DENVER - Working together. It's something that's lauded across industry and geography as a pillar of success. In particular, it's an area where others look to the Denver metro area as a leader.
Collaboration is just one area where Leadership Denver, which has provided four decades of civic leadership education, focuses its work.
The program, offered by the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, brings together people from business, nonprofit and government sectors for an 11-month program that gives them insight into the issues facing the metro area and the tools to get more involved in the community.
"I think what Leadership Denver does is help people understand how critical it is for collaboration across the region, or areas that are important to the Chamber itself: education, transportation (and) health," said Deborah Brackney, a Leadership Denver alumna and vice president of Mountain States Employers Council.
The program engages people from a variety of careers and backgrounds. Often the discussions about issues facing the region bring to light the diversity of experiences of the 60 people in each class.
"It taught me to have my eyes open to see the views of others and to respect the views of others who are coming at an issue from a different place than I do," said alumnus and Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Richard Gabriel.
Participants also found these exercises helped them work better with others in the workplace.
"I used those lessons on how to build a team based on how our brains work and creating a mix of people the complement each other as (district attorney) and as governor," said alumnus and former Denver district attorney and Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter.
Alumni of Leadership Denver have worked on major collaborative projects such as FasTracks and the Denver International Airport. In addition to building for the future, participants of Leadership Denver have a strong focus on community building.
"I have been a part of the revitalization of Denver and making it a great city," said Juana Bordas, an alumna and a founder of Mi Casa Resource Center. "All of our contributions have made it the city it is today."
The result of the experience, participants say, is the understanding that having a wide array of opinions represented will make the outcome of a project stronger.
"One particular community doesn't have all the answers," said alumnus and Denver City Councilman Chris Herndon. "It's about partnerships."
Article provided by Sara Crocker of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation