I have worked for nearly three decades as a consultant, facilitator, trainer, and business owner in both the profit and non-profit sector. I began my professional career as a psychotherapist owning and managing a counseling center and Employee Assistance service in Atlanta, Georgia. After moving to Colorado, I became deeply entrenched in community service and participated in a legion of programs and activities including Leadership Montezuma, Family Leadership Institute, and the Summit Leadership series. I developed life skill training programs for the Colorado Workforce and Pueblo College and co-authored a strategic development plan for Region 9. I have conducted strategic planning, facilitation, mediation and staff/ board development for many, many nonprofit organizations and in 2022 launched the new initiative, The Montezuma Leadership Network to bring leadership training opportunities, lost during Covid, back to southwest Colorado. I am an accomplished equestrian looking forward to retirement so I can ride my horses in this beautiful space I call home.
Rebecca Samulski grew up in Montezuma County where she lives with her husband and two sons south of Summit Ridge. She received a B.A. in Anthropology from Fort Lewis College and an M.A. in Political Science from CU Denver. She is a Leadership Montezuma alumna circa 2006 and has served and worked for many non-profit and government boards in Montezuma County, including serving as a board member for MLN’s fiscal sponsor, Onward! A Legacy Foundation.
She manages a statewide nonprofit network for wildfire resilience professionals, Fire Adapted Colorado, from an office at Dolores Volunteer Fire & Rescue. It was an interest in community organizing and engagement that drew her into wildfire work as a neighborhood volunteer coordinator in the first place, but, through this lens, she has gained extensive nonprofit and collaborative management experience. She brings experience in building professional networks and is passionate about weaving our local network of community ‘leaders’.
Hello everyone! My name is Derek Streeter. I am 37 years old, and I have lived in Cortez for almost 4 years now. My wife and I recently became first time parents, as we welcomed our baby boy, Sawyer, in November! I have a Marketing degree from Colorado State University, and I am currently taking classes towards my Masters degree in Mental Health and Wellness. As the head of the Peer Networking pillar, it is my duty to plan and execute quarterly events. With the help of my amazing team, we provide fun environments in which the community can discover opportunities to get involved, while also building personal and professional relationships. Hope to see you at an MLN event sometime soon!
Matt Keefauver grew up in a small town in rural Illinois; graduating in a class of only 26 students! His father worked at Caterpillar and his mother was a teacher. Matt moved to Pueblo, CO in 1992 where he was in charge of a robotic dinosaur exhibit. He lived in Salida, CO before moving to Cortez in 2003.
Matt received his bachelor’s degree in 1992 from Western Illinois University, and also has a master’s degree in Linguistically Diverse Education. He is certified to teach Secondary Mathematics and Elementary Education, and has been a teacher and principal for the past 28 years.
Previously, Matt served as Cortez Mayor Pro-Tem for eight years, and was again elected to Cortez City Council in 2022 for another four-year term. He would like Cortez to remain a vibrant and friendly community where residents treat each other with respect.
Hiking and mountain biking are the activities which Matt loves to fill his free time, as well as cooking and spending time with friends. He has three cats that are very important to him.
Nicci prides herself on being a connector of people and ideas—a trait that’s central to her work as the LOR Foundation’s community officer in Cortez, Colorado. She listens to community members to understand the challenges they collectively face and then helps launch the solutions they develop to address them.
Nicci’s understanding of community and nonprofit expertise comes from her many years of diverse involvement in Cortez. She’s immersed herself in community work ever since finding her permanent home in Cortez in 2006—most recently as the deputy director for Onward! A Legacy Foundation, but also in her work with the Four Corners Child Advocacy Center, Tri-City Soccer, Montezuma-Cortez High School advisory committee, and her church council.
When she’s not working, Nicci can be found with her husband, Chris, watching their two children compete in the sports they love. She is currently learning more about “Gallup Strengths” and the “Enneagram” as she believes everyone has something to bring to the table. Nicci wants to help others be their most successful selves, noting, “When we are all using our strengths, we build a strong community.”
Growing up in the rural community of Beulah, Colorado, Jessica recognized early on in life the importance and capabilities of community collaboration. Drawing from her desire to help others along with her professional experience with nonprofit organizations and child protection, Jessica appreciates the vital role dedicated and effective leaders play in the over well-being of the community. Jessica is committed to addressing mental and behavioral health barriers, housing shortages, and the development and enhancement of business and educational opportunities to support a prosperous economy for those living and visiting Montezuma County.
Jessica holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and is the Montezuma County Community and Economic Development Coordinator. In her free time, Jess enjoys housing renovations, photography, and leading her Girl Scout Troop on fearless adventures.
Leigh Reeves recently retired from conventional employment. She continues to cater under the business Zoe the Tail. It helps her express her creativity and take care of people through good food and fun.
Leigh has 35 years of business experience in companies large and small. Managing teams in healthcare, manufacturing and telecommunications. Her skills include:
- Building consensus around critical issues
- Working with diverse teams to tackle big problems
- Training teams to optimize efficiency
- Running effective meetings
- Analyzing budgets and developing financial objectives
- Developing consensus around a vision
- Executing plans in a focused environment
- Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Houston, Houston, TX
- MBA from Keller Graduate School, Chicago, IL
To change the hearts and minds of people one person at time. Connecting with people using humility, empathy, and strong listening skills while lifting the lives of all through equity, diversity and inclusion.
Jason moved to Denver from his home state of Indiana in 1996. He has worked extensively in non-profit settings supporting youth and families, serving in a variety of roles that have included program management, evaluation, grant writing and executive leadership. Jason volunteers his time to local non-profit organizations on boards and has served on local committees across the region since moving Durango in 2008, and then on to Mancos in 2018. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a Masters of Public Administration. Jason currently works for the Town of Mancos as the Community and Economic Development Director. In his spare time, he enjoys mountain biking, trail running, backcountry snowboarding, carpentry and hanging out with friends, his amazing partner of 20 years and of course, his dogs.
Jason’s leadership philosophy is driven by an authentic desire to foster collaboration and celebrate those around him while modeling actions that come from a commitment to integrity. He values humility above all else, and a spirit of inclusion that supports the well-being of the entire community.
Born and raised in Montezuma County, Vanessa brings a variety of experiences to the Program Manager position. She previously worked for the Montezuma County/CSU Extension office and at City Market. Vanessa has served as the Administration Director for the K-9 Search and Rescue Team since 2013 and as the Executive Program Director for Onward! A Legacy Foundation since August 2022. She is working on a Bachelor of Science in Business Management at Northern Arizona University. Vanessa is the proud mother of one child who is currently attending Fort Lewis College.