In the News

Level-Up your Leadership E-Book


In an era defined by rapid change, uncertainty, and interconnectedness, the need for effective leadership has never been more pronounced. From climate change and economic inequality to geopolitical tensions and global health crises, the challenges facing humanity and our valley are multifaceted and complex. Traditional models of leadership, characterized by top-down decision-making and hierarchical structures, often struggle to address these issues adequately. As we stand at the precipice of unprecedented change, there is a growing recognition of the need for a new approach to leadership—one that is adaptive, collaborative, and rooted in trust. Enter Roaring Fork [...]

Level-Up your Leadership E-Book2024-05-21T14:03:25-06:00

Alumni Highlight: Callie Dickson


Q & A with Callie Dickson, RFL Academy 2024 alum Callie Dickson never thought she’d end up learning American Sign Language (ASL) when she enrolled in RFL Academy 2024. The program manager for Challenge Aspen, with a background in therapeutic recreation, Dickson wanted to expand her leadership perspective to better serve the individuals with disabilities that she serves. When the opportunity to learn ASL came up through her civic project group’s sponsor, the Aspen Camp for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Dickson jumped at the opportunity.   We chatted with Dickson recently about what learning ASL taught her and [...]

Alumni Highlight: Callie Dickson2024-05-17T12:15:24-06:00

Roaring Fork Leadership featured at Aspen Business Forum


RFL Encourages Civic Engagement at Aspen Business Forum Andrea Palm-Porter, executive director of Roaring Fork Leadership, presenting her keynote speech at the Aspen Chamber Resort Association business outlook forum. RFL Executive Director Andrea Palm-Porter was a keynote speaker at the Aspen Chamber Resort Association's forum on Wednesday, April 24 about the importance of civic engagement among the valley's business leaders and how she has s guided businesses to become more engaged in their communities. Palm-Porter pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of businesses engaging with elected leaders to convey their legislative needs as a business, noting that [...]

Roaring Fork Leadership featured at Aspen Business Forum2024-04-30T17:28:04-06:00

Alumni Highlight: Dana Wood


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 [...]

Alumni Highlight: Dana Wood2024-03-18T08:59:03-06:00

Leadership Tip of the Month: February 2024


Empathy: The Top Leadership Skill for Today’s Work Environment Recently, a large study ranked empathy as the most important leadership skill in the workplace. Empathy has been shown to drive positive business results and has numerous therapeutic effects on stressed employees. When leaders expressed empathy for their team, it increased a team’s innovation and engagement, improved customer service, and helped them balance their home and work life. British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson said, “Understanding empathy, as well as the experiences of people from different areas of life, is a key skill for business leaders.” With similar conviction, Satya Nadella, CEO [...]

Leadership Tip of the Month: February 20242024-02-23T12:40:21-07:00

Alumni Highlight: Jennifer Smith


Q & A with Jennifer Smith, RFL Academy 2008 Alum Jennifer Smith has worked as an immigration lawyer in the Roaring Fork Valley for 17 years. In that time, she’s helped people navigate the U.S.’s often challenging and bewildering immigration system through her Glenwood Springs-based law firm, Smith Immigration, and through numerous free legal aid workshops and clinics she’s hosted throughout the valley. Jennifer credits RFL with helping instill many of the core values she brings to her work — empathy, understanding, and a desire to serve her community.   Roaring Fork Leadership: How did you end up in the Roaring Fork Valley practicing law?  [...]

Alumni Highlight: Jennifer Smith2024-02-05T14:57:01-07:00

Alumni Highlight: Jonathan Hagman


Q & A with Jonathan Hagman, RFL Academy alum Jonathan during a recent trip to Spain. Carbondale native Jonathan Hagman has built a life and career around making things. When he was in fourth grade, his family moved to Woody Creek near Aspen, into a house designed and built by his architect father. Jonathan has gravitated to pursuits involving creativity and movement ever since — from competing at the international synchronized skiing championships (yes, it’s a real thing!), to traveling the world as a professional white water kayaking instructor, to studying ceramics in college, and then opening an artists’ [...]

Alumni Highlight: Jonathan Hagman2024-01-23T09:35:53-07:00

Leadership Tip of the Month: January 2024


Become A Better Leader In The New Year For many people, the new year equals new goals. If becoming a better leader is one of them, here are four tips to help you level up your leadership performance. #1: Learn from your past experiences "Our past is full of lessons and insights," says leadership coach Tony Martignetti, Chief Inspiration Officer of Inspired Purpose Partners. "Understanding our past allows us to recognize the patterns in our behaviors. Learn from your past mistakes but leverage your successes as well — because it's not just about looking at where we've gone wrong. It's also [...]

Leadership Tip of the Month: January 20242024-01-08T14:23:59-07:00

In Loving Tribute and Profound Remembrance of Sue Smedstad


In loving tribute and profound remembrance of Sue Smedstad, one of the remarkable founders of Roaring Fork Leadership, we celebrate a life devoted to the principles of leadership, service, and community betterment. Sue's enduring legacy, encapsulated in her role as a founder of Leadership Aspen, later evolved into the flourishing Roaring Fork Leadership we know today. In her "retirement," Sue exemplified the essence of leadership by actively participating on numerous boards, generously dedicating her time and resources to the community she cherished. Her commitment to making a difference resonates through her willingness to contribute her wealth of experience [...]

In Loving Tribute and Profound Remembrance of Sue Smedstad2023-12-13T16:30:42-07:00

Alumni Highlight: Kathleen Wanatowicz


Q & A with Kathleen Wanatowicz, RFL Academy & Mastermind Alum When Kathleen Wanatowicz moved to the Roaring Fork Valley over 20 years ago to work for the City of Glenwood Springs, she had no idea where the challenge of being a young leader would take her. In a life full of “twists and turns,” Wanatowicz has appreciated the training and resources that RFL has provided at each stage of her career – from a twenty-something just starting out, to where she is now, owning her own strategic communications and project management firm, Project Resource Studio. A wife and mother of [...]

Alumni Highlight: Kathleen Wanatowicz2023-12-14T10:36:51-07:00


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