Author: Boettcher Foundation

By: ADRIAN FLORIDO NPR Adrian Florido speaks to Boettcher Scholar Dr. Torri Metz, from University of Utah Health, about the dangers of being pregnant and unvaccinated for COVID-19 New information is starting to come out about the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy. And a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that pregnant mothers infected by the virus are at greater risk of developing serious complications or even dying during pregnancy. Dr. Torri Metz is an associate professor at the University of Utah Health and one of the study's authors, and she joins us now. Welcome. TORRI METZ: Thanks for having me. It's great to be here. FLORIDO: Tell us more about what your report found. METZ: What we did was evaluate if SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy was associated with worse outcomes for moms. And more specifically, we looked at death or really serious morbidity from obstetric complications. The - such complications that we looked at were having high blood pressure in pregnancy, having a postpartum hemorrhage or bleeding after pregnancy or having an infection other than SARS-CoV-2, so for having wound infection or something that happened after your delivery. And what we found is that those women who had SARS-CoV-2 in pregnancy did have a higher risk of having this really serious morbidity or dying during the pregnancy. And when we say serious morbidity, it wasn't just having those conditions. But it was really having complications from those conditions. ...

By Ruthie Lestikow In the last eight months I have struggled more with my personal identity than in the previous four decades combined.  As International Women’s Day approaches, and in the midst of Women's History Month, I found it fitting to try and put some of these reflections on paper.  From a young age I identified myself as an independent person. Growing up in rural Colorado I was taught that it was important to be self-sufficient. My dad was the biggest promotor of this value. Although, I never got the chance to ask him I think his motivations for driving this point home were more for economic reasons than for promoting feminism. Either way, I learned how to change a car tire on my own, change my own oil in my car, weld, drive a split transmission truck, split wood and build the family dog house.  With the unwavering support of my mom my self-realization as a self-reliant, strong woman continued to manifest even after I moved away from my beloved rural Colorado hometown. Thanks to this upbringing I vowed to never have to be dependent upon anyone.  Having financial independence is of the upmost importance to me personally.  Even after receiving the Boettcher Scholarship, I continued to work while going to college so that I could save money.  As I got older, I not only gauged my sense of self-worth in how much I was in the black but also in how hard I worked in my profession as a physician assistant.  At any social event when asked to tell a little bit about myself my first response included what I did for work. These two main points of financial independence and hard work ethic became even more important to me to continue cultivating after having children.  It is important to me to model independence and hard work to both my daughter and son. So here comes the struggle part: My husband and I moved to Medellin, Colombia in South America in July, 2021 to expose our children to a different culture, help them (and me!) learn Spanish and have a family adventure while they are still fairly young and like to hang out with us.  I am not able to work as a physician assistant here in Colombia. I therefore am relying financially on my husband who is able to work remotely and on our savings. The two biggest pillars of the structure of my self-worth have crumbled. So, now how do I gauge my self-worth? What kind of role model am I for my daughter and son? What do I say at social events now after, “Hola! Soy Ruth, mucho gusto.”? Time to put my rural Colorado skills back to work and rebuild. Time to redefine my role as a woman in my world. To me this is a huge theme in celebrating International Women’s Day. Redefine history’s definition of a woman. It’s a time to celebrate women's achievements, to influence behavior, to smash stereotypes and continue to challenge bias.  So how do I do all this as a stay-at-home mom who is now dependent upon her extremely supportive family? I don’t have the answer.  But I have started drafting a blueprint on just how to do this thanks to some wonderful insight from the most influential woman in my life, my mom.  She speaks of finding out what makes you truly happy in the world.  Once you have this figured out, how do you make it apart of your routine? If financially you need to work, how do you make money doing what you love? The move to Colombia has made me realize that it wasn’t the work that made me happy, that gave me my sense of self-worth.  It was more the sense of giving back to my community. Before, I was able to provide medical care to try and improve peoples’ lives in the community of South Denver. Now, I am giving back to the community by helping to raise two happy, generous and internationally minded citizens.  I am also working on giving myself some grace when I need to ask for help.  Turns out, it can be ok to not be so stubbornly independent.  Those who love you can be your best support. The pillars of my structure of self-worth look a little different now, but they are well on their way to supporting a new identity for myself. As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year on March 8th I hope you can find what makes you happy and make it apart of your routine. As an alum, did you know you can donate to the Boettcher Foundation Scholarship Program? If you are inspired to do so, your support can help us create additional academic, intellectual, and leadership opportunities for undergraduate Scholars. Learn more here. ...

