Celebrating Utah Women | Part 4
As a business with many successful, talented and motivated women, Mountain West Cider will be celebrating the power of Utah’s women leaders throughout the month. We will feature successful Utah women who have risen up, and have made a real difference in their fields and in their communities. This is the last part in our series, and we are so grateful we’ve been able to talk with and promote these amazing women. THANK YOU!
Jacquie King Wright — Head Brewer, Roosters Brewing Co.
Growing up, Jacquie always though she’d be a veterinarian. It wasn’t until about 2013, that Jacquie got serious about brewing, however. She wanted a career that she was passionate about, and something that she could dedicate her life to. After about 2 years of research and financial planning, she dove headfirst into the brewing industry. Jacquie still is unwavering in her love for and connection with animals though. Growing up volunteering in shelters, and interning at vet clinics, she will also have that special place in her world for all kinds of animals.
Regarding female leadership, Jacquie feels like the largest barrier is the overarching opinion that we are the fairer sex. “It’s the fact that men still think they either have to protect us, melded with the thought process that we tend to be emotional and react, rather than plan. All the women I know are better at multitasking, planning and rationalizing than the men I know. This makes us natural leaders,” she says. In the Utah Craft Beer Industry, Jacquie says it’s been much easier to rise to a leadership role, than it would have been in other industries, however. And quite possibly, in this industry outside of Utah.
So many women inspire Jacquie, including some of the women featured in this very post! Jamie Burnham, Lauren Lerch, Jenni Shafer, as well as Jennifer Carleton and Laci Brown of Mountain West Cider. Also, “My mother, because she raised me to be a strong woman,” Jacquie says.
The best decision she’s made has to jump into the brewing industry. “I’ll never regret the fact that I took a chance and followed my dreams. Though my biggest regret is that I waited so long to do it,” she says.
A funny and slightly ironic fact about Jacquie is that she went to college on a full ride ROTC scholarship. Anyone who knows her, will say she’s a bleeding heart liberal, environmental activist, and a dirty hippie. She only spent 2 years doing ROTC before she figured out it “definitely wasn’t for her.”
Jamie Burnham — Kiitos Brewing
“We used to run the Green River a lot when I was a kid,” says Jamie Burnham of Kiitos Brewing. She says all those trips made her dream of becoming a park ranger. Though that didn’t end up happening, we can see her adventurous spirit and dedication to whatever comes in her path.
After getting a degree in criminal justice and law enforcement, Jamie became a probation officer. Realizing that she hated being a probation officer and that it wasn’t for her, Jamie stepped out of her comfort zone, put her feelers out and landed a new job at The Beer Nut. Lucky for her, owners Mark and Kileen Alston needed a new manager, and Jamie ended up working for them for the next 12 years.
During her time at The Beer Nut, Jamie says it was really the first time she experienced any kind of sexism in the work place, even after digging in to learn about the beer and wine-making process. “Once I could prove myself, most customers didn’t see me as just the girl who worked at the shop but someone who held a significant amount of knowledge and that I was there to help. But of course there were always a handful of guys that would walk pass me to get advice from the boys that work there, because why would a woman know anything about beer? It put a bee in my bonnet, I continued to ‘prove myself’ and then I moved on,” she says.
Jamie is greatly inspired by her mom. “She raised me to be strong and independent. She has this ability to see the positive in every situation. And talk about a pulling yourself up by your bootstraps kind of person. She was a single parent for a long time when I was little and she worked graveyard shifts and went back to school to improve her skills and life. I also greatly admire the women in the brewing industry brewing the beer, getting dirty, and slinging hoses,” she says.
One of the best decisions Jamie has made is learning how to homebrew, and she continues to learn about the brewing process. It has led her to getting great jobs in the industry, and has opened up so many opportunities.
Something interesting about Jamie? She is an only child, but has 8 siblings! Jamie says,”Haha, I am the only child from my mother and father, they divorced and remarried people with kids from previous relationships, and then had more kids. Feel like you need a flow chart to follow?”
