see how that changed, that pivoted during the pandemic. And that relates to flexibility in the workplace—flexible work hours, flexible work locations, those kinds of things. And then the last thing that's on my mind is really a concern for child care and the availability, affordability, and quality of child care in our communities. And I would love to see our business community lead out on this issue.


    The importance of creating a culture of belonging


    15:37: [Michelle Smith] If you're running out to a doctor's appointment with your aging parent, or if you're running out to a middle school volleyball game that starts at 3:15 in the afternoon, which is not convenient in any way, shape, or form but you can't have that again, right? You can't create those memories again. Then people understand that I'm not trying to be lazy or don't care about my job. I'm trying to integrate my life into the priority that I have and the commitment I have to my job to the people that I work with, and to the responsibilities that I have. And so it's so powerful when you can just have conversations, know who people are, and create a culture of belonging.


    Coping with change: A skill that benefits all areas of life


    22:58: [Jennifer Robinson] To be able to have the muscle to cope through change could be such a differentiator on how they enjoy work and the things they're able to accomplish. And I would say home or community, family, friends, or their other spaces in their lives. That is a skill set that absolutely translates.


    Fostering supportive work cultures for all


    12:38: [Jennifer Robinson] I would encourage any office to try to create a culture that does something at the individual level to help their employees, whether it's dealing with coming back from maternity leave or while their kids are in school, and you're trying to make sure you're doing all those things you want to do, like see your kids performances or get to your daughter's high school soccer game or as we have aging parents, a lot of us are stuck in what we call the "sandwich generation," where we have children at home and parents who are aging that need a lot of help. And those are not unique to women. I think they apply to men as well. And I would just love to see our culture changed to continue to allow more flexibility for working families individuals, whether they have children or not. But it turns out that the ability to be a user of language presupposes that you're also able to reflect on language.


    Show Links:

    30m | Oct 19, 2023
  • S5E3: Why it Matters to See People Who Look Like You Succeed feat. Heather Barbers

    This season, we are focusing on the experience of women in the workplace – particularly here in Utah. A recent study published by Wallet Hub ranked Utah last in the nation when it comes to income equality for women, 48th in women’s representation in executive leadership positions, and among the lowest when it comes to women’s educational attainment. 


    Female entrepreneurs face additional challenges, both in Utah and nationally. For example, nationwide, only 2% of venture capital goes to women-founded firms.


    Here to talk about the challenges and experiences of female entrepreneurs is Heather Barber. Heather is a highly-rated speaker and facilitator with 18+ years of experience as an entrepreneur, business owner, college professor, coach, and workshop leader. Her specialty is helping leaders amplify their authenticity and become better versions of themselves.


    Heather and host Frances Johnson discuss dealing with the networking that happens outside of the standard 9-5 office setting, the importance of having mentors that look like you, reverse mentoring, and being able to be your whole self at home as well as in the workplace.


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    The value of learning to say “NO”


    15:47: The single most valuable thing you can learn to do is say no. If this is what you want to do, be laser-focused, and you can be nice. You can be kind; you don't have to be a jerk about it. But say no if it doesn't fit within your exact parameter specification. Say no and politely decline, but be firm with your boundaries. And if you look at any business leaders, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, and all of these different people, they'll say no to 99% of anything you bring to them. Because they're laser-focused on (what I call) their top five goals. If it doesn't fit within these five things, it doesn't fit in their life.


    What is the role of empathy in a corporate culture?


    24:46: That’s one of the things that the Eccles School is focusing on is empathy, because you rarely hear that in any business situation at all. Usually, it's very black and white, and empathy is one of those soft skills that can be learned and taught, but it might not be in the workplace that it's learned and taught. It's a skill that needs to be acquired in other places.


    The power of women's representation in success


    12:58: Having someone that looks like you, acts like you, comes from the same background that you do, and is in a position where you want to be is invaluable.


    What is the role of empathy in a corporate culture?


    24:46: One of the things that the Eccles School is focusing on is empathy, because you rarely hear that in any business situation at all. Usually, it's very black and white, and empathy is one of those soft skills that can be learned and taught, but it might not be in the workplace that it's learned and taught. It's a skill that needs to be acquired in other places.


    Empowering young women with reverse mentoring


    18:43: Here's a little piece of advice to you, young, hungry women out there: Let's say you're 21 or 22. What are the things that you know how to do well? Social media, advertising, and marketing I mean, you have got this stuff down. Just put a little bug in your ear. What if you reverse-mentored the CEO of a company?


    Show Links:

    26m | Oct 12, 2023
  • S5E2: Develop a Stronger Voice, Not a Thicker Skin feat. Trina Celeste

    This season, we are focusing on the experience of women in the workplace – particularly here in Utah. A recent study published by Wallet Hub ranked Utah last in the nation when it comes to income equality for women, 48th in women’s representation in executive leadership positions, and among the lowest when it comes to women’s educational attainment. 