DENVER, March 7, 2022 — The Boettcher Foundation is proud to welcome three new additions to our team: Chris Lowell is joining Boettcher as a communications specialist, a newly created role. Chris comes to Boettcher after working in public policy and communications for state and local government, and political campaigns. Josue Estrada Murillo is Boettcher’s new office coordinator. An aspiring physician, Josue, a 2018 Boettcher Scholar, will soon complete his B.S. in psychology, and possesses a national and state Emergency Medicine Technician (EMT) licensure. Megan Vivier is the new executive assistant to CEO and President Katie Kramer. Megan previously served as the manager of operations and engagement at the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation.   “We are beyond grateful that these three leaders have brought their talents and energy to the Foundation, and we could not be more excited to work alongside them,” said Katie Kramer, president and CEO. “Collectively, they bring expertise in c-suite management, program coordination and logistics, and communications strategy. Their passion for our mission will help to ensure that we continue to have transformational impact in our work.” About the Boettcher Foundation At the Boettcher Foundation, we believe in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. Every day we champion excellence across our state by investing in our most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come....

DENVER, January 27, 2022 — The Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees is delighted to announce its new slate of officers for the year. Officers for 2022 are: Chair – Tony Frank, chancellor, Colorado State University system; Chair-elect – Gregory L. Moore, editor-in-chief, Deke Digital Secretary – Michelle Lucero, chief administrative officer and general counsel, Children's Hospital Colorado; Treasurer – Jason Wheeler, head of corporate functions, Forward   “We look forward to a dynamic and impactful year with our board leadership,” said Katie Kramer, president and CEO. “As stewards of our mission, our Trustees care deeply about making a transformational impact across Colorado through our grantmaking, initiatives, and scholarship program.” The Trustees have also approved the third three-year terms for Frank and Pam Shockley-Zalabak, president of CommuniCon Inc. and chancellor emeritus of University of Colorado Colorado Springs. The board also approved Michelle Lucero’s second three-year term.   About the Boettcher Foundation At the Boettcher Foundation, we believe in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. Every day we champion excellence across our state by investing in our most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come....

DENVER, Jan. 25, 2022 — With its 2021 grantmaking completed, the Boettcher Foundation has surpassed more than $400 million in historical philanthropic giving over its 84-year history. The Foundation’s 2021 grantees included organizations leading transformational initiatives, connecting communities through infrastructure or programming, and others increasing leadership opportunities. A major emphasis of the Foundation’s grantmaking portfolio included organizations and efforts in rural Colorado or that featured a statewide focus. “Eclipsing $400 million in historical giving is a major milestone as we invest in the promise of Colorado and potential of Coloradans,” said President and CEO Katie Kramer. “Our philanthropic impact continues to honor our donor intent by supporting our state’s organizations and individuals who are making an impact in their communities.” In 2021, the Foundation continued its support of the Boettcher Scholarship Program and continued its longtime support of biomedical research. In addition, Boettcher launched COLead, its leadership initiative that strives to create an accessible and inclusive leadership ecosystem in Colorado. COLead includes several components, including the Doers & Difference Makers Fellowship, the Colorado Leadership Collaborative, and the Colorado Leadership Stories project. Included below are several summaries of 2021 grant recipients. Grantmaking Space to Create: Space to Create Colorado is an innovative, multi-year partnership between the State of Colorado, funders, and Artspace – a nonprofit developer– to provide affordable workforce housing for creative sector entrepreneurs and artists in rural and mountain communities. The Foundation has pledged $250,000 toward each project, up to nine, across the state. The year 2021 was an important one for Space to Create as it addressed Colorado’s housing crisis. Trinidad brought to market 41 affordable housing units, Ridgway broke ground on a 30-unit housing complex, and Grand Lake completed its feasibility study and moved forward on project site selection. The program is the nation’s first state-led initiative for affordable housing for creative sector workers in rural areas. Colorado Afghan Evacuee Support Fund: The Colorado Afghan Evacuee Support Fund, sponsored by Rose Community Foundation, is a statewide partnership to ensure that Colorado is prepared to welcome Afghan evacuees and connect them with community resources. Contributions fund grants to organizations in Colorado that provide refugee resettlement services, health and mental health services for newcomers, legal services to help evacuees navigate available pathways for permanency in the U.S., and other forms of needed assistance. Boettcher made a $50,000 grant in 2021 to support our state’s newest Coloradans. Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado: As the federally designated food supplier for more than 250 food pantries in 31 Colorado counties, Care and Share Food Bank is a critical part of Colorado’s health and nutrition infrastructure. However, delivering refrigerated food and fresh produce to food banks in the San Luis Valley and Southwestern Colorado has posed a serious challenge due to distance and weather. In 2021, Care and Share purchased a refrigerated warehouse in Alamosa to serve as a new distribution center. A $75,000 grant from helped with the facility acquisition. Care and Share will now be able to better serve tens of thousands of Coloradans with more frequent deliveries of fresh food. Gunnison Arts Center: Arts organizations serve as the cultural lifeblood of many communities, especially in rural Colorado. Located in a 12,000 square-foot historic building at the heart of Gunnison, the Gunnison Arts Center (GAC) partners with numerous organizations to engage 15,000 participants each year through art classes, clay studio, gallery spaces, dance, and theater. Boettcher supported GAC with a $60,000 grant toward comprehensive renovations including updated community gallery and theater space, new dressing rooms, accessibility improvements, and the creation of a digital arts lab to teach students creative digital skills.   Boettcher Scholarship Program The 2021 Scholar cohort included the founder of Protect Pueblo, a collaborative network that set up COVID-19 health and safety regulations across four schools, a guest blogger for 9News, a Division I football player, and a Scholar who manages her own goat herd. The group of 42 Scholars mark the newest class of students who will be the next generation of dynamic thinkers and leaders. The Boettcher Scholar network includes more than 2,700 leaders who have made their marks in business, government, the non-profit sector, and academia, among other industries. The four-year scholarship, established in 1952, includes full tuition and fees, a book allowance, and a stipend for living expenses. For more information, visit here.   Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards This year’s awards supported six promising, early career Investigators, allowi­ng them to establish their independent research and be more competitive for major federal and private awards. Each recipient is awarded $235,000 in grant funding to sustain up to three years of biomedical research. Including the class of 2021, 82 Boettcher Investigators have received funding through the Webb-Waring program. Since 2010, Boettcher Investigators have gone on to earn more than $110 million in subsequent federal grant funding. For more information, visit here.   About the Boettcher Foundation Founded in 1937, the Boettcher Foundation believes in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. Every day we champion excellence across our state by investing in our most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come.  ...

DENVER, January 17, 2022 — The Boettcher Foundation is pleased to announce that Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn has been appointed to the Board of Trustees. A longtime leader in Colorado’s education and public sectors, Munn also has held important roles in the state’s legal and business communities. Comprised of some of Colorado’s most dynamic business and community leaders, the Boettcher Foundation Trustees are responsible for governing and guiding the Foundation’s mission to support the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. “Rico’s commitment to system-level and community leadership is exemplary,” said President & CEO Katie Kramer. “He is a natural collaborator and problem solver who possesses vast knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that face the families, community organizations, and institutions of Colorado.” Munn said he chose to join the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees because of the organization’s statewide influence and history of supporting organizations, institutions, and individuals. "I am excited and honored to join the Board of the Boettcher Foundation,” Munn said.  “I am inspired by the Boettcher family's legacy of giving back to Colorado. I want to carry forward that legacy by helping to propel Colorado forward as we focus on the needs of our students and the future leaders of our state and nation." Named the 16th superintendent of Aurora Public Schools in 2013, Munn oversees the fifth largest school district in Colorado. In 2019, he was named Colorado’s Superintendent of the Year and Aurora’s Man of the Year. Prior to his role with APS, Munn served in a variety of leadership roles in Colorado’s legal and business communities. In 2012, he was appointed to the Board of Governors for the Colorado State University System, serving until 2020. He also served as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education from 2009-11; this followed his elected tenure to the Colorado State Board of Education from 2002-07. Munn also served on Gov. Bill Ritter’s Cabinet as executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies from 2007-09. He is a graduate of Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska, where he received his B.A. in secondary education and was named Student Teacher of the Year in 1993. He received his Juris Doctorate from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. Munn has been married to his wife Kay since 1998, and he is the proud father of two teenagers. About the Boettcher Foundation At the Boettcher Foundation, we believe in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. Every day we champion excellence across our state by investing in our most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come. ...