Lauren Lerch & Jenni Shafer — Crafty Beer Girls
Meet the famous duo of the beer world, the Crafty Beer Girls! Lauren Lerch and Jenni Shafer. After meeting over coffee to discuss the idea of a new blog, Lauren and Jenni decided to put their ideas and opinions forward in the craft beer industry and haven’t looked back for 2 years now.
Jenni says, “Meeting Lauren was what made me feel comfortable enough to do it. On one hand, she was so knowledgeable about beer that it was a bit intimidating. I knew more than the average person, but compared to her and others in the beer community I’ve met since, I had so much to learn. On the other hand, Lauren has always encouraged me to not doubt myself. She’s been a great support and source of information. We check each other’s work so that what ends up on the blog is as good as it can be. We’re a great team!”
Lauren had been writing occasional pieces for the Red Rock Brewing blog, and some on her own personal blog. She felt confident that they could really make a splash with some fun content. Lauren and Jenni continue to grow, and continue to write informative and great content on Crafty Beer Girls.
Lauren and Jenni Answer Questions
What woman inspires you and why?
Jenni: I am so inspired by strong women everywhere who do amazing things no matter how difficult. There are so many throughout history who have paved the way for all of us and broken the barriers that have long held women back from reaching their full potentials. I’m glad to be able to reap the benefits, but I know there is still a long ways to go. Recently, I was really inspired by the female athlete from the Czech Republic, Ester Ledecka, who just won gold at the Olympics in both skiing and snowboarding. She’s an amazing snowboarder, but she wasn’t expected to win in skiing. She beat Lindsey Vonn in the super-G event and shocked everyone, including herself! Nobody is supposed to be able to win gold in two different sports. It’s so hard to be able to compete at a world level in just one sport! As someone who does both skiing and snowboarding, I know how much time goes into learning and perfecting each sport. I’m blown away by what she did! The media was saying how she was the “first woman to win gold in two different sports at the same Olympics”, but she wasn’t just the first woman. She was the first person!
Lauren: My sisters in the Pink Boots Society are all incredibly inspiring. Their kindness, willingness to share information for the common good, and demand for growth in their careers is enough for me to make sure I’m not becoming stagnant in my education and professional progression.
How would you, or do you, measure success in your industry?
Lauren: I measure success in the brewing industry on a personal level, which is obviously different for each person. If your goal is to be on the packaging line, insuring product is properly bottled or canned every single day, then that’s your image of success. If you set a goal for yourself and you make progress toward achieving it, then you’re successful.
Jenni: Being able to make a living is a pretty good measure of success. But, more than money, it’s important to love your work. If you feel challenged and fulfilled by it, you’re going to be better off than someone making a lot of money in a job they hate. No matter how much you love it, work does wear on you. You get burned out. But, if you find something that inspires you, I think you’re going to be happier in the long run.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership? In general, and in the brewing industry?
Jenni: Despite all of our progress, many still assume that women aren’t as capable as men in certain ways. We’re seen as more emotional, which can be viewed as less stable. Lots of men still have a hard time viewing us as equals rather than a potential date or accessory to them. In this new environment where men are being called out for sexual harassment, I worry that they will resort to distancing themselves from female colleagues and avoid engaging with them for fear they might say or do something wrong. This could be detrimental to a woman’s career. At this point, most women are pretty accustomed to fulfilling many rolls in life. We know how to compartmentalize things. Our emotional strength makes us more capable of empathy which could be a valuable asset in the professional world. Men could learn a thing or two from us! The the hyper-masculinity of the beer industry makes it especially challenging for women. I don’t work in a brewery, but I did work in a kitchen for many years and I think it’s probably similar. As a woman, you have to be one of the guys. You have to grow a thick skin and be a bit of a hard ass. Any signs of weakness are preyed upon. If you can display a ton of confidence and be assertive, you’ll go further. That sort of thing doesn’t come naturally to all women. But, more and more, we have examples of strong women to look up to. The next generation will be different, I hope.
