Walking into Rona Rahlf’s office feels like walking into someone’s home. There are two large cabinets full of crafts, portraits of children and other decorations. The pillows on the couch are meticulously organized according to shape, size and color, and fresh flowers sit on the desk.
But don’t be fooled; Rahlf means business.
Rahlf has been the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce president for five years and works tirelessly to unite the business community and the ever-growing population in Utah Valley.
Since her beginnings in Billings, Mont., Rahlf has always loved engaging with and uniting people. Rahlf started out selling advertising at a weekly shopper. From there she went to The Billings Gazette, the largest newspaper in the state, where she eventually became their advertising manager.
“I was empowered to unite people in the marketplace for business and tourism and create a profit not only for our company but for all of the businesses in the community,” Rahlf said.
Even after her time as an ad director in Montana, Rahlf wanted to unite people. She had the opportunity to move over and work as the human resources director for the five Lee Enterprises owned newspapers in Montana. There, she had the opportunity to visit other departments that she said wanted nothing to do with her because she was from advertising.
“They thought I simply wanted to sell them something,” Rahlf said.
But she didn’t let that distaste bother her.
“I got to know all of the staff in the newspaper. It was a great couple of years to get to know and gather the staff together to help the company grow,” Rahlf said.
Now, as Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce president, Rahlf has been working with Valley Visioning, a community of Utah Valley stakeholders and citizens who are engaged in supporting growth in the valley. According to the chamber website, Utah County will add one million people to its population by 2065, 85% of which will be from internal growth.
Cameron Martin, UVU vice president of university relations and past chamber president, said the Utah Valley Chamber board is highly aware of this growth and that he and the members of the board are grateful for Rahlf’s vision.
“The Utah Valley Chamber is at a pivotal point in its existence. We need someone with the business sense and know-how like Rona Rahlf,” Martin said. “Rona brings to table an idea of where the chamber needs to be in order to stay relevant in the future.”
According to Martin, Rahlf has a keen ability to help unify the business community in joined efforts to improve the community for its ever-growing populace and support legislature that helps both businesses and citizens achieve their goals.
Rahlf’s biggest concern, however, isn’t the hundreds of thousands of people gathering to Utah Valley and their provisions for a successful life. She said her biggest concern is the five people who gather in her home.
While Rahlf is a pillar in the community, she is also a pillar in her family. She works tirelessly to unite her family and bring out the very best in her loved ones. At work and at home, Rahlf means business.
Rahlf’s daughter Carson Martinez said that her mom is both a sensitive and no-nonsense kind of person.
“Whenever I was faced with a trial growing up, my mother would just say, ‘Well let’s just buck up and we’ll get it taken care of,'” Martinez said.
Martinez recalls the family moving a lot for her mother’s job.
“Every time we moved, my mom would lead us into these new environments feeling comfortable and happy. That was always her main concern,” Martinez said.
Like her professional cohorts who praise her professional ability to unite the community, Martinez praised her mom’s ability to unite the family.
“If mom says we’re getting together, we’re getting together,” Martinez said.
Whether it be the ever-growing population of Utah Valley or the ever-growing population of her family, Rahlf means business in uniting people together for a successful, happy life.
“I’m the Utah Valley Chamber president, but I’m a mom first,” Rahlf said.