Stepping out my front door, I noticed Pikes Peak glistening in the ambient hues of morning. As I made my way to work, my normal route, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the mountains. The national anthem came to mind, “Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesties…” I imagined Katharine Lee Bates, who originally titled the poem “Pikes Peak,” waking up early on a winter morning to pen these immortal words.
I am not a native Coloradan but am grateful to have lived in Colorado Springs for the last six years. I moved to Colorado Springs to attend Colorado College, where I spent four years poring over medieval history texts, working in the Art Department, and contributing to various student groups. My time at CC taught me how to think about the world through different lenses and to seek to address issues with an open mind and heart. After graduating from Colorado College, I started another chapter in Colorado Springs as an El Pomar Fellow. This experience has allowed me to connect with the Colorado Springs community in a deeper way through working on programs such as The Empty Stocking Fund. Additionally, my time in the Fellowship has given me the opportunity to develop the confidence and tangible skills to be an active member of my community.
The intentional nature of the Fellowship that combines both leadership practice and theory has helped me to gain greater insight into my own leadership style and professional identity. The countless opportunities for self-reflection, assessment, and improvement have given me the opportunity to think more deeply about who I am, and who I want to be.
I look to the mountains and the landscape that inspired our nation’s national anthem. For me, it is a landscape that is dotted with communities and people that make Colorado such a wonderful place to live. It is a landscape that has served as a backdrop as I sought to understand community building and philanthropy in a deeper way.