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Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey

To activate the full potential of Colorado tourism through its people while building the industry’s bench strength, the Colorado Tourism Office in 2017 created the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey. The first 21 participants selected for this yearlong, tuition-based executive training program are taking part in five experiential learning opportunities around the state, monthly small group meetings, 1:1 mentoring, assigned readings and completion of an action leadership project.

Based on the recommendations of an 18-member, high-level Tourism Leadership Advisory Group chaired by Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, the CTO shaped the program with a goal of creating value not only for participants and their employers, but for the State of Colorado. A first of its kind among state tourism offices, the program is an expression of the CTO’s statewide strategic plan for the tourism industry, the Colorado Tourism Roadmap.

To lead the tuition-based program, CTO has engaged the Keystone Policy Center, a public policy group with offices in Keystone, Denver and Washington, D.C. Under the guidance of the CTO and a statewide Leadership Committee, Keystone is designing a curriculum aimed at fostering both career and personal growth for participants selected in a competitive process.

The Class of 2018 includes 20 participants from tourism settings as diverse as Expedia, YMCA of the Rockies and the National Park Service, with representation from the casino, hotel and beer industries and destination marketing organizations as well.  Their yearlong experience began last October at the 2017 Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference in Grand Junction and is set to conclude at the 2018 conference in Vail, with induction of the Class of 2019. This year’s curriculum includes three-day learning experiences with top leaders in Colorado Springs, Salida/Buena Vista and Denver.

The Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey Class of 2018

Hannah Berglund, Project Manager, Miles Partnership, Lakewood
Tammie Thompson Booker, Vice President of Sales/Marketing and Revenue, Mars Hospitality LLC, Craig
Katelin Cook, Economic Development Coordinator, Rio Blanco County, Meeker
Erica Ferris, Director of Casino Marketing, Monarch Casino, Black Hawk
Donielle Gonzales, Tourism Director, Visit Pueblo
Amanda Graham, Industry Relations Director, Expedia, Denver
Jennifer Green, Director of Tourism, Visit Pagosa Springs
Kelli Hepler, Delta County Tourism, Delta
Angela Hollingsworth, Program Planner, Master of Tourism Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Steve Kurowski, Director of Marketing & Operations, Colorado Brewers Guild, Denver
Kale Mortensen, Executive Director, Alamosa Convention & Visitors Bureau
Lisa Neujahr, Marketing & Communications Director, YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park
Katharina Papenbrock, Executive Director, Ouray Chamber Resort Association, Ouray
Alexander Pedigo, Vacasa, Summit County
Kristine Rodine, Tourist Center/Fair Coordinator, Logan County
Scott Rodgers, Guest Experience Manager, Eldorado Resorts, Black Hawk
Nikki Wall, Museum Director, Old Town Museum, Burlington
Rick Wallner, Supervisory Park Ranger, National Parks Service, La Junta
Laura Waniuk, Event Liaison Specialist, Town of Vail
Melissa Williams, Marketing Manager, Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

CTO Participant: Amber King, Director of U.S. Marketing, Denver


“The CTLJ has provided learning and self-growth opportunities with immeasurable impact. Not only does this program focus on you, on developing and growing a stronger "whole person", but it provides new perspectives on the meaning of leadership and how you can positively shape the future.” -Katelin Cook, Economic Development Coordinator, Rio Blanco County, Meeker

“This program has expanded my potential beyond my own belief. Being part of this journey has opened many doors I did not think were possible. I began the journey with a small amount of confidence and before even the second experience had the opportunity to take on a leadership role within my organization. I attribute a good portion of getting this promotion to the program. It gave me confidence, credibility and showed my commitment to tourism. The lessons, connections and ideas gained from this journey are things I will take forward in leading my organization.” - Kale Mortensen, Executive Director, Alamosa CVB

“The CTLJ is a unique experience for the individual and the company supporting them: not only do you have the chance to grow and develop your personal leadership skills, but you have the chance to impact the culture and leadership mindset of your company through applying the project, the curriculum and your own actions.” - Hanna Berglund, Project Manager, Miles Partnership, Lakewood