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The Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey was created by the Colorado Tourism Office for aspiring leaders with a demonstrated commitment to a career in the tourism industry and a passion for sharing the Colorado experience.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it's more crucial than ever to equip Colorado’s tourism industry with innovative and resilient leaders who are prepared to adapt to the changing world. These are unprecedented times, and the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey is ready to prepare the incoming class with the tools to successfully navigate these new challenges. In addition to the leadership experience and knowledge gained throughout the program, participants will also establish a statewide network of leadership colleagues and contacts to support them in their growth for years to come.

The tuition-based, yearlong program is ideal for high-performing people seeking to advance their effectiveness as tourism leaders. For employers, it offers a cost-effective way to develop, reward and retain top talent. Under the purview of the Colorado Tourism Office and an appointed Leadership Committee, the program aims to strengthen Colorado's competitive advantage through the development of a stronger, more unified, engaged and high-performing tourism industry that is equipped to be an economic driver for the state.


Tuition is $2,500 and covers the cost of program facilitation, the primary text, and participation in experiential learning opportunities, including attendance at two successive Colorado Governor's Tourism Conferences and three experiences in locations around the state. Travel and lodging costs (approximately $200 per night) are not included in tuition and are the obligation of the participant and/or employer. Limited scholarships are available, based on need.


Participation in the Leadership Journey represents a significant commitment on the part of those chosen for the program. To complete the program, participants are expected to attend two successive Colorado Governor's Tourism Conferences as well as three experiential learning opportunities at selected locations in Colorado.

Participants are required to complete all assignments along with an action learning project approved by their employer. A maximum of one excused absence will be allowed to accommodate for extreme circumstances.

The tentative curriculum for the Class of 2022 will include:

Five Experiential Learning Opportunities*:

  • 2021 Governor’s Tourism Conference, Snowmass, September 22–24, 2021
  • Colorado Springs, January/February 2022
  • Denver, May 2022
  • Durango, July 2022
  • 2022 Governor’s Tourism Conference, Pueblo

Required Readings*:

  • The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
  • The Speed of Trust: One Thing that Changes Everything, Stephen M. R. Covey
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don’t, Jim Collins
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Discover Your True North, Bill George

*subject to change


  • Monthly half-hour sessions with assigned mentors
  • Eight 1-hour-long small-group discussions
  • Completion of an Action Learning Project

Program Outcomes

Through the Colorado Leadership Journey, participants will develop:

  • Leadership skills, including creative problem solving, listening and communication skills, emotional intelligence and the development of deeper self-awareness.
  • Lifelong relationships and networking pathways through connection with leadership Journey participants, tourism and community leaders and presenters.
  • Connections with state and national resources and networks through experiential learning opportunities in a variety of local and regional contexts.
  • A sense of shared identity as a contributor to Colorado’s economy and wellbeing.
  • Creation of an original, employer-sponsored action learning project.

Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey Eligibility

For consideration as a participant in the Leadership Journey, you must:

  • Work within a sector of the Colorado tourism industry
  • Demonstrate progressive advancement in your career
  • Complete the required application process
  • Unless you are an independent contractor, provide a letter of commitment from your organization to participate in the Leadership Journey
  • Demonstrate leadership potential based on a selection panel’s scoring of your application and a face-to-face virtual interview

If you are selected to participate in the Journey, you are responsible for:

  • Tuition of $2,500, which includes attendance at two successive Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conferences, a text, all program facilitation and assignment of a 1:1 mentor. (Limited scholarships are available, based on need. Contact leadership@colorado.com for more information.)
  • Costs of travel and lodging (approximately $200 per night) to take part in Experiential Learning Opportunities.
  • Attending a minimum of four of the five Experiential Learning Opportunities (including those at the Governor’s Conferences)
  • Completing required readings, videos and other materials
  • Developing a relationship with an assigned mentor, including initiating monthly half-hour mentoring sessions
  • Attending hourlong small-group discussions
  • Completing an Action Learning Project

How to Apply

The application period for the Class of 2022 will open in April 2021 and will remain open for approximately two months. All Applications must be submitted through the Colorado Tourism Office Grants Portal.