By Wylia Sims | Chief Zen Officer, The Equity Project Although leadership shows up in many ways throughout one’s life journey – in work, family or community – (EID) lens is not always easily identifiable. Instead, it discreetly reveals itself at times or moments when we become more aware of its purpose and impact – and most, of all, its importance. When I see someone leading with an EID lens, some of the attributes are detectable. I recognize how someone can demonstrate awareness of their own biases and preferences. I watch as they intentionally seek out and consider different views from their own, make efforts to have an empathetic perspective, and engage in courageous conversations. Very few innately possess these attributes. In fact, most of us, like me, acquire them through life experiences and environmental influences. At this time in my life, I am gaining a better understanding of how EID leadership has influenced me, by taking inventory of my journey - a continuous series of chapters, each providing an opportunity to explore my curiosities and gain exposure to the unknown. Some that come to mind: Born from the love of biracial high school sweethearts who attended Manual High School in the 1960s with predominantly Black, Asian and Mexican students, creating a community of mixed races, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds Attending predominantly white private schools, because my parents knew that education would be the key to accessing limitless possibilities for my brother and me, exposing us to different worlds Living in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Park Hill, now renamed “North” Park Hill, where my father has lived in same house for decades and has witnessed the changing cultural fabric Earning a degree in International Business at Howard University, the mecca of Historically Black Colleges and Universities located in a majority-black city in the 1990s, shaping my definition of success from those who looked like me, my family, and community Working for Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., the “Black Rainmaker” in DC, raised in Jim Crow Atlanta who broke the glass ceiling for minorities to serve on Fortune 500 corporate boards, paving the way for future generations and creating a network of professionals carrying the torch to the next Mentored by the first CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation, Wendy Sherman, who corrected me when referring to myself and colleagues as girls instead of women. She instilled in me the desire to make an impact with my work Living in the heart of New York City and working for George Soros, a self-made billionaire who escaped a war-torn Hungary during World War II and emigrated to the United States. He has created one of the largest foundations opening closed societies around the world Serving on a board of Miracle Makers, a social service agency in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, as a young professional; this was my first experience voluntarily working with a diverse group of members, during a controversial time of city funding and the transitioning of founding executive directors Building the operational foundation for a start-up philanthropic marketplace, GlobalGiving Foundation, connecting donors to grassroots projects globally, and distributing hundreds of millions of donations to those wanting to improve their lives Decades after leaving, moving back home to Denver, once labeled a “cow town” that has grown into a thriving economic destination attracting a vibrant workforce yet still faced with inequitable circumstances for lifelong residents, in particular the minority population Managing the finances and operations at the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation developing programs for leaders to better understand the issues of their communities and how to contribute for impactful change Currently leading operations at The Equity Project, an EDI consulting firm founded by a Black woman who hired an all-female leadership team, empowering organizations across the country to become more equitable All these life events are the sum of who I have become (and I am still becoming).  They have provided me a unique lens - directing the way I live, contribute, and understand. Life events that have made me aware of my predispositions, offered unique perspectives I may not have sought on my own, triggered the discovery of the new and unfamiliar, as well as developed a sensitivity of empathy and compassion. I share this inventory of experiences because without knowing, labeling or communicating it, diversity, equity and inclusion were weaved throughout. Each piece of the puzzle has formed a unique lens of lived experience THAT I use to lead wherever I stand. Professionally, my roles have not included responsibilities to implement EID initiatives. Instead, I manage the financial and operational health of organizations, which has provided me the opportunity to work at a range of companies and nonprofits, each with unique missions, locations, and employees. Today, I lead the business operations for The Equity Project, a consultant firm that specializes in EID training for organizations of every sector and industry. For me to be truly vested and successful in my role, I must be aligned with the mission and integrate into our day-to-day operations the same values we counsel externally to clients. Additionally, I also must apply my EID lens in managing the operations and developing the organizational strategy. I believe this practice will not only grow the business but will create empowered team members who contribute to the overall strength of the team. I also believe it will make our organization and team impactful community members.  If we make decisions using a true EID lens, as Dr. Dwinita Mosby Tyler, chief catalyst of The Equity Project says, it should be “a win for the individual, a win for the organization and a win for the community.”   I’m sure if you took an inventory of your life events, chapters from your journey, you would be able to take stock of how your EID lens has developed and supports how you lead through awareness, willingness, empathy and authenticity resulting in wins for you, your organization, and your community....

