Vanessa grew up on the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona where she worked together with her family to farm and raise sheep, horses, and cattle. One of her jobs was herding and tending to the sheep. In the spring, they would sheer the wool. Her grandmother taught the grandchildren how to carefully card the wool into fluffy tubes, which she then spun by hand into yarn. Vanessa’s grandmother used natural dyes and weaved beautiful rugs that were sold to help raise the family.
A survivor of childhood cancer, Vanessa is a long-time supporter of the American Cancer Society and has participated in numerous charitable events. She and her family are avid supporters of the local economy and community, too, whether dining out at the local mom and pop restaurant or Christmas shopping on Small Business Saturday.
One summer, Vanessa was working for an outfitter company that ran whitewater river rafting trips through the Grand Canyon. That’s where she met tennis pro Martina Navratilova who was vacationing on Lake Powell. “I have always admired her strength and talent.”
Vanessa was a working mom while she completed her Associates of Applied Sciences degree in Legal Assisting from Phoenix College. One of her greatest strengths on the job is her empathetic nature. “I try to make certain that I can make our clients’ lives just a little bit easier while they navigate a difficult time,” she says. “In this day and age of modern technology, I still believe that a personal touch is reassuring and comforting.”
In her spare time, Vanessa loves to cook new and unusual food. She and her husband have participated in several cooking challenges. They also participate in an annual treasure hunt in the desert north of Phoenix, where they leap over cactus and avoid coyotes in order to find the treasure.
Vanessa loves to travel. She especially enjoyed exploring the Normandy region of France and hopes to visit the island of Malta to experience the roman baths in the Mediterranean Sea.