Date of Birth
Vicki Cowart is a prominent leader who has been a catalyst in promoting educational and professional advancement for women across two vastly different fields – earth sciences and healthcare. Cowart is the former President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM), and a leading advocate for healthcare for women and their families. As the first female State Geologist and director of the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS), Cowart elevated the status of women in this male-dominated earth sciences field through her leadership, acting as a role model and mentor for other women scientists.
While earning an MS in geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), Cowart began advocating for the recruitment and retention of women students and faculty. During her career in the petroleum industry, Cowart was recognized by CSM as a champion for women scientists in both academics and industry with the Young Alumnus Award in 1988 and the Distinguished Achievement Medal in 1999. In 2008 Colorado Governor Bill Ritter appointed Cowart to the CSM Board of Trustees where she served two terms.
Cowart’s employment experience in the oil and gas industry was characterized by her continuing progression to leadership positions and her many professional accolades. As one of the very few women professionals at these organizations, she was a leader and role model for other women. Cowart was co-founder of the Denver chapter and the first national president of the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) where her leadership skills were vital in the cultivation of this thriving organization.
During her time as Director of the Colorado Geological Survey beginning in 1993, Cowart transformed the organization into a well-funded state agency focused on educating the public on issues related to natural resources, geologic hazards, and groundwater quality and quantity. Cowart developed a reputation for action, clarity in scientific messaging, and collaboration. In 2010, Cowart was elected President of the Association of State Geologists, an organization representing all fifty states and Puerto Rico. Cowart received many awards including the Colorado Citizens Leadership Excellence Award and an Honorary Membership from the Association of State Geologists in 2003. In 2010, Cowart was the first woman in Colorado to receive the Ian Campbell Award for Superlative Service to the Geosciences from the American Geological Institute.
In addition to her groundbreaking work as a woman in the earth sciences and public sector, Cowart is a prominent national advocate for women’s health. In 2003 Cowart was selected as President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM). In this position Cowart has amplified her lifelong dedication to the advancement of women while committing new energy to women’s healthcare. She has substantially increased funding for PPRM during her tenure including a recent $85 million campaign for operations and an endowment. A $12 million capital campaign was used to renovate and relocate eight health centers and establish a new flagship headquarters. In 2008, Cowart was elected chair of the Planned Parenthood Affiliates Chief Executive Council and in 2014, Cowart was chosen by her Planned Parenthood CEO peers to receive the organization’s most prestigious tribute – the Ruth Green Award.