equipoise news volume 18

equipoise news volume 18 fall 2011

Challenges and Opportunities

Susie Weber aiming for the summit
Susie Weber aiming for the summit
Mickey Babcock on the flanks of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Mickey on the flanks of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Is it possible that challenges can create opportunities? If you ask a group of climbers who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro this past July, I believe you will hear a resounding YES!

I had the wonderful experience of joining the Leap of Faith team in Tanzania this summer. We were a team of 28 climbers—14 of whom live with either Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, and another 14 of us blessed to be their companion climbers. Lori Schneider, who is the only woman in the world to have climbed to all seven summits while living with MS, assembled the team. My partner, Susie Weber has lived with MS for 24 years, and she crested the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro with a huge smile on her face! The entire experience was simply amazing and full of grace.

We are all given challenges. There is room for finding opportunity in those challenges. My teammates’ daily lives are filled with demanding physical and medical challenges, and yet they were able to climb past those restraints, turning them into opportunities for empowerment, growth and inspiration. Indeed, this was “more than a mountain”!

And so, as we go about our days, I challenge each of you to find your personal equipoise—where all possibility lies—within you. I challenge us all to help others find the opportunities in their own daily lives. I assure you, it will be a life-changing experience.




PS Please be sure to check out our newly revamped Web site!

Wyoming Council of Women’s Issues

Wyoming Council of Women’s Issues named Dessie Bebout of Riverton, Wyoming as their 2011 Woman of Distinction at a special celebration in September. WCWI’s Woman of Distinction Award recognizes the recipient’s impact on women and families in the areas of education, employment, community outreach, legal issues and health and wellness, and at the age of 91, Dessie has provided substantial positive impact over the course of her long life.

WCWI’s Donna Thompson, Dessie Bebout, Sherrill Helzer and Carma Corra.
WCWI’s Donna Thompson, Dessie Bebout, Sherrill Helzer and Carma Corra.

From her history as a WAVE during World War II to her 13-year stint as postmaster in Shoshoni, Wyoming—which garnered her the U.S. Post Office’s highest honor for meritorious service, the “Order of the Vest”—Dessie has found time to raise a family while empowering the communities in which she’s lived. She was especially thanked for her efforts on behalf of, among others, the Central Wyoming Community College’s Health and Science Center; the Wyoming Private Industry Council and Job Training Partnership Board; the Wyoming Women’s Commission; the Wyoming Centennial Committee; and the Riverton Memorial Hospital Board.

WCWI was busy in the fall with their Career Training and Development Lab at the Young Woman’s Career Fair, cohosted by Northwest College. More than 300 freshman and sophomore girls attended workshops designed to help them establish a suitable career path.

Members of WCWI also toured the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, established during World War II to intern some 120,000 American-born Japanese. The site is now an educational and interpretive center dedicated to expanding awareness of civil rights.

Wyoming Women’s Foundation

Recent statistics on domestic violence and sexual assault in the state of Wyoming present an unnerving picture. Nearly 3500 incidents of domestic violence were tallied last year, and that’s just what was reported. Add to that the news from University of Wyoming on the number of sexual assaults on campus—9 reported in 2010, up from one the previous year—and WYWF became involved by asking questions and partnering with standing programs to address this difficult situation.

Representatives from WYWF met with campus police, counselors, and administrators as well as members of the SAFE Project, to learn what programs were in place for public awareness, student education and incident prevention on the UW campus. WYWF saw the need to share programing efforts and materials with the community college network and the Wind River Reservation. To assist in this effort, WYWF approached the donor-advised Flying V Fund for assistance. The Flying V Fund generously donated $15,000 toward the effort.

The partners’ goal is to establish powerful relationships and create greater understanding and broader awareness of violent crimes against women.

As part of this alliance, WYWF and the Albany County SAFE Project cohosted domestic violence expert Lundy Bancroft, who visited Laramie, Wyoming to give a series of talks and seminars on the subject. Bancroft has worked to understand the patterns of abusive men and to heal their victims: their spouses and children. He presented information on custody evaluation, child abuse investigations and on providing expert testimony in domestic violence and child abuse cases.

The public is encouraged to share their knowledge, and more information can be found at Wyoming Women’s Foundation.

UW Women’s Intern Program

UW Gender and Women’s Studies intern, Alexandra Hullinger
UW Gender and Women’s Studies intern, Alexandra Hullinger

The Wyoming Women’s Foundation works with the University of Wyoming’s Gender and Women’s Studies Department to identify an intern each fall and spring semester. Thanks to the generous support of the Equipoise Fund, WYWF is fortunate to have a dedicated, sharp and interested intern in Alexandra Hullinger. Alex is a history major from Gillette, Wyoming. She brings many skills and interests to her work: “I have really enjoyed my experience with the Wyoming Women’s Foundation. I have learned so much about the grant making process and how nonprofits function in general. I am so glad that I had this opportunity to be part of such an amazing organization, and I think that this experience has really helped me grow professionally.”

It is the intention of the WYWF staff to create a unique and meaningful opportunity for each intern. “We work hard to get to know each person and capitalize on their strengths while sharing the important work we have to accomplish to keep this ship moving,” says Richelle Keinath, WYWF Executive Director. “We are so proud of the partnership with UW Gender and Women’s Studies and the Equipoise Fund. It’s a great opportunity for a student to see the nonprofit world, to learn about advocacy, grant making, fund raising and how a nonprofit board of directors works.”

Find out more about the intern program.

