An evening of Olympics and leadership

April 14, 2013
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The challenge: introducing community leaders and future leaders to locales they might have seen or read about but otherwise never have experienced.

For one Leadership Pikes Peak annual event, it was a visit to the greenest building in the city.

The 2013 Champions of Leadership event April 6 traveled to the Olympic Training Center, a first-time visit for many guests.

Leadership Pikes Peak Executive Director Susan Saksa had succeeded once again.

Graduates of the LPP program's classes, their guests and the evening's honorees posed for photos in a bobsled, toured the Olympic Hall of Fame, supped on an international buffet in the spacious Sports Center where Coach Vitaly Marinich's U.S. Men's Olympic Gymnastics Team trains and watched a demonstration.

The 2013 LPP honorees were Mike Beagley, U.S. Olympic Committee, Emerging Leader Award; Kimberley Sherwood, Third Sector Group, Community Inspiration Leadership Award; Nathan Newbrough, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Modeling the Way Community Leadership Award; and Martha Barton, Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care, Makepeace Community Trustee Award.

Teresa Ornelas offered a first-hand testimonial about how an LPP program completely changed her life. She survived poverty, abuse and homelessness, worked two to three jobs as a single mother and pushed forward despite coming from a family of dominant Hispanic males who thought college was not for her because she's a woman. An ad in The Gazette led her to apply for the Women's Community Leadership Initiative program. She graduated in 2008 and in four years has earned her associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees. Now she has remarried, received major job offers and is a role model. 'No one had ever told me I could lead, Ornelas said, to a standing ovation.

After a lively auction led by Kevin Patterson, the evening's committee took a bow: co-chairs Tara Nolan and Jennifer Rauchut, Renee Maisel, Tammy Fields, Ron Stauffer, Sam Edwards, Emily Whiteman, Kasi Carter, Sara Garza, Gina Thayer, Amber Moro and Jeremy Wimer.

Presenting sponsors were American Medical Response, Hoff & Leigh and GE Johnson.

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