Lezhai Gulbransen

Lezhai was born and raised in Rigby, Idaho with an abnormally large family — nine brothers, three sisters, and countless step-siblings. Childhood was equal parts tragic and chaotic, but it armed her with the determination to succeed and a warped sense of humor. Statistically, she was set up to fail but chose instead to master her future.

 

Twenty-one years ago Lezhai met and married Darnell, together they built a wonderful life in Idaho Falls with their four beautiful children, Tayton, Ian, Kate, and Danii. As they grew, she took full advantage of the opportunity to stay home and raise her children while growing a freelance business as a graphic designer and social media marketing consultant.

 

Even though Lezhai was not a runner, she decided to run a full marathon for her 30th birthday. This experience changed her life in ways she ever expected. After completing the marathon, she had a strong desire to provide others with the same opportunity. Idaho Falls didn’t have a marathon, so she decided to produce one. As a “go big or go home” kind of gal, Lezhai decided to pitch her plan to Donny Osmond (yes, that Donny Osmond) asking for backing through his charitable program “Making A Difference” (M.A.D.). With Donny’s support, she launched the M.A.D. Marathon, which became the Idaho Falls Marathon that welcomed thousands of people worldwide and raised almost a $250,000 benefiting local deaf children and Westside Elementary.

 

Capitalizing on this experience, Lezhai launched two businesses, Run For Hearing, and A-Z Productions. Through these companies, she produced events all over the United States to benefit deaf children. During that time, she served as Executive Director and then Chief Operations Officer of the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund (OOHF), a charity founded by the world-renowned Osmond Family to benefit the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Under Lezhai’s leadership, the OOHF raised nearly a million dollars through significant fundraising events, including concerts and community events, and helped more than 7,500 deaf children in the United States, South America, and Africa. As OOHF grew, so did their reach across the US into Europe as she traveled and worked with people in England, Finland, France, Germany, and Holland.

 

While Lezhai loved all the incredible opportunities she had with OOHF, the travel and obligations took her from her family too much. So, in 2015 she launched ZCreated, a small-business and nonprofit consulting company supporting local entrepreneurs to build and grow their organizations. In 2018 Lezhai accepted the position as Executive Director of the Bonneville Youth Development Council (BYDC).  She’s passionate for BYDC’s mission, working with the coalition of youth-serving organizations, and empowering our youth to use their voice to advocate and lead the discussions regarding substance abuse and suicide prevention. The best part is working alongside her children as they work to influence positive change in our community. Lezhai works with the youth fulltime, goes to school part-time, and volunteers as an American Lung Association NOT on Tobacco Facilitator and a small claims Mediator with Grand Teton Mediation.