Celebrating Women in Sedona



March 22, 2024




womens-daySafra Catz, who was influential in her role as CEO of software company Oracle and in maintaining its status as a global leader in the tech space once stated, “The most significant barrier to female leadership is the actual lack of females in leadership. The best advice I can give to women is to go out and start something, ideally their own businesses. If you can’t see a path for leadership within your own company, go blaze a trail of your own.”

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it would be interesting to note the female trailblazers we are most proud of — those women who have stood up to injustice, fought to be heard and maintained the ability to lead and inspire others along the way.

This year, the National Women’s History Alliance is honoring women who advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion. They believe it is necessary to embrace everyone and not exclude anyone in the common quest for freedom and opportunity.

Last week, The Sedona Women honored Women’s History Month by presenting a Women Leaders Panel at the Sedona Library.

According to The Sedona Women, “Sedona has been fortunate to have many amazing women as part of its history.”

The panel featured Dr. Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., Sedona Chief of Police Stephanie Foley and former Mayor of Sedona, Sandy Moriarty and was moderated by Vice Mayor Holli Ploog.

Each panelist described the challenges they faced in their career, climbing the corporate ladder.

Sedona Chief of Police, Stephanie Foley became Sedona’s first female police chief in 2022. She spoke about the importance of diversity and equality.

“I try not to be exclusionary because we need inclusion. We need our women just as much as we need our men to support each other. And I think it can be challenging to do that at times. We don’t have to fight for the same position, we can work together to do what we need to win,” she stated.

According to Chief Foley, “12% of women are in law enforcement, which is not a big number. For Sedona, our police department when we’re fully staffed, it would be about 30% and currently, we are at 25%,” she said. “Diversity comes in many forms, whether it’s gender or race, you need to be able to see yourself there. It needs to be a really good representative of your community. So that’s, really what we’re trying to achieve is that diversity, having the right people in our organization to move forward.”

Former Mayor Sandy Moriarty, who helped to incorporate Sedona, noted that she never felt that she had to do her job differently because she was a female. “I never felt like there was anything I couldn’t do … I think women do bring a different perspective than men do. And so, it’s important to have both men and women in leadership positions.”

Sharing the same views as our former mayor, my mother instilled an affirming belief that I could do and be anything I wanted. I am fortunate to have been raised in an environment where gender equality was already accepted and practiced. However, I do recognize the courageous women who paved the way for myself and others. I don’t take that for granted.

Women bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table, which can lead to more innovative and collaborative decision-making. By empowering more women to take on leadership roles, we can break down gender barriers, create more inclusive work environments and ultimately drive better business outcomes.

Dr. Beth Baughman DuPree has been a surgeon for 35 years and in 2004, focused her career on diseases of the breast. Currently, she is working in Philadelphia part-time while working with three transformative start-up companies mostly in the world of mental wellness. She plans to bring healing back into healthcare.

According to the Pew Research Center, the share of women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies reached an all-time high of 10.6% in 2023, with 53 women heading major firms. However, 35% of women hold senior leadership positions compared to men who represent 65% of all leadership positions — even though women account for over half of the workforce in the U.S.

Having more female leaders can have a positive impact on our society. Women can serve as role models and inspire other women to pursue leadership roles themselves.

In asking about mentorship and role models, Dr. DuPree said it best, “What I have learned from successful women leaders is that you don’t have to put yourself above anybody else. To have the respect [of coworkers], you earn their respect by working hard with them and working towards a common goal.”

Thank you to The Sedona Women for an inspiring presentation and honoring Sedona’s finest female leaders who make us proud.

Michelle Conway Kostecki, President/CEO

Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau