Q & A with Stuart Fox, RFL Academy and Mastermind Alumni, and former RFL Board member

A lifelong Coloradan, Stuart Fox ended up in the Roaring Fork Valley through his wife, who grew up in Aspen. She’s a fourth-grade teacher at Aspen Elementary School, which she attended as a child and where their daughter now goes. “It’s a full circle,” Fox says. 

Fox appreciates his wife’s deep, rich connections to the Valley, but when they moved here in 2012, he also wanted to strengthen his own sense of community — both personally and professionally. After meeting multiple people who had completed an RFL program or knew someone who had, Fox enrolled in RFL Academy 2013. He went on to participate in Mastermind and serve on RFL’s Board of Directors.

Recently, RFL spoke to Fox about how RFL changed his view of himself and inspired him to become more active in his community.  

Stuart Fox

Roaring Fork Leadership: Tell me about your career path? 

Stuart Fox: Like a lot of millennials, I had a winding career path. I graduated in 2007 from DU with an undergraduate degree in finance and real estate. My first job was with Lockheed Martin and Boeing as a financial analyst.

Then I moved into a management and technology consultant position, and from there, I went to work for CoBank as a project manager and as a financial analyst. When we moved to the Roaring Fork Valley, I had my own consulting business for a while and then worked for Alpine Bank, then US Bank, and now I’m at Colorado Mountain College (CMC) as a budget finance analyst. In addition to working for CMC full-time, I’m in the process of starting a personal financial coaching business called Sage Financial, LLC. This past May, I graduated from the University of Denver with an MBA. 

Stuart Fox, his daughter, Nora Fox, and wife, Katie Fox in the Roaring Fork Valley

RFL: What was a highlight of your RFL experience?

SF: Our cohort learned a deep lesson: that failure is an option. Sometimes we learn a lot more from our failures than we do from our successes. Our civic project failed – we did not produce what needed to be done, but we learned so much more from that failure.  

RFL: What did you learn about yourself?

SF: In Mastermind, I had a breakthrough that I didn’t see coming. I had expectations about what I thought I’d get out of the experience, but the first day of the program changed everything: it was the confirmation that each of us is the master of our own destiny. We can’t let outside forces control us and we have to work to overcome the obstacles life puts in our way.   

I learned a lot about self-confidence. I have a tendency to compartmentalize things. I learned that I wear a mask and that I don’t need to do that. I can be authentic in all the things that I do, and when I’m at my most authentic, I’m at my most successful. 

Stuart Fox with his daughter, Nora, and wife, Katie, at Fox’s MBA graduation from the University of Denver in May.

How did RFL inspire and impact your community leadership involvement? 

SF: It demonstrated that not only here in the Roaring Fork Valley, but in our country, we need engaged, active citizens. You don’t need to go out and change the world, but you need to participate. For me, that’s translated into more active community engagement. If I see a nonprofit where my skillset and interests really intersect, RFL inspired me to be bold, to raise my hand and ask, “how can I help?” That might mean volunteering or serving on a board of directors, but it’s looking for those opportunities to ensure our communities are the sorts of places we want to live in.