Q & A with Dana Wood, RFL Academy 2015

Dana Wood was drawn to the valley for the sense of community and opportunities to get involved. Now based in Silt, she works for the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments managing two groups that are focusing on transportation projects in seven rural counties in Colorado. She’s currently on the Silt Planning and Zoning Commission, helping her town navigate the big challenges around growth and housing that so many Colorado communities are facing. Dana also serves on the board of directors for Highwater Farm, a local educational nonprofit regenerative farm. On top of her full-time job and community involvement, Dana also owns two small businesses! Read on for the rundown on how RFL inspired Dana to tackle hard things, both personally and as a community member.

Roaring Fork Leadership: What drew you to RFL Academy?

Dana Wood: I saw it as a great opportunity to learn and just continue my path of personal growth — learning more about myself, my own capabilities, and how to overcome my work/life challenges — and also to meet amazing people. I’m still friends with several people from my RFL cohort.

RFL: How did RFL shape your personal and professional development?

DW: It pushed me to do things that I would have never otherwise done. I joined the City Council (of Rifle) shortly after, and I don’t think I would have done that if it wasn’t for RFL. I own two businesses now on top of my full-time job, and I think I can credit RFL for playing a part in that because I saw so many of my peers going into positions of leadership. RFL was the foundation for going after the things I want to accomplish in life. I recently just got certified to do Thai yoga bodywork, which I love. And then I also have a consulting business where I primarily write grants and do meeting facilitation strategy planning for nonprofits. I ran my first ultra marathon this last year. All of those things built on participating in Academy. RFL pushed me to do things I never thought possible.

RFL: What role has RFL played in your community involvement and leadership journey?

DW: I think maintaining and continuing to be active in my community is super important to me, and I know that RFL plays a huge role in that. RFL was my first experience of being acknowledged as a true leader. At the end of the program, Andrea said something really nice about everyone and mine was something like, “you are a great leader because you lead from behind, and you want others to succeed, and you understand and demonstrate the importance of that.” Those words have stuck with me for a long time and are in my mind when I am in leadership roles. Having that humility and that humbleness and knowing it’s not just about me, but continuing to dig deeper and asking, “how can I support others to lead?” Because I don’t need to be at the forefront.