Shari Williams President Leadership Program of the Rockies How have your years working in public policy, strategic planning, consulting, and local and national campaigns shaped your approach to leading the Leadership Program of the Rockies? Decades of involvement in public policy, and election campaigns, convinced me that electing good people to office is not enough. They rely on, are influenced by, and become a reflection of, the people they represent and the culture they live in. Thus, if we want to change the culture to one that embraces freedom over force, we actually need better citizens. Citizens own the government, not the other way around, so the only way to ensure government plays its proper role, focused on protecting the people’s individual rights, is for active, engaged citizens to be informed and involved enough to hold their officials accountable. Who is a fit for the Leadership Program of the Rockies? The problem of American culture is not a partisan one, but a divide that is at the heart of America’s future. Active citizens can ensure a free future only if they are informed and prepared. We look for people who already demonstrate leadership in their communities, and who are open to understanding the founders’ vision, and the role of capitalism in a free society. They must know that free enterprise – the system that created the Boettcher Foundation – is essential to economic success. No one can give away that which they did not produce, so our classes understand that doing good works first requires freedom and the right to pursue happiness. A big focus of your organization and program emphasizes principle-centered leadership. How have you seen principle-centered leadership practiced or implemented among your program Alumni who work in different sectors and industries? LPR’s 1800 graduates are now in leadership positions in every part of the state, and in several other states – in politics, business, health care, education, and the media. They are changing the discussions in their families, neighborhoods, businesses, and communities, because they have learned to apply founding principles to current everyday issues, and they know how to persuade others. Leaders should think in principles, not policy details, and our graduates not only do that, but they convince others to look at issues through a lens of liberty. Diversity and inclusion are values that have been at the forefront of American discourse over the past several years. One important dimension of diversity that’s often overlooked or forgotten is diversity of perspective. Why do you feel diversity of perspective is so important for organizations and leadership?  This is a vital component of LPR’s success. Throughout American pop culture, there is a misplaced emphasis on diversity of characteristics people cannot change (race, gender, national origin). We emphasize diversity of areas people can choose, such as their opinions and philosophies, and we honor their choices. This is the most important diversity of all, because we value individuality, not conformity. It is an uphill struggle these days, because society wants to force conformity of thought, which Americans should never agree to. LPR graduates are prepared, and skilled, to push back and to insist on the value of individual freedom of thought. One of LPR’s important recruitment strategies emphasizes that the program doesn’t teach participants “how” to be a leader but “why” to be a leader. How does that phrase resonate for you personally when you think about your “why?” We reject the premise that “how” and “why” are mutually exclusive. We teach that America is not merely a geographic place, but an idea – the idea that ordinary people can govern themselves, and that they are all equal under the law. Leadership based on that ideal is central, so our graduates understand that it is the government’s job to protect that ideal for future generations, not to solve all the people’s problems. This is a crucial concept, which leaders must fully understand in order to properly manage their country. People, families, communities, associations, and foundations can come together to solve their own problems. They need government to guarantee their free ability to do so How has your definition of leadership shifted – or not changed – since you began leading Leadership Program of the Rockies? Initially we were focused on leaders, especially elected officials, but over the years came to realize that they are merely reflections of the culture. True leadership lies in the ability to boil complex issues down to basic principles, living one’s life accordingly, and continuously reminding others in the most persuasive and effective way. Every citizen can be that kind of leader, each with their own sphere of influence – however large or small. That’s what ultimately changes the culture, and thereby changes the leadership and future of the country. Where do you draw your inspiration? I am inspired by so many individuals I meet who have found their own ways to improve their communities, families, and businesses. They are people who carve their own path, and pursue their own happiness. The Declaration of Independence not only inspires nations around the world, it also continues to inspire individuals to improve their country, each in their own way. Nobody else can create happiness in a person’s life, but every individual must figure that out for themselves. There is no end to the inspiration that can be drawn from people who figure that out, and then use that understanding to better their world....

