Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to the Fellowship

How are Fellows selected?

Selection for the Fellowship is the result of a rigorous interview process.  Candidates should demonstrate strong leadership capability and potential, the ability to work as a member of a team, an interest in public service or civic engagement, and a desire to contribute to the well-being of the people of Colorado.

Who should I ask for recommendations?

We recommend that you ask someone who knows you well and can speak to both your leadership ability and work ethic. The strongest recommendations generally come from individuals who have a close working relationship with the candidate (e.g. supervisors, professors, advisors, etc.). When reviewing applications, the content of a recommendation is far more important to the Recruiting team than the title of the writer and we therefore encourage you to ask those who know you best academically or professionally rather than those who hold the most prestigious title.

What experience do Fellows have to have before being selected?

Each Fellowship class is a unique mix of outstanding individuals with varying backgrounds, interests and areas of study. While many Fellows come to El Pomar directly after their undergraduate studies in fields as diverse as political science, biology, creative writing and business administration, others arrive with graduate degrees or after obtaining other work experience. The Fellowship seeks applicants who demonstrate strong leadership capability and potential, the ability to work as a member of a team, and an interest in public service or civic engagement—and we recognize that these are qualities that develop in a variety of settings.

What does Colorado Commitment mean?

A Colorado commitment refers to applicants who are passionate and knowledgeable about the state and its people and have an intention to serve the communities of Colorado.

How can I speak with a current Fellow?

Current Fellows are more than happy to speak to interested individuals who want to learn more. These conversations are an ideal opportunity to ask your questions and get a better sense of the Fellowship experience. Informational interviews can take place virtually or at El Pomar’s offices at Penrose House. To schedule an informational interview, please click here.

During the Fellowship

When does the Fellowship begin?

The Fellowship begins in mid-July and lasts for approximately 22 months.

What does the cohort model look like in practice?

The cohort model is an opportunity to work alongside other young professionals with similar interests and to provide and receive peer-to-peer support throughout the entire experience. This model allows Fellows to learn who they are as leaders and how to interact with other leadership styles. The 1st Year cohort works on programs led by the 2nd Year cohort, and the 2nd Year cohort, in turn, mentors and guides the 1st Year cohort.

Do Fellows have to live in Colorado Springs and can they work virtually?

Fellows are expected to report to work in-person a minimum of three days a week at the Foundation's office in southwest Colorado Springs, and they have the option to work virtually for the remaining two days. Fellows have the opportunity to begin work between 7-9a.m. and finish between 4-7p.m. each day, with the expectation of meeting 40 hours per week.

What programs do Fellows work on and what work do they do?

The Fellowship is an entry level position with the opportunity to serve as the staff and managers for many of El Pomar’s programs and to work on teams dedicated to the Foundation’s internal operations. Each program requires Fellows to use and develop unique skill sets including: event planning, writing and editing, organizational management, research, and more. Because El Pomar engages in a variety of programs and grant making strategies and 1st Year Fellows are assigned to work on multiple programs, all Fellows obtain broad exposure to a wide variety of professional experiences.

Fellows with a background or interest in international work may find themselves planning the itinerary and hosting political leaders from other nations on behalf of the American Council of Young Political Leaders. Those with an interest in communications might contribute to the content creation process for the Foundation’s newsletters, blog and social media, or join the Awards for Excellence team to produce videos highlighting outstanding nonprofits throughout Colorado. Others will dive deeply into the grant making process by working on the Foundation’s specialty funds, while those interested in finance can work in the investment office and teach a course on investment to the other Fellows. The programs help Fellows build on their professional strengths while also challenging them to grow in areas they may not have expected.  

How are Fellows assigned to programs?

Incoming Fellows have the opportunity to shape their Fellowship experiences through sharing their goals and expressing interest levels in various programs when they arrive, and assignments are based on a preference matching process.  Throughout the Fellowship, effort is made to align opportunities with Fellows’ interests. Click here to learn more about El Pomar’s programs.

What is a typical day in the life of a Fellow like?

The Fellowship is a dynamic work experience, so because of the breadth of programs that Fellows work on, day-to-day responsibilities can vary. Programmatic work often involves team meetings and the completion of projects, reports and action items, but specific responsibilities vary considerably by program, time of year and whether you are in the first or second year of the Fellowship. Any given week will also include elements of the professional development curriculum: classes, guest speakers, Fellowship check-ins and more. Set up a conversation with a current Fellow to learn more.

What is the difference between the 1st and 2nd Years of the Fellowship?

The first and second years of the Fellowship are structured to allow Fellows to develop into effective leaders.  The first year emphasizes the role of “followership” in leadership development: 1st Year Fellows serve as the staff members on El Pomar’s programs and the leadership development curriculum is comprised primarily of classroom-style learning that emphasizes skill development.  Fellows learn the art of delegation, influence, time management, managing up, and public speaking. In the second year, Fellows take on larger roles as managers of their programs and the focus turns to the hands-on application of principles and theories learned in the first year. Additionally, 2nd Year Fellows are expected to do an externship in their final quarter of the Fellowship. 

Do Fellows have the opportunity to travel?

Yes, however, the amount of travel can vary considerably by program. Fellows travel on behalf of the Regional Partnerships program in which each Fellow is assigned to work in one or two regions across the state. Regional trips typically take place quarterly and give Fellows the opportunity to attend and  facilitate Regional Council meetings and plan site visits to build relationships with grant recipients throughout Colorado.

Do Fellows have the opportunity to work directly for nonprofits?

Fellows do not work directly for other nonprofits, as their primary responsibility is to staff and manage El Pomar's programs.  Fellows do have the opportunity to work on various civic initiatives, projects, and special events in addition to their program responsibilities and are encouraged to gain additional hands-on experience by serving on local nonprofit boards and supporting local civic projects on a limited basis.  In the final quarter of the Fellowship, 2nd Years have the opportunity to extern with local nonprofits or government entities.

After the Fellowship

What do Fellows typically do after the Fellowship?

Because the Fellowship focuses on leadership skills that are equally transferable across sectors, alumni go on to make an impact in a wide variety of fields. Our alumni work in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, and many Fellows capitalize on their two years of growth and work experience by continuing their education in a multitude of fields. 

Don't see an answer to your question? Click here to set up a conversation with a current Fellow