First Lady & Friends

Join Utah’s First Lady Abby Cox and her friends for timely and candid conversations with fascinating people with unique perspectives in an effort to unite us all through our common humanity. Each week, Abby dives into discussions on topics ranging from education to motherhood to mental health and beyond.  Abby is an outspoken advocate for “getting proximate” with people who have different viewpoints, and using her platform as Utah’s First Lady to combat the empathy crisis our country is facing.  Come along with us as we journey to bring courage, compassion and connection back into our homes and communities... and have a lot of fun along the way! THANK YOU for being our friend.
Marni Allred talks about the library’s influence on a student’s learning journey   (58:25) August 11, 2022
Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Marianna “Marni” Allred (Media Specialist for Robert Frost Elementary) to talk about Marni’s passion for reading while living on a 50-acre farm, some of Marni’s favorite childhood books and authors growing up that helped her imagination flourish, and some of the trends that Marni is seeing when it comes […]
Higher education, Utah’s housing market, and addressing domestic violence with Neil Abercrombie   (41:55) August 05, 2022
Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Neil Abercrombie (Senior Advisor for Legislative Affairs & Policy) who talks about how growing up in Aberdeen, Idaho helped introduced him to the idea of community, why he’s so passionate about Utah State University and his time there, as well as his decision to pursue working with Governor Cox’s administration. […]
Principal Milton Collins on creating powerful human connections at Lincoln Elementary   (47:54) July 21, 2022
Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Milton Collins (Principal – Lincoln Elementary School) to talk about Milton’s upbringing in Charleston, Mississippi, getting recruited to play college basketball at Rust College, and some life-changing lessons that he learned from his late mother throughout the years. Milton also shares the story of earning his first job in […]
Alexa Lou Olson on receiving the MVE award and empowering students through inclusion   (49:39) July 07, 2022
Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Alexa Lou Olson(Teacher at Bountiful High School) to talk about Alexa’s passion for education, how feeling excluded in PE growing up led her to pursue an education in kinesiology, and the people in her life who helped her find success during her collegiate years. We also dive into […]
Dr. Anthony Godfrey on setting up Jordan School District educators and students for success   (47:46) June 30, 2022
Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Dr. Anthony Godfrey(12th superintendent of Jordan School District) to talk about Dr. Godfrey’s passion for education, the benefits of the dual immersion program within the state, and why recent emergencies have led to the rise of virtual learning. We also talk about how the past year has been such […]
Advocating for survivors of sexual exploitation with Elizabeth Smart   (47:29) June 23, 2022
Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Elizabeth Smart(Advocate & Founder of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation) to talk about Elizabeth’s foundation, her work in prevention, recovery, and advocacy for the end of victimization of sexual assault and abuse, and joining the Malouf Foundation to make a bigger impact in the world of prevention and […]
More than just a drink with Swig Founder — Nicole Tanner   (46:30) June 09, 2022
In this week’s episode of First Lady and Friends, Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Nicole Tanner (Founder of Swig) to talk about how growing up on a farm in Teton Valley, Idaho, helped her develop the skills to be effective in the restaurant business, how Nicole and her husband found the inspiration […]
Roots is redefining what a healthy and productive education can be with Tyler Bastian and Dan Caffee   (44:08) June 02, 2022
In this week’s episode of First Lady and Friends, Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Tyler Bastian (Principal/Director and Founder of Roots Charter High School) and Dan Caffee (Governing Board Chair of Roots Charter High School) to talk about the inspiration behind Roots Charter High School, Utah’s first farm-based charter high school, the moment […]
Recapping our “Show Up” Initiatives from the past year with Kirsten Rappleye   (49:47) May 19, 2022
In this week’s episode of First Lady and Friends, Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, speaks with Kirsten Rappleye(Director of the First Lady’s Initiatives) to recap the past year of the First Lady’s “Show Up” Initiatives, building deep connections with communities in need throughout Utah, and how “Care Communities” can make a significant impact in the foster […]
