MEET OUR LEADERSHIP
Living Her Legacy’s leaders are a diverse group of volunteers, committed to recognizing women and inspiring girls. Individually, we contribute our time, talents, treasures, networks and resources to collectively further the mission and vision of “Living Her Legacy.”
Patti A. Smith R.N.
The concept for this art/education project began in 2013 when Patti Smith, the Director of Living Her Legacy (LHL) was leaving the Denver Convention Center and happened upon the 1989 Colorado Panorama: A People's History while walking to her car. This public art exhibit, hidden in a service drive, depicted men and women who helped create the foundation of Colorado. She thought, after further investigation, "if they can do that in Denver, let's recognize women in Fort Collins."
Patti Smith's passion to support girls and women has come from her varied years of experience. She was blessed to teach high school students at FRCC/LC twelve years introducing students to the healthcare professions and is a ten year member of the Zonta Club of Fort Collins, an International Women's Organization that promotes health, education, and a life free of violence for girls/women globally and locally. Patti also enjoyed a business as a Health Education Consultant twenty years helping Colorado School District Career and Technical Education departments create Healthcare introduction programs for their high school students. During this time, Patti met students from all corners of Colorado, backgrounds and students who grew up in refugee camps prior to being able to move to Colorado.
LHL Boad of Directors
Judith Barth, PH.D.
Judy Barth, Ph.D., Colorado State University Extension Director of Operations/Retired.
“I support Living Her Legacy because too often women’s contributions have been overlooked. Throughout Fort Collins’ history, women have made significant differences in our community and society. These contributions need to be recognized and celebrated. I believe that Living Her Legacy will inspire future generations of young women to dare to make a difference."
We showcase women’s historical contributions to Fort Collins and provide a legacy and inspiration for young women today.
Jason Smith is the Assistant Vice-President for Development--Humanities and the Arts, University of Chicago. Previously Jason worked as the Development Director at UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; University of Denver, Colorado as Development Director, at the Access Fund headquarters in Boulder, CO; and on the Development Team at Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest, IL. Jason has been a Board member since 2018.
Jessica Espinosa Novaria, MA.
(on temporary leave) Secretary
BA Journalism, MA Applied Sociology
I believe women and girls should have every opportunity to create the truest and most beautiful lives for themselves. They should be able to recognize their talents and passions as well as feel free and supported to pursue those talents and passions. Our society and culture has been built in such a way that girls and women have gone largely unsupported, unrecognized, and unempowered in doing so. With that said, it's an honor for me to walk with this organization and its supporters as we create a community that better supports women and girls in their journeys.
We help create a community that recognizes, supports, and empowers girls and women.
Chair of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Loveland events. Barbara has worked extensively with Northern Colorado Non-profits as well as organizations to promote diversity, equality, and inclusiveness.
Prior to her retirement, Barbara gained experienced in the field of education, finance, and office management, and has served the community by organizing numerous events, concerts, lectures, panel discussions, and presentations throughout the years.
Senior Vice-President Relationship Manager, Independent Bank
I choose to support LHL for the positive aspects of providing role models to future generations. As a father of 2 girls I realize how important it is to motivate young women by showing them examples of successful women. This is something my family can view on our trips to Old Town and discuss. Having a positive role model in a child’s life can help guide them to adulthood.
Ph. D Candidate, Public Communication and Technology, Graduate Certificate, Gender and Power Difference
I am beyond excited to join the Living Her Legacy team. As a woman and a mother raising two socially-conscious girls, Abby 8, and Eden 6, LHL is a where I get to interact and learn from amazing people who share similar interests in centering women's voices and inspiring young girls. I am also excited to bring African perspective to the group as I identify as a Nigerian Igbo woman. I am especially interested in supporting LHL because women and gender minorities are very so very often left out of stories, leadership, and media.
LHL presents an opportunity to amplify women's voices and celebrate their achievements, while simultaneously inspiring younger generations to strive to be their best selves.
Sprague Roofing and Exteriors, Administration
Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Certification
Supporting the work of Living Her Legacy was an easy decision for me. Having worked in primarily male-dominated fields throughout my career, there is no more cherished mission than “Empowering Women. Inspiring Girls.” I believe that when we inspire girls to become empowered women through activities like the Girls' Leadership Program, we contribute to raising a generation of strong and caring leaders. Beyond the work being done to support girls and women every day, I believe that sharing the Legacy Honorees' stories gives them not only a permanent voice in our community, but also lends excitement for passersby who see the art installations and inspires the courage to start living their legacies, too.
Ujunwa (Uju) Melvis Okeke
MBA Candidate/ MS. Sustainability and Communications
Learning Source, Associate Marketing Director
Uju grew up in Nigeria. She has an interest in nonprofit work and supporting women’s sustainability and equality. For the better part of my life, I have always been interested in women's empowerment and emancipation globally. I believe that appropriate recognition of women's achievements would encourage young women to harness their potential that has been suppressed by patriachy--especially in the public sector.
LHL recognizes women's achievement to encourage young girls to strive to be hardworking and successful.
Ex-Officio Board Members
Caridad Souza, Ph.D.
Caridad Souza is the Director/Special Assistant Professor, of the Colorado State University Women’s Studies/Ethnic Studies and Gender Research Department.
Caridad has many, many years of experience in both the US and globally, with expertise in Social Policy, Qualitative Social Research, and Social Theory. Caridad has experience through a life-long passion for support of women and ethnic group equality.
Natalie Phillips, Au.D.
Owner and Audiologist at The Audiology Center of Northern CEO/founder of Connect4Excellence
Natalie Phillips, Audiologist in Fort Collins, provides her professional services to many in the United States and other countries as a Global Hearing Ambassador to deliver the gift of hearing.
As the Founder/CEO of Connect4Excellence, a business which highlights women’s accomplishments through podcasts. She initiated this company to assist individuals and businesses in developing their brand, communicate their brand across social media platforms, create and run events as well as bring awareness to the ways companies can build social impact into their business models. She is the author of ACT Now! A Simple Guide to Take Action on Your Greatest Goals and Dreams
Sonia K. Cooper
President and Owner of Global Cooper Inc.
"Her Legacy" represents the values that bring meaning to this world and our lives: community, inspiration, education and service. As a Founding Board Member, Living Her Legacy affords me the opportunity to be involved in something bigger than myself. Committing my time, energy, talents and resources to living a "cause-driven" life as opposed to a "comfort-driven" life is my chosen path to living a meaningful life. I believe in giving back and creating change. I am blessed, so that I can be a blessing to others. In that order. The "Living Her Legacy" vision and mission is worth supporting.
LHL is making a lasting contribution, bringing unity to our community as we recognize women's achievements and inspire girls.