Dreamers and Doers

These 6 Parker women work hard to reach their goals while empowering their communities

Article by Joan Dameron and Hannah Echols Grieser

Photography by Jolie Rodriguez

Originally published in Parker Lifestyle

When we are little, we fantasize about what we want to be when we grow up. Children imagine becoming doctors, florists, teachers, parents, cowboys, mermaids… the list of possibilities is infinite. One thing is for sure--when women in Parker have a dream, they set their minds to it. Childhood imagination is met with experience and tenacity, and the realm of possibilities has no ceiling. Not only does the quality of their work reign supreme, but their character carries integrity throughout everything they do. You’ll find stories from a dental surgeon, a farmer, a couple of community organizers, a police officer, a neonatal nurse, and a few entrepreneurs within these pages. Though their vocations are diverse, their motivations are similar—to make their community a better place. Reader, the team at Parker Lifestyle hopes that you are as inspired by the snippets of these women’s stories as we are.

Katrina Wright

Katrina is a determined 20-year-old with an affinity for animals and community. Once she sets her mind to something, there’s no in-between. One product of that mindset is Peachy Farms, a booming farm animal rescue that Katrina started a few years earlier. Her animals participate in therapy and educational programs at the farm, and the rest get adopted to great homes.

What excites you most about the work you do?

If you asked me this when I first started, it would have been to help animals. Right now, it’s how one little farm can bring together the community from near and far. We’ve adopted out as far as New Mexico, Grand Junction, Wyoming, Texas… this tiny little rescue has made a large community that stands very strong.

How do you picture your role in the Parker community?

I pride myself in Parker; I really do. There aren’t many nursing homes that we leave untouched, and we’re almost always at Relay for Life. It’s very rare that we don’t have a cow or a pony or a pig with us when we walk into Murdoch’s. If there’s something that falls apart in Parker, the whole community seems to pull together. Our ponies and mini cows will do fundraisers. Parker is our home!

What is your ultimate goal?

The plan with the farm is to get a bigger property and a barn. It would absolutely be amazing. I’m also working on a couple of multi-level marketing jobs that I’m hoping will take off so that I can spend more time with the animals without bouncing from job to job.

If you had one piece of advice for other women, what would it be?

Not everyone is going to agree with your decisions. Not everyone is going to link arms and take off with you. You have to put your heart and soul into something that you want, and you’re going to have to wake up and go to bed with that on your mind. If you’re not doing that, and it’s not your passion, it’s not going to work.

Sarah Vowell

Sarah is fueled by making connections that better her community. She wears several hats, including owning and operating Christian Brothers Automotive in Parker, Colorado, with her husband, serving on the Board of Parker Adventist Hospital, and working on staff at SECORCares.

What excites you most about the work you do?

With Christian Brothers, one of my favorite things to do is encourage my husband and teams to invest in the community. We are people first-automotive repair because we care about our customers' lives and keeping them safe on the road more than the money they pay us to make those repairs. I like to promote that vision and encourage our team members to make valuable connections with customers.

I’ve taken on more of a community role connecting with local nonprofits like SECOR, CASA, Covered, and Parker Adventist Hospital. I’m super excited about all of the synergies amongst the four groups. Connecting with nonprofits helps us all be good stewards of the resources in our community. We try to live by the scripture “love your neighbor as yourself.”

What is one of your ultimate goals for your involvement in your community?

 I will not stop (no matter how long it takes) until we have an active workforce/jobs ministry where people can find hope, encouragement, and employment resources. I want people to believe in their God-given abilities—who God says they are, not what their shame and challenges in life make them feel. I also want to make significant progress toward affordable housing in the area.

For Christian Brothers, our goal is to continue the mission of loving single parents, veterans, and our community and ensuring that their cars are in working condition!

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Some of my biggest regrets involve putting too much pressure on myself and overthinking. That clouds and gets in the way of the mission. Rather than being worried, let go and live in the moment.

Amy Lantz

Amy always looks at the positive side of a problem, and she does so with a little bit of sass and a lot of fun. She is a wife, a mom of three girls, and is an officer for the Parker Police Department who teaches self-defense classes for women. In her free time, she loves being active, whether it's scuba diving, cycling, or paddleboarding. 

What do you like most about the work you do?

I wanted to get into law enforcement because of the bad experiences I had myself. Since the beginning of my career, I desired to change the way women are perceived and how they are treated in certain situations. I also wanted to help them feel like they can interact with law enforcement.

I searched for self-defense programs that could help achieve this goal, and RAD- rape, aggression, defense- was by far my favorite. We’re not out trying to make women black belts. Yes, we teach techniques and how to apply them, but we also speak to the psychological side. We teach women that it’s okay to say no and have boundaries.

In the program, we explain the legal rights and choices that women have. In many violent situations, women need to feel like they have a choice because they just had their choice ripped away.

What is one of your ultimate goals for your involvement in your community?

I would love to work with an organization where we own multiple residences throughout the Douglas County area and provide resources for women in situations where they feel trapped. This happens all the time—women undergo domestic abuse but feel like they can’t leave because their husband controls the finances, it would up-end their kids’ lives—all kinds of reasons. I would want these houses to be residentially based so that women and their kids would have a sense of normalcy to get themselves back on their feet.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

My family is all about balance. You can’t be too far on one side or the other. Continue to stand strong for what you believe in, but not to the point where you shut yourself off to growth. Allow yourself to continue to grow but know that it’s okay if you falter along the road.

