Kristen Van Norman Founder and Executive Director
Kristen Van Norman, a native of Colorado, she grew up in the Vail Valley. Kristen is a graduate of Fort Lewis College with a B.A. in Political Science. She followed this with attending the Josef Korbel School of International Studies graduating with a M.A. in International Human Rights with concentrations in Gender and International Law in the Middle East. Afterwards, she worked at a small non-profit in Vail promoting lifelong education as their Program and Development Manager. Most recently, she worked for Ascend Athletics in Kabul, Afghanistan, a non-profit driven by empowering women through teaching leadership skills while pursuing outdoor pursuits such as mountaineering and rock climbing.
Upon arriving back in the United States, Kristen wanted to share her love of the outdoors with young women in Chaffee County and elevateHER was born. She believes that using outdoor adventure as a mode of teaching young women can impart lifelong lessons and build close female relationships. Kristen is excited to bring together a group of strong women to teach the next generation of independent women lifelong skills so that they can succeed no matter the challenges they face.
If not working hard with the girls of elevateHER, you can find Kristen enjoying many outdoor pursuits such as rock climbing, hiking, camping, rafting, and snowboarding. If its an indoor day, Kristen is an avid reader of historical fiction with strong female character leads.
Jess Lewis Outdoor Adventure Manager
Jess has been an outdoor her whole life. She works as a rafting, kayak, rock climbing, mountain, and horse guide year round. He work has taken her across the world exploring cultures, ideas, and landscapes from Asia, to South America, Europe, and North America. She is in love with adventure. Even more so she appreciates the unique ways in which people are connected to the earth, their environment, and each other.
Jess has spent a number of years working with young adults and teens in outdoor programs through out Colorado. As a Buena Vista local she understands the unique challenges young adults face in getting into the outdoors and because of this is highly motivated to open doors to the young women in the community.
Anna Boyd Program Manager
Anna Boyd is a professional leadership development consultant with many years of experience in varied fields. She holds an AA in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership, a BA in Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies, and a Master of Professional Studies degree in the Psychology of Leadership. Anna began her journey as a raft guide, ski instructor, and dogsled guide. From there, she worked in wilderness therapy as a guide and logistics coordinator, helping students learn how to safely engage in outdoor adventure and work towards their therapeutic outcomes. This is where she began honing her skills in conflict resolution and communication - skills that accompanied her during her tenure working on a sexual assault hotline. Anna’s focus soon shifted towards how to help people in a proactive, rather than a reactive, manner. She specializes in working with women and marginalized populations. Currently, Anna works as a leadership development consultant for Fortune 500 companies with Action Learning Associates. She is also an adjunct instructor with Colorado Mountain College, and recently started her own consulting agency based in Buena Vista, called Empowered Solutions Colorado, LLC.
Alex Blitstein Marketing Strategist
Alex Blitstein grew up in Buena Vista, before moving to Fort Collins to attend college at Colorado State Universality. At college Alex studies Marketing, with certifications in Data Analytics and Branding. In addition to this she is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Phi honors societies and holds a 3.9 GPA. When Alex isn't studying she loves to make art, read books, hike, spend time with friends and loved ones, and call her mom (who is her biggest role model and support system). Throughout her life she has been lucky enough to know many strong and amazing women (such as her mother and younger sister), and is absolutely thrilled to be on the elevateHER team.
Elinor Assay Grantwriter and Development
Elinor is the Grant Writer and Development Consultant for elevateHER, where she brings 4 years of progressive experience in fundraising and development. She also brings a strong commitment to youth development and education programs, with almost 10 years of climbing experience and 5 years of experience in a variety of youth development programs.
Elinor graduated from Santa Clara University with a double major in History and Political Science. She also holds a Master’s degree in International Development from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, where she focused on environmental and technology development in South Asia and West Africa. She has traveled extensively, especially in Nepal, where she worked to support girls' education and empowerment issues with the nonprofits Edge of Seven and The Small World.
Originally from the Washington DC area, Elinor went west in 2006 and has never looked back. She is an avid rock climber, backpacker, snowboarder, and cook, and enjoys exploring the trails near her home in Boulder, CO.