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Class of 2020


Latest participants in the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey represent hotel, ski, casino, cultural attractions, transportation, cannabis, destination marketing and more

DENVER (Aug. 21, 2019) – The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) today announced the latest participants in the yearlong Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey, a tuition-based executive training program aimed at building the bench strength of the state’s tourism industry. The Class of 2020 includes representation from a range of tourism sectors – from hotel to ski, airport and cannabis – and settings as diverse as the Denver Art Museum, Steamboat Springs, the Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service and Ameristar Casino Resort.

The 24 members of the Class of 2020 are set to begin their yearlong experience at the Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 in Denver, where participants of the current Class of 2019 will be taking the stage to graduate. 

“Year after year, we continue to be impressed by the caliber of applicants willing to commit a year to building their personal potential through the Leadership Journey,” said CTO Director Cathy Ritter. “The work that these participants do during their year with us -- and the way so many already have advanced their careers -- is truly an inspiration.”

First of its kind in the U.S., the program was created in 2017 to provide a growth path for managers seeking to build leadership capabilities in a tourism setting. For employers, it is a cost-effective means for developing, rewarding and retaining top talent. Tuition of $2,500 covers all educational expenses, including attendance at two successive Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conferences, with limited scholarships available.

To facilitate the program, CTO contracts with Keystone Policy Center, a public policy group with offices in Keystone, Denver and Washington, D.C. With guidance from the CTO’s Leadership Committee, Keystone designs a curriculum that encompasses required readings, one-on-one mentoring, small groups, action learning projects and facilitated experiential learning opportunities in five different Colorado locations.

“One of the largest opportunities for our industry is cultivating future talent. It is imperative that we fill the tourism leadership talent pipeline with diverse and qualified leaders for the future,” said Doug Price, President & CEO of Visit Colorado Springs, vice-chair of the Colorado Tourism Board and chair of the CTO Leadership Committee. “The Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey is a great support program to help develop and mentor people to become our leaders of tomorrow.”

Members of the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey Class of 2020 are as follows: 

  • Juliet Abdel, President/CEO, Westminster Chamber of Commerce
  • Pat Attkisson, Colorado Travel Media Sales & Marketing Executive, Miles Partnership, Fort Collins
  • Erik Barstow, Director of Sales, Visit Fort Collins
  • Lenore Bates, Program Manager, Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways, Colorado Department of Transportation, Denver
  • Amy Cassidy, Owner/President, Amy L Cassidy Consulting, Denver
  • Austyn Dineen, Public Relations Director, Breckenridge Tourism Office
  • Crystal Egli, Video Production Specialist, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Denver
  • Michael Eymer, CEO and Founder, Colorado Cannabis Tours, Denver
  • Elizabeth Fogarty, Director, Visit Grand Junction
  • Dawn Glanc, Visitor Center Manager, Ouray Tourism Office
  • Suzanne Harrison, Director of Marketing, Visit Durango
  • Justin Hill, Vice President of Personnel & Operations, MARS Hospitality, Parker
  • Leslie Hylton, Legislative Liaison, Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade, Denver
  • April Ingle, Account Director, B Public Relations, Denver
  • Abby Leeper, Communications Manager, Colorado Tourism Office, Denver
  • Scott Peterson, Marketing Director, Chaffee County Visitors Bureau, Salida 
  • Nancy Rezac, Executive Director, Visit Longmont
  • Jason Robertson, Deputy Director, Recreation, Lands, Minerals & Volunteers, Rocky Mountain Region, USDA Forest Service, Lakewood
  • Brianna Schroth, Promotions & Events Manager, Ameristar Casino Resort, Black Hawk
  • Jennifer Shea, Director of Resort & Hotel Sales, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation
  • Kara Stoller, Chief Executive Officer, Steamboat Springs Chamber
  • Mark Uriarte, Director of Airline Affairs & Airport Properties, Denver International Airport, Denver
  • Crystal Van Kull, General Manager, Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours, Fort Collins
  • Heidi Weisman, Associate Director of Events & Group Services, Denver Art Museum, Denver 

Candidates and employers can view testimonials from past participants and learn more about applying for the tuition-based program at industry.colorado.com/colorado-tourism-leadership-journey