Forward Steps Foundation

Forward Steps fills an important gap that helps ensure post-secondary education success by providing financial assistance, mentorship, monthly life-skills training and individualized coaching to former foster youth.

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Jennifer Waaler, Executive Director
Start Date: 2017

Jennifer Waaler joined the Forward Steps team in December 2017 and brings over 20 years of business operations experience to her role as executive director. She started her career in the corporate world, serving small to medium size companies before switching to the nonprofit field in 2004. She's been an Assistant Controller, Director of Human Resources, Executive Account Manager and Managing Director. For the last six years, Jennifer has been fundraising for worthy causes along the Front Range as a Development Director.

A volunteer since childhood, Jennifer has always been interested in civic engagement. She has served on various boards, advisory councils and committees across the country. Jennifer has also volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Delaware Hospice, Meals on Wheels, and Thrive, a program that helps people achieve economic stability through education, mentorship and employment support. Jennifer currently volunteers with the Longmont Community Justice Partnership, helping to build a better world through restorative justice practices.

Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Science and her Master of Nonprofit Management degrees from Regis University in Denver, Colorado.

Susi Urioste, Scholar Mentor
Start Date: 2018

Susi joined Forward Steps in July 2018 to serve programs part-time as a mentor to our scholars. She started her career as a financial analyst, having earned her bachelor of science in business administration from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After four years, she changed career paths to pursue her passions for education and mentorship. She transitioned to working with youth of all ages in both educational and therapeutic settings. During the past five years, she has worked as an academic coach at an online high school, a wilderness therapy guide, a behavior instructor for children with autism, and a K-12 substitute teacher.

Susi has also volunteered with various nonprofits both locally and globally. In Denver, she worked with R.I.S.E., a program that promotes early literacy to preschoolers from low income families, and CHILL, an organization that teaches life skills to underserved youth through board sports. She has also spent extended periods of time volunteering in South America. In Bolivia, she provided tutoring services and led extra circular workshops at a children's home, and in Ecuador, she supported speech language pathologists at a therapy center for children with developmental disabilities. She is now pursuing her master's degree in speech language pathology at University of Colorado, Boulder.

During her free time, Susi loves to hike, backpack, and rock climb. While in the city, she can often be found doing yoga and cooking delicious vegetarian meals at home.

Vicky Judish, Administrative Office Manager
Start Date: 2008

Vicky is originally from Kansas City, Missouri where she earned an Associate's Degree in Business from the University of Central Missouri. She has been an administrative assistant for many years which includes her 21-year tenure with Coherent Technologies, Inc. Currently, Vicky works for part-time for Coherent Investments, Forward Steps and Realizing Aptitudes Foundation and is integral in supporting the operations of each company.

Other activities that keep her busy are volunteering at the Boulder County Humane Society and Meals on Wheels-Boulder; each nonprofit organization serving those areas she is strongly passionate about. When she is not working or volunteering, she enjoys activities including hiking, biking, and golf.

Vicky was a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) for 7 years where held several officer/committee positions. She is a currently a registered Colorado Notary Public.

She and her husband, Bob, reside in Boulder where they enjoy the company of their dog, Hunter.


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