Lauren: Mash the Patriarchy! That’s a reference to the Utah Pink Boots Collaboration Brew, and also to the societal system that places males firmly in power over groups and organizations. Please note: this is not an attack on men themselves, but on the system that empowers them over women regardless of ability. I have worked with many men that respect me as an equal, but I have experienced many more disregard my ability based on the fact that I don’t have a beard or a dick.
What tips would you give to those who want to be part of the brewing community?
Lauren: No one is going to spoon feed you. If you want something – a foot in the door, a job, a raise, or any sort of experience – you’ve got to want it and you’ve got to work for it. Expect to get your hands dirty, and also expect that you’ll get where you want to go with the right attitude. Remain positive, network often, and treat everyone like an honored guest.
Jenni: Put aside your fears and inhibitions and just jump into it wherever you can. People in the brewing community are pretty welcoming and willing to support one another. Women especially stick together. Join the Hop Bombshells Homebrew Club and the Pink Boots Society. You’ll find plenty of women to be inspired by and get advice and feedback from. There are more and more women in the brewing industry. Soon, it won’t be a boys club.
Can you tell us something about yourself, that’s unexpected or funny?
Jenni: I hate peanut butter. Won’t touch the stuff, unless it’s in beer. I’m also afraid of fish. I eat them, but they creep me out. I don’t want to be in the water with them and I don’t want the head, fins, tale, or skin visible when it’s on my plate. My husband made me scream in a restaurant on our honeymoon when I accidentally ordered a whole trout. He snuck his finger under it and made it move. Luckily, I didn’t jump up on the chair too!
Lauren: I was 5 years old when my sister was born. My grandparents brought my brother and I to the hospital to meet her for the first time shortly after her birth. My mom got me this pretty pink dress that I was so excited to wear as a new big sister. I sat on the couch in the visiting room, and they placed her in my lap. I was enamored until she decided to throw up on my new dress. I threw her on the ground like a hot potato and yelled, “DID SHE GET ANY ON ME?”. The room gasped. I realized what I had done, and cried into the back of my Dad’s pants for the rest of the visit. She was fine, but she’ll forever blame me for any of her shortcomings. Love you, Becca! <3
Where do you see yourselves in the next 10 years?
Lauren: I’ll be a U of U graduate with a BS in Biology (Biochemistry Emphasis), a Siebel (or UC Davis… or Heriot-Watt) graduate with a certificate and/or masters in brewing, happily employed as a brewer at an awesome brewery, a judge at the Great American Beer Festival, and maybe I’ll try my hand at writing a book. I’ll be 40 in 10 years. Now is not the time to dawdle.
Jenni: That’s a good question. I just turned 40, and I’ve been doing massage for over 17 years now. My body isn’t letting me do as much as it used to. I love the work, but I know that I may need to shift careers at some point. Writing for Crafty Beer Girls and getting involved in the beer industry has made me think about going more in that direction. The more I learn about beer, the more I love it! I’ve also enjoyed the writing side of things. If it would pay the bills, I’d love to travel and write about beer, food, and outdoor sports. My husband is an outdoor photographer and a writer as well. Maybe we could collaborate!
Rebecca Chavez-Houck — Utah State House Representative
As a kid, Rebecca was all over the map with what she wanted to do. She had an interest in science, and wanted to go into the medical field, but a bad grade in high school chemistry curbed her notion of that. She was actively involved in her school’s debate and drama programs however, and thought she’d pursue a career in musical theater. “The likelihood of future success there concerned me a bit, so I finally landed on studying journalism in college,” she said.
Through the natural process of career decisions, Rebecca found herself garnering a position in the Student Senate at the University of Utah. Her second job after graduation was a public relations assistant for the Utah Public Employees’ Association, and that really piqued her interest. It wasn’t until she began really helping others with their campaigns that she realized running for the state legislature in particular, was something she wanted to do.
For Rebecca, the best decision she’s made was to use birth control. “I’ve seen so many promising opportunities for other young women derailed or inhibited because of an unplanned pregnancy or a rash decision to marry early. I believe that by controlling my fertility, I was able to take advantage of educational and career opportunities that I simply couldn’t have afforded if I had gotten pregnant young. Having that flexibility, as well as a very supportive spouse and mother (who helped me with my kids when they were little) allowed me to do so many things that situated me well for my career,” she says.
