Every year, Utah Business honors board members who have gone above and beyond to usher our companies, nonprofits, and communities into the next generation. These men and women are living examples of leadership. And there's a lot we can learn from them too.
Board member, USANA
If there's one thing Gilbert Fuller has learned through his career, it's that having a good board to help guide a company can make all the difference.
"Every company sooner or later has to deal with some serious matters that require complete engagement and having to deal with tough problems," he says. "What I really enjoy about board service are the lively discussions with bright people. There are so many issues a company faces, such as cybersecurity, all the rules and regulations that seem to come regularly, issues like succession planning, which is fundamental to the success for any corporation. These challenges are there and it's exciting to talk about them and try to come up with solutions."
Mr. Fuller's background has well prepared him with a wealth of experience to draw from as a board member for USANA Health Sciences and Security National Financial Corporation. An MBA helped launch his career, and over time, he became drawn to the financial aspect of the business world.
In the mid-1980s, the company he was working with went through a peaceful acquisition, and a few years later the business asked him to relocate to the Boston area to be the conglomerate's vice president and treasurer. He was busy in this role when a European company attempted--and ultimately succeeded at--a hostile takeover.
"For me, that hostile takeover was very serious and involved some big challenges," he says. "What I gained from that experience was to learn a lot more about capital markets and what to do with crises and how to cope with them, hopefully successfully."
The company fought a long legal battle resisting the coup, but the end result was that he and his employees "got the opportunity to do something else." That's how he found himself back in the Salt Lake area where he became the CFO of USANA.
Through his experience on both sides of the boardroom, Mr. Fuller says he's seen the role of boards change and grow throughout the years. Technology has been a contributor to change, as have legal requirements and scandals such as the Enron, Worldcom and Bernie Madoff fraud cases.
"In the old days, you could almost be clipping coupons, if I can use that term. Not anymore. Boards have to be transparent with issues, be that cybersecurity or succession planning or corporate strategy," he says. "You have to be engaged like never before."
CEO, Women's Leadership Institute
Patricia Jones has had many titles throughout the years: business owner, data analyst, state senator, and mother. And all of these have taught her valuable lessons as the CEO of the Women's Leadership Institute as well as a member of various boards of directors.
"I think every job you have helps prepare you...