Ashlynn Damers, 19, began writing and performing poetry at the age 15. A Colorado native, she has been a part of Denver's youth performance poetry team, Minor Disturbance, for two years. Minor Disturbance has been ranked number one internationally for two years running, competing against both foreign and domestic teams. Not only does Ashlynn succeed in performance poetry, but was also captain of her high school speech and debate team, which made it in the top ten two years running, and took second place in her final year, at the CHASSA state competition. She has been featured for her works at the Zakat Foundation's Humanitea Time advocating for world change. Also on her social agenda, she performed for The Conflict Center's 25th anniversary honoring the Flowbots’ Johnny Five for his work in the Denver-metro area maintaining peace. She hopes to one day become a philanthropist speaking to women’s issues, as well as social equality.
Katherine Giuffre is associate professor of sociology at Colorado College. She is a specialist in network analysis, cultural sociology, and Polynesian society. She is the author of two recent books – Collective Creativity: Art and Society in the South Pacific and Communities and Networks: Using Social Network Analysis to Rethink Community and Urban Studies – as well as of numerous scholarly articles. Her current research centers on analyzing the social structures most conducive to fostering creativity and innovative thinking.
Julia Hutchins is a leader with a rebellious spirit. She is currently the chief executive officer of Colorado HealthOP, a new health insurance CO-OP that is turning health care upside down through collaboration and consumer engagement. Colorado HealthOP is a consumer-governed company committed to making health insurance more affordable for and accessible to people who need it.
Julia has dedicated her career to making health care work better for people. Prior to being appointed CEO of the CO-OP, she held leadership positions at private Medicaid and Medicare health plans and dabbled in binational health insurance, which covers care for families living and working on both sides of the US-Mexico border. She has also worked for various government and non-profit advocacy organizations to support important public policy.
Born in Bethlehem, Palestine, Bara’h Odeh is a young woman whose life has been deeply impacted by the conflict in Middle East. A model of resilience, she lived in a refugee camp for 16 years, studied at Bethlehem University and has worked in many local and global companies including the United Nations, and Chili House. She has attended trainings and conferences with several innovative organizations including: Defense for Children International, Right to Play, Mercycorps, Paces in countries including: Italy, Sweden, Tunisia, Jordan, and Turkey. She also loves playing and coaching basketball.
She came to Colorado to be a part of Watson University in Boulder through StrongHeart to explore creating the second-hand clothing market in Palestine to give people the opportunity to buy affordable, used goods with dignity also empowering and inspiring other women.
With appearances playing with various groups on “All Things Considered,” “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show,” folk and roll songstress Esmé Patterson released her first solo album of original songs November 20 via Greater Than Collective. Described by Patterson in an interview as “raw,” All Princes, I is greatly influenced by Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and Feists’s Metals. American Songwriter called it “a warm, organic-sounding album that splits the difference between indie pop, folk-rock and coffeehouse jazz” in their full-album premiere. Providing collaborations on the album are Nathaniel Rateliff, Roger Green (formerly of the Czars), Ben Desoto (the Czars, Nathaniel Rateliff, Bare Bones), Genevieve Patterson and Sarah Anderson (Paper Bird), Carrie Beeder, Eric Moon, Mike Fitzmorris, Will Duncan, and many more. Patterson is a founding member of the band Paper Bird, and has performed with them in venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheater and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. She lives in Denver and loves it very much.
Pam Sandlian Smith
Pam Sandlian Smith creates libraries that help people fall in love with libraries and reading. She is the director of Anythink Libraries in Adams County, Colorado, just north of Denver. Through her leadership, the public library system went from being the worst-funded system in Colorado to one of the most-recognized library brands nationwide by creating an entirely new service model. Along with a $60 million capital improvement project, which included the building of five new libraries and three renovations, Anythink reinvented libraries focused on participatory learning, community engagement and shifting perceptions of the role of libraries themselves.
Pam was the 2010 Colorado Librarian of the Year and the recipient of the 2012 Charlie Robinson Award for innovation and risk taking. She has also been honored for her work in library technology innovation and early literacy projects. Through her speaking and writing, Pam stimulates discussions on innovation, creativity and participation in libraries worldwide.
Teresa Taylor is a nationally recognized executive who brings integrity, focus, vision and agility to corporate leadership. She leverages her immense experience as CEO of Blue Valley Advisors, LLC, where she advises companies, government agencies and other endeavors on vision, strategy, operations and public affairs – helping create a cultural shift in the workplace. She has earned a reputation for building and managing cohesive teams, inspiring loyalty, managing through conflict and embracing change.
Teresa is also the former chief operating officer of Qwest, a FORTUNE 200 telecommunications and media company. During her tenure, she directed the strategy and daily operations of 30,000 people in field support, technical development, sales, marketing, customer support and IT systems in India and the United States.
Recently, Teresa harnessed her experience as a COO of a FORTUNE 200 company and a mother of two sons to write her inspiring book, The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work-Life Success.
Teresa also is a member of the board of directors for three large public companies: T-Mobile USA, Inc., NiSource, Inc. and First Interstate BancSystem, Inc.
Sara Volz, 18, is a freshman studying molecular biochemistry at MIT with plans to become a professor and researcher. In March, the Intel Foundation recognized Sara as the 2013 Intel Science Talent Search winner for her work developing more efficient methods to produce algae biofuels using artificial selection. Sara also was the lead in her high school play, prom queen and captain of the debate team this year. She is involved in musical theater, the vocal group a capella, and student research at MIT.
The Watergirls are KC Groves (mandolin), Sally Truitt (banjo), Enion Pelta Tiller (fiddle), Monica Whittington (guitar), Cynthia Renwick (bass) and Lauren Ling (fiddle). All six live and make music in Lyons, Colorado, one of the towns hardest hit by the biblical flooding of September 2013. Each had their own experience with the flood and it's aftermath, but all share a common desire to heal themselves and their community through their songs and music. KC (K-Dot) is a touring bluegrass musician and was in Utah when the alarm sounded in Lyons. She spent several days feeding information to her friends in Lyons from the outside world, watching the news and worrying about her hometown. Enion (Eni) was at home with her family when the waters came to take her home and land. Lauren (Ling Ling) is a snowmobiler and avid hunter. She sought refuge with nine others while Lyons was cut off from the rest of the world. Sally (Sassy) is an artist who paints monsters. She safely evacuated her children, parents, nephew and eight dogs moments before the river breached the bridge adjacent to her property. Monica (Monkey) loves the great outdoors, but was inside panicking when the warning call roared at 2:30am. Cynthia (Cindy) loves traveling to Spanish speaking countries. She slept through the sirens at her home in Lyons and the waters came to her back door. When asked where they see Lyons one year from now, the response was immediate: 'Rebuilt, stronger, and better than ever with an even greater commitment to be community-minded, and to live in harmony with our natural surroundings.' You might see them with an instrument in their hands tonight, a shovel in the back of their cars tomorrow, but most assuredly in one year, you will see them with a smile on their faces. Who says Water always wins?
Holly Wyatt is Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She is a practicing physician and clinical researcher at The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and is the Medical Director for the Wellness Clinic that specializes in long-term strategies for weight management. Holly has more than 18 years of clinical experience in weight reduction using behavioral treatment, dietary therapy, physical activity interventions, weight loss medications and surgery. Recently she became the medical expert for season four of ABC’s “Extreme Weight Loss” which will air in May 2014. Her passion and expertise for helping obese individuals successfully transform their bodies, minds and lifestyles has made her a popular clinician, speaker and obesity educator. She shares much of what she has learned in her new book titled State of Slim, which came out earlier this year.