Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Conversations with Exceptional Women Looks at the Will to Win
Rebecca Rusch checked her mountain bike shorts in for an elegant dress in October 2018 as she accepted an Emmy Award for the film “Blood Road,” which depicts her bike ride along the Ho Chi Minh Trail to find where her father was shot down during the Vietnam War.
Sunday, September 8, 2019


Eight-time Olympic swimming medalist Allison Schmitt and Ketchum’s seven-time World champion Mountain Biker Rebecca Rusch will discuss “Ambition and the Will to Win” at the fifth annual Conversations with Exceptional Women conference this week.

The conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 12 and 13, at Ketchum’s Community Library.

“I’m so excited,” said David Adler, who founded the conference under the umbrella of the Alturas Institute. “Can you believe Rebecca Rusch—a living legend who is being inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame this month was available to join us? And Allison Schmitt—only the third woman ever to participate in four Olympics?

“And Jeannie Ralston, former writer for ‘Time’ and ‘Life’ and editor of ‘Seventeen?’ How many in the valley and around the nation grew up reading that magazine?”

The agenda also includes Pauline Thiros who, as the newly appointed director of athletics at Idaho State University, is one of only 55 women in the nation to hold that post. She was a collegiate volleyball coach and seven-time state champion before that.

Caroline Heldman is a prize winning author of “Hamilton” and “The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War”  and founder of a national organization to combat sexual violence on campus  She is also director of the Representation Project, which challenges limiting gender stereotypes with such films as “The Mask You Live In.”

And Michele Coffey supervises 2,000 attorneys throughout the world for Morgan Lewis, one of the nation’s leading law firms.

Others include Tara Buck, who grew up in Hailey before making it in Hollywood; film producer Christine Walker; NextTribe editor Jeannie Ralston, who publishes informative, often irreverent articles about how to age boldly; “Bite Me” actress Naomi McDougall Jones, and Caroline Heldman, a professor of politics who has co-edited such books as “Rethinking Madame President: Are We Ready for a Woman in the White House?” and “The New Campus Anti-Rape movement.”

Also, Kate Morris, a native Idahoan who now is president and general manager of KTVB-TV in Boise; banker Jeanette Schneider, and Karen Crouse, a New York Times sports writer whose book “One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence” explores why a tiny town in Vermont has a better chance of sending its kids to the Olympics than any other place in America.

Adler will also deliver a talk on the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. The constitutional amendment was passed 100 years ago.

Tickets are $125 and include breakfast pastries and coffee, as well as lunch both days. They are available at www.alturasinstitute.com. Scholarships are available, and Adler offers students the chance to attend for free if they contact him at David.adler@alturasinstitute.com.

“Teachers who have brought their students to our event over the years have observed that some who had not been considering colleges and universities were inspired by our program and did, indeed, go on to collegiate studies,” Adler said. “Others raised their own bars and attended more prestigious universities. Still others have engaged in pen pal relationships with our speakers. The point is, this program has great capacity to empower our students.”


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