Nikki MacKay & Amanda Walker help bring awareness to foster care in Utah   (51:43) May 12, 2022
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month and in this week’s episode, Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Nikki MacKay(Director of Retention Services) & Amanda Walker (Brand & Marketing Manager) with Utah Foster Care to talk about what influenced them to work in foster care, some of the challenges that they face on any […]
Nikki MacKay & Amanda Walker help bring awareness to foster care in Utah   (51:43) May 12, 2022
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month and in this week’s episode, Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Nikki MacKay(Director of Retention Services) & Amanda Walker (Brand & Marketing Manager) with Utah Foster Care to talk about what influenced them to work in foster care, some of the challenges that they face on any […]
Lisa Clark on her passion for improv, The Lisa Show, and remembering her late husband — Chris Clark   (50:57) April 21, 2022
Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Chris Yadon (Executive Director) and Lisa Clark (The Lisa Show podcast, writer, actor, producer) to talk about what inspired her to pursue improv comedy, the origins of Studio C and Divine Comedy at BYU, and how she met her late husband, Chris, at BYU. Then Lisa opens up about […]
Chris Yadon and Betsy Kanorawski on raising awareness around child sexual abuse   (46:04) April 14, 2022
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention month and in today’s episode, Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Chris Yadon (Executive Director) and Betsy Kanorawski (Chief Program Officer) from Saprea to talk about their Utah roots, the origins of Saprea, and different ways that we can all fight against child sexual abuse. We also […]
Mike and Liz Mower on bridging Utah communities through faith and service   (47:20) April 07, 2022
In this week’s episode of First Lady and Friends, Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Mike Mower (Senior Advisor of Community Outreach and Intergovernmental Relations) and Liz Mower(Community Activist) to talk about the beginnings of their relationship, what life was like raising a blended family, and some great tips when it comes to blending […]
SUU Interim President Mindy Benson on the necessity of investing in our youth   (45:34) April 01, 2022
Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Mindy Benson (Interim President of Southern Utah University) to talk about growing up in Cedar City, the ways her family’s legacy is intertwined with SUU, and how planning high-profile events helped her prepare for her current position at SUU. We also dive into the various ways that […]
Liz Owens on how YWCA Utah is helping heal and empower Utahns   (52:12) March 24, 2022
Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Liz Owens (CEO of YWCA Utah) to talk about her childhood growing up in Provo, UT as a young girl of color, how she’s used many of the lessons she learned in her childhood to help guide the work she’s doing today, and the events that led […]
Irina Pierpont and Owen Fuller talk about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and how Utahns can help   (51:31) March 17, 2022
Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Irina Pierpont to talk about what her childhood looked like growing up in Ukraine, the events that led her family to migrate out of Donbas, Ukraine, and the devastating reality of the Ukrainian people fighting the Russian army. Then we are joined by Owen Fuller (CEO – […]
Rebecca Ford on the impact of the Mr. and Miss Super Amazing Pageant in Toole   (43:16) March 10, 2022
In this week’s episode of First Lady and Friends, Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Rebecca Ford (Severe Special Education Teacher & Department Head at Tooele High School) to talk about her passion for teaching and her inspiration to become a special education teacher. Then we dive into where the idea for the Mr. […]
Bettina Smith Edmondson on becoming the first black person to sit on the Layton City Council   (34:40) February 24, 2022
In this week’s episode of First Lady and Friends, Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Bettina Smith Edmondson (Layton City Councilwoman) to talk about growing up in Layton, UT, how faith and education helped her create a bond with other children in the area, and her parents’ experience moving to Layton from Mississippi during the […]
Michelle Suzuki and Melinda Lewis on some of the struggles that teachers are going through right now   (51:59) February 17, 2022
In this week’s episode of First Lady and Friends, Utah’s First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Michelle Suzuki (SVP Marketing of Instructure) to talk about some of the hardships that many teachers in Utah have had to overcome during the pandemic, how we can help ease some of the stress for our teachers, and some […]