SLG Virtual Forum 2024 Louisville CO

When ICMA’s March 6th SheLeadsGov Virtual Forum “Bold Women, Bold Changes” was announced, I went straight to my boss to tell him, “We need to do a watch party!”

As the deputy city manager, I didn’t need his approval, but I wanted buy-in and support from the top. In the past few years, our organization has been through a pandemic, significant leadership transition, and a traumatic natural disaster (the Marshall Fire). Considering all that, I’ve learned that sometimes we need to give people permission and encouragement to take a few hours out of their day to do things like this. And often, that encouragement is more impactful coming from the city manager’s office.

With his support, we shared the news at our next leadership team meeting and started planning. The event was held in a neutral space where we don’t typically have business meetings — the library of the city manager’s office. While optional, we encouraged people to attend and created paths to support prioritization of the meeting. When there was an unplanned council committee meeting scheduled over top of the watch party, the city manager and I even prioritized our time so that I could attend the whole forum and he could join midway.

Ultimately, we had eight people in attendance, which was a smaller crowd than I had hoped, but it created an opportunity for people who don’t interact every day to have meaningful conversations. Our group even used the whiteboard to take notes and stayed together for a 45-minute chat after the last session. I couldn’t be more pleased with our first annual watch party and am honored to share the words of a few of our attendees:

Dawn Soave, Risk Management Specialist

How does the theme of “Bold Women, Bold Changes” encourage you as a leader?

“It reminds me to not be afraid to try. Failure is okay and, better yet, success at something new and frightening is awesome!”

What advice did you gain from the event that others need to know?

“Put yourself out there. Go for it.”

Laura Jasiewicz, Records Management Assistant

How does the theme of “Bold Women, Bold Changes” encourage you as a leader?

“It encourages you to have that mindset when trying to make a difference, no matter your role.”

How did the SheLeadsGov watch party help you learn from and connect with women in your organization?

“It allowed me to connect to them in a setup different from our regular office spaces and work-related conversations. After the event, listening to their personal experiences was not only insightful but created personal connections.”

Adam Blackmore, Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Director

“As a male, I really enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the watch party and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the passion and thoughtfulness of the speakers. I noticed how few (if any at all) other men were in the watch parties. I think it’s imperative for equity that traditionally marginalized genders or races can express thoughts, ideas, challenges, successes, and plans with those who have had a long history of privilege and authority (namely Caucasian men).

I was honored to be able to watch the sessions and to learn from these women. I will use the discussions and points of emphasis for insight as I lead my organization. It’d be nice if others like me also took advantage or were encouraged to participate (mostly just to listen and not speak) in similar programs.”


We are excited to count this watch party as a success. The teams have already requested more opportunities like this one. For the future, we will leverage this work to build safety and comfort in these opportunities, and as an organization, continue to ensure that our actions and policies align with what we say we value. We’re grateful to ICMA for providing this forum to members. It was very much appreciated by our team here in Louisville, Colorado!



SAMMA FOX (she/her/hers) is deputy city manager of Louisville, Colorado, USA.

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