Person 2 Person: Ivy Estabrooke, USTAR Executive Director
(KUTV) Ivy Estabrooke is the Executive Director for USTAR, which stands for the Utah Science, Technology, and Research Initiative.
The initiative is designed to do technology-based economic development for the state.
“We’re trying to make sure that good ideas can become companies and keep building and diversifying our economy,” Estabrooke described.
Tech is an industry that still doesn’t have as many women in leadership positions, according to Estabrooke.
“I’ve always worked in male-dominated environments,” she said.
Before coming to Utah, Estabrooke worked in the Office of Naval Research within the Department of Defense.
Estabrooke believes that women can bring different perspectives in leadership roles. She is a neuroscientist, and she has studied the differences between the brains of men and women.
“I think there’s a basis for bringing different perspectives, that women do bring a different perspective and a different approach,” she said.
Since Estabrooke has taken over at USTAR, there are now as many women working there as men. There had also been gender discrepancies in pay when she came on board, so she worked to level the playing field when it came to salary.
“I believe strongly in ‘best person for the job’ and paying for performance. I think those are critical issues for society,” she said.
Estabrooke is a single mother of two little girls. It can be difficult to find a balance between work and family, but she has had a lot of support.
“I have incredible support and I really embrace the ‘it takes a village,’ because I certainly haven’t done it by myself,” she said.
Her daughters have been exposed to many aspects of her work, including meeting the Governor.
Being a single mom and balancing an important job has also helped her to be efficient and have focus in her life.
“I think for me, having children made it clear where my priorities are,” she said.
Estabrooke’s parents encouraged her as a girl to pursue her interest in science.
“My mom was a teacher and both of my parents were very supportive of ‘you can do anything,'” she said.
She got into science because she was misdiagnosed with epilepsy when she was in high school.
“It led me to be interested in why my brain wasn’t working the way it was supposed to, and I started to really delve into science at that point,” she said.
Estabrooke attended Smith College, a women’s college.
“Learning science in that all-women’s environment really accelerated my curiosity and also gave me the confidence that I could be a scientist,” she said.
If she could give advice to young girls who are interested in her same path, she would tell them to do what they love and what brings them joy.
“Choose something that really makes you excited, that really makes you want to stay up at night and read more books, and do more equations, or whatever it is that drives you intellectually. And then, take risks,” she said.< Back to All Articles