Leadership Fellow Spotlight: Pamela Malzbender

Pamela Malzbender – an alumna of Leadership Fellows Boulder County, a joint leadership development and networking program of the Community Foundation and the Boulder Chamber – is perhaps best described as a community changemaker.

“The Leadership Fellows class I was in [2016-17] was a wonderful group of people,” says the honoree of the foundation’s 2017 Stan Black Award and former president of Zonta Foothills Club of Boulder County. Pam continues to make a difference as co-chair of the Zonta EducateZ project, supporting at-risk women and girls through education and empowerment. Specifically, she works closely with Boulder Valley Schools to provide books, funding, mentoring, and other hands-on support toward closing the achievement gap through literacy, college preparedness, and basic life skills.

“I still keep in touch with people I met through the program," say says. "We have a lot of shared interests and we’ve linked our organizations to put together a variety of projects.” For example, Pam worked with another Leadership Fellow – Lisa White, a software engineer at Twitter Boulder – to organize an after-school orientation at Twitter, bringing together middle-school girls with women engineers who shared their career paths, thereby inspiring a way forward ... through high school and college, and into a hopeful future.

Additionally, Pam serves on the board of The Reentry Initiative – an organization started by Deb Simmons, also a Leadership Fellow alumna and a current member of the foundation’s Board of Trustees. The Reentry Initiative helps women reentering our community from prison through pre- and post-release evidence-based programming, as well as housing and case management.

Pam recalls that her Leadership Fellows class had met only twice prior to the 2016 election. “We spent the next session talking about the election results – as well as our concerns, and our passions for this community,” she says. “We were already bonding as a group, but that really solidified it.

“We all recognized how much we care about our community, and we better recognized our roles in the community as individuals and organizations that could do something. As a group, we became galvanized to roll up our sleeves and get out there, and to put to use our passion and willingness to connect with one another.”

Adds Pam, “Building community relationships is so important for our personal satisfaction, and to feel good about ourselves and that we’re not alone. It’s also the best way to get things done, when you find people who share your interests … and who are willing to give more than just a little time here and there.”

Indeed, with seemingly boundless energy, Pam’s commitment to community further includes working for the Know Your Rights project sponsored by the Board of County Commissioners to help immigrants in our community. She also co-leads the Boulder County Democrats Outreach and Inclusion Team, and serves on the Democrats’ Executive Committee implementing programs and developing partnerships to engage our diverse community. 

“It’s the one-on-one relationships that keep me going,” Pam says. “And Leadership Fellows brings together the gamut – from future leaders to seasoned leaders of various ages and a range of life experiences. That’s incredibly enriching.

“The program helped me deepen relationships with the people I’m trying to help, mentor, or inspire – as well as build new relationships with other people who are working in the trenches.

“There’s so much to be done, and we can all help in some way. Together, we need to keep persevering in order to keep helping.”