Janice Sinden President & CEO Denver Center for Performing Arts How have your years of public service, most recently as Chief of Staff for Mayor Hancock, shaped your approach to leading the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA)? For me, the most fulfilling work is in the nonprofit and public sectors. Building collaborations, tackling complicated issues, and developing strategies that will enrich the lives of our community members and visitors defines my purpose. I am fortunate to be a part of many coalitions, boards and initiatives that have informed my values, how I lead and how I continue to grow, especially now in my role at the DCPA. As we all know, the arts were particularly impacted by COVID-19 and necessary measures to halt and then limit in-person performances, classes, and camps. Where are you all now in tackling the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, and what new opportunities are surfacing in this tumultuous time? The DCPA was deeply impacted by the 18 month shut-down due to COVID-19. We experienced $100 million in unrealized income, cancelled more than 40 shows, dozens of events and hundreds of classes. Thanks to the incredible support of our staff, Board of Trustees, patrons and broader community, we remain resilient and recently announced a 30-show season that will allow us to welcome audiences back to our theatres and artists back to our stages.  This is all possible thanks for federal funding from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, Paycheck Protection Program, SCFD funding, and the generosity of our donors. You are a founding CEO leader of Colorado Inclusive Economy. What does that designation represent for DCPA in terms of both short- and long-term commitment? In response to Black Lives Matter and We See You W.A.T., the DCPA published an Equity Statement and identified several key areas of focus to improve inclusivity at the DCPA. The DCPA’s work is led by Lydia Garcia, Executive Director or Equity and Organization Culture, along with an employee-led committee called PACE (Peer Advocacy Coalition for EDI) and five cross-departmental operational project teams that are building a robust framework for meaningful change. Our areas of focus include Artistic Practices, EDI Training, Inclusive Spaces, Talent Recruitment and Retention and Working Conditions. Our EDI work aligns directly with the mission of the Colorado Inclusive Economy to build and sustain opportunities for BIPOC individuals to grow and thrive in our collective organizations. Several years ago, the DCPA officially adopted EDI as a core organizational value and then took part in a cohort experience that was led by the Theatre Communications Group. What were some of the learnings from that experience that you have implemented? The DCPA is committed to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion throughout our organization and in partnership with our audiences, students and broader community. Our Board of Trustees recently expanded its Governance Committee to include People and Culture, and we launched workshops for employees and visiting artists to define our commitment to building a culture of respect and belonging. Additionally, we have adopted a number of practices in an effort to make our spaces more inclusive, including gender neutral restrooms, welcoming folks to share their pronouns, and adopting a Land Acknowledgement. These are a few examples of our most recent efforts. In many ways, DCPA has emerged as a leading example of an organization that embraces EDI at multiple organizational levels – from diversifying your Board of Trustees to presenting productions that better reflect the demographics and lived experiences of Coloradans. And, in 2019, DCPA created a position on your leadership team focused on equity and organizational culture. What are you most proud of when you think about the present and future of living in a more socially-aware and post-pandemic world? There are days when I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made, and then there are days when I am acutely aware of how much more work we have to do to ensure that our spaces and places are truly accessible and inclusive. This is a life-long, multi-generational journey – one that will continue to require honest conversations, reflections on past and present practices, and the investment of time, talent and resources to make transformative, sustainable change. How has your definition of leadership shifted – or not changed – since you began leading DCPA? My definition of leadership has changed dramatically since I arrived at the DCPA in September of 2016.  In my prior positions, I was more linear, clear-cut and goal driven/oriented. And now that I am at the DCPA, I feel like my heart has expanded 10 times. I am surrounded by the most gifted, inspirational artists and team members who care so deeply about telling stories of our past, present and future to build community, remind us of our humanity, and challenge us to grow and expand in our thinking. My amazing colleagues have transformed who I am as a leader, and I am better for it. One thing that has stayed the same is that my mantra “right, not fast” has never been more fundamental to my leadership approach. The pandemic taught us all that transparency, accountability, long-term planning and compassion take time and require patience if you want to get them (mostly) right. Where do you draw your inspiration? I draw my inspiration from SO MANY places.  First and foremost, I am inspired every single day by my 10-year-old nephew Ryland and my almost 6-year-old niece Amelia. They are the loves of my life. I also draw inspiration from community service. I am on too many boards to count, but with my love of servant leadership, there is always another hour in the day to invest in organizations that do so much for so many....

