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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.”

Founder/Executive Director
Patti Smith, LHL Founder/ Exec Dir

Patti A. Smith R.N.

Founder/Executive Director

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 Board of Directors

Board 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.

Judith Barth - LHL President, Bookkeeper

Sheila Kolacz

   Vice President

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. 

Shelia Kolacz, LHL Director

Chris McPhail


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. 

Chris McPhail LHL Director
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 Taylor Smith
City of Fort Collins, Loan Signing Agent
 I personally believe in this mission because growing up I was always someone who loved any and every mentorship program either my school or church had.  It was always so inspiring to have someone to look up to and see where I could go and what I could do in life. Being in Northern Colorado my entire life, I have been able to see this area develop firsthand and I both want to know more about he women who made it all possible, and I want to celebrate their achievements along the way.

Michelan grew up in Jamaica and came to Fort Collins in 2017 to pursue her Masters and Ph.D. in Economics.  Michelan began her volunteering love at age of 14 while in high school. She began by reading for students who were Blind and Visually impaired. She assisted the students into their University experiences with various aspects of their life.  Michelan  joined the LHL board so that she can once again provide services, whether it be mentoring or other projects related, to the underserved population within her community. Michelan also feels that LHL will allow her to serve in ways that will broaden her horizons and open doors for her to once again advocate for the needs of the underrepresented.

 Michelan Wilson, Ph.D. Economics
Colorado College Professor
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Jacqueline Thain
Fundraiser/Flower Farmer
I love working with non-profit organizations, either as a volunteer, advocate, or fundraiser. I’ve volunteered with multiple faith-based organizations, as well as those fighting against sex trafficking. I was part of a team who raised over $250,000 that was used directly to purchase women and children out of sex trafficking and to then move them into a long-term program that allowed for therapy and to choose an education route or a skill they could use to sustain themselves when they were ready. After my husband and I lost our second child to SIDS, I got involved with a non-profit that supports mothers who have suffered infant loss – I raised over ten thousand dollars in corporate donations to help with their operating expenses. Since moving to Colorado, I’ve also been involved with organizations such as Hispanic Women of Weld County and the CSU Extension Office (providing locally grown produce to homebound elderly experiencing food insecurity)

I have also worked in sales and client success for Nosh, a restaurant-owned delivery service that puts restaurants and customers before profit,
Debra Kahn
Owner: DK Consulting of Colorado 
I would like to continue my journey supporting non-profits and events that help women and girls to see their potential, advance their career and learn about new or different opportunities.  I have been excited about LHL and its mission since first learning about it.

Debra has partnered with nonprofits since 2008 with the following:
Junior League of Fort Collins, Oracle Women's Leadership group, Friends of Nursing Scholarship, and the PMI Mile Hi Chapter's annual Women in Project Management Leadership conference.
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Ex-Officio Board Members

Ex-Officio Board Members

Jason Smith, LHL Vice-President

Jason Smith


Jason Smith
Nonprofit Organization

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. 

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.

Caridad Souza, LHL Programs
Natalie Phillips, LHL Social Media

Natalie Phillips, Au.D.

Social Media


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.

Sonia Cooper, LHL Marketing
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