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In Celebration of the 2020 Women Who Light the Community Honorees

For over two decades, the Boulder Chamber’s Business Women's Leadership Group has presented the Women Who Light the Community event to honor local women who have made significant contributions through innovation and a committed effort to address business or community needs on a local, regional, national, or global scale.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the event. To date, Women Who Light the Community has honored 124 of Boulder’s most outstanding women leaders, representing a breadth of industries across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.

“At a time when our community is living in the shadow of a destructive virus, we take special delight in celebrating the work of women whose remarkable accomplishments and invaluable service shine so bright,” says John Tayer, President and CEO of the Boulder Chamber. “In our 25th year of celebrating women in leadership, the light this year’s honorees cast on our community is
especially meaningful.”

This year's honorees are Chrysti Britt, Renata Colitti, Norma Fuentes, Carrie Inoshita, Lerato Osnes, and Laura Soto.

The awards ceremony on September 24 was presented to a small group of the honorees' family and friends at the Lionsgate Event Center, and was livestreamed to registered virtual attendees. Renowned pianist Sonya Clark opened the ceremony with a powerful performance of Alicia Keys' hit song "Girl on Fire" in celebration of the award winners. Previous Women Who Light the Community honoree Josie Heath provided an inspiring virtual welcome message to the honorees and audience. Afterwards, each honoree was invited to the stage to speak and receive their award as attendees enjoyed a catered dinner provided by Savory Cuisines. The evening was emceed by Business Women's Leadership Group Co-Chairs Debi Richards and Kristen Turnbull.

Keep scrolling to read each honoree's bio and view their celebratory videos produced by It Can Be Pictures.

And to the 2020 honorees: Thank you for the endless hours and hard work you all have spent making our community a more equitable, just, and enjoyable place to live. We can all agree that our community needs more people like you in our midst. Your perseverance and commitment are exemplary. On behalf of our team and the Boulder community, we would like to express our deepest gratitude for your dedication and hard work. Thank you!

*Did you attend the event either virtually or in person? Please provide us with your feedback here!

Lerato Osnes - Emerging Youth Honoree

Lerato Osnes is a senior at Boulder High School. She believes it’s important for people, especially youth, to take action and use their voices because they will be the next generation living in this world. She finds it critical to shape the world in our best interests for future generations. A large part of her motivation comes from working with her friends, where their form of leadership involves working together and bringing support to one other to elevate each other’s voices and make decisions collectively, so all can lead together. Lerato is part of a young women’s empowerment group that has been working together over the past three years, speaking at marches, performing at civic events, and growing in confidence and comfort with their voices.

Chrysti Britt - Cultivate

Chrysti Britt is the Executive Director of Cultivate. Her passion is supporting underserved and underrepresented populations. After watching her mom become the primary caregiver for her aging grandfather, she was inspired to focus on advocating for seniors. Chrysti’s extensive background in civil services, emergency medical services, human services and veteran support have enabled her to collaborate with numerous community agencies and organizations. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice focusing on Global Issues and has conducted postgraduate research centered around the Impacts of Societal Gender Norms on Juvenile Delinquency. Chrysti’s education, experiences and own biracial heritage provide her a unique foundation and perspective that she uses to construct the systems to care for and serve underserved and underrepresented populations. When she’s not at work, you can find Chrysti on her motorcycle, on the lake or embarking on a new adventure with her three kids and four dogs.

Laura Soto - Philanthropiece

This “cultural broker” and “artivist” born in Chihuahua, Mexico and raised bi-cultural in the U.S. brings 20 years’ experience advocating for underrepresented groups. In the last five years, Laura has served her local Boulder County community as a speaker/spoken word performer, paralegal, professional translator/interpreter, community organizer and resource navigator. Laura is currently Operations Manager at the Philanthropiece Foundation and a fierce advocate for Black-Indigenous-People-Of-Color (BIPOC). Laura is Co-Founder of Voces Unidas-Boulder County and Colectivo Cultura, as well as a member of the Latinx Advisory Committee to Congressman Joe Neguse, the St. Vrain Valley School District Parents Involved in Education Taskforce, and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. As the COVID-19 health and economic crises spread, Laura quickly organized with other community leaders to create resources that would help those most impacted; including the BoCo SUMA Community Resource Guide, the COVID-19 Undocu-Relief Fund at the local level, and the Left Behind Workers Fund at the state level.