    For example, women hold less than a third of tech positions, and of the 50 largest tech companies in the world, only 2 have female CEOs. 


    Here to share her own experiences as a woman in the tech field is Trina Celeste. Trina is founder and CEO of RizeNext, a social good for-profit company focused on rising up the next level of diverse technologists and leaders. Trina also spearheaded the launch of the Tech Moms program and is educating and supporting the transition of women’s careers into the technology industry. 


    She joins host Frances Johnson to talk about the unique features of the tech world that make it a great space for women and moms to work, misconceptions about what working in tech is like, and working to become an empathetic leader.


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    We need to have a stronger voice, not a thicker skin


    11:33: We need to have a stronger voice, not a thicker skin. We need to start speaking up and saying this isn't okay, and I think we're getting to a climate. You had the Me Too movement, but it didn't create awareness. It's real, but what do we do about it? Get educated on the various forms of sexism, what they are, be able to identify them, and have some ready statements of ... The easiest one is to say, "Can you explain that to me?" If you're feeling it and having an emotional reaction, most likely it was a biased statement. So, how do I respond to that? How do I take it and go? "I'm not trying to be difficult, but that's not okay."


    On overcoming self-limitations to forge a better world


    07:42: What's missing in the world is that we're holding ourselves back from creating the greatest changes that could come and solve some of the world's biggest problems.


    On women’s growing role in the skilled workforce


    23:02: One of the things that's been coming up is that the enrollment of women in universities is higher than men. On average, nationally, only a few colleges don't have more female graduates than male. And the skilled workforce is shifting: women are entering into tech, and some of the work there isn't just tech moms. There's a lot of organizations helping create awareness here and shifting the narrative. 


    Show Links:

    26m | Oct 5, 2023
  • S5E1: Speaking Up for Safety in the Workplace feat. Amelia Stillwell

    This season, we are exploring the experience of women in the workplace. We are going to hear from a lot of powerhouse women in a lot of different industries, sharing their own challenges and their tips and advice for overcoming the roadblocks women often face in the workplace. 


    But today, we are going to zoom out a bit and talk about the workplace more generally. Joining Host Frances Johnson today is Amelia Stillwell, assistant professor of management at the David Eccles School of Business. Her research focuses on the norms and stereotypes that maintain group distinctions inequality. 


    Listen as they chat about her research related to voice in the workplace and how it influences inclusivity and psychological safety for marginalized groups. 


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.


    Episode Quotes:


    Amplifying diversity


    20:43: You can get more creativity and innovation if you have a culture that facilitates that open sharing where people feel like they'll be supported, even if they take a bit of a risk in making a new suggestion. But on the other hand, if it's not a culture that's conducive to that open sharing, those different points of view can create negative conflict, personal conflict between people that's more harmful than helpful.


    The importance of psychological safety in the workplace


    05:41: People have to feel that it's safe to take risks in their organization to put themselves out there. Otherwise, they're going to be less inclined to speak up because they're going to feel like that'll come back on me.


    Why you should call people in instead of calling them out


    05:41: What you often get when you publicly shame people is defensiveness. They don't even think twice. They're not thinking critically about the points you're making. It's kind of an emotional reaction to a perceived threat. Because no one wants to feel like a bad person, focusing on growth, being a good-ish person, the best you can each day, and improving each day is more effective as a call-in strategy for getting people to change their behavior going forward.


    Show Links:

    27m | Sep 28, 2023
  • Season 5 Trailer

    Season 5 of the Eccles Business Buzz podcast is just around the corner. This season, we are exploring the experiences of women in the workplace and how empathy is a key ingredient for creating companies and communities that are welcoming and inclusive to everyone. I'm your host, Frances Johnson.


    Join me to hear from women in the Eccles community about the challenges they have faced in their careers and what advice they have for women who are going through the same thing. We'll learn about how government and higher ed are teaming up to address Utah's last-place ranking for women's equality and hear why tech jobs are the perfect fit for moms in the workforce. We'll talk about voice in the workplace and why speaking out about discrimination against anyone helps everyone, and we'll hear what role the David Eccles School of Business is playing in preparing the next generation of female business leaders to succeed.


    The first episode of Season 5 drops on September 28th, with new episodes coming every Thursday. I know you won't want to miss a single one, so make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and invite a friend or fellow alum to listen with you, too. We can't wait for you to join us again. 


    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.

    1m | Sep 21, 2023
  • S4E8: The Impact of Inclusion that Goes Beyond Checking the Box feat. Simone Lawrence

    Welcome back to our final episode of Season Four!  Today we are wrapping up our discussion of impact, and looking ahead to the relationship between our confidence to make a positive impact and our ability to create safe, inclusive spaces and experiences for the people around us.  

