2011 Women"s Conference
Where the crowd met 'the girl who was butted by goats," and a speaker who said life is too short for one hair color
It is a long way in time and space from being a schoolgirl in rural New Hampshire to the presidency of Salt Lake Community College. But given the tools of education and the guidance of mentors, Cynthia Bioteau went the distance.
In her remarks as keynote speaker at the 32nd Annual Southeastern Utah Women"s Conference Friday, Bioteau recalled the dreams, challenges and victories along the way.
Early on in her speech, she quipped that she might be known as "The Girl Who Was Butted by Goats,"referring to the best-selling novels by the late Stieg Larsson that all began with "The Girl Who..."
She decided on a career in education early on, specializing in special education and mental health counseling. Bioteau said her devotion to education is prompted by her deep belief that, "Every student, regardless of ability or disability, deserves and individual education plan."
With the proper education, she added, "minds become creative problem-solving tools."
Her own education provided the foundation for her career, but it was the advice and encouragement of mentors she met as she advanced.
Bioteau told the audience that her mentors built her confidence in her abilities as she moved from coordinator of disabled students at a community college, earned her Ph.D. at age 49 while working full time and became vice president for academic affairs at a North Carolina college before winning the top job at Salt Lake Community College.
Bioteau declared that it is time to dispel the myth that "women are women"s worst enemies"in the job market. Perhaps it was that way when opportunities were scarce, but now that opportunities have blossomed, women can help each other to advance.
"Pledge to help one other woman to achieve the next step,"she urged.
At the end of the session, closing keynoter Connie Sokol insisted - in a rapid fire pace - that women ought not to be afraid to "be your bold self."
When it comes to exploring new possibilities, she stated, "Try new things. Go ahead and make a fool of yourself. It gets easier."
Sokol, who is president of LIFEChange, an online coaching program for women, shared some ideas on finding fulfillment.
First is to get some sense of direction by asking, "What do I want from my life?"From there the process moves to brainstorming what one would consider an ideal day. It helps to write these things down, she advised, even to the point of creating an illustrated "life board"with all the ideas and goals defined.
"Lose perfection,"she stressed. "You don"t have to be wound so tight"in expecting to be perfect at all atempts. It"s enough just to see some gradual progress, being better now that six months ago.
"Enjoy the process,"she told her listeners.
Between the keynote addresses, conferees attended a range of breakout sessions that focused on topics of interest.
Dr. Karen Radley spoke of the use of botox and dermal fillers in anti-aging; Shanny Wilson"s topic was living a gluten-free diet, while Jeanette Parker spoke of "Death by Chocolate."
Canning was the subject of Caleen Marsing, while Jann Guptill talked about quilting. Nathaniel and Wayne Woodward discussed sleep disorders.
Rep. Christine Watkins and Emery County Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth told their audience about politics in general and women in politics in particular.
Christian Bryner offered advice on wills and trusts, while Pam Cha demonstrated making Greek baklava.
Hillary Gordon spent an hour teaching how to grow an organic herbal garden, and told of the advantages.