Thrive Together Women’s Leadership Summit returning to in-person format |

Thrive Together Women’s Leadership Summit returning to in-person format

After transitioning to a virtual format in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Thrive Together Women’s Leadership Summit, which is hosted by the Steamboat Springs Chamber and Alpine Bank, will be held in-person, with a Zoom component for those who cannot attend in person. The popular event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 15 in a new venue at the Hayden Community Center.

“There were a lot of great things about working from home, but it’s really hard to advance personally or professionally without that in-person connection,” said Sarah Leonard, the Chamber’s director of community development. “We have such phenomenal women in leadership in this community that really want to get involved and help other women.”

This year’s keynote speakers include Nicole DeBoom, athlete and entrepreneur, and Molly Cuffe, director of corporate responsibility communications at VF Corporation.

Other presenters include: Jessie Ollier, high performance and leadership coach; Lesley Mumford, executive director of Advocates for Victims of Assault; Robin Schepper, former White House consultant and Routt County spokesperson; Jennifer Doe, facilitation and planning manager for Joining Vision & Action; Jennifer Doe, northern regional office director for the Employers Council; Tina Harkness, psychologist; Lizzie Larock; and Sarah Coleman, Dr. Anna Lundeen, Keely Pemberton and Marci Mattox, the team behind Via Health Collective, .

Cecilia Morter, chamber executive assistant, said event organizers chose speakers who could address both personal and professional issues women face, as they wanted to find a balance between personal issues and career development.

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“If you’re just entering the workforce or not in the work force yet, we want to make sure you still find something meaningful out of this,” Leonard said. “We want to see people as a whole person.”

Larock said she will be speaking about perfectionism and emotional intelligence, two issues that she said have always impacted women but became an even greater challenge during COVID-19.

“Especially in our area, I know women have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic because we already do a million things and that added a whole lot of extra hurdles,” Larock said. “We have permission to be human, and we’re here to live an engaged, meaningful, fulfilled life, which means we take risks, and we do make mistakes.”

While the pandemic may have exacerbated the problem, Larock said women in the area are often held to unrealistically high expectations.

“There’s an unusually high bar here for athleticism,” Larock said. ”You can just be an average biker or an average skier.“

While Larock will be speaking about giving women permission to allow imperfection, Ollier, founder of wellness company Wellutations, said she will discuss goal setting and self motivation.

“My goal is that everyone leaves empowered to dream big and armed with the tools for achievement for both themselves and their teams,” Ollier said.

Harkness said she will discuss how to have difficult conversations at work, a topic she said has always been difficult and became more difficult during the pandemic, when most communication became virtual.

“It will be the importance of having those conversations and not delaying them or kicking the can down the road,” Harkness said. “Feedback is how we improve; it’s not something we should shy away from or be afraid of.”

The Thrive Together committee worked with the Young Professionals Network to plan workshops that would benefit young women in particular. Kathryn Pederson, local mortgage banker for Fidelity Mortgage, will speak on planning for a first-time home buyers’ loan, and Laura Cusenbary, private wealth financial advisor and senior vice president of investments for Wells Fargo, will speak on the topic of smart investing.

Leonard and Larock both said Routt County can seem like a male-dominated environment in both its western heritage and athletic industries, but the area also has a long history of female leadership.

“We’re western, and we have an outdoor town that can be very masculine, but I think the tide is turning a little bit,” Leonard said. “We have such phenomenal women leadership in this community that really want to get involved and help other women.”

Early bird registration for the summit is now open and includes all sessions. This special pricing of $90 per person will be available through Aug. 15. After that, the cost increases to $105 for Chamber members and $125 for non-members. A Zoom-only pass is $50.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit

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