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Speaker Profiles

Emily Baker

Professional headshot of Emily Baker

President and Founder, Portman Square Group

Emily Baker has spent over 20 years in government and public affairs, mostly in DC and New York. Baker now runs a public affairs firm with offices in Boise, New York, London, Chicago and Phoenix. She’s passionate about philanthropy and serving our community and serves on the Boise State University Foundation Board, the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce board, and the Board of Directors for The Red Cross as well as corporate boards. Baker is an adjunct professor of strategic communications at Boise State University and a Presidential Leadership Scholar under the leadership of the Bush, Clinton, H.W. Bush, and Johnson Presidential Centers.

Fun facts: Emily recently enjoyed reading, The Giver of Stars and she’s still mourning the last episode of Schitt’s Creek. When she needs to reset she enjoys reading and traveling, she has yet to visit Morocco but it is on her list!  Emily once drank margaritas with the Queen!

Lauren Bramwell

Smiling young woman with backpack in front of a river and mountains

Policy Strategist, ACLU of Idaho

Lauren Bramwell grew up in a low-income home in rural SE Idaho and received her undergraduate degree at Boise State University. Before attending law school, she served as the interim assistant director of forensics for the Talkin’ Bronco Speech and Debate team and founded the Boise State Prison Debate Program. Her experience teaching in prison solidified her decision to pursue a legal career. Bramwell graduated law school at University of Washington School of Law as a Gates Public Service Law Scholar and practiced public defense before joining the ACLU of Idaho team.

Fun facts: Growing up, Lauren wanted to be a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream tester or a famous singer. She loves snow cones, thrifting and writing poetry. Her favorite way to hit the reset button is to go backpacking in the mountains.

Alexandra Forster Curd

Professional headshot of Alexandra Forster Curd

PAC and Political Compliance Manager, Micron

Alexandra Curd Forster has always had an interest in policy and advocacy work. It started with an internship on Capitol Hill and led her to being a producer for a longtime radio show host (one of the more interesting times in her life). A true turning point in her career was when she got the offer to go back to Capitol Hill and work for a U.S. Senator from Idaho. Idaho was a far cry from Maryland where she grew up, but her office quickly took her in and taught her the right way to say Boise. Her love for Idaho grew during her tenure with this office and she eventually moved to Boise in 2018. Alex currently works as Director, Political Engagement and Public Affairs for Micron Technology.

Fun Facts: After her first trip to Idaho (Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene) Alex called her parents to say she was going to live in Idaho one day.. fast forward 5 years and she did! Alex recently got married after two failed attempts to have a wedding during COVID. She lives in SE Boise with her husband, cat and golden retriever. Her favorite way to hit the reset button is to head to the beach with a good book.

Rebecca Kopp

Young woman headshot in front of legal books

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office

My love for the law and leadership started at Boise State University where I served in the Student Senate and then as the Student Body President my senior year. It continued at the University of Idaho Law School where I worked as the Student Body President. In Law School I spent time with government entities including the City of Boise and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Currently, I am employed as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Kootenai County in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Fun facts: If Rebecca could travel anywhere in the world, she would go to Mt Everest.  When she was young she wanted to be a Wedding Planner or have her own cooking show but in real life she was a competitive figure skater for 12 years!

Toni Lawson

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Vice President, Government Relations, Idaho Hospital Association

Toni Lawson has 20 years of experience in health policy and government relations work. This includes work as a health policy advisor in the U.S. Senate, independent consulting and association advocacy work. Lawson also manages a political action committee that focuses on state elected offices. Before this career, she taught English and worked with a peace organization in the Basque region of Spain.

When she was a kid she wanted to be a nun that did missionary in South America…or a Jacque Cousteau style zoologist. Then, she realized she really just wanted to travel.  If she could go anywhere in the world, she would go to Italy and take cooking classes.

Fun facts: Toni lived in the Basque Country for almost ten years and speaks Basque and Spanish. She loves to cook, which is one of the things she does to reset.  She also travels, goes saltwater fishing and plays golf.

