Womentum was created by a small group of young women passionate about women’s leadership and making Jackson Hole a better place. With her fierce spirit and flair for storytelling, Shelley Simonton provided inspiration, humor and kept the founding board grounded in Wyoming’s past, present and future.
As our founders formed Womentum, Shelley and Michelle Rooks shared the story of a young woman Michelle had met named Rusha. This woman was an athlete, beautiful and strong, generous, kind and compassionate. A woman to be envied but also emulated. The meaning of the name Rusha includes, “You are a law unto itself. You are generally warmhearted and give freely of your time, energy, and sympathetic understanding.” Also, “Rushas dream big and so are their achievements in the real world. Rushas can transform any idea into reality.”
This describes Shelley to a tee – a law unto herself, Shelley could transform any idea into reality. The ultimate Rusha, she helped create Womentoring and the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt, serving on the boards of Womentum, the Wyoming Women’s Foundation and the Commuunity Foundation of Jackson Hole. Shelley was a community leader and a great friend, a hunter, a mentor, and an advocate for women, sustainability and community. She was beautiful and strong and compassionate and funny as hell.
Shelley passed away in late May in her home, following a valiant 18-month struggle with melanoma. Womentum celebrates Shelley for stepping loudly and making this place better. A celebration of life will be held August 5 in Jackson, with details to be announced. For those who would like to honor Shelley’s legacy financially, contributions can be made to a fund set up in her name at the Wyoming Women’s Foundation, or to our local animal shelter.
Shelley, with Melisa Turley and 2013 Women in Leadership Luncheon speaker Sara Laschever, co-author of Women Don’t Ask.