By: Carly Marquis
Whether it is in her professional career or her work as a Cultivate board member, Lena Heilmann is motivated by the same passion: community. In her work in suicide prevention, and especially her current position as Director of the Office of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, she focuses on the idea of “bringing people in” and connecting them to a community. This work is especially important for her, since she lost her sister Danielle to suicide and works in suicide prevention in honor and in memory of Danielle.
Feeling connected can be a strong tool in the fight against despair, loneliness and isolation. These are all things that the senior community are at high risk of feeling as well. When Lena decided to join the Cultivate board, she saw that natural connection and has been touched by our community-based approach.
Having grown up in Boulder County, Lena has also seen the importance communities play in her personal life. Lena’s parents moved to the US from Germany in the 80s, which helped Lena see the unique challenges of creating a life far from family. It allowed her to build empathy for anyone who is facing that unique situation of creating a new community from scratch. As a queer woman, she also loves the LGBTQ+ community, especially in Boulder County. It makes her happy to be a part of such an accepting and fun community in her hometown.
When Lena is not working or volunteering, she is often enjoying all that the outdoors of Colorado has to offer. Listing all the activities she loves would take ages, but she makes time for it all and still has time to come home to cuddle up with her adventure pup, Thea. She does admit that making time for everything she has a passion for has been a real challenge, whether it is trying to snowshoe three times a week, meeting work deadlines or being the committee board chair for Cultivate’s DEI Committee. Her passions can pull her in many directions, and she often works hard to fit everything in, while making sure to create authentic space for each activity.
Everything she does benefits from her presence as we, at Cultivate, have seen. Her passion and curiosity have been a driving force on the DEI Committee and been instrumental in helping us answer the questions “What does it look like for us?” and “What actions do we really take?” She really sees the connection between equity and our work. And just like everything she does, she focuses on how we can use community and connection to help those around us.
About Carly Marquis:
Carly is passionate about working in the area to ensure that everyone is supported by the wealth of resources available in our community. Throughout her years at Cultivate she has stood in awe of the power of volunteerism. As Director of Volunteers, she is eager to continue to help those in her community find ways to give back.
Help seniors flourish by reconnecting them—as recipients and contributors—with their surrounding communities.