2021 year's speaker lineup
Christina Erteszek is the daughter of Jan and Olga Erteszek, a Polish couple who narrowly escaped Krakow as the Nazis invaded their homeland, bravely moved to America and launched the wildly successful Olga undergarments empire. Christina came of age during the tumultuous 60s and 70s, where her fiercely independent spirit at times meant rebelling against her parents’ old-World values in order to make her own way. She resisted repeated pleas to join the company, instead opting to earn a degree in special education and teach at-risk youth in Los Angeles. To appease her beloved father, Christina finally joined the company in the late 1970s, working her way up to designer where her creativity and innate design sense led to the creation of her own label, the award-winning Olga’s Christina.
Her parents’ closest confidante, Christina was a pivotal player in the company’s evolution to meet the rapidly changing face of fashion in America. Sadly, she was also an observer to the gut-wrenching events that led to the company’s hostile takeover in the mid-1980s.
On a sunny afternoon in spring 1986, Christina was driving her then-ailing father down the Palisades bluffs toward Santa Monica Bay. They often took long drives together, yet this outing proved significant. Her father’s final wish was for Christina to write a book about his and Olga’s experiences.
The request was daunting. She felt her father should be the one to tell his story. At her core, though, Christina was a creator and relished this personal challenge. Like a garment designer, she thoughtfully selected pieces of her parents’ journey and of her own personal and professional life – lovingly stitching together fragile memories, courageous crossroads, hidden scars and buried family secrets. The result is The First Lady of Underfashions, a layered and poignant memoir written with love and honesty.
Throughout her life, Christina has had a passion for philanthropy. Her family’s foundation has supported a range of nonprofits whose missions emphasized strengthening communities through the arts, education and mindful practices. She is the co-founder and board chair of Durango PlayFest, a Colorado nonprofit dedicated to celebrating live theatre and the art of playwrighting. Christina lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with her husband and dog Blu, a loyal hiking partner. Currently Christina is working on a novel.
Chief Steve Hebbe joined the Farmington Police Department in March 2014 after retiring from the Anchorage Police Department at the rank of deputy chief. He began his law enforcement career with APD in 1990, graduating second highest in his academy class and then quickly rose through the ranks.
During his tenure with APD, Hebbe supervised sworn and non-sworn personnel, specialty divisions (drug enforcement, vice, bombs, detectives, internal affairs), and APD's dispatch center. He has extensive experience with policy development, internal affairs issues, budget management, and the use of data to identify crime trends. Some of his most notable contributions to APD and the community of Anchorage include increased transparency and proactive policing methods with the expansion of community policing and training reform — practices he also implemented at FPD.
After accepting his current position with the Farmington Police Department, Chief Hebbe immediately immersed himself in the community and has worked diligently to enhance community/police relations.
Chief Hebbe understands that an organization's culture is instilled by its leadership. Working in a hypermasculine, male-dominant field, he recognized the importance of bringing more women onto the force. As a result, chief Hebbe has successfully addressed some of the unique challenges women in law enforcement often face. His leadership has led to increased female recruitment, retention, and promotion, keeping women officers on a path to long, successful careers.
Heather Holmes is a Morgan Stanley financial advisor and resident manager. She has seven years of industry experience as a financial advisor. Heather holds various licenses and registrations including the securities license series 9, & 10, series 7, series 66, and an insurance license for life, health and variable contracts. Her specialties include retirement planning and wealth management.
Heather grew up in Farmington, NM, graduating from Farmington High School in 1998. She was an NCAA college softball pitcher for Syracuse University, where she earned her degree in 2002. Heather then went on to receive a master's degree from the University of Denver in 2003. After her time pitching and playing softball for Syracuse, she was asked to join the Great Britain International Women’s Softball team, which provided her an opportunity for international travel and competition. She was able to visit many countries and meet an array of people during her time with the team.
Although Heather left the area in 1998 to pursue higher education and explore other cities, she and her husband Matt returned to Farmington in 2010 after the birth of their first child. They now have two children who participate in local schools, sports, and activities. Heather and Matt are residents of the Foothills area and look forward to being involved in the community and plan to take advantage of all of the amazing things it has to offer.
Shaña Reeves has been with the City of Farmington since March of 2004, when she was hired to oversee the aquatics division as the aquatics director. In 2011, Shaña was promoted to recreation superintendent, providing her the opportunity to oversee all recreational amenities within the City of Farmington Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department. In 2014, Shaña again promoted, becoming the director of communication and quality performance for the city manager, spending her days working with department heads to unify the image and messaging of the City of Farmington, overseeing the citizen engagement for the municipality, serving as the ombudsman for the mayor and council, overseeing the Mayor’s Volunteer Program (with over 700 active volunteers), and overseeing the economic development and vitality of the downtown corridor through Downtown Farmington: A MainStreet Project. In December of 2018, Shaña was appointed director of the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs (PRCA) Department where she leads, inspires, motivates, and sets the work culture for the second-largest department in the City of Farmington with approximately 15 different divisions and an operating budget of $17 million.
