We’re fortunate to live in a place known not only for its extraordinary natural beauty but also for its vibrant culture. At Fortified, we’re steeped in that sense of place. We bring the best of Fort Collins—beer, bikes, food, farms, music, art and nature—to every collaboration and project. Where we live is why we started this company. It’s what inspires us and shapes who we are.
To strengthen community through purposeful collaborations and partnerships that create authentic connection and fortify our local economy and the living systems that sustain us.
Keeping it Collaborative. We believe that we’re “better together.” We actively work with members of the community on matters of common interest and shared values.
Keeping it Local. We believe that the core of a restorative and resilient economy is a commitment to place. We actively support local businesses, local farmers and local households.
Keeping it Positive. We believe in seeking out the best of the best. We look for positive examples, methods and ideals around our community and around the world to emulate and share.
Keeping it Innovative. We believe that the true test of an idea is in its implementation. We believe in continual learning and continual improvement through action and work that exemplifies the kind of world we want to live in.
Keeping it Fun. We believe in good friends and good times. We strive for balance with a playful spirit and open hearts and minds.
Keeping it Real. We believe in speaking from the heart and honoring the innate value in everyone. We listen to each other and we stay honest, candid, positive and flexible.
KRISTINA CASH - FOUNDER & CHIEF CONNECTOR
Born and raised in rural southern Colorado, Kristina is a farm girl at heart. Daily chores that included care for her younger siblings, cows, horses, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits and plants gave her a sense of connection and stewardship that has motivated her lifestyle and work to this day. After earning her Bachelor’s in Language Arts and Cultural Anthropology, Kristina then hit the road. She worked for an Alaskan fishery, spent time on the West Coast and backpacked through Europe before landing in Fort Collins. With aspirations of becoming an educator, she got her Teaching Certificate and Masters in Education Administration, but set teaching aside for an opportunity with a new company in town called New Belgium Brewing. As “Resourceress” she wore many hats during her seven years with the company and was instrumental in helping to build the New Belgium brand and tie it to Fort Collins culture.
After taking a break to focus on being a mom, Kristina was asked to helm the Rocky Mountain Sustainability Fair. In three years she grew fair attendance from 6,000 to 12,000 and built the event into the premiere sustainability fair in the West, drawing celebrity speakers from around the country. Kristina’s work as a community advocate and leader takes many forms. She’s served on the boards of the Fort Collins Food Coop, Bike Fort Collins, Global Visionaries and The Growing Project. Before founding Fortified she served as Outreach and Fundraising Coordinator at Be Local Northern Colorado and worked closely with the national Local Living Economies initiative. For Kristina, Fortified is the manifestation of a lifelong vision and an intrinsic desire to learn, connect, build and nurture.
Cathy Jones - Project Manager
Cathy has been a marketing professional in Fort Collins ever since she graduated from CSU (Go Rams!) and has spent the 15+ years since building networks, making friends, and connecting the community. With extensive experience in marketing, social media, websites, sponsor recognition and more, she brings a new set of skills to the Fortified table, and she’s excited to help Fortified make even more magic for this wonderful city! Cathy is the mother of two rambunctious boys, loves the craft beer scene, and FoCOMX is her favorite weekend of the year. She also runs a knitting group for beer lovers (find it here). Cathy is Fortified’s resident junk food eater and struggles when goat cheese is on the menu.
Lexi Valenti - Event Coordinator
Lexi is a Northern Colorado native who believes that almost every problem can be solved with a full belly and an open heart. Lexi graduated from CSU with a Liberal Arts degree and a minor in Anthropology before jumping into the special events industry in Fort Collins. She has always had an interest in humanity and found that events are an excellent opportunity to highlight peoples’ creativity, joy, and love - which aligns perfectly with the Fortified Collaborations mission to bring people together. Lexi is an avid gardener who donates almost all of her produce to the local food bank, and can likely be found in her garden, if she’s not playing soccer or exploring Colorado and beyond!
Lexi will never turn down a second cup of coffee and loves meeting new people. She’s excited to be a part of the Fortified Collaborations mission, as it is one she holds close to her heart. Cheers!
Emily Holmes - intern
Two activities that Emily loves most are planning and crafting. In her spare time, you can find her making lists in one of her two planners or starting a new art project while enjoying a cup of tea. Since first getting involved in community events in her hometown of Santa Cruz, California, she has been able to combine her obsessive need for scheduling and artistic abilities to create some truly unique events, like a Harry Potter themed wedding. With a desire to gain more skill in the industry, she has taken advantage of all volunteer opportunities, including participating in parades, fundraisers, and races. She has also been fortunate enough to work for a venue that hosted weddings and retreats. Taking these hands-on experiences to the next step, she recently earned a Master’s degree in Tourism Management from Colorado State University to expand her knowledge of the business-side of event organization. Emily is excited to be a part of the Fortified Collaborations’ team and cannot wait to help build community through local engagement and events!
AMY ALCORN - MARKETING DIRECTOR AT ASPEN GROVE MARKETING
Amy Alcorn is the marketing addict, social media nerd and queen of collaboration and connection that makes Aspen Grove Marketing the premier Northern Colorado digital marketing superstar that it has become.
A social butterfly with a heart of gold and a mind like a steel trap, it’s Amy’s affinity for creating and fostering connections and her love for good people and local business that give depth and heart to a realm primarily powered by RAM and algorithms. There is nothing she would rather do than help local businesses connect with their customers and target markets through social media and email marketing… except maybe go for a run, take a stroll through Old Town or enjoy a tasty beverage and a local band.
In addition to her kind, colorful, and entrepreneurial spirit, Amy is also dedicated to volunteering her time and efforts to local causes that she is passionate about. She has been the Social Media Coordinator with the Sustainable Living Association since 2008 and is also the Co-Founder and Director of Marketing and Events at the NoCo Rebuilding Network.
Her love for the Northern Colorado community is palpable as is her desire to provide Aspen Grove’s customers with the utmost in digital marketing services, creating new connections, and promoting businesses in her network. The life of the party and enterprising powerhouse, you’ll definitely want Amy in your business’ corner.
SONJA SALZBURG - SONJA K PHOTOGRAPHY
Sonja wants to live in a world where Red Vines are a health food, love really does conquer all, and unicorns can fly (because we all know they exist). As a portrait, wedding, and fine art photographer, she’s been showcased in international gallery shows and flown around the country to document weddings. When she’s not drinking wine and crafting, you can find her furiously traveling the globe, painting this life in watercolors, or drinking coffee in her backyard next to her beehives. Her latest project – a piece of elastic- hits the airwaves very soon. Find out how to listen in or get photographed at www.sonjakphotography.com
Jesse Anne Lee (Goin) - Jesse Anne Lee, LLC
Jesse Anne Lee (Goin) is a full-charge bookkeeper, specializing in small businesses and non-profits in Northern Colorado.
When she's not crunching numbers and helping local businesses with their day-to-day financials, she can often be found strolling around Old Town, heading up the Poudre, or hanging out on the front porch playing music.
EMILY ZAYNARD - ART AND DESIGN
Emily is a creative director and a graphic, print, and web designer. She is the Creative Director for Rocky Mountain Publishing; producers of RM Parent magazine, 50 & Better magazine Bounty magazine and Ride magazine. She also works with Fortified Collaborations using print design to unite and engage lovers of local food, farms and all things Fort Collins.
Emily never begrudges herself a visit to a museum and is passionate about bringing a creative flavor to local community.