Boulder Chamber to honor women leaders in June
Last Updated: 15:33 May 2, 2014
Joanne Belknap, Kim Riether Coupounas, Bay Roberts, Patty Gilbert, Deirdre Pilch, Janette Keene Taylor and Nikola Yager will be honored this year as recipients of the award. Also, Tara Schoedinger, Victoria Simonsen and Julie Van Domelen will be recognized for their leadership during the 2013 flood crisis.
The event honors women who have made a significant difference in the community through their civic, professional and community involvement. The 2014 honorees were selected from dozens of nominations by a committee of the Chamber's Business Women's Leadership Group.
About the honorees:
Joanne Belknap is a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado and a member of the board of directors of FOCUS Reentry, a Boulder-based nonprofit that helps offenders being released from the Boulder County jail to avoid recidivating and achieve eventual self-sufficiency. Belknap's understanding of the obstacles facing offenders upon release, plus her guidance to both staff and board, have led to policies that have resulted in a 17 percent recidivism rate for its clients.
Kim Riether Coupounas is the director of B Lab Colorado. The B Corporation movement encourages business leaders to put social responsibility ahead of other motivations. Coupounas has embraced and been a driver of this ethos for several years - long before it was broadly accepted. Coupounas has taken leave of GoLite LLC, the company she co-founded with her husband and where she was chief sustainability officer.
Bay Roberts and Patty Gilbert are co-founders of One School at a Time. In 2005, Roberts and Gilbert traveled to Uganda, Africa to visit a little girl named Juliet Birungi, who had been recently orphaned. At Juliet's school, The Rock Foundation School, located in the slums of Kampala, they found a school with 500 students and one textbook, temporary classrooms with no windows and doors, dirt floors, no electricity, no running water, no scholastic materials, no blackboards, no playground and a staff of poorly trained, inexperienced teachers who frequently were not paid. After returning home from spending two weeks at the school, they decided to dedicate themselves to partnering with impoverished Ugandan schools to better the lives of the children. They also have worked extensively through schools in Boulder to raise awareness of the plight of children in other countries.
Deirdre Pilch is deputy superintendent of the Boulder Valley School District, Pilch researched the root causes and early indicators for students who were not experiencing success in school and not on track to achieve a high school diploma. Pilch, in collaboration with her colleagues, led the implementation of highly successful prevention, intervention and retention strategies expanding opportunities for students.
Janette Keene Taylor has been a leader in the Nederland community for 16 years. Taylor has held many "behind the scenes" positions for the community with the consistent goal of helping others in need. Some of these include chairwoman on the Mayor's Task Force for Housing and Human Services, board president for the Backdoor Theater, board member of the Nederland Food Pantry, coordinated the Nederland 9Health Fair, coordinated and led the recent Candidate Forum and has served as trustee for town of Nederland. She has served as director of the Carousel of Happiness and organized multiple fundraising events and served as board president of the Mountain Family Health Center.
Nikola Yager will be honored as an "Emerging Young Leader." Yager has been a leader in the Youth Global Leadership Program for six years. She has led efforts to raise money for girls' education in Africa, hurricane relief in Haiti, buy and plant trees to raise awareness of environmental stewardship, collect thousands of pounds of food for local families in need, share movies to engage peers in kid level actions to make the world a better place and stood on stage to inspire the whole school to be kind, stop name-calling and end discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
A special Flood Relief Leadership Recognition video will be presented to acknowledge local women leaders who stepped up during the 2013 flood crisis. Tara Schoedinger, mayor of Jamestown, Victoria Simonsen, town of Lyons administrator, and Julie Van Domelen, former mayor of Lyons will be featured in the video.
The Women Who Light the Community event will be from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 5, at the Lionsgate Event Center Gate House in Lafayette. Registration information is available online at www.boulderchamber.com.
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