To celebrate International Women’s Day, I wanted to feature some powerful, inspiring Colorado women who are changing the world. I have good news — there are many. This list is just a glimpse, a snapshot of local women who are making a difference in this often difficult world. In no particular order, here are six Colorado women who are changing the world.
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés: Activist, Poet, Advocate, Post-Trauma Specialist
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés is is an American poet, author, Jungian psychoanalyst and post-trauma specialist who was raised in a now nearly vanished oral and ethnic tradition. She is a lifelong activist in service of the voiceless; as a post-trauma recovery specialist and psychoanalyst of 49 years clinical practice. As a post-trauma recovery specialist, she served students, teachers, and families at Columbine High School and community for three years after the massacre. Recently, Dr. Estés testified before the Colorado Legislature against a bill that would allow school teachers to be armed. Dr. Estés heads the C. P. Estés Guadalupe Foundation, a human rights organization that broadcasts strengthening stories via shortwave radio to trouble spots throughout the world. To find out more about Dr. Estés, listen to this interview.
Leslie Foster: Non-Profit Leader and Activist
Leslie Foster has been the President of The Gathering Place for 28 years. The Gathering Place is the only daytime drop-in center in metropolitan Denver that serves women, their children, and transgender individuals who are experiencing poverty, many of whom are also experiencing homelessness. The center serves thousands of individuals every year by offering meals, medical screenings, classes and so much more. Listen to Leslie Foster speak here.
Lauren Y. Casteel: Foundation Executive, Philanthropist, Activist
Lauren Y. Casteel, President and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, has been a philanthropic leader in Colorado for over 20 years. Deeply committed to social justice, Casteel is a powerful advocate for people of color and underrepresented groups. She instituted The Denver Foundation‘s Nonprofit Internship Program, inspiring college students to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector. Need a dose of inspiration? Listen to Casteel speak here.
Shannon Watts: Founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Shannon Watts founded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America after the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook in December of 2012. She recognized that moms were looking for a way to organize as a group to stand up for sensible gun laws. The organization’s influence has since spread across the country, becoming the voice of thousands of moms, dads, grandparents and gun sense advocates. Moms Demand Action supports the 2nd Amendment, but believes in common-sense solutions can help decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills too many of our children and loved ones every day. With this mission, the organization has achieved unprecedented victories against the gun lobby, at the ballot box, in state legislation, and in corporate America. Watts has inspired a grassroots following of millions of passionate gun sense advocates. See an interview with Watts here.
Dr. Philippa Marrack: Immunology Researcher, Medical Innovator
Philippa Marrack is a world-renowned immunology researcher whose groundbreaking work on T-cells at National Jewish Health in Denver has innovated medicine across the world. Her findings helped shape medicine’s current understanding of the human immune system, vaccines, HIV, and other immune disorders. She has won multiple awards for her work, including the Wolf Prize in Medicine 2015, and has been ranked in the top most influential researchers in the nation. To learn more about Dr. Marrack, check out this interview.
Beth Klein: Lawyer, Philanthropist, Activist
Boulder attorney Beth Klein is a world leader in the fight to stop the cruel and horrific human trafficking problem at a local, national and international level. It is her life’s mission to eradicate sex slavery and human trafficking, and has written laws in Colorado and across the globe that makes these unspeakable crimes easier to prosecute. Listen to Klein speak about her work to end human trafficking here.