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Learn More About the Leadership Journey

The Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey was created by the Colorado Tourism Office to cultivate aspiring leaders with a commitment to the tourism industry and a passion for sharing the Colorado experience.

This tuition-based, yearlong program is ideal for high-performing professionals seeking to grow their careers within the tourism setting.  For employers, it offers a cost-effective way to develop, reward and retain top talent. Under the purview of the Colorado Tourism Office and an appointed Leadership Committee, the program aims to strengthen Colorado’s competitive advantage through development of a stronger, more unified tourism industry that will be better equipped to serve as one of the state’s leading economic drivers.

Selection of Participants

All participants are selected through a competitive process and must have the support of their employer to participate. Applications for Class of 2020 are officially closed. Please check back in the Spring of 2020 for information about applying for the Class of 2021.


Tuition is $2,500 and covers the cost of program facilitation, textbooks and participation in experiential learning opportunities, including attendance at two successive Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conferences. Travel and lodging costs (approximately $200 per night) are not included in tuition and are the obligation of the participant and/or employer. Limited scholarships are available, based solely on need.


Participation in the Leadership Journey represents a significant time commitment on the part of those chosen for the program. To complete the program, participants are expected to attend two successive Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conferences, as well as three experiential learning opportunities at selected locations in Colorado.

Participants are required to complete all assignments, along with an action learning project approved by their employer. A maximum of one excused absence will be allowed to accommodate for extreme circumstances.

The tentative curriculum for the Class of 2020 includes:

  • Five Experiential Learning Opportunities (Dates Subject to Change)
    • Sep. 28 - Oct. 1, 2019 Colorado Governor's Tourism Conference, Denver
    • Feb. 5 - Feb. 7, 2020, Colorado Springs
    • Apirl 22 - April 24, 2020, Pueblo
    • July 22 - July 24, 2020, Blackhawk
    • Sep. 15 - Sept. 18, 2020 Colorado Governor's Tourism Conference, Location TBA at GovCon 2019
  • Required Readings (Readings Subject to Change)
    • The Leadership Challenge (text)
    • Good To Great
    • Speed of Trust
    • Switch
  • Half-hour sessions with assigned mentors
  • 8 1-hour-long small group discussions
  • Completion of an Action Learning Project

Program Outcomes

Through the Colorado Leadership Journey, participants will develop:

  • Leadership skills, creative team problem-solving, listening and communication skills, emotional intelligence and the development of deeper self-awareness.
  • Lifelong relationships and networking pathways through connection with participants, mentors and presenters.
  • Connections with state and national resources and networks through experiential learning in a variety of Colorado contexts.
  • A sense of shared identity as a contributor to an industry that promotes Colorado’s economy and wellbeing.


“I have been fortunate to have had many opportunities for formal leadership training starting way back in 1989 in the President’s Leadership Class at University of Colorado in Boulder.  Since then I have had many opportunities to grow my leadership skills in multiple organizations and industries. While I believe no matter our age or experience, we can still learn, admittedly I was somewhat skeptical about how valuable the CTLJ would be in this point in my career. To say the least, it has been one of the best investments for my personal career and for my employer, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The ability to engage the facilitators and my peers who are represented across not only the state but across many different roles with Colorado tourism has provide a unique and invaluable perspective in looking at the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Durango and Silverton and Colorado tourism in general. Some of these opportunities and challenges can appear to be overwhelming, but through collaboration as a cornerstone in the CTLJ program, the entire class has the tools and more importantly the confidence to go out and succeed for the future of Colorado tourism.” - Christian Robbins, Director of Marketing, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Durango

“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


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For questions and application submissions, email [email protected].

Learn more about the Colorado tourism leadership journey >>