Neylan McBaine, co-founder and CEO of Better Days 2020, will present the 2020 G. Homer Durham Lecture on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 11:00 AM in 250 Kimball Tower. She will discuss how February 14, 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of Utah women being the first Americans to vote under an equal suffrage law, fifty years before the nation adopted a constitutional amendment recognizing women’s political rights. How did this pioneering leadership happen right here in Utah? What role did the Church and LDS women specifically play in the national movement to codify women’s rights? And what does this legacy mean for us today? This presentation will explore the rich and unknown story of LDS women’s remarkable actions and ask how we can honor this heritage in our own lives. Better Days 2020 celebrates the 150th anniversary of women first voting in Utah (the first women to vote in the modern nation) and the centennial of the 19th Amendment through education, events and the arts.
McBaine’s previous marketing experience includes in-house positions at Silicon Valley companies as well as advertising agencies. Her projects include a role in the “I’m A Mormon” campaign, and she brings her understanding of audience and brand to her current work. She has also been an important voice in Latter-day Saint and Utah women’s advocacy for nearly a decade, first as the founder of the Mormon Women Project, a non-profit dedicated to mobilizing Mormon women by telling their stories and exploring opportunities for increasing their voice within the church institution. McBaine’s book Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local Impact, which explores possibilities for increased female participation in LDS administration, has been called “a monumental piece of work,” “pivotal,” and “a remarkable resource that belongs in every Latter-day Saint home.” Her work has been anthologized in The Essential Writings of Mormon Feminism, and several other compilations.
Since co-founding Better Days 2020 over two years ago, Neylan has become a leader in speaking and writing about women’s leadership and the U.S. suffrage movement, with a specific focus on Utah and the west’s early role in that movement. She has developed a team of historians, educators and marketers that have changed the way Utahns view and understand women’s history, leading to shifts in current perceptions of ourselves and Utahns generally. Her third book, Pioneering the Vote: The Untold Story of the West’s First Suffrage Triumphs, will be published by Shadow Mountain in February 2020. Neylan is a graduate of Yale University, mother to three daughters, and lives in Salt Lake City.