Story | Women in Business

How Shannel Tuitele Helps Even the Playing Field

Jun. 12 2023

Shannel Tuitele didn’t set out to become a businesswoman and start her own company. However, after her dad passed away, she decided to make a difference and give back to the world. It just so happens that a way presented itself as a business idea. And that’s how the women-owned business Laeona came to exist.

After hearing many stories from Utah women in business who faced discrimination and pay inequity, Tuitele decided it was time to take a stand. She established Laeona Fair Pay to help companies see how they compare regarding equal pay efforts. 

The concept is simple—Laeona evaluates a company based on a series of data points and then reports to let them know where they currently stand and how they can proactively plan to close any existing pay gaps. Companies already meeting the equal pay requirements or willing to take actionable steps by a specific date can become Laeona Fair Pay Certified. This certification lets job seekers know the company believes in fair and equitable pay for all men and women in business.

Tuitele noted, “Utah is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to being paid fairly, especially when it comes to gender, not to mention race or age.”  She believes it’s a societal issue, and it’s up to all of us to correct it. Research has shown that women make $20,000-$50,000 less yearly than their male counterparts. Throughout a 30-year career, that equates to $500,000 – $1,000,000.

As relatively young women entrepreneurs, Tuitele and her team know there is still much work to be done to equalize pay efforts for women and other marginalized groups. However, they feel they are on the right track. Some of the work they’ve accomplished has been on a more personal level within the company.

“I was looking for perfection, and I think a lot of women feel like it has to be 100% ready,” Tuitele said. “But I’m starting to realize that it doesn’t. Put it out there to the world and let them give you feedback. You don’t have to wait so many years and feel overwhelmed by making a website, an LLC, or doing all that admin stuff. It doesn’t matter. Just see if that solution is better than the rest and if people are willing to buy it.” 

The feedback has been positive for women business leaders. As Laeona continues to grow, the hope is that more businesses will catch the vision and get certified. In turn, this will help close the pay equity gap in Utah. It’s an easy way companies can choose to support women in business.

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