Kathryn Christiansen, Executive Director
As the oldest of nine children, Kathryn learned at an early age to be first to the table, to be patient, have a sense of humor, and that if you want something you need to work for it. Being thrust into adulthood as a teen mother, and a divorced young mother of 3 a few years later, she has always been intent on not being a statistic, defining her own path, aligning herself with examples of success, and showing her children that you can in fact be anything that you want to be! Kathryn is best known for her ability to problem solve and as the eternal optimist. If there is a will, there is a way!
After years of struggling with her own self-worth while navigating single motherhood as the primary breadwinner, she knows firsthand the impact that mentors and a great support system have on achieving success and building the confidence needed to push past limiting beliefs and barriers.
With more than 20 years of entrepreneurial experience she has seen her share of trial and error and understands the challenges faced by single mothers and women in the world of work. She has successfully launched more than a dozen companies, the WNG Women’s Entrepreneurial Conference, and has helped train and mentor hundreds of women.
Now as the Executive Director for People Helping People (PHP), a local grassroots non-profit that works with women in our community teaching them how to reach self-sufficiency through successful employment, her passion for mentoring women and single mothers is realized in her daily interactions; helping them find the strength to overcome challenges, re-invent themselves, and not let their past define their futures.
Kathryn has received recognition and many awards throughout her career: Top 75 U.S. Coworking Office Spaces 2014 & 2015, NAWBO Rising Star 2014, Holladay Chamber Small Business Owner of the Year 2013 and most recently the Soroptomist Ruby Award in 2020. She started Utah’s first coworking office space in 2012, is Co-Founder of the WNG Women’s Entrepreneurial Conference, past Executive Director of the Holladay and Sugar House Chambers of Commerce and a past SCORE Mentor.
Kathryn lives in Bountiful with her long-awaited Prince Charming and credits her success to her 4 children who tolerate crazy work hours, mood swings, and who provide her with inspiration to push through every day. Her hope is for every woman to stand in their truth and live to their full potential.
Dani Edgar, Program Coordinator
Dani earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Brigham Young University. She went on to work as a genealogical researcher at Ancestry, where she helped celebrities connect with their ancestral roots through the television show "Who Do You Think You Are?"
Dani served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Taiwan, where she learned to speak fluent Mandarin Chinese and developed a love for the people and cultures of Asia. In 2017 she earned a Master’s Degree in Modern Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford. She loved living in England and competing with her college rowing team. She also spent a term studying at Peking University in Beijing, China.
Following her graduation, she worked at FamilySearch as a content strategist. She enjoyed researching genealogical records throughout Asia and connecting with the people and organizations there. In 2019 Dani traveled to Nepal to volunteer with Self-Help Nepal, a nonprofit organization in Kathmandu that cares for and educates children. She loved dedicating her time to building and enriching others.
Dani recently joined PHP as a Program Coordinator and is thrilled to be working with low-income women and single moms to help them create better futures for themselves and their families through successful employment.
Averiel Bailey, Program Administrator
Averiel was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and graduated from Judge Memorial High School. She currently attends the University of Utah working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Strategic Communication with a minor in Book Arts.
Averiel has more than a decade of volunteer experience and two years of work experience in the nonprofit sector. Her past volunteer experience afforded her the opportunity to travel abroad in Cambodia where she planted vegetable gardens in family villages, built a school, cleaned the water supply, took Kmer lessons and taught English lessons while a part of Youthlinc and Sustainable Cambodia.
As the PHP Office Administrator, Averiel’s willingness to learn and life experience exemplify PHP’s core principals and help support PHP’s mission of teaching women the skills needed to overcome their current circumstances and reach self-sufficiency.
Kayleen Simmons, Founder
Kayleen founded People Helping People, a not-for-profit employment program which over the past 27 years has helped thousands of low-income women and single mothers become successfully employed. She has extensive experience in program and curriculum development, non-profit management, personal development, leadership, and life management training. As President of The Simmons Group, she was an author, seminar presenter, and private consultant for individuals and corporations. As an adjunct professor at Salt Lake Community College, she specialized in courses on leadership and team building.
She most recently served on the Department of Workforce Services Community Partner Advisory Group and the YPREP Council for the Department of Corrections. She also participated on the Women’s Summit Council, Utah Department of Corrections and the U-Share Utah Health Policy Project. She served on the advisory board for the SBA's Women Business Center and as program chair for the American Express Women and Business Conference.
She is the founder of Women Investing in Women and a founding member and past board member of Salt Lake 100 and the Corporate Women's Network; is past president of the Utah Professional Saleswomen's Association; a past member of the Salt Lake Rotary Club; has served on the SBA Advisory Council; the Board of Trustees for the Pioneer Theatre Company and Graduate Women in Business at the University of Utah.
As the Founder of People Helping People, Kayleen has received many awards and acknowledgements for her work with low-income women and single moms. Those awards include the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Non-Profit Trailblazer Award and the Cleone P. Eccles Legacy of Excellence Award from the Junior League of Salt Lake City.