Why the Provo Girls Summit is Creating the Next Generation of Female Leaders

Tanei Atagi Henry is the founder of the nonprofit Introducing Tomorrow, whose headlining event is Provo Girls Summit. Informed by her experiences teaching high school English, and serving as the Director of Logistics with Braid Workshop, she moved into the nonprofit realm to fill a need she saw in the community. 

March 2020 will be the fourth year of Provo Girls Summit, a career exploration event for girls ages 8-12. Throughout those years, over 750 girls have been introduced to 80+ women professionals--ranging from CEOs to planetary scientists and mechanical engineers to graphic designers and software engineers to violists and fine artists. 

At home Tanei is the mother of four children, and informal business consultant to her husband, Jed. She also is a part-time content creator for The RBL Group. 

Tell us about the Provo Girls Summit?

Provo Girls Summit is a career exploration event for girls ages 8-12. It looks like a career fair, but the key differences are that each booth is hosted by a professional woman and the audience members are girls ages 8-12. Our goal is to introduce girls to women in professions and provide a place where they can converse and exchange ideas, which enables girls to get a grasp on the breadth of professional options available to them. Our tagline is "If she can see it, she can be it." While we believe that figurative vision is incredibly powerful, we recognize that we can provide literal visions of women in various roles in which girls in the community can look towards as examples.

How can someone get involved with the Provo Girls Summit?

We are currently looking for sponsors and would love to send you and your company our presentation! Additionally, we have some nomination forms that will be up on our website for anyone who know stand-out women who might host a booth. And our organization is powered by volunteers, so feel free to email provogirlssummit@gmail.com and follow us on Instagram and Facebook @provogirlssummit.

Where do you see the Provo Girls Summit in 3-5 years?

We have big ideas!

What are some of the issues that face women here in UT that we can work on changing for the younger generations?

First of all, women in Utah are incredible. At Provo Girls Summit, we've had over 80 women host booths and the majority of them represent STEM fields - cardiologist, animation, mechanical engineers, astronomer, planetary scientist, accountant, and beyond. Additionally, we've had several entrepreneurs, artists, performers and various other women professionals. It has been my honor to interact with them, as well as the girls and the caregivers who bring the girls out.

Utah women do deal with a number of challenges due to a number of things, and while we can all - all genders and identities - do more to find solutions to issues women are facing, I'd like to talk about the women who are finding solutions right now. Susan Madsen and Robbyn Scribner at UVU's Utah Women and Leadership Project are asking hard questions and doing the research to help understand where Utah women are right now and ways every one of us can improve the lives of the women and girls in our state. Page Checketts, founder and executive director at Utah Child Care Cooperative, and her team are working hard to connect businesses with child care solutions which highly impacts women. Allison Lew and Kassidi Henrie are empowering women at every level of business through Braid Workshop. The Women's Business Network through the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce with Amy Magleby, Nancy Mickiewicz, and other incredible women, are continuing to lay the path for women interested in business in various ways, but specifically through their scholarship offerings. Sara Jones and Sui Lang Panoke are making huge impacts for women and men of color with their work at InclusionPro. Again, Sara Jones and Cyd Tetro and their team at Women Tech Council never rest in their drive to ensure girls and women are supported in their interest in tech careers. Not to mention all of the women entrepreneurs who are lifting in their own areas as well - Jenny Wecker, Amy Stellhorn, Ali Hyneck, Susan Petersen, Mallory Stevens.

I think the message for younger generations is: If you find something you are passionate about building, get out and build it! None of these people were born with the intelligence or the exact know-how necessary to do these incredible things, they each took it one step at a time and just kept going.

What are some of your favorite things about living in Salt Lake/Provo?

The mountains and our quick access to nature. I love to hike. I love going to the desert. My kids are learning Mandarin in school, which is incredible.

When and where were you happiest?

About seven years ago, I realized that I am happiest when I am accomplishing something I feel passionately about. So, anything from teaching a concept, writing down important thoughts, spending time with people I Iove or any other host of things I love. I also feel happy when gaining new talents and expanding my understanding of the world or who I am.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Oh, I want to sing like Whitney Houston!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I really struggle with delegating responsibilities. I sometimes don't want to inconvenience people, which leads me to overestimating how much I can take on myself.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

For the past three years on International Women's Day, I have stood with the support of about 70 other women in the community who are giving their time and talents, and I have looked into a crowd of about 250 girls with their 150 caregivers and shared the message that they are unlimited in their options for the future. The honey glow from looking into that crowd and feeling the energy of those sweet girls lasts me quite a while.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

If I die, I don't need to come back here. You know when a show keeps dragging on though it's lost the integrity from the initial season. I think it's fine to just wrap it up and move on.

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