Application Materials:

Applicant Information

  •   First and Last Name
  •   Employer
  •   Title
  •   Industry Sector
  •   Address
  •   Phone
  •   Email
  •   Emergency Contact Name
  •   Emergency Contact Phone Number

The application asks the following questions:

  • What drives you and inspires you to lead?
  • How would your participation in this program make a difference for your employer and for the state tourism industry?
  • What strengths will you bring that add value to the incoming class?
  • How has the ongoing global health crisis inspired you to lead within both your community and the tourism industry?
  • How did you hear about the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey?
  • Supporting Documents
  • Please upload a copy of your resume that gives an overview of your employment history, educational background, any current affiliations, and extracurricular activities.
  • Please upload two letters of recommendation for your participation in this program. Letters should provide a reflection of your work outcomes, talents and leadership potential. At least one of your references must speak to your work performance.
  • Please upload your participant and employer commitment document. https://industry.colorado.com/sites/default/files/Required%20Participant...

Selection Process

All participants for the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey are selected through a competitive process and must have the support of their employer to participate. Upon the Colorado Tourism Office’s verification that an applicant has met minimum standards for consideration, the applicant is invited for a virtual Interview with the Leadership Journey Selection Committee. The Committee typically includes members of the CTO, Leadership Journey facilitators and CTO Leadership Committee members. Top candidates are referred to the CTO Leadership Committee for final review and selection. All applicants are notified by September 1st.
In addition to the application requirements, the following factors also are considered in selection of candidates: 

  • Passion and commitment to the Colorado tourism industry
  • Demonstrated experience as a leader
  • Geographic diversity
  • Ethnic and cultural diversity


“I have been fortunate to have had many opportunities for formal leadership training starting way back in 1989 in the President’s Leadership Class at University of Colorado in Boulder.  Since then I have had many opportunities to grow my leadership skills in multiple organizations and industries. While I believe no matter our age or experience, we can still learn, admittedly I was somewhat skeptical about how valuable the CTLJ would be in this point in my career. To say the least, it has been one of the best investments for my personal career and for my employer, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The ability to engage the facilitators and my peers who are represented across not only the state but across many different roles with Colorado tourism has provide a unique and invaluable perspective in looking at the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Durango and Silverton and Colorado tourism in general. Some of these opportunities and challenges can appear to be overwhelming, but through collaboration as a cornerstone in the CTLJ program, the entire class has the tools and more importantly the confidence to go out and succeed for the future of Colorado tourism.” - Christian Robbins, Director of Marketing, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Durango

“The CTLJ has provided learning and self-growth opportunities with immeasurable impact. Not only does this program focus on you, on developing and growing a stronger "whole person", but it provides new perspectives on the meaning of leadership and how you can positively shape the future.” -Katelin Cook, Economic Development Coordinator, Rio Blanco County, Meeker

“This program has expanded my potential beyond my own belief. Being part of this journey has opened many doors I did not think were possible. I began the journey with a small amount of confidence and before even the second experience had the opportunity to take on a leadership role within my organization. I attribute a good portion of getting this promotion to the program. It gave me confidence, credibility and showed my commitment to tourism. The lessons, connections and ideas gained from this journey are things I will take forward in leading my organization.” - Kale Mortensen, Executive Director, Alamosa CVB

“The CTLJ is a unique experience for the individual and the company supporting them: not only do you have the chance to grow and develop your personal leadership skills, but you have the chance to impact the culture and leadership mindset of your company through applying the project, the curriculum and your own actions.” - Hanna Berglund, Project Manager, Miles Partnership, Lakewood

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For questions and application submissions, email leadership@colorado.com.