Williams moving on to next chapter in her life | SummitDaily.com

Williams moving on to next chapter in her life

Jane Reuter

Frisco resident plans to make love of children a career

FRISCO – Heather Williams’ resume reads like a good adventure novel, leaving the readers with no clear idea where they’ll be taken next. It includes a stint as a Russian missionary, a river rafting guide, deputy press secretary for a Washington senator, and currently, a bartender.

And it’s gearing up for another turn.

Currently a Frisco resident, Williams will leave Summit County this fall to enroll in the University of Northern Colorado. She plans to earn her teaching degree in three years, and return to the mountains – preferably Summit County – to teach English and social studies to middle school students.

While she has a special fondness for middle school-aged students, children of all ages tug at her heart. Williams just turned 30, but she’s oftentimes happiest at floor level with a toddler. When she recently visited a friend’s 2-year-old, the little girl demonstrated her affection by smearing Williams’ neck and arms with pear juice.

An unpleasant and sticky experience? Not to Williams.

“It was great,” she said. “I like hanging out with kids. All they want is love and attention.”

Williams spent her own childhood in Erie, which she says used to be “a dinky little town,” and now is one of the fastest-growing communities in Colorado. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a journalism degree, then jetted off to Russia for two years to work as a missionary with the Presbyterian church.

When she returned home, a friend suggested that her foreign language and journalism skills could net her a job in Washington, D.C.

“I said, “I don’t think I ever want to wear a suit. Thanks, but no thanks,'” Williams said.

Her parents, however, saw it as an opportunity, and bought Williams a plane ticket to D.C., suggesting that, if nothing else, she treat it as a vacation. No one was more surprised than Williams when she took a job working for Washington U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton. She spent three years there.

“It was a wonderful job for me,” she said. “Beforehand, I knew nothing about politics. I got to learn both sides of issues.

“And I lived in a fun house with great roommates.”

The death of a friend brought her back home.

“I had decided before the summer of 2000 election I was moving back, but the clencher was that I had a good friend die in a kayaking accident,” she said. “I thought, “If I die tomorrow, I’d want to be around the people I care most about.'”

As fate would have it, she met her current roommate at her friend’s funeral. Shauna Fisher, who has a riverside Frisco condominium, told Williams she was looking for a roommate. Williams moved to Summit County, following in the footsteps of her brother, who is a Copper Mountain ski patroller.

“I’ve been working at the Dam Brewery, which makes me a dam waitress and bartender – which makes my parents really proud to say,” Williams said. “It’s a shift (from working for a senator), but it’s not that big a shift. When you’re working in a Senate office, your job is to make people happy.”

Williams said her varied list of achievements typically earns her the admiration of peers and friends, but she shrugs it off.

“People perceive me as being very adventurous,” she said. “But I’m not as confident or self-assured as people think I am. I have the same baggage as everyone else.”

Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at jreuter@summitdaily.com

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