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.

Episodes

  • May 4, 2021

    Tackling racism and unconscious bias in Utah with Aundrea DeMille

    In this week's episode, Utah's First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by Aundrea DeMille (International Keynote Speaker and host of The Wake Up Stories podcast) to talk about her experience falling in love with the state of Utah, meeting Abby and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox for the first time, and why we need to value empathy as a state in order to create an inclusive environment for all Utahns.

    Then Aundrea opens up about the racial divide amongst people in Georgia when she was growing up, her experiences dealing with racism and unconscious bias in Utah, and why we need to have uncomfortable conversations to create equality for everyone.

    Play Episode
  • April 29, 2021

    Breaking down our new statewide initiative — Show Up Utah!

    In this week's episode, Utah's First Lady Abby Cox is joined by Kirsten Rappleye (Director of First Lady’s Initiatives) to talk about her new initiative Show Up Utah, her four areas of focus including social and emotional learning (SEL), foster care, Unified sports, and service projects, and why community relationships can bring a bigger voice to the work that communities are doing for the state of Utah.

    Then the First Lady speaks with Melissa Hart (Utah's State Director for America's Kids Belong) to talk about America's Kids Belong, coming together as a state to help our foster children, and ways we all help to get involved in reducing the number of children in the foster care service.

    We also speak with Carla Bedingfield (Adaptive PE teacher for the Wasatch District) about her experience in developing unified sports programs, why it's so important to focus on inclusion in sports, and providing a sense of belonging for students with and without disabilities.

    The First Lady is then joined by John Arthur (Sixth-grade teacher at Meadowlark Elementary School) to talk about being Utah’s 2021 Teacher of the Year, how education is affected by trauma, and why SEL is such an integral part of our children's development.

    Lastly, we talk with Sarah Allred (Deputy Director of First Lady's Initiatives) about why service projects were such an important aspect of the governor’s campaign, how service projects can shape a community, and why projects like these are so fundamental to our state.

    Play Episode
  • April 22, 2021

    Dr. Angela Dunn on overcoming the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to Utah

    In this week's episode, Utah First Lady Abby Cox is joined by Dr. Angela Dunn, Utah's State Epidemiologist, to talk about her decision to pursue medical school, the advice that her mother gave her that led Dr. Dunn to focus on helping others, and some of the hardest challenges that we've had to face as a state due to COVID-19.

    Then she opens up about some of the harassment that has come from the past year, how we've banded together as a state to tackle COVID-19 head-on, and how she was able to maintain a positive attitude during such a difficult time.

    Dr. Dunn also talks about her experience with being part of an Ebola response in Sierra Leone in West Africa, why it's so important to empower young women to chase their dreams, and being labeled as a one-dimensional person in the public eye.

    For the latest information on COVID-19 visit: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/.

    Play Episode
  • April 19, 2021

    The friends get together to interview Utah's First Lady

    In this week's episode, Utah's First Lady, Abby Cox, is joined by all of the friends again but this time the tables are turned and all of the friends are interviewing Abby to learn more about Utah's First Lady!

    We talk with Kirsten Rappley on what getting proximate really means, how traveling the state helped Abby get proximate with so many different people, and what growing up looked like for the First Lady.

    Then we're joined by Jeannette Bennett to learn more about Abby's decision to become a surrogate mother for her sister-in-law, the type of mother that Abby thought she was going to be compared to the type of parent she actually is, and how she could talk about horses for hours.

    Abby is also joined by Dawn Ramsey to talk about why Abby is so passionate about special education, where she sees herself twenty years from now, and why she would choose to talk with Abigail Adams over anyone else in history.

    Lastly, Shelly Smith joins Abby to go over a bunch of rapid-fire questions, Abby's love of sporting events, and why it's so important to spread love and listen to people's life experiences.

     

    Play Episode
  • April 19, 2021

    Meeting the other friends — Dawn Ramsey and Shelly Smith

    In the second introductory episode of First Lady and Friends, the First Lady speaks with her friend, Dawn Ramsey  (the Mayor of South Jordan and fellow cohost), on when they first met, Dawn's unique education journey, and her decision to run for office.

    Then we dive into why running for local politics can be so vulnerable, what Dawn has been reading lately, and what brings her the most joy.

    The First Lady is then joined by Shelly Smith  (Director of Boards and Commissions and fellow cohost) to talk about how they met, how addiction impacted Shelly and her family, and why it's important to let yourself feel grief and sadness in order to feel better.

    Then we dive into why Steel Magnolias is Shelly's favorite movie, what she's been reading lately, and why baseball is so underrated.

     

    Play Episode
  • April 19, 2021

    Getting to know Kirsten Rappleye and Jeanette Bennett

    In the first episode of First Lady and Friends, Utah's First Lady, Abby Cox, speaks with her friend, Kirsten Rappleye  (Director of the First Lady’s Initiatives), about how they first met, how Kirsten first became then Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox's Chief of Staff, and what it was like growing up in a political family.

    We also dive into being vulnerable, what people often get wrong about the working mom, The Queen's Gambit, and our favorite concerts we've ever been to.

    The First Lady is then joined by Jeanette Bennett  (Founder Utah Valley Magazine) to talk about how they first met, Jeanette's passion for journalism, and the moment Jeanette was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. 

    Then we dive into why 'Cast Away' is Jeanette's favorite movie and what she has been reading lately. 

     

     

    Play Episode
  • April 12, 2021

    Introducing "First Lady and 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.

    Play Episode