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Balancing Work and Family


April 10, 2007 — Each year the University of Utah’s College of Social Work recognizes the achievements of women in general and one woman in particular who exemplifies qualities of leadership, inclusiveness and integrity, and who has worked effectively to improve the lives of women and their families in Utah.

Held in honor of Belle Smith Spafford, this year”s seventh annual Belle S. Spafford Spring Roundtable will recognize Marilyn May Phillips as the sixth annual Spafford award recipient, in an event to take place on Monday, April 23 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Marriot University Park Hotel, 480 Wakara Way.

Lynette Rasmussen, director of the Office of Work and Family Life in the Department of Workforce Service, will deliver the keynote address “Balancing Work and Family Life.”

Rasmussen has spent her professional career working to provide information, resources and support to help improve the economic stability and well-being of Utah children and families.

She is the director of the newly created Office of Work & Family Life, located in the Department of Workforce Services (DWS). The office is comprised of the Utah Office of Child Care, the Utah Healthy Marriage Initiative and the Utah Commission for Women and Families and will focus on the wholistic needs of children and families.

Rasmussen has worked with legislators, community groups, employers, child care providers and various state agencies to educate and develop support for quality child care and work/life policies.

She received her bachelor’s in family and consumer sciences in 1981 from the University of Utah. In 1993, she completed her master”s in business administration by writing a thesis addressing the multiple issues of employer supported childcare.

Rasmussen spent ten years working for the nation’s largest private child care chain in a variety of management positions and has taught early childhood education classes at Salt Lake Community College and Utah Valley State College.

In 1996, she created the Work/Life Awards Project, which is intended to recognize and support employers who are proactively addressing work/life issues within their company. The project is in its seventh year and has been touted as one of the most positive projects within DWS and as a national model.

About the Spafford Chair and Award

In 1982 under the leadership of Dean Eunice Shatz and Associate Dean Kay Dea and with the participation of many of Belle Spafford’s friends and admirers, the College of Social Work created the endowment to fund the Spafford Chair. The purpose of the chair was to focus on the needs of women and their families in Utah.

The chair was originally envisioned to support a distinguished visiting professor or social work activist in the pursuit of research, teaching and community activities with an emphasis on issues that affect the lives of women. Six outstanding women have served as the Spafford Chair:

Naomi Gottlieb (1987-1988); Rosemary Sarri (1992-1993); Diane Bernard (1988-1990); Marie Cornwall (1993-1994); Nancy Amidei (1990-1992); and Ruth Brandwein (1994-1996).

Beginning in 1997, an advisory committee composed of university and community leaders helped redefine the chair as a permanent position. The purpose was to achieve a stronger and more long-lasting relationship between the chair and the community and to influence the mission and programs of the college and university.

Helen Graber was appointed to the new position in 2001. Her research and practice interests involve women and leadership, community capacity building, women’s history and diversity, including international communities of women.

The Spafford Award was established in 2003 in recognition of Belle Spafford. Awarded to women who have effectively improved the lives of women and families in Utah, previous Spafford Award recipients have been: Esther Landa (2003), Frances Farley and Lucy Beth Rampton (2004-posthumously); Irene Fisher (2005) and JoAnn Seghini (2006).

Additional information on the College of Social Work can be found at www.socwk.utah.edu. For questions about the Spafford Spring Round Table contact Dianne Cunningham at 801-581-4863.