Norma Ruth Ryan: Women leadership in Routt County is strong |

Norma Ruth Ryan: Women leadership in Routt County is strong

For as many times we hear of the virtues and power of women’s leadership, we hear its perceived limitations double:

“This district isn’t ready for a woman.”

“She’s too young.”

“What about her family?”

The problem with this line of thinking isn’t just that it’s completely unfair (it is); the root issue of these assumptions is that women’s leadership is new or novel. Here in Routt County, we know that’s not the case.

With Councilwoman Lisel Petis’ hire as executive director to Advocates Building Peaceful Communities, many see a young woman and soon-to-be mom on the rise. Petis, a Steamboat native, has actually been working in our community for years as a volunteer, change maker and mentor, and walks a path blazed by so many indomitable Routt County women before her: Diane Moore, her predecessor at Advocates, and Marsha Daughenbaugh, recently retired from the Community Agriculture Alliance, come to mind immediately.

When I moved to Steamboat Springs from Denver just over a year ago, I couldn’t have expected that women’s leadership and empowerment in Routt County would be such perennial, hardy fruit. Being so new to town, I’m excited to hear more stories about the Steamboat women who have made our community what it is, and I’m honored and thrilled to be a part of the stories in progress, like that of Beth Melton, running for county commissioner. As the chair of Emerge Colorado, an organization that recruits and trains women to run for office, I’m pleased to have Beth as one of our current superstars in the program.

To Lisel, Beth, Diane, Marsha and all the other women making Steamboat and Routt County better, those remarkable women who enrich the soil for more to grow, stronger and more resilient with every new crop, “thank you”.

Norma Ruth Ryan

Steamboat Springs

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