Womentum Awards go to Jenn Sparks and Lexey Wauters

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Womentum announced Jenn Sparks as the recipient of the 2019 Turley Onward Award. The Turley Onward Award was established in 2014 to honor the inspiration and contributions of one of Womentum’s founding members, Melissa Turley. Annually, this award honors a woman in the Jackson Hole community who has showcased an exceptional commitment to using her intellectual, creative, and charitable spirit to effectuate meaningful social change for women, and is a role model for others.

Stephanie Thomas surprised Sparks with the award at Womentum’s annual community gathering and award ceremony.

“The only way I knew I could get her there was to tell her I needed her help for a Teton County Search and Rescue presentation for a group of women,” Thomas said. Sparks arrived ready to present in her TCSAR uniform and her backcountry backpack in hand. It took a few minutes before she realized she was being honored for her extraordinary contribution and leadership to the female community.

Sparks has served on numerous nonprofit boards in the community including TCSAR, GAP, Bridger Teton Avy Center, the Jackson Hole Land Trust. Most impressively, she has served as a volunteer on the Teton County Search and Rescue team for 21 years, giving up countless hours, holidays and time to serve the community at the most basic level. She has been a leader and mentor for other women interested in joining the TCSAR team (including Thomas who nominated her).

Sparks has also been a leader in the business world, running a financial firm in Jackson and continually sharing her skillset with the local nonprofit community and women interested in finances. She is humble, kind, and always there for people in need.

AJ Cargill and Lexey Wauters. (Courtesy Womentum)

Also awarded this year was the Shelley Simonton Memorial Award, which was established to honor the Womentum co-founder who succumbed to cancer in 2017 at the age of 49.

“Shelly was a fantastic combination of community commitment and pure, unadulterated fun,” said Womentum Board member Caryn Flanagan. The 2019 recipient of the Simonton Memorial Award is Lexey Wauters.

The 2014 Womentum alumna, AJ Cargill, nominated Wauters.

“I believe [Lexey] is an exemplary human, community member and role model. I have known her and watched her weave through career changes and some rather tough curve balls that life has thrown at her. She always handles herself with grace and humor,” Cargill said. “Incidentally, her smile and her laugh are one of the most beautiful and contagious bright spots anyone could wish to have the opportunity to witness. She works hard and diligently. She is respected and a great teacher. She listens thoughtfully and gives honest and smart opinions. She holds a position on at least one board, while maintaining a full-time job and working on a new, creative career in her free time.”

Wauters has also served as a Womentum mentor two times and helped launched Womentum 2.0, a continuing education program for Womentoring program alumnae.

Both the Turley Onward Award and the Shelley Simonton Memorial Award are $250 cash awards (supplied by an anonymous donor) to be designated as a donation to the local nonprofits of the recipients’ choice. (Not Womentum) Nominations were submitted in December by alumnae of Womentoring’s signature mentoring program. Award winners for the Turley Onward Award and Shelley Simonton Memorial Award need not be Womentoring Alumnae.

Womentum is a 501c3 best known for its signature mentoring program, “Womentoring”, a nine-month, community-building mentoring program that develops women’s skills, confidence and local network through integrated workshops, dinners, events, and one-on-one mentoring.  Womentum’s mission is “Empowering and connecting women as leaders within their community.”

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