IO Ogden Pioneers Spotlight: Sara Toliver

The American pioneer is iconic and represents a group of people who were willing to sacrifice what they had for something better. Whether they were pioneers of industry, or took to wagons and handcarts to travel across the country to make a better life for themselves, the pioneers of the past were willing to risk it all. In our July issue, created in a place that celebrates that pioneer spirit with fireworks, barbecues and rodeos, we wanted to highlight and recognize some of the current pioneers in our community.

We talked to several trailblazers who have been vital to the ongoing enrichment and development of Ogden lifestyle and culture. We wanted to learn what it takes to be a modern-day pioneer. They include an ambassador and promoter of Ogden tourism, conscientious urban redeveloper, community-minded small business owners, women’s empowerment publisher/entrepreneur, innovative restaurant owners, and passionate purveyor of local music and nightlife. It’s a small representation of countless community pioneers who have helped shape Ogden, each leaving their own invaluable footprint. Big cheers to ALL the many Ogdenites who had a bee in their bonnet, and facing rivers and broken roads still chose to burn the breeze!

We asked the following questions: Was there a catalyst that encouraged you to set out on your track, a moment, a mindset or person that made your “destination” more attainable? Who paved the way for you, either in your field or in your life? What sacrifices have you had to make in order to pursue your vision? What untouched territory do you hope to explore? Using the pioneer metaphor, what were some unexpected “rivers” you had to ford, or moments you wanted to turn back along your journey?

Here are answers from a few of our community heroes:


President/CEO Visit Ogden

Sara has worked tirelessly for over a decade at Visit Ogden to help shape and promote our “notoriously independent” little mountain town as a tourist destination. She is a fierce community supporter and businesswoman also serving on several boards, including the Ogden School Foundation, GOAL Foundation, Ogden Downtown Alliance, Ogden/Weber Chamber, and Utah Office of Tourism, to name a few. The revitalization of Ogden’s historic district during the time she was as mall business owner on 25th Street led to her passion for the Ogden community.


“We have enormous mountains of opportunity all around us. We’ve come so far as a community in the last 20 or so years due to so many people being willing to test the boundaries. I hope to continue to be one of those people who looks for ways to expand our horizons, push new boundaries and develop these incredible opportunities to make the greater Ogden area one that people are proud to call home and have on their bucket list to come and visit.”


“We all make choices every single day. I don’t look at them as sacrifices, just choices. If all you do is spend time looking at the sacrifices or opportunity costs of the decisions you made, you’re never moving forward.”

Mentorship & Support

“My mom set the example that I could accomplish anything I chose to, gender and age aside, and then gave me the opportunity to do so. My dad encouraged me and made me believe my contributions were valuable. Early work mentors gave me responsibility for projects ‘outside my pay grade’ because they knew I was eager to learn more. Current colleagues shared their knowledge, history, and ideas to make mine better. Community advocates demonstrated what it means to give where you live and how incredibly rewarding that is. My husband and kids support me in my pursuits both professionally and personally knowing that it makes me a better wife and mom. Building many strong relationships, hard work, and passion for this community keeps my ‘destination’ ever growing!”