Love that Leavens
PROVO, Utah – Aug 12, 2022 – For the past few years, Amy Densley’s family has enjoyed the delicious, hot-out-of-the-oven products of her breadmaking hobby. Similarly, as the assistant program director for the finance department at the BYU Marriott School of Business, Densley brings a warmth to the people around her, including alumni, current students, and her fellow staff and faculty members.
Although Densley has worked for BYU Marriott since she was a freshman in college, she let her self-doubt talk her out of pursuing a business-related major, believing she would not be “good enough” for the programs, she says. Instead, she opted to graduate in family studies, a major she felt more comfortable completing. Now, after 26 years working for BYU Marriott, she tries to encourage students to not let their insecurities dissuade them from studying business, especially if they want a career in that field.
“I’ve often thought that, if I had stuck with a business degree, I would have been in a perfect position to help my kids when my first marriage ended and I was a single mom with five kids. That’s why I encourage students interested in business to continue down that path,” she shares. “For example, when I was hired to work for the finance program, Jim Brau asked me to come to his Finance 201 class and promote the program to his students.
“I was brand new and didn’t know much about finance,” Densley continues. “I thought, ‘I don’t know what to say,’ but I had the impression to speak from my heart and tell the students not to give up or change their minds like I had done. I said, ‘Even when this finance class seems difficult, stick with the program and don’t feel like you can't do hard things.’”
After Densley shared her thoughts, some female students approached her and thanked her for her encouraging words. “These women told me that they had been thinking similar thoughts of self-doubt and that their friends were encouraging them to quit and change their majors,” she remembers. “But after listening to me share my story, they felt more confident and determined, which is how I hope every student feels in the finance program.”
Many of Densley’s job responsibilities give her similar opportunities to instill confidence in students and help them feel a sense of belonging at BYU Marriott. As a self-described novice event planner, she is in charge of putting together activities for finance students and alumni.
Some of the events Densley helps plan include new-student orientation, the BYU Global Real Estate Conference, movie nights, finance women breakfasts, graduation eat and greet, and the end-of-year senior sendoff. One of her favorite activities is the annual alumni barbeque, which brings alumni back together during Homecoming week. She loves seeing how the finance program has had a positive influence on the lives of graduates and listening to how the graduates in turn influence the world through their careers.
“We almost always have at least one event in the planning or executing stage,” she says. “I never imagined myself as an event planner. I told my husband when I first started my job that the only previous experience I had was planning birthday parties for my kids.”
Now Densley’s kids sometimes tag along with her to events and help her set up. One of the main reasons Densley enjoys working at BYU Marriott is the family-oriented work culture that allows her to balance both work and family pursuits. In fact, mere hours after Densley finished helping with the 2021 finance new-student orientation, her husband drove her to the hospital to give birth to their son. Two days later, Densley drove her oldest daughter to Southern Utah University and helped her move into an apartment.
Although this level of busyness is not the norm, Densley appreciates that her coworkers are supportive and willing to lend a hand during such times. “The people I work with are encouraging of my goals and my lifestyle, which motivates me to keep going,” she says. “If the people in the finance program didn’t tell me to prioritize my family too, I wouldn’t have stayed in the workforce as long as I have. I’m so thankful to work at a place that understands how important my family is to me.”
One family activity Densley loves is baking bread together. “I have eight kids, so we consume a lot of bread,” she explains. “My kids love the more expensive brands too. A few years ago, I was sick of continually buying multiple loaves of bread for four to five dollars each. I ventured down the flour aisle and realized I could buy a 25-pound bag of flour for the same price as a single loaf, which sparked my interest in making bread.
“I can honestly say there’s no bread that scares me anymore,” she continues. “We bake all kinds, including sweet breads, Italian round loaves, French bread, bagels, breadsticks, pretzel rolls, braided Swiss bread, cinnamon rolls, and more. The hobby started as a money-saving tactic, but then my family members and I realized how much better homemade bread tasted and kept going. My kids even help me grind our own wheat every week.”
Ultimately, whether Densley is baking homemade bread for her family or planning events for students, she hopes that the positive atmosphere she creates at work and at home will leave the people around her feeling filled and loved.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert