I’ve always enjoyed spending time outside — going for long walks as a child through the green fields of Ireland, enjoying Australian beaches and wilderness, and more recently, exploring the amazing American West. Living in different places and cultures helped me gain a broader perspective on problems and solutions and taught me the importance of building relationships. These skills help me in my role at WRA as strategic engagement manager within the Healthy Rivers team. Spending time outside is a continuous source of energy and inspiration for my work.
I began my career in private practice as a transactional lawyer — first in Australia and then in the United States. I worked at a large law firm in New York on real estate transactions for many years and then transitioned to an in-house counsel role with Vail Resorts in Colorado. I had several different roles in the legal department and then became the lead lawyer for the mountain division, where I worked on a wide variety of water rights, environmental, and land use issues related to ski areas and operations on public and private lands. Through this role, I gained valuable experience working with local government and other administrative agencies that taught me how to effectively drive change through policy and legislation with WRA.
I was excited to join the team at WRA in 2017, as I strongly believe that protecting our natural resources and addressing climate change are critical. My work now is dedicated to developing policies that address the gap between our water supply and demand and improve the health of Western rivers and streams, and as a result, the region’s economic well-being. I seek to harness the energy and innovative ideas of fresh voices to broaden the conversation and acknowledge that all are impacted by water. We need to find viable solutions that work for both our communities and our rivers.
This fall, I am honored to serve as one of the members of the Colorado River Drought Task Force, which was authorized by state legislation during the 2023 session. We meet twice a month and will provide recommendations for potential state legislation that offers additional tools to address drought and interstate commitments through demand-reduction projects. The task force includes representation from diverse stakeholders across the state who are impacted by the Colorado River.
At the local level, WRA has worked for many years to encourage municipal conservation, reuse, and thoughtful integration of land use and water planning. In the last few years, I have witnessed the conversation shift around municipal conservation, with much more awareness now of the need for Colorado and all our Western states to grow in a water-smart and resilient way. WRA continues to be a leader in driving these changes and advocating for municipal water conservation measures across the region.
One of my proudest moments at WRA was protecting over 520 new miles of important streams in Colorado in 2022.
WRA worked for three years on a proposal to designate 25 streams in Southwest Colorado as Outstanding Waters — a designation that provides the highest tier of water quality protections and preserves exceptional recreational and ecological values. This designation, established through the Water Quality Control Commission in Colorado, protects the water quality in the river from future activities that would permanently degrade the water quality.
WRA is a collaborative organization, looking for win-win, durable solutions that protect our land, air, and water, and allow communities to thrive. The work that I do at WRA is critical to ensuring that everyone can live in a sustainable way and protect our precious natural environment.
There are many smart and motivated people with a strong history of collaboration working on these complex issues. I am hopeful that our collective efforts will result in effective solutions that support the Colorado and other rivers, and those who cherish and rely on them, in a sustainable way. I am grateful to have the opportunity to do all that I can to ensure everyone has access to healthy rivers for generations to come.