Raising Girls

Raising Girls, the Equipoise Fund’s newest program, gained momentum over the summer and fall with two panel discussions that were held in Jackson.

The August program focused on safe dating practices for adolescent girls, with panelists Maura Lofaro, MD; Jane Coe Smith, PhD, LCPC; Connie Baumer, RN; and Shannon Nichols, Education Director at Community Safety Network. Topics included the features of a healthy relationship, how parents can establish a connective dialog with their daughters about dating and sexuality, and strategies for staying safe and in control while dating.

In October, Raising Girls hosted a conversation about a different age bracket: girls 2-10. “Tantrums, Freak-Outs and Emotional Resilience: Tools for Managing Challenging Behavior and Nurturing Healthy Development” featured four expert panelists: Lisa Ridgway, MD; Courtney Hanan Marvin, LCSW; Chris Moll, LCSW; and Ivy Assenberg, LPC. Conversation focused on tactics for handling little girls’ mood and behavioral swings. Most panelists recommended establishing clear communication channels and using humor to diffuse testy situations. It was noted, that despite parents’ desires for achievements, small failures actually help to build emotional fortitude.

Notes from previous events are currently available for download.


Reaching 40% more area women this year, Womentum kicked off their 2011-2012 Womentoring program with a celebration at the Murie Center in Grand Teton National Park.

Womentum Mentees
2011-12 mentors and mentees kick off the program at Mardy Murie's cabin with Womentum’s advisory board members and trustholders Mickey Babcock and Jim Moses in attendance.

Drawing women together with the spirit of philanthropy and teamwork, the Womentoring program creates a cumulative impact exponentially greater than what each person could make individually, a sort of “action philanthropy.” Beyond Womentoring, Womentum offers events and educational opportunities for the general public to increase knowledge and awareness of today’s women’s issues.

28 mentors and mentees have begun participating in this sixth Womentoring class. They are: Paula Beck, Shannon Borrego, Dana Buchwald, DL Bupp, Susan Combs, Anne Comeaux, Alicia Cox, Shelly Fuerte, Kristine Harris, Lisa Rullman, Kate Schelbe, Megan Smith, Becky Tillson, Meliza Wetzler, Lori Bantekas, Allison Bergh, Kathy Clay, Annette Eastman, Cindee George, Nancy Guthrie, Shawn Meisl, Clare Payne-Symmons, Leslie Petersen, Debbie Schlinger, Patti Stancarone, Susan Thulin and Becky Wachob.

More information on Womentum is available at their Web site.

Women in Leadership Luncheon

A star-studded panel of women in political leadership served as the highlight for the annual Women in Leadership Luncheon at the Rendezvous Bistro in Jackson November 10th. The luncheon was sold out, with a large group of CLIMB Wyoming grads. The panel featured 2011-12 mentor Leslie Petersen, 2006 mentor and Wyoming State Representative Ruth Ann Petroff, Wyoming State Representative Sue Wallis, Liz Brimmer of Brimmer Communications and Westminster City Councilwoman Faith Winter, and it was moderated by Johanna Love, the Features editor for the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

Please visit Womentum for post-event details.

Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus


The Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus invites Wyoming women to Cheyenne on March 1st and 2nd, 2012 for the fifth annual Leap into Leadership conference. Workshops and speakers will focus on women’s leadership and the process of preparing oneself to step into the political arena.

Katie Groke Ellis of The White House Project Colorado gives feedback to a workshop participant.

The bipartisan Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus seeks to increase the number of women in elected and leadership positions in the state. Leap into Leadership has proved to be a viable and compelling way to encourage women interested in working on behalf of their communities. In fact, the Caucus will partner with the Wyoming Women’s Foundation to offer two local workshops in addition to the Cheyenne event, one in Cody on February 7th and one in Laramie on February 9th.

This Leap into Leadership event in Cheyenne is presented in partnership with the Equality State Policy Center, Wyoming Business Alliance and Wyoming Women’s Foundation, with trainings provided by the National Conference of State Legislators and The White House Project, and it is sponsored by BP and Larry Wolfe of the law firm, Holland & Hart. The Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus is a project of The Equipoise Fund.

Registration brochures for the conference will be mailed in early 2012. Please contact Melissa Turley, (307) 690-7690 or info@wyowlc.org, with questions or to sign up to receive event information.

Don’t Fence Me In

Charlie Craighead, cinematographer
Charlie Craighead, cinematographer

We are so proud to congratulate Charlie Craighead, the cinematographer of our award-winning documentary film, for being honored by the Cultural Council of Jackson Hole. Charlie received the 2011 Award for Creativity from the organization at a special gathering at the Jackson Hole Historical Society in October. The award honors those who provide indelible contributions to the cultural fabric of the valley.

Charlie, along with director Bonnie Kreps, videographer Leigh Reagan and producer Amy McCarthy, traveled the back roads of Wyoming to film the necessary interviews to make Don’t Fence Me In. The film presents interviews with a number of women who live and work in the Wyoming landscape and continues to be shown at venues around the world, picking up honors as it goes. Charlie’s work was a large part of that.

In addition to his skills with a camera, Charlie is an author, photographer and archivist, and a board member of the Craighead Institute, founded as a wildlife conservation organization. He worked with Bonnie Kreps and Harrison Ford on the 1999 film, Arctic Dance: The Mardy Murie Story, and he has worked on numerous other projects for Discovery, National Geographic, the BBC, PBS and Wolfgang Bayer.

Posted Under: Newsletter