Abby Lee

Professional headshot of Abby Lee Baker

Senator, Idaho Legislature

Abby Lee is an Idaho State Senator. She was elected in 2014 after winning a contested Republican primary race against a 15-year incumbent. She serves Assistant Majority Leader for the Senate – she is the first female to serve in senate leadership in almost 30 years. Her committee assignments include the State Affairs, Judiciary and Rules, Health and Welfare committees.

Raised in Dallas, Texas, she met her husband, a fourth-generation Idahoan, and soon settled in Fruitland, Idaho. They have been married for 25 years, have two daughters.

Abby is also a student and is completing a PhD in Public Policy and Administration at Boise State University. She earned a master’s degree in Instructional and Performance Technology at Boise State University, and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations from Brigham Young University.

Professionally, she works as an Associate Vice President of College and Public Relations at Treasure Valley Community College. With more than 17 years of experience in college administration, she has become an advocate for higher education. She is especially dedicated to developing more professional and technical training opportunities between the college and local high schools. And she is a vocal proponent of the needs to invest in education as a way to truly change and improve individual lives and our communities. She recently passed comprehensive foster care reform in Idaho and works to advocate for the most-vulnerable citizens in our state.

Fun fact: Abby played the drums in high school and she makes fantastic homemade applesauce and salsa. (Living in Fruitland has many perks – fresh fruit and produce included).

Lauren Necochea

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Representative, Idaho Legislature

Lauren Necochea is the House Assistant Minority Leader and represents District 19, where she was born and raised. She previously directed nonprofit programs specializing in state-level policy research and advocacy. Prior to that she oversaw ‘Healthy Homes’ programming for the Baltimore City Health Department. She has expertise in tax policy, health care, and children’s issues. She earned her MPA at Princeton University and her BA in Economics at Pomona College.

Fun facts:  Growing up, Lauren wanted to be an FBI Detective. If she could travel anywhere in the world, she would revisit Africa but this time with her children. Lauren enjoys walking and reading when she wants to reset. She recently enjoyed reading The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Quinn Perry

Headshot of Quinn Perry

Policy & Government Affairs Director, Idaho School Boards Association

Quinn Perry moved to Boise in 2007 to attend Boise State University. Attending BSU changed the trajectory of her life, as the University and her major had a big emphasis on community work. She began working for non-profits, as she knew she wanted to work for a cause and not a company. Perry was afforded the opportunity to work in advocacy fresh off her degree when she was hired by the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association. The skills and knowledge she’s learned in state politics are invaluable. Quinn says she is still drinking from a firehose everyday in the K-12 Advocacy space, but the students of Idaho are what keep her motivated to do tough work.

Fun Facts: Quinn recently enjoyed reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. If she could travel anywhere in the world she would go to Porto, Portugal (she was supposed to elope there last year!).  Quinn was born and raised in Wyoming, which is jokingly known for having more antelope than people.

Alexis Pickering

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Commissioner & Health Strategist, Ada County Highway District and Central/Southwest District Health

Growing up in North-Central Idaho on the Nez Perce Reservation, sometimes without running water or electricity, taught Alexis early about the importance of community, protecting the environment and not taking our infrastructure for granted. She’s an “accidental” public health nerd, with a deep passion for all things community health. That passion is what led her to run for the ACHD Commission.

Fun Facts: Alexis wanted to be a Veterinarian when she grew up, she still rides horses.  In fact, when she wants to hit the reset button she is either riding or spending time in the garden. Alexis had severe dyslexia growing up and wasn’t able to read until late in elementary school.

Michelle Stennett

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Senate Minority Leader, Idaho Legislature

An Idaho resident for nearly 30 years, Michelle spent her childhood in a dairy farming community in Wisconsin. Michelle’s rural roots brought her to central Idaho where she met and married the late Clint Stennett, who was raised in southern Idaho.

Michelle’s professional background has drawn on all aspects of her degrees in International Studies and Latin Languages with a minor in Business. Through her work in advertising sales for the family’s television company operating two channels in south central Idaho, Michelle experienced firsthand the marketing and budgeting challenges faced by business-owners in our rural district. She worked 5 years in flight operations with Horizon Air and the fixed-base operator, Sun Valley Aviation, servicing private aircraft. Michelle has also worked both at home in Idaho and abroad for aid and philanthropic organizations implementing community-based solutions on issues such as clean water, grazing, and sanitation.

