Since 1999, 9NEWS has recognized outstanding leaders in our community, with the 9NEWS Leader of the Year award.

The Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, an affiliate of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, partners with us to honor individuals for their leadership and commitment to our state.

The finalists were selected by a committee of local community leaders. Over the next month, Leadership Foundation program alumni can vote for this year’s winner.

This group of more than 4,200 civic-minded individuals is well equipped to understand the meaning of impactful leadership. The winner will be announced at the Leadership Foundation’s annual Leading Colorado Luncheon on Thursday, March 8.

Here are the three finalists selected:

  • Priya Burkett, director of business development for American Express.
  • Joshua Hunt, founder and CEO of TRELORA.
  • Jodi Rolland, Colorado state and Denver market president for Bank of America and market executive for global commercial banking for the Colorado market with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“Our three finalists are making a real and positive impact on our communities," said Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation Executive Director Dan Lewis. “They’ve taken great passion and turned it into action, making our communities stronger. They also embody the tenets of Colorado’s Civic DNA™ – collaboration, inclusivity, shared vision, leadership and responsibility – and are inspirations for us all.”

Priya Brukett is well known in her community as a change maker and thought leader who impacts communities by leaving them better than how she found them. Her dedication to ensuring children have access to quality education drives her involvement with organizations such as the Denver Public Schools Foundation, Whiz Kids and Reading Partners. Burkett is also a firm believer that people from all walks of life should have free access to information and resources at local libraries. Her ability to connect people and leave lasting impressions helps drive her impact even further.

Always living in curiosity and not fear, Joshua Hunt provides innovative solutions to challenges and encourages others to become successful in non-traditional ways. At TRELORA, where Hunt is the founder and CEO, he is devoted to creating transparency in the real estate industry. As a leader, Hunt is passionate about affordable housing issues, mentoring and youth development. He brings these passions to life through support of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT Colorado) and other organizations and causes. No matter where he is involved, Hunt inspires success and never stops challenging the status quo.

Jodi Rolland is driven in everything she does, from her career to her community investment. At Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Rolland rallies her staff to get involved in different programs and projects to improve communities. She is also dedicated to mentoring and advocating for women and young people to ensure they find professional success. Rolland passionately supports Junior Achievement – Rocky Mountain, Inc., Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, the National Leadership Academy and others. The work she’s doing now will ensure the future success of many generations to come.

Learn more about each finalist and the impact they are making in the community:

For the third year, alumni of the Leadership Foundation’s many programs will select the winner of the 9NEWS Leader of the Year award through an online voting process. Voting will be open until 5 p.m. on Monday, March 5. Alumni from Access Denver, Colorado Experience, Colorado Leadership Alliance, Impact Denver, Leadership Denver and Leadership Exchange are all invited to cast their vote.

This year’s winner will be announced live at the Leadership Foundation’s annual Leading Colorado luncheon on Thursday, March 8. This event recognizes exceptional leadership in the community while raising scholarship funds to support emerging leaders who want to further develop their skills and use them to make the community better for all. For more information about the event and this year’s 9NEWS Leader of the Year Finalists and Award: