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Reflecting on Six Years at El Pomar Foundation

Tags: Penrose Legacy

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By Devanie Helman

Upon her departure from El Pomar on June 6, Devanie reflected on her six years with the Foundation:

As I leave El Pomar, Someone asked me to sum up my emotions in three words. While that is nearly impossible, the three words I identified were gratitude, nostalgia, and excitement.

Gratitude – I will never be able to express my gratitude to the individuals at El Pomar who made my time here so extraordinary. I am grateful to: El Pomar’s Trustees, who 27 years ago made a commitment to invest in young people in a very real way by establishing the Fellowship program, and who took a chance on me twice – first as a Fellow and then as director of the program; my mentors who provided just enough guidance to keep me on track, but gave me enough freedom to find my own path; colleagues across the Foundation who make work fun by being lighthearted and invested in one another; and last but certainly not least, to Fellows, who made it easy to get out of bed and come to work every day. You are exceptional individuals and it has been an honor to support you.

Nostalgia – As I close this chapter, it’s hard for me to not wrap the entirety of my six years at the Foundation into my reflections. I’ve found myself nostalgic for my days as a 1st Year Fellow in my early understanding of the Foundation’s impact; long discussions as a 3rd Year Fellow with Gary Butterworth about the possibilities for the Fellowship; and the countless Fellowship gatherings and many El Pomar events that have defined my professional and social life over the past six years. In many ways, I’ve grown up at the Foundation, and it’s impossible to not feel that tinge of sadness that comes with the closing of a chapter. As A.A. Milne said, “how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Excitement – Once I move on from memory lane, I find myself so excited for what’s next for me and for the Fellowship. Training my successor Jennifer Dodd for three weeks in May confirmed everything I suspected: the best days of the Fellowship are yet to come. I’m excited to attend future alumni events and read newsletters to see how the program evolves to continue serving the needs of Colorado’s future leaders. I admire Jennifer’s leadership and will continue to be her and the Fellowship’s greatest cheerleader. Personally, I’m excited to take all that I’ve learned at the Foundation and test my skills in a new environment. I would not be where I am without El Pomar, and I am anxious to continue to stretch myself to serve the communities of Colorado.

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In July, Devanie moved to Denver and began as a full-time consultant for White River Strategy, a management consulting firm founded by Fellowship alumna Amy Humble. El Pomar is grateful to Devanie for her six years at the Foundation, and wishes her well in her new role!