The Best Part of My Day By José Martinez, 2003 Boettcher Scholar and outgoing Alumni Board member A few weeks ago, my eldest daughter Penelope shared an interesting story with me on the way home from school. She told me that three students in her first grade class got to the chance to eat lunch with their beloved teacher that day. Naturally, I inquired as to why those specific students were chosen and she excitedly replied, ‘because it was their birthday in November, Dad! When a kid has their birthday in that month, they get to eat lunch with the teacher.’ I nodded in approval, but before I could say anything else, Penelope then added to the story. She told me that one of the three students chose not to eat lunch with the teacher… Now, for those that don’t know, there are few things in life that are cooler or more desired (for a first grader, at least) than the opportunity to eat lunch with your teacher. With that idea as cannon, I was immediately intrigued as to why this student would elect to opt out. Penelope explained to me that in their classroom, each student has a table partner that they sit next to. She also explained that two of the kids chosen were table-mates, but the third chosen student didn’t want her table-mate to be left out and alone at lunch, so she chose to eat lunch with them in the cafeteria instead. We only had a few more blocks left to get home at that point, and all I could do was smile and think, “man, kids are awesome.” One of the best parts of parenthood is the opportunity to shape the world in a way that makes it better. Every day, we as a society have the opportunity to teach our children and to help them frame the world. In our own household, my wife and I have made a concerted effort to work with our own young daughters on working hard and being kind. When we read books and watch movies with the girls, we try to highlight characters who show resilience or those who do good for others. When we talk about our daily lives and what we see around us, we often talk about ‘filling other people’s bucket’s’ and trying our best, even when things are hard. What made me so happy to hear Penelope explain the lunch story was that this whole experience was totally logical and not at all surprising in her world; she was just telling me what happened at school because that’s just what we do everyday on the ride home. You see, the reason why my wife and I focus so strongly on kindness and work ethic with our kids is because we believe these are the key tenets of growth and leadership. Our hope is that one day, our girls will grow up and be empowered to do anything and everything they want, but we want them to do it with kindness. We want them to pursue their dreams, but we also want them to make the world a better place. Perhaps ironically, my wife and I found out we were pregnant with Penelope just before I had the pleasure of being invited to be part of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board, 7 years ago. Much like Penelope has experienced and learned about these leadership tenets from us, my own experience working for and with the Board has continually taught and reinforced these same beliefs for me. Being a part of the Alumni Board has easily been one of the most fun and rewarding things I have ever done. While the Boettcher brand has always been synonymous with greatness, that’s not really the reason why I was so eager to serve or why the experience has been so incredible. The real draw has actually been the dedication and kindness of everyone involved. Much like my daughter’s first grade class and my own attempt at parenting, we all seek out the good in others and we are eager to support those around us, no matter the cost. Simply put, this group of people is one of the best arguments I can make about why I am optimistic and hopeful for the future. And, for all those on the Board, I want to express how deeply grateful and honored I am to have had the pleasure to serve alongside you. For the reader of this post, however, I want to leave you with just one piece of advice. Comedian Conan O’Brien, in his farewell speech from his show, told his audience, “work hard and be kind; amazing things will happen.” Though from an unconventional source, I truly believe there is magic in this idea. As I approach my own farewell of sorts, I simply want to encourage you to heed this advice. It’s not always easy to do and sometimes it seems like a counterintuitive response to the situation at hand, but I promise you that most of the time it will be exactly what you need. And just like that, I must bid you adieu. As luck would have it, it’s time for me to go pick up Penelope from school and see what other life lessons await....