Ginni Hill and Julia Lawton, the Fellows working with the Southwest Regional Council, have a stronger affiliation with their region than most El Pomar Fellows. From Cortez and Durango, respectively, the two share their gratitude and reflect on the unique opportunity to contribute in their home communities through El Pomar’s Regional Partnerships Program.
Now a Fellow at El Pomar, I recently realized that I have come full circle. What started out as an interest in high school has since bloomed into a postgraduate career. Looking back on my excursions through rural Colorado, it is understandable why I value El Pomar’s statewide focus. While the major populations in Colorado are found along the Front Range, some of the most committed individuals live where nobody is looking.
On the third day of hiking on windy trails and camping under thistle-filled trees, adversity manifested itself in the form of a 50 foot cliff. Although I do not consider myself to be much of a rock climber, I made summiting this cliff my personal challenge.
“The most valuable player is the one that makes most players valuable.” – Peyton Manning
As I stand there with a confused and disappointed look on my face, my son picks up a bag and tells me, “Dad, next time take more trips. It’s better to do something correctly than quickly.” I’m already embarrassed when my wife walks by and adds, “I wonder who he is learning from.”
Just moments into my first interview, I have offended our interview subject. Luckily, my local colleague Leo intervenes and smoothes things over. The meeting ends on a positive note, but I have re-learned a valuable lesson: Leadership begins with listening.
How could I become successful if I got kicked out of a practice in the first few months I was at the Olympic Training Center? I was supposed to be an elite athlete.
“Grab the rope!” my now father-in-law bellowed from atop his horse. The chaos of branding swirled around me – the shouts of the ropers dragging in new calves, the roar of the fire warming the branding irons, the moo’s of mother cows searching for their calves – and I, the newest to the ranch and the branding scene, couldn’t understand why no one was following the directions yelled by the family’s patriarch.
The idea of being a student of leadership sparked something in me. It suggested making a career out of studying leadership and helping to unlock other people’s leadership potential is a viable option.
El Pomar staff engaged with Kurt Wilson, Ph.D. in Evaluation, to work with the staff to “strengthen feedback systems to identify clear and measureable outcomes and compile and distribute data in a useful format.”