What to expect as the McAdams bus heads to Washington, D.C.

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I remember the first time I heard about a guy named Ben McAdams. I was employed by the Salt Lake Chamber and working closely with Mayor-elect Ralph Becker on his transition team. The mayor-elect told me of his intent to bring on a sharp young attorney to oversee government relations for his administration. The new senior staffer was a Columbia law graduate who was leaving a lucrative position at a corporate law firm to enlist in public service. I took note and looked forward to meeting him.

In the years since, I’ve taken note many more times as McAdams has achieved significant public policy and political success in the Beehive State. As a senior staffer with Salt Lake City, he helped downtown Salt Lake City reinvent itself, as a legislator he fought for and achieved bipartisan victories on issues such as high-quality pre-kindergarten, and as a county mayor he helped create homeless resource centers and a plan for a convention-headquarters hotel. These are just a few of his noteworthy accomplishments in public service.

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Tech vs. Coal. How Can Our State Share the Wealth?

Originally published in Utah Business.

Utah’s Carbon and Emery counties possess immense beauty between the slot canyons of the San Rafael Swell, the rock art in Nine Mile Canyon, beautiful pasturelands, and a historic rail town. However, beautiful scenery isn’t all these counties have to offer; the regions also possess vast coal reserves and a rich history of coal mining.

More than half of Utah’s coal production occurs in these two counties, but production has declined by 47 percent since its peak in 2001. In fact, the area suffers from a near decade-long recession and is now among the most economically disadvantaged regions in the state.

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Don’t Let The Bozos Grind You Down

Originally published in Utah Business.

We’ve all experienced it: a boss, a coworker, a friend, a family member, or some other person who grinds you down. They use their negative energy to thwart, hurt, offend, or stand in the way of your peace and progress. In extreme cases, you may even struggle to pick up the pieces and stand your ground.

Many names exist for these types of people. In a work setting, it may be a control freak, a jealous coworker, or a power monger. In a family setting, it may be a sibling or uncle who always says something critical or tries to manipulate you. Among friends, it may be the person who never pays back a debt, always seems to criticize, or lets their jealousy or insecurities derail or detract from a healthy relationship. In some (extreme) cases, it can be a full-blown narcissist who targets you, someone who has an exaggerated sense of importance and an inability to recognize your needs and feelings.

I’m fond of a saying coined by Silicon Valley marketing expert and author Guy Kawasaki. Writing to entrepreneurs he coined the phrase, “Don’t let the bozos grind you down.” Mr. Kawasaki’s message was directed towards business startups, but I like to apply the phrase to everyday life. Too often we let people who don’t have our best interests at heart bring us down. I call these people “bozos.”

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Invest in people and support Question 1

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The same thought runs through my mind every time I see a homeless person in downtown Salt Lake City, on a street corner or at the side of a freeway exit. This person was once a child just like my son or daughter. He or she had their life and all their hopes and dreams ahead of them. Somewhere along the way, something went terribly wrong. Through a complicated mix of bad luck, family breakdown, mental illness, substance abuse, incorrect choices and public policies, this once innocent and beautiful child is left with a shopping cart, a tarp, a cardboard sign and visible despair.

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Lessons learned from Utah’s mighty five college presidents

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I spent last week in Washington, D.C., and witnessed the dumpster fire that is the Supreme Court confirmation process. As a U.S. citizen, Utahn and woman, I welcomed the chance to return to the Beehive State where civility still means something, and reasonable people can disagree, while still building a great community together.

My enthusiasm deepened this week as I had the opportunity to moderate a panel of Utah’s new mighty five — the female college presidents in Utah. Their leadership inspires me and stands in stark contrast to the venomous and divisive leadership we see in our nation’s capital. I think we can learn a lot from Utah’s remarkable female college presidents.

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When to Persevere & When to Quit

Originally published in Utah Business.

Several years ago, I came across a little book that changed the way I view challenges in life. It helped me evaluate when I need to press forward and when I need to quit. This concept has all sorts of applications to life, business, and economic success.

The book is called The Dipwritten by entrepreneur and marketing guru, Seth Godin. Throughout his career,  Mr. Godin has written 18 best-selling books, founded a company that was acquired by Yahoo!, authors a blog with over a million readers, and was recently inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.
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Trump’s economy is on a sugar high

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Donald Trump’s style and tone, but his policies are getting the job done. After all, look at how well the economy is doing.” They go on to elaborate on the U.S. economy’s impressive performance as proof positive that it’s OK to turn a blind eye to the problems with the current administration, such as the fanning of trade wars, reckless diplomacy with Russia and North Korea and the divisiveness of each new presidential tweet.

There’s a term for this in politics. It’s called “political expediency.” It means making a political choice based on short-term benefits, even if long-term outcomes may be at risk. Purveyors of political expedience take the gamble. Continue reading Trump’s economy is on a sugar high

Look for candidates who possess policy humility

Originally published in the Deseret News.

As fall approaches, you can feel election season right around the corner. Mailboxes fill with political mailers, yard signs multiply, candidates knock on doors and news stories intensify. In the approximately 12 weeks until Election Day, I encourage voters to listen to and watch the behavior of candidates. Look for words and actions that reflect something I call policy humility. If she or he has it, consider voting for that candidate. We need more humble wisdom and less contention in the public square.

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Yes, You Can Be A Supreme Court Justice & Have Six Kids

Originally submitted to Utah Business.

I watched with interest as President Donald Trump made his most recent Supreme Court selection. One of the finalists, federal appellate judge Amy Barrett, made the short list. In news stories covering Barrett, the media frequently cited her role as the mother of seven children. I don’t recall any of the news stories referencing the number of children of the male candidates.

What’s going on here?

The answer is simple. In most families, women fulfill the dominant parenting responsibility. When a woman also manages to achieve career success, it’s worth noting both roles.

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Writings and Reflections