Carrie Inoshita - Boulder County Parks & Open Space

Carrie is the daughter of 2nd generation Japanese American parents. She was born and raised in Arizona, where her parents found themselves after the forced internment and re-location of Japanese families during WWII. After attending the University of Arizona, Carrie moved to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado. She was captivated by the wilderness around Boulder and enlivened by the passionate social justice community she found here. Today, Carrie lives in Boulder with her husband and son. She works for Boulder County, as a Business Analyst in the Parks and Open Space Department and currently serves as Co-Manager of the county’s COVID-19 Recovery Program. Carrie’s priority in all things is racial equity. She believes the privilege she enjoys today as part of this community is the result of the labor and struggle of her family, her ancestors, and those who have fought for her right to opportunity and access.

Renata Colitti - Broadcom

Renata moved to Boulder from Germany (with a few-year layover in Michigan) to attend the University of Colorado in 1980. Like many, she fell in love at first sight and knew it was a one way trip. Boulder became home after graduation, choosing the vibrant business community and the many opportunities to grow with startup and large companies in the area. Her career has been in engineering and she has had the privilege to bring her passion for community service into the workplace everywhere she has been. This has included engaging her team and the corporation in Community Food Share sorting days, fundraisers, filling backpacks for Precious Child, veteran recruiting, career support and launching the mentoring program with CU, championing all women of all ages in technology, promoting and supporting the adaptive community and corporate cycling teams and grants for Children’s Hospital Colorado Adaptive programs. Renata has two wonderful daughters who remain in the Boulder area (and a foster-fail Tucker) and now that they are adults, she has more time to volunteer with children and organizations in our community, travel, ski and paddleboard.

Norma Fuentes - Intercambio Uniting Communities

Norma was born in Ignacio Zaragoza, Chihuahua. Norma is a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a mother to three daughters named Adriana, Alejandra, and Alondra. Grandmother to a beautiful girl named Izabella. Norma has been in the workforce since the age of 16. Her first job was in Mexico at a furniture warehouse. Norma began her work with the community in 1998. Her first job working in Boulder County was at the Boulder Valley School District’s Family Literacy Program. Through this opportunity, Norma learned the importance of community engagement and the greatness that could be accomplished through community involvement and working in partnership with parents. In 2006, Norma enrolled in English classes and decided to expand her career avenues when she chose to volunteer for Intercambio Uniting Communities. She felt in love with the work and its mission, and through hard work and perseverance, Norma became a full-time employee in 2008. She is now in her new role as Director of Student Service, which has allowed her to elevate the program’s missions by always keeping the students at the forefront of the program. A few of her accomplishments include:
• 2018 to Present, Board Member of Inn Between
• 2018, Boulder County Leadership Fellow
• 2016, Participant of People Engaged in Raising Leaders (PERL)
• 2016, Received the Multicultural Award
• 2011, Received the Unity in the Community Award
Norma loves new challenges and is always open to change as she quotes, “I have a master’s in
moving out of my comfort zone.”

Message from Special Guest Josie Heath

Josie Heath is currently a Commissioner for the Colorado State Land Board which manages public lands for the benefit of K-12 public education. She retired as President of the Community Foundation in 2017 after over 20 years at the helm. On the 100th anniversary of the founding of community foundations in America, Heath was invited to give the keynote speech at the White House, celebrating this important anniversary for foundations. Josie served two terms as Boulder County Commissioner, was a two time contender for the United States Senate, taught at the Kennedy School at Harvard, Chaired the Colorado Commission on Women, was a member of the Colorado Rockies Metro Stadium Governing Board, was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and was the proud recipient of a Women Who Light the Community Award. She has been married to former Senator Rollie Heath for 59 years. They have
three children and seven grandchildren.

Photos courtesy of 11:11 Productions

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