As with so many young women, Rebecca was inspired by her mother growing up. “She worked hard to afford me opportunities that set me on my life’s path. Her wise counsel and exemplary model as a parent helped me to be the person I am today,” says Rebecca. There are also so many other women who have inspired her path such as Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, as well as former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Rebecca’s advice for being an effective public leader is simple. “Be open to considering various solutions to problems and concerns. Don’t think you’re the only one with the right answer. Active listening is very important to being an effective public leader. Remember that leaders aren’t always the persons out front, they are often the ones pushing others forward to succeed and to initiate action.”
Something you might not know about Representative Chavez-Houck? She really loved performing in musical theater when she was young, even though she considers herself an introvert. She also grew up on a farm!
Tamara Goetz — Executive Director, Utah STEM Action Center
Although the inner kid in Tami wants to be a talk show host, she truly excels at teaching others. Her dream job growing up was to be an archaeologist, so clearly Tami had a passion for learning and the sciences very early on.
Pinpointing a moment in high school, Tami remembers the time when she fell in love with science. “I had the assistant football coach, Mr. Kemp, as my state government teacher in high school. There were two categories of students in that classroom: the non-athletes who sat in the corner, bored and doing nothing OR the athletes that just hung out with Mr. Kemp or got passes out of class. I definitely was not going to sit in the corner. So I got in good with Mr. Kemp and got passes out of class every day to go smoke behind the gym with friends. The biology teacher, Mr. Claussen, caught me and literally grabbed my ear and took me to the principal’s office. He told me that I could either get a week-long suspension or agree to be his TA in biology and chemistry. That moment changed my life forever.”
Now directing the STEM Action Center, Utah’s leader in promoting science, technology, engineering and math, Tami leads with charisma and passion. “It’s pretty much the best job in the world. I love working with such great friends and colleagues in the Center, in school districts and schools, companies, universities and colleges, museums and other really great organizations,” she says.
As a woman leader in the STEM field, Tami feels the biggest barrier to female leadership is a lack of mentorship at an early age. Tami says, “there’s a failure to address the misconceptions that young girls have about being in leadership and STEM careers.”
Finding inspiration with first woman Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Tami works hard to emulate her resilience throughout life. She truly admires Justice O’Connor’s grace while dealing with the heartbreaking hardship of O’ Connor’s husband’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. “For anyone who does not know her story, her [O’Connor] husband met another woman and fell in love with her. His memory failing to remember he was married to Sandra. Sandra responded by befriending his new wife and accepting both of them into her life in this capacity,” Tami recounts.
Always dealing with being on the shorter side, Tami laughs as she remembers a time when she was on a backpacking trip in Southern Utah. “I was going down the Paria Canyon in southern Utah with a friend. It was a week-long trip with a friend and our packs were fairly substantial in size. When we met up at the ranger’s station at the end of the hike, near the San Juan River. One of the rangers insisted on taking a picture of me because he could not get over how big my pack was, on such a short person. THEN he launched into telling me that I could qualify for a midget identification card that would give me so many great benefits. Yep. So much for feeling empowered after a hefty, week-long backpacking trip!”
Unfortunately tonight we are FULL, if you haven’t already reserved a spot. However, please keep an eye out for more amazing women in Utah, and we’d love to see these women at the cidery! Please feel free to swing by and introduce yourself in the coming weeks. Cheers!
A Cider Toast For Utah’s Women!
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
5:30-7:30pm | Mountain West Cider
425 N. 400 W., Salt Lake City, UT
5:30-6:00pm — Arrive & Mingle
Cider Tastings, Ruby Hard Cider, Mountain West Cider
Beer Tastings, Mash The Patriarchy! Roosters Brewing Co.
Raclette Machine will have delicious cheese eats available for purchase
6:00-6:15pm — Welcome & A Cider Toast
Jennifer Carelton, Mountain West Cider
Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Utah State House Representative
6:15-7:30pm — Networking & Reconnecting
*Please note that cider purchases will only be available until 7:00pm*