Leadership Fellows Spotlight: Norma Fuentes

For Norma Fuentes, participating in Leadership Fellows Boulder County – a joint leadership development and networking program of Community Foundation Boulder County and the Boulder Chamber – was a positive experience “beyond my comfort zone.”

“I love what I do, and I feel so lucky to live in Boulder County,” says Norma, Longmont Program Manager of Intercambio Uniting Communities, a grantee of the Community Foundation. “The Leadership Fellows program is an amazing opportunity to get to know our county even better, to experience environments other than your own day-to-day environment, and to meet many different kinds of people whom you wouldn’t otherwise meet.
“I really appreciated the opportunity to learn more about Boulder County as whole – our economy, government, health and human services, nonprofit sector, and more. And I really enjoyed meeting young local leaders who are very engaged and interested, and who truly care about this place where we live.
“I’m active and passionate about living here, so the program immediately felt right for me. Getting to know caring people who are equally invested in living here was an opportunity to share our ideas and visions, our needs, and to explore how to work in collaboration and support one another.”
For Intercambio, Norma – originally from Chihuahua, Mexico – works with English learners to ensure that they are appropriately evaluated, assessed, and “receive the best English classes possible.” She first got involved with Intercambio as a volunteer in 2006, and joined the staff a couple years later.
“The Leadership Fellows program also allowed me the opportunity to think more deeply about the work I do,” continues Norma. “At Intercambio, we build relationships and connect community members to diverse services. Through the leadership program and relationships with other fellows, I’m now better prepared to send people who come to us in the right direction. It’s made my work easier!”
Norma says she doesn’t speak only for herself, but for thousands of immigrant living here. “I am an immigrant and I work with immigrants, and I welcome everyone to get to know the immigrant community here, to see us as an asset, and to recognize that we all benefit when we grow together. 
“We may be different – coming from different backgrounds, and holding different perspectives – but we all want what’s best for us and our community. The leadership program really validates our diversity and strength as a community.”