Senator Stennett serves on three standing committees: State Affairs, Resources & Environment and Health and Welfare, as well as many interim committees, including the Legislative Council on River Governance and Pacific NorthWest Economic Region. Through these committees and as the Senate Minority Leader, she has the opportunity to push for the right to clean air and water, protect an individual’s personal life choices like directives and living wills from governmental intrusion, and facilitate partnerships that provide the best services to Idahoans.

Caroline Nilsson Troy

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Representative, Idaho State Legislature

Representative Nilsson Troy was born in Lewiston to Genesee natives Jon Nilsson and Ann Becker Nilsson. In 1971, the family moved to Botswana, Africa, where her Dad established the Foundation Seed program and managed the research farm for the Botswana College of Agriculture. Returning to the U.S. in 1977, she worked alongside my parents and brothers on the family farm and ranch (Latah, Nez Perce and Clearwater counties).​

After graduating from the University of Idaho in 1984, Nilsson Troy married, farmed, and raised registered cattle in Southwick. In 1992 she went to work as a professional fundraiser, helping to secure private support for students, faculty, programs and communities in Idaho and Washington. These experiences did much to shape and solidify her values of personal responsibility, integrity, and fiscal conservatism. She believes in the power of local communities to resolve issues vs. endlessly creating bigger government as the solution.

Fun facts – when not in session, Caroline works as a nonprofit consultant. One of her current clients is the famous Alaskan Iditarod sled dog race. She works out of her home office in the 1899 farmhouse she and her husband renovated. In addition to a rescue Beagle named Lucy, numerous barn cats and some steers, Caroline has an Arabian mare and a goat named Wally.

Melissa Wintrow

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Senator, Idaho State Legislature

Sen. Wintrow recently completed her first term as a Senator in the Idaho Senate and previously served three terms in the Idaho House of Representatives.  In both cases she has represented Boise’s District 19. Her Senate committee assignments include Health & Welfare, Judiciary & Rules and Transportation. Wintrow also serves on the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission, the Public Defense Commission, Justice Reinvestment, and the Foster Care Study committee. Her legislation focuses on the criminal justice system and includes reforming Idaho’s system for processing, tracking and preserving sexual assault evidence.

Sen. Wintrow worked full-time in higher education for over 25 years; among her positions, she served as a Women’s Center Director and provided direct advocacy for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. She serves on the board of directors for the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and teaches gender studies and a leadership development course at Boise State University. Melissa also blends her passion for education with outdoor recreation. She is an Ironman Finisher (Ironman Arizona), avid backpacker, and completed a self-supported bicycle trip 4,200 miles across the U.S.

Fun facts – Melissa was one of the original NEW Leadership Directors and worked closely with Rutgers to launch NEW Leadership Idaho.  If she could travel anywhere in the world she’d go to Iceland and when she wants to hit the reset buttons, she goes backpacking.

Holli Woodings

Headshot of Holli Woodings

Council Member, City of Boise

Holli Woodings was elected to the Boise City Council in November of 2017 and began her term in January 2018. A graduate of Boise State University, she served as a State Representative for District 19 in Idaho’s 72nd Legislature. Prior to that, she helped develop and finance Idaho’s largest wind energy farm, founded Woodings Group, a consultancy specializing in startup energy companies and co-founded the Idaho Clean Energy Association. In 2013, Holli was honored as one of Idaho Business Review’s Women of the Year and is a recipient of the 40 Under 40 Leadership Award.

Holli’s other community service includes serving as Board Chair for Girl Scouts of Silver Sage, a board member of the Boise State Foundation, and on the board of advisors for Idaho Women in Leadership. Her past volunteer service has included a term as president of the North End Neighborhood Association, where she helped craft “Blueprint Boise” and the urban agriculture ordinance as the neighborhood association representative. She has also volunteered for many local organizations including Boise State Venture College, NEW Leadership Idaho, and the 2012 Yes! For Boise Schools campaign.

Fun facts – Holli has been an active participant in nearly every NEW Leadership Idaho, including serving as Faculty in Residence. If she could travel anywhere in the world it would be to an island in the sun. Holli’s first job was shining cowboy boots at the Flying J Truck Stop!