Strong at Heart Committees

The Strong at Heart project is led by three committees: Project Management Team, Citizen Advisory Committee, and Leadership and Implementation Team. These committees are working together with support from the Town of Taos to accomplish the project’s goals. Roles and responsibilities are outlined below.

Project Management Team

The Project Management Team (PMT) is responsible for the day-to-day management of Strong at Heart, which includes leadership and oversight of project logistics, timelines, and task execution. The PMT includes individuals from the Town of Taos, Community Builders, and the LOR Foundation. The PMT meets weekly to stay on top of task management. The project team is comprised of a small group of partners including:

Name Role Email Bio
Nathaniel Evans Councilman Bio
Jim Pollard Planning Commission Chair Bio
John Miller Senior Planner Bio
Karina Armijo Marketing & Tourism Director Bio
Jake Caldwell LOR Foundation Bio
J.R. Logan LOR Foundation Bio
Matt Farrar Community Builders
Marjo Curgus Del Corazon Consulting
Clark Anderson Community Builders
Aurora Trujillo Chamisa Trails Consulting, Outreach Coordinator Bio


Citizen Advisory Committee

The role of the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) is to: (1) provide guidance and oversight to the public engagement process, (2) ensure the community understands and is effectively engaged in the Strong at Heart process, and (3) work to build the capacity of the Taos community for public engagement and collaborative problem solving. The CAC convenes once a month.

In this role, CAC members support Strong at Heart by providing feedback and input on the design and implementation of the public engagement process, assisting with specific community outreach and engagement activities, and assisting with outreach to their networks in the community to ensure all Taoseños are engaged. The 20 members on the CAC were selected to represent the diversity of the Town and for their willingness to work to foster more constructive community dialogue and collaboration.

CAC members include:

Name Role Email Bio
James Dostal Rio Fernando Neighborhood Association Bio
Dennis Garcia US Bank/P & Z Commissioner/Chamber of Commerce Bio
David Mapes Gallery Owner/Gallery Assoc./Marketing Committee Bio
Lisa O’Brien Taos Community Foundation Bio
Nicole Scotto-Collignon Community Activist Bio
Polly Raye John Dunn Shops/Historic District Resident/Activist Bio
Victoria Gonzales UNM Taos Workforce Development/TEN Bio
Joleen Montoya Bridges Project Bio
Peter Rich Forest Service/BLM Bio
Chris Romero Centinel Bank Bio
Louis Moya UNM-Taos/Workforce Development/Digital Media Bio
Nina Gonzales UNM-TECC Bio
Kevyn Gilbert KNCE/ Bio
Lindsay Mapes Turquoise Tours Bio
Janet Webb Activist Bio
Andrew Gonzales Kit Carson Electric/Community Activist Bio
Kristina Ortez de Jones Taos Land Trust Bio
Jose Gonzales Los Cumbres Community Services Bio
Arcenio Trujillo  Sports Editor, Taos News Bio
Candyce O’Donnell  Taos County Commission   Bio
Darian Fernandez  Town of Taos Council Member   Bio
Rasa Lila  UNM-Taos   Bio
Dr. Marty Hewlett  UNM-Taos   Bio


Leadership and Implementation Team

The Leadership and Implementation Team (LIT) is evolving to meet the needs of the project. For the first three months of the project, this team was comprised primarily of Town staff and elected officials, most whom had attended a Community Builders leadership training where they identified the need to build the Town’s capacity for civic engagement and collaborative decision-making.

At the end of June, the CAC recommended that the LIT be modified to incorporate a broader range of the community’s institutional leadership including the Taos Land Trust, Taos Community Foundation, University of New Mexico – Taos, and the Taos County Chamber of Commerce. These groups, working with Councilmembers Fernandez and Evans, provide the PMT and CAC with the strategic and collaborative leadership necessary to leverage Taos’s partnerships and resources required for the long-term success of Strong at Heart. Specifically, they provide institutional knowledge and resources needed to:

  • Advise on project strategy and resource needs.
  • Provide input on and assistance with public outreach materials and activities.
  • Identify any legal, fiscal, and/or physical constraints associated with the actions and strategies identified by the project.
  • Work to build support for project implementation, adoption of project outcomes, and implementation of results.
  • Use their networks and leadership to help build broad-based community support for adoption and implementation of project outcomes.

The LIT meets once a month.

Name Organization Email Bio
Dan Barrone Mayor of Town of Taos Bio
Dennis Garcia Taos County Chamber of Commerce Bio
Dr. Marty Hewlett UNM-Taos Bio
Dr. Patrick Valdez UNM-Taos
Lisa O’Brien Director Taos Community Foundation Bio
Kristina Ortez de Jones Director Taos Land Trust Bio
Leandro Cordova Taos County Manager
Luis Reyes Kit Carson Electric Co-Op
Erinellene Sanborn Kit Carson Electric Co-Op
Jeffrey Schenck Holy Cross Hospital
Bill Patten Holy Cross Hospital
Ashleigh Grycner Director Taos Alive
Ben Thomas Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

Project Partners and Co-Sponsors

Strong at Heart will be most likely to succeed with support from community organizations, institutions and businesses. The project has created a role for Taoseños who want to lend their support to the project, but in a more limited (and less demanding) way than joining one of the formal committees. Examples of the type of support or assistance partners provide include:

  1. Convener/Host: Support outreach and engagement with your community networks by offering to co-sponsor or lead an event or events.
  2. Financial or Material Support: Contribute financially or through in-kind contributions for community meetings, engagement activities, refreshments, printing, etc.
  3. Endorsement: Endorse the process by lending your credibility and commitment to the long-term success of Strong at Heart. This would be negotiated with each co-sponsor but in general you might add your logo to the list of co-sponsors, commit to support the project publicly, and support project communications with building community support via editorials and public speaking.

Learn more about our partner organizations. 

Project Convener – The Town of Taos

As the initial convener and project sponsor, the Town of Taos plays an important leadership role in this project. The Town has dedicated significant resources, staff time and a public outreach and engagement activity budget, to the project. The Town will be a be an important leader in implementing the outcomes of the project. During the process, individual Town Councilors are taking leadership roles in reaching out to and engaging important segments of the community including: organizations and community leaders, regional governments, youth, and Hispanics. The Town Council participates in an advisory role to all the other committees on official Town matters and will engage as observers and listeners in the public engagement activities.

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