Colorado Springs Leadership Institute has been a community asset for 20 years formed to "increase the quality and quantity of leaders in our community through the development of personal, professional and civic knowledge."
"We felt the community wasn't being all it could be," said Brenda Smith, a CSLI founder.
With more than 250 alumni and 16 class members annually, CSLI - led by Julia Sands de Melendez - has had a major impact on creating a stronger region, leaders said at the group's Nov. 10 breakfast and leadership retreat at The Pinery.
Add to this a CSLI Positive Impact Award celebrating those "who have, through skillful leadership, collaborated to create an extraordinary leadership benefit for the Pikes Peak region." The first honorees were founders Smith and R. Thayer Tutt, for whom the award was named. The second award recognized BJ Scott and Barbara Yalich for creating the Innovations in Aging Collaborative.
This year's honors went to those behind the Colorado Springs branding as Olympic City USA. A delighted Janet Suthers called it "the most exclusive civic brand in the world."
The idea was simply one of those waiting-for-a-plane brainstorming times after a Regional Business Alliance trip to "Music City" Nashville in 2015. Suthers, a community leader and wife of the mayor, and Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Doug Price had been impressed with that city's effective brand development and felt it was time for Colorado Springs to have one expressing its own strong identity.
After all, this is home to the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters, more than 20 Olympic governing bodies and 50 national sports organizations, the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, the planned U.S. Olympic Museum and many athletes and coaches. Olympic City USA: a perfect fit, they felt. "It is unique, it's memorable and we can prove it," said Suthers.
Suthers and Katie Lally, special assistant to Mayor John Suthers and project manager for the Olympic City USA task force, accepted the award on behalf of the task force and Price, who was on a business trip. Bernard Sandoval, president of Sandia Advertising, was saluted for development of the logo.
Another highlight of the morning was an enthusiastic presentation on the CSLI theme of the year, Productive Dialogue. Leave it to Sally Hybl to turn a keynote address into a Broadway show. "I like to think about my life as a musical," she said, laughing as she turned her day-to-day experiences, productive dialogue and family life into "Les Miserables" and "Hamilton."