    Here to talk about impact and inclusion is Simone Lawrence, manager of the IMPACT program at the David Eccles School of Business. IMPACT is a partnership between the Eccles School and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to bring these students to the U for the summer. The goal of the program is to expose participants to new experiences and show them the difference they can make in places they didn’t expect.  

    Simone joins host Frances Johnson to talk about having a real opportunity yo make a difference during her internship with PluralSight, her hopes for the IMPACT program as Manager, navigating Utah as a person of color, and working with companies to implement meaningful DEI initiatives.

    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    Failure makes us see what we can do better

    [21:50] I know everyone's afraid to fail, but that's part of life. If you don't fail and see the areas that you messed up in, how do you know how you can do better?

    The impact of community building

    [28:32] I think building that community, learning what you like and don't like, having the opportunity to experience new things and expand from someone who cares about you and just being that person that I can impact other people has made an impact on my life. 

    When it comes to diversity, it’s not the lack of information; it’s the lack of access.

    [27:07] A lot of times, people want diversity just because, right now, that's the cool thing to do. So, you don't really know too much about it. You just know, everyone has a DEI, EDI, or whichever variation of equity, diversity, and inclusion that you have. And one thing is there's not a lack of information out there. It's just a lack of people having access to it. I always consider myself a liaison between people and information.

    Show Links:

    32m | Jul 6, 2023
  • S4E7: The Way You Define the Problem Will Define the Solution feat. Brian Pham

    This season we are talking all about impact – the people and experiences that have impacted us, the ways we are impacting others, and what we can all do to build confidence in our ability to make a difference. 

    Our guest today is Eccles alum Brian Pham, who is here to talk about his experience at the Goff Strategic Leadership Center and how his time as a Goff Scholar prepared him to be an impactful leader after graduation.

    Brian graduated from the Eccles School in 2022 with a degree in marketing and became a minor celebrity as the student speaker at his commencement ceremony. During his time at the Eccles School, Brian served as the Executive Director of Out For Business, an LGBTQ+ student organization that aims to increase inclusivity and representation within the broader business community. He also served as SEO lead at Sorenson Impact Center, where he led a website design project for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was part of the Goff Scholars program. 

    Brian and host Frances Johnson cover a lot in this episode, starting with why it seems like Brian’s generation is really interested in impact-oriented work and making a difference. They also discuss getting encouragement from Eccles professors to think outside the box, advocating for better LGBTQ+ workplace rights & protections, and struggling to overcome imposter syndrome and a lack of confidence.

    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    The impact of micro-relationships

    [01:32] When I think of impact, I think of it mostly in the context of impact in relation to others rather than impact on the world. Personally, I prioritize impact on other people and/or recognizing how they impact me as well. It's those little micro-relationships that, I think, really make up your entire life. 

    The goal of Out for Business

    [24:56] Our goal isn't to be able to change everything. We recognize that, but it's that small impact we have. If we can change the opinion of three people who are classmates, I consider that success.

    On learning to ask the right ask questions

    [18:44] If you don't ask the right question, then you'll be solving completely different problems. the wrong problems, right? I've carried that principle everywhere, not just in my work but also in my life. Making sure that you're asking the right questions every step of the way changes how you view the world, work, problem-solving, and the broader scheme.

    Show Links:

    34m | Jun 22, 2023
  • S4E6: The Impact of Inclusion in the Beauty Industry feat. Yasmin Khan

    This season we are talking all about impact – the people and experiences that have impacted us, the ways we are impacting others, and what we can all do to build confidence in our ability to make a difference. 

    In this episode, we are joined by Yasmin Khan, a graduate of the Master of Business Creation program at the David Eccles School of Business, and founder and CEO of Khalm Skincare. Yasmin also provides mentorship and scholarship funding to young women pursuing their college degrees through the Women Who Succeed program.

    Yasmin and host Frances Johnson talk about finding the confidence to dive in fully to your goals and ideas, the value and impact of being a part of the MBC program at Eccles Business School, and getting cozy with failure.

    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes: 

    On the impact of inclusion

    [06:47] I think that impact of inclusion in the beauty space is super important right now. And, so when a young girl sees something, sees someone that looks like her creating something that she can use, that harks back to her history, her traditions, and her heritage, it's impactful on that woman because that woman will then go on to university, will go on to being an entrepreneur, or will go on to being a successful member of the community.

    Why failing is magical

    [16:22] We all fail, and we learn from those. In fact, failing is magical, and I tell them that all the time because you're going to learn how to ski, you're going to fall, but then you're going to get back up again, and that's what's most impactful for you as young women, that you tried something and you got to a certain point, and it grew you.

