Teton County entrepreneurs, elected officials and a newspaper editor have been nominated as Wyoming Women of Influence, an initiative to honor women’s contributions in the Equality State.
The seven women join Wyoming women from all over the state who were nominated in 15 categories ranging from the arts to finance to nonprofits. Janet Barton is involved with the Wyoming Business Report, the sponsor of the honor in its seventh year. She said the publication wanted “a way to celebrate the amazing women in Wyoming.”
Teton County commissioner Natalia Macker was nominated in the government category. She said it’s great to see so many Teton County women represented.
“That was perhaps the most exciting thing for me to see,” she said. “Part of why I think that is so exciting is that I truly believe that Teton County can be a resource and a problem-solver when it comes to our state and our state’s future and how we’re gonna move forward. Having women from our community be recognized and be in relationships with people in other parts of the state is how we will start to participate even more in those conversations.”
Also nominated in the government category was Jackson/Teton County Affordable Housing Department Director April Norton.
In science and technology manufacturing, Noso Patches CEO Kelli Jones was nominated for the second consecutive year. Jones started Noso Patches in 2016 with the goal of extending the life of outdoor gear to keep it out of the landfill as long as possible. In the last year, Noso Patches has continued to grow and partnered with outdoor brand Arc’teryx.
“I’m really proud of these little patches,” Jones said. “They’re doing their own thing.”
Jones also said she was honored to represent the category of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. She stressed the importance of promoting local technology education to provide young girls with increased opportunities to enter STEM careers.
Curran-Seeley Foundation Executive Director Trudy Birkemeyer Funk was nominated in the health care category. Funk, a master addictions counselor and licensed clinical social worker, has worked at Curran-Seeley for 18 years and been executive director the last five. One of the programs she’s piloted is the co-occurring mental health program, which combines substance abuse treatment and mental health counseling.
“I take pride in the fact that at Curran-Seeley we have a full continuum of patient services that includes group and individual counseling as well as case management and referral for primary care,” Funk said.
Funk said she was humbled to find her name among good company.
“I’m really honored to be in this group of women nominated for this,” she said. “The other names that are on the list are people that I respect and look up to, so I’m really excited to be a part of that group.”
In the media and communications category, Three Elephant Public Relations director Jessica Jaubert is being honored. She also serves on boards for pARTners, the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum, Children’s Learning Center and Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies.
Jaubert is involved with the Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus, which encourages women to seek leadership roles.
“I think it’s really important that when women are involved in local government, state government, school boards, hospitals, when women are a voice in the conversation, there are hundreds of studies out there that show a broader spectrum of people are represented, including children, families, single parents,” she said.
The Jackson Hole News&Guide’s own Deputy Editor Melissa Cassutt was also nominated in the media category by Jen Simon. Simon said she was inspired by Cassutt’s work revamping the Jackson Hole Woman featured section, “to make it a really robust, hard-hitting, thoughtful, provocative, solutions-driven section.” The October 2018 publication dove deep into issues like sexual assault and the gender pay gap.
“I think it deserves statewide attention and praise,” Simon said. “I don’t think there’s enough attention paid statewide to women’s issues, and the fact that she’s really turned that into an incredibly important platform for those topics was at the top of the list for me.”
Jackson-based Wyoming Outdoor Council executive director Lisa McGee was nominated in the nonprofit category.
The Women of Influence reception and dinner will be held Sept. 19 in Casper in conjunction with the Wyoming Women’s Expo, which will celebrate the 150th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the state.