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 and skills whenever called upon.
Sue’s vision, alongside other concerned citizens, gave birth to Leadership Aspen in 1988, addressing the imperative to strengthen relationships and skills among community leaders. The program flourished under her guidance, eventually becoming an independent nonprofit organization in 1994. Sue’s steadfast dedication to service, spanning nearly five decades, is reflected in her founding roles in various nonprofit organizations and continuous board service. Margaret Mead’s wisdom, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,” echoes through Sue’s journey, where she understood the transformative power of a community-driven initiative. Sue’s leadership philosophy, grounded in citizenship and dedication to civil society, has left an indelible mark on Roaring Fork Leadership. The success of the program, as measured by the contributions of its graduates to fellow human beings, stands as a testament to Sue’s unwavering commitment.
For Sue, leadership was not just about honing skills but a profound commitment to service, a commitment that has manifested in the thousands of service hours given by RFL graduates to countless community projects and organizations. As a founder and past president of Leadership Aspen, Sue’s gratitude and pride for the extraordinary program and its alumni are palpable. Today, we remember Sue Smedstad with deep admiration and gratitude for her immeasurable contributions to leadership development and community service, forever leaving a legacy of positive change in the Roaring Fork Valley.