Is a great leader born or made? At the Chamber, we think they are made. And, we devote ourselves to ensuring Denver has a lot of great leaders whose capacity to lead is ever expanding to meet the challenges of the future.
And, luckily for all us, we have one of the best and most respected leadership development organizations in the country—the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to provide content, context and access to inspire leaders so they engage in those issues that are critical to the region’s success.
The reason the Chamber established the Leadership Foundation is because we know that our future depends on having leaders who are willing to engage civically, create a vision of what is possible and inspire action in others. As a business community, we are creating a culture of engagement and ensuring each generation not only reinforces that culture, but grows it.
We have programs serving leaders at every juncture in their career. Here’s some of what we offer from college students to seasoned professionals (old folks like me).
- Colorado Leadership Alliance (CLA): This program brings some of our best students together from 10 different college and university campuses throughout the state. It includes an annual CLA Summit—a one-day event that brings highly respected Colorado leaders to interact with students and program directors.
This year, Wayne Caudill II, a junior at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was named the CLA Student of the Year. As a full-time student, he has plenty on his plate—in addition to being a husband, a father and a volunteer for the Wounded Warrior program and the local Teen Court. He learned some great leadership lessons when he served his country; he loves Colorado and aspires to pursue his Ph.D. and eventually work in an organization that develops future leaders.
- Impact Denver: This program is designed for Colorado’s next generation of leaders. It provides both learning opportunities and begins to develop that critical network of contacts. As a testament to the caliber of the Impact Denver class, Aubrey Cornelius, president of Sprocket Communications, is in the current Impact Denver class and was recognized as a finalist for the 2013 Small Business of the Year Award.
- Leadership Denver (LD): This 11-month program prepares class participants to increase their impact within their organization and in their community. LD brings together public, private and non-profits organizations into an environment where they can learn together. It also provides participants with a deeper understanding of regional issues including poverty, social justice, arts and culture, and politics.
Dixie Malone, alumnus of LD 2003, was presented the 2013 David E. Bailey Small Business Advocate of the Year Award for her work as a business specialist at the Denver Center Public Library.
- Legacy Denver: This program provides an intimate forum where some of Denver’s most prominent business and community leaders lead small groups in discussions about the challenges they have faced and provide insight into their own leadership styles.
Cathey Finlon, former Denver Art Museum president and past chair of the Chamber Board, is currently serving as a dialogue leader for this program. At our last annual meeting, Finlon received the Del Hock Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication and significant involvement in the business community. She is also a past LEX participant.
- Colorado Experience: This program provides an opportunity for leaders of different generations to better understand Colorado’s challenges and issues region by region. This two day exploration looks indepth at issues that bind our state and those that may be unique to parts of Colorado.
Cindy Parsons, vice president of public relations for Comcast, is the incoming chair of the Foundation board and has attended this program, is an LD grad and LEX participant.
- Access Denver: This program provides a two-day, executive summary of the issues facing Colorado. It is designed for executives who have been newly promoted or are new to Denver. I call it the executive summary of LD.
- Leadership Exchange (LEX): Each year, 150 business and civic leaders from Colorado travel to another city to learn about best practices that can be brought back to our state. By experiencing these lessons as a group, we are able to foster a shared vision of what we want to accomplish and more easily create a dialogue and a strategy for executing those ideas. This year the group will convene in Pittsburgh, Pa.
We’ve also had several LEX participants recognized for their work in their community—here are a few shout-outs: Mowa Haile’s company Sky Blue Builders was recognized for the past two years as a Minority/Woman-owned Business of the Year finalist; and both Ron Montoya and Don Kortz were inducted this year into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame.
We know our work is paying off. We established the Leadership Foundation 26 years ago it stronger than ever. We have more than 3,000 alumni, sharing values of working together, committed to helping ensure Colorado thrives. Become part of this team—you can learn more about each of our programs by clicking here.