    Khalm is more than just a skincare brand

    [07:55] Khalm is connecting you back to those old traditions that really are more impactful today than ever before.

    Confidence in the face of failure

    [10:39] You may fail or you may succeed, but it leverages another opportunity and increases your confidence along the way. Just grab the opportunities and go for it.

    Show Links:

    27m | Jun 8, 2023
  • S4E5: New NIL Rules Open New Doors for Student Athletes to Make an Impact feat. Gavin Van Wagoner

    This season we are talking all about impact – the people and experiences that have impacted us, the ways we are impacting others, and what we can all do to build confidence in our ability to make a difference. 

    Today we are exploring some new and exciting opportunities student athletes, in particular, have to make a positive impact for themselves and for others in their communities. 

    Here with us is Gavin Van Wagoner, Assistant Athletics Director for Name, Image, and Likeness – also known as NIL – and major gifts for Utah Athletics. His responsibilities include helping equip student athletes with a comprehensive toolbox to make the most of their name, image, and likeness ideas.

    Gavin and host Frances Johnson dive into all the new NIL regulations, what that means for our student athletes, and how this extra income and business opportunity can make an impact on the communities supporting our students as well. 

    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    Student-athletes look for schools that meet their needs

    10:34: One of the things that is important to remember is a student-athlete picks a school because of multiple factors, whether that's the program's wins, they love the coaches, and obviously, we have great coaches. The facilities are really great, and we love this. And then the education, which is, you're a student athlete, you're here to get an education, and Utah provides a great education. So those four factors, probably prior to NIL being a thing, were weighed.

    The ripple effect of impact

    [30:37] I think these student-athletes look up to their peers, NIL and business, in general. There's probably some copycat strategies, like Oh, she did this, and I want to use my brand to go create this, as inspiration in a good way. They're probably going to do great things no matter what, in my opinion. But this gives them that early advantage.

    How the NIL is changing the game for student-athletes

    [25:09]: Some might say, "Well, the money that would've gone to the department is now going to student-athletes." We love it. They're creating their own opportunities to make that money. So a deal happens, and that money is going directly to the student-athlete. And we've found that to just be additive in the process because it changes the dynamics all of a sudden.

    Show Links:

    33m | May 25, 2023
  • S4E4: Creating a Legacy of Impact by Thinking Bigger feat. Brenda & Morgan Williams

    This season we are talking all about impact – the people and experiences that have impacted us, the ways we are impacting others, and what we can all do to build confidence in our ability to make a difference. 

    We are so grateful to be joined by mother/daughter duo Brenda and Morgan Williams. Brenda and Morgan established the Cameron Russell Williams Legacy Scholarship at the Eccles School, in honor of their son and twin brother, who passed away from a brain tumor in June 2021 at the age of 33. 

    Cameron made a massive impact in his short lifetime, emerging as a star and innovator at Goldman Sachs and Utah tech firm Domo and starting his own transportation logistics company, EverWoke. 

    A civic leader and advocate for underrepresented communities, Cameron also served as Chair of the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce and as an advisory board member of the Young Professionals of Salt Lake City and Utah Chapters of the National Association of Black Accountants and National Society of Black Engineers.

    In this episode, both Brenda and Morgan join host Frances Johnson to share their favorite memories of Cameron, how they continue to honor his personal and professional legacy, and what it means to carry on his memory throughout Utah. 

    Eccles Business Buzz is a production of the David Eccles School of Business and is produced by University fm.

    Episode Quotes:

    The courage to move forward despite the fears

    [19:53] Morgan Williams: Entrepreneurship, just as a role, is scary. I made a decision on my own that I was going to figure this out. That's scary. Everyone said, "Morgan, you don't have to do this." "Morgan, do you even know how to do this?" Regardless of all the fears, I decided to move forward anyway. And to me, that's a part of the confidence needed as an entrepreneur and a sister carrying on a brother's legacy.

    The impact you made is measured by the lives you’ve touched

    [26:52] Brenda Williams: At the end of the day, when you are no longer here on this planet, the impact you make is measured by the people that you have touched and the things that they continue to do. And that is how we, as a family, look at Cameron's very short life.

    On writing your own story

    [24:49] Morgan Williams: It is not always about creating the next new big thing, but it is about deciding what story you want, writing that story. And if you need a little plot twist here and there, go ahead and do it. And then make sure you share it so others can be inspired by it as well and change possibly their story as well.

    On Cameron’s desire for impact

    [06:16] Brenda Williams: Cameron's desire for impact is something that is part of the value system of this family. We have a saying in our family: Never stop thinking. Always look for new ways to do things. No is just a statement. It's not necessarily the answer. And so there may be another way to look at and do things. And from the time they were little children, that is what they were taught.

    Show Links:

    31m | May 11, 2023
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