Kristin Prewett

Kristin is a caring neonatal ICU nurse at Parker Adventist Hospital with an array of eclectic passions. She attributes her adventurous spirit to her parents, as her family spent several summers traveling in a camper for her mother’s writing job at Trailer Life Magazine. This lifelong learner has a bachelor’s degree with a triple major in English, Religion, and Music, a nursing degree, an MBA, and is currently working towards her Masters of Science in Nursing Education.

What is your job, and what excites you most about the work you do?
This is my 30th year of being a neonatal ICU nurse. My first job was in Chicago in an adult ICU. I decided I didn’t want to live in Chicago, so I asked my employer if I could be one of their traveling nurses. I thought I was being sent to the ICU in Kansas City, but they hired me for the neonatal ICU. They asked me if I’d like to try it, and, with a look of horror on my face, I said, “I absolutely would.” It was the best accidental turn of fate that there ever could be. I discovered a passion I didn’t know I had.

The most exciting thing about my job is that it’s not just whole patient care—it’s whole family care. Not only do you get to manage the care of babies who have such complicated things going on, but you’re also caring for their families who are terrified, overwhelmed, and dealing with a mess of fear and hope. For most new parents, the first thing you say you’ll never do is leave your baby in the care of someone you do not know. And yet, that’s exactly what they have to do with us. I don’t find it as a pressure; I find it as an honor.

What is a goal you are working towards?

I’m currently working the night shift on weekends, and I hope that I will get to mentor younger nurses (they’re typically on the night shift) because they often come in intimidated and scared.

My husband and I also share a passion for music. I studied classical music, and he’s all pop and new age. Before COVID, we held 20-30 people in our homes for house concerts with independent, local artists. I’m really looking forward to doing that again!

What advice do you have for your younger self?

I would tell myself to be a little less serious and to do all the things I did bigger and with intentionality to find the little bits of joy along the way.

Dr. Isra Ahmed

Dr. Ahmed is a dental surgeon who genuinely cares for each one of her patients. She sticks to the facts, and it pays off—dentists refer some of their most challenging cases to her at Parker Dental Implant and Specialty Center. She is interested in the mind-body connection and is training to become a yoga instructor.

What is your job, and how do you envision your role in the Parker community?

Prosthodontics has an extravagantly wide span. I work with patients on rehabilitating their whole mouth, from the way their smile looks to the functionality of their teeth. My family immigrated from Sudan in 2001. My dad was an activist and was one of those people that had a business card in every language. I aspired to be like him. I started from the bottom, and amazing mentors helped me become who I am. The Parker office will not only be a surgical and restorative dental hub but a community hub. We are supporting Parker’s artists by displaying their work which brings the office to life.

2.) What excites you most about the work you do?

Transforming someone’s smile. It is rewarding to see an individual open up and become the person they have always wanted to be. It is amazing to see the personality that teeth bring out when a person finally becomes comfortable with who they are.

3.) What is your ultimate goal?

I want to educate the community and create a mentorship program for the younger generation. I just opened the Parker office in January, and the opportunities are endless.

4.) If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?

Keep listening to your gut and follow your instincts. I have always been a dreamer, so I would encourage my younger self to continue to go after her dreams.

Leah Ryan

Leah is 100% herself. She is ambitious, loyal, energized, and straightforward--she doesn’t, as she puts it, “fake the funk.” Her community is a priority, and she believes that every day is full of new opportunities to do some good.

 1.) What is your job, and how do you envision your role in the Parker community?

I have worked in the real estate and mortgage industry for over 20 years and am now a licensed Senior Loan Processor for an amazing mortgage brokerage called Custom Lending. Additionally, I have been organizing and directing different vendor-centric events, food drives, and networking events all based around supporting local businesses since 2007. I am also the city host for Denver Housewives in the City, which entails hosting monthly networking socials for business owners, entrepreneurs, and women in our communities who want to connect with leading women and businesses in the Denver Metro Area.

2.) What excites you most about the work you do?

I am passionate about the importance of networking. I love introducing local businesses to my friends and followers while shopping in person, going live on Facebook, or through other social media efforts. I love to learn how I can support them and who their demographic is so I can help them foster connections and encourage new relationships to be built. 

Also, I love everything we are doing with Be the Good Ones, which is a group we created at the beginning of the pandemic that strives to help people in our community with “small needs and good deeds.” We are just the connecting piece between those who need help and the volunteers that are willing to provide it. 
3.) What is your ultimate goal?

All it takes is a moment to make a difference. I feel like my goal is to encourage others to do better and be better. I want people to realize that all they have to do is put in a little bit of effort to make a difference.

4.) If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?

I would encourage my younger self to be a little gentler and kinder while continuing to be strong-willed and ambitious. Respecting yourself is imperative. Everything you do, all the decisions you make, your successes, and your failures are all directly related to your choices and how you feel about yourself. When you like who you are and live with confidence, your choices will reflect that. 

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