Shaña has a Bachelor of Science in Education from New Mexico State University and a Master of Business Administration from New Mexico Highlands University. Since beginning her career with the City of Farmington, Shaña has presented to various audiences on many different aspects of her knowledge and experience. From 2007- 2011, she presented FISH customer service training to the members of the PRCA department and over 500 City of Farmington employees. In October of 2010, she spoke at the Four Corners Conference for Professional Development, and in 2011 she presented to over 400 staff members of the New Mexico Transportation Association. In 2013, she led a team of employees through the National Recreation and Park Association’s accreditation process, earning the prestigious designation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) for the PRCA department being the first and only agency to become CAPRA accredited in NM.
Upon her return to PRCA in December of 2008, she led the team through a re-accreditation process, successfully retaining accreditation status and remaining the only department in NM to be accredited.
Shaña has a passion for serving her community and, as a result, sits on 10 different community boards.
Gaining over 20 years of corporate management and communications experience, Carey Rose O'Connell left the box in 2017 and created her New Mexico-based brand marketing consultation service, RoseBrand Consultation Services. She partners with content creators, small businesses, independent brand owners, and entrepreneurs who often feel that brand marketing, training, and analytical support are not fiscally viable.
In 2018, Carey brought the collection of her knowledge and talents to helm communications and marketing support for New Mexico Women In Film and support the growth and content experience for the community. Also a proud member, Carey Rose has helped the organization innovate how they deliver networking, training, education, mentorship, and fiscal support to its membership. In 2021, she humbly accepted the role of executive director and is working to deliver support for their members and further cultivate a sustainable film and media industry in the state — from pitch to post!
Linda Rodgers is a Farmington City Councilor for District 1 and has been the chief financial officer for Process Equipment & Service Company, Inc. (PESCO) since 2012. Previously, Linda was employed for seven years at A-Plus Well Service and 23 years at First National Bank of Farmington and Wells Fargo Bank.
She is a 1992 graduate of Leadership San Juan and has served on numerous boards in Farmington, including San Juan United Way, Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, Farmington Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Desk and Derrick Club.
Linda was born in Colorado and later moved to New Mexico. She graduated from Aztec High School and is a San Juan College alumna. Linda holds a degree in business administration from New Mexico Highlands University, where she graduated summa cum laude.
Linda enjoys spending time with her family, travel, gardening, sports and music.
Local franchise owner Carrie Thompson opened House of Colour Four Corners in Farmington, New Mexico, in September 2020. Carrie couldn't pass up the opportunity to bring this amazing service to New Mexico and Colorado, following a life-changing color and style consultation in Lincoln, Nebraska.
House of Colour, a UK-based company, has been offering the best personal color and style analysis since the mid-1980s. The company is built on the principle of education and encouragement of clients to celebrate their OWN unique beauty. Carrie changes her clients' lives with color and style analysis, helping them look and feel their best. Imagine a closet with clothes you love and want to wear. Carrie helps clients find the colors and styles that make them look and feel their best, build their confidence and reflect their individual personalities. Her goal is to educate clients to transform their closets and never buy anything they don't love again. In the end, Carrie hopes to help build a generation of men and women who champion each other.
Carrie was born and raised in Farmington. Following graduation from Farmington High School, she attended New Mexico State University, earning a Bachelor of Administration in Marketing in 1991. Following graduation, she lived in Dallas, Texas, working as a flight attendant for American Airlines. Carrie married her husband John in 1992 and worked and lived in Wyoming before returning to New Mexico.
She's worked in the marketing industry, specifically as a freelance writer for San Juan College, for over 20 years. Carrie and John have two children: Paige, a senior at New Mexico State University studying chemical engineering and Jack, a senior at Piedra Vista High School. Carrie and her family spend their free time skiing, biking, camping, and fly fishing.
J. Nicci Unsicker owns a boutique practice, the Unsicker Law Firm, in Farmington, New Mexico. She is an alumnus of the University of Tulsa Law School with a certificate in Federal Indian Law. She has been practicing law since 2009. In 2017, Nicci and her family moved to the Four Corners area of New Mexico, which she calls “Adventure Land” as she adores hiking, skiing, and horseback riding with her husband and two young children.
Nicci’s firm provides family law, probate/estate planning, elder law, Native American law, business formation, and personal injury law services to her community and beyond. Nicci is licensed in New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, the Navajo Nation, The Jicarilla/Apache Nation, and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Nicci loves her diverse practice and is never bored!