The call to public service comes in several forms. Some people seem to be born leaders, the kids who declare in kindergarten that they want to be president. Some find it through a passion for community service or political issue that elevates to a leadership level. Others might not see themselves as potential officials until a mentor gives encouragement. Quarterly Forum (QF) and The Leaders Initiative (TLI) have joined forces to ensure that Colorado cultivates top candidates to serve in public sector leadership roles with the Colorado Governors Fellowship Program.
The program kicked off with enthusiasm at the Governor’s Mansion on June 29, 2016, and Colorado Business Roundtable was pleased to be a sponsor. It presented us with an excellent opportunity to bring Business Roundtable CEO and former governor of Michigan John Engler back to our state to serve as a guest speaker. Two Business Roundtable Executive Committee members were in attendance: John A. Hayes, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boulder's Ball Corporation; and Jacqueline Hinman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CH2M, headquartered in Englewood, CO. Business Roundtable member R.A.Walker, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation flew in from Houston, and Colorado President Roberta Robinette represented for AT&T, another member of Business Roundtable.
Dr. Geoff Smart, Chairman & Founder of ghSMART & Company, Inc. and author of the book Leadocracy was also a guest speaker. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, QF President Meegan Moszynski, and QF co-chairmen Erik Mitisek and Ryan Heckman also gave remarks. Other featured attendees were Former Colorado Governors Bill Owens and Bill Ritter.
Colorado Governors Fellowship Program works across all sectors including government and non-profit, but it has a specific lean toward identifying potential public servants currently working in private industry. The inaugural fellowship has 22 of the state’s best and brightest from a variety of top companies such as Anadarko Petroluem Corporation, Arrow Electronics, Inc. and DaVita Healthcare Partners, Inc. For a complete list, see here.
Gov. Engler posed a challenge to the new Fellows to make this program so renowned that it would become a model for others states and for Washington, D.C. He commended the work of the CH2M Foundation promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
In the vein of Colorado’s commitment to education and workforce, Engler posed an even greater challenge: achieve reading proficiency by third grade for all students. He mentioned that only about one-third of students in the United States meet that level of proficiency, and he is still looking for the state which can change it.
While meeting that specific challenge is not necessarily the goal of this inaugural class of Colorado Governors Fellows, it is clear that these are the people, the groups, the mentors and the experiences to make major progress even more achievable. Best wishes to the 2016-2017 Colorado Governors Fellowship! We can hardly wait to see what you make of it.
Check out the event with a few of our favorite photos, courtesy of ICOSA Media: