The LoCo Experience

EXPERIENCE 69 | Ann Hutchison, President & CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce

June 27, 2022 Ethan Lee Season 2 Episode 69
The LoCo Experience
EXPERIENCE 69 | Ann Hutchison, President & CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
Show Notes Transcript

Ann Hutchison is the President and CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, which advocates for business solutions in our community. Ann graduated from UNC with a communications degree and a speech degree.  

We discuss what the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce does and how they catalyze positive change for businesses.  We also go over topics like talent development, transportation, and leadership in Fort Collins. 

Ann is great understander of complex challenges and also an inspiration to every young leader, especially young woman. I really enjoyed my conversation with Ann, so I hope you'll tune in and enjoy! 

Curt:

My guest on today's podcast was Anne Hutchison. President and CEO of the Fort Collins area, Chamber of Commerce. And we talked about what the Chamber does, the advocacy, the convening, and the catalyzing of positive change for business. We talked about talent development, transportation, leadership, Northern Colorado, and leadership Fort Collins. Uh, and then we really got to know Ann and jumped back into her growing up years out in brush Colorado. Uh, her dad went to Morgan community college back in the day and, uh, Then she went to UNC, got a communications degree and a speech degree, and really started her journey into a career of impact, uh, starting in Garden City, Kansas for a job that her father accepted for her. So, anyway, it's a great story about her really becoming a country girl. In her, young twenties and, uh, eventually finding her way back to Fort Collins with an entry level job at the Chamber, and really becoming the executive Vice President a few years into that journey. And then, uh, taking over for the CEO and President David May, after he left, Last year. And so Ann is a great leader in our community. She's a, curious person, a great understander of complex challenges and a great communicator. And, uh, she's a great inspiration to every young leader, especially every young woman leader. And I think anybody that really wants to make a positive change in their world should give this podcast a listen. So I hope you dig in. Enjoy it. Thanks, bye. Welcome back to the Loco experience podcast. I'm honored today to be joined by Ann Hutchison. The Hutch is on and, uh, she's the president and CEO of the Fort Collins area, Chamber of Commerce and amazing person as well. So, Anne, thanks for being

Ann:

here. Thank you, Curt. I'm so excited for this conversation

Curt:

and I think let's just start with. A general overview of what does the president and CEO of the Fort Collins area chamber of commerce do? What does the Fort Collins area chamber of commerce do? Yikes. That's big two big questions. two really

Ann:

big questions. Just, just summarize

Curt:

for me, right? Cause we'll get into the

Ann:

details. Sure. So the Fort Collins area chamber is a business association businesses. Whether that be for profit or nonprofit, join. Because we're able to do things on their behalf that they can't do individually. We end up being a champion for business. So we're regularly advocating for business solutions in our community. Mm-hmm, we're also a convener and that's a convener of, um, businesses. It's a convener of government it's convener of leaders. And, um, by having. Convenings we're understanding key issues. And then we turn around and we're a catalyst. We're a catalyst for change that, um, we believe is important in order for business to thrive here in Northern Colorado. Awesome. Yes. Um, and then separately, um, as far as my role, um, I, I tend to Sayer of cats. Yeah. Yes. Herder of cats. Is there, um, master of none, Jill of all trades. Um, I end up, um, of course managing our, our team at the chamber. They're a total of 10 of us. Oh, wow. So keeping, keeping everybody. Pulling in the same direction to make sure that we are impacting change. But in addition, I'm, I'm really the face of the organization. Yeah. So I'm spending a lot of time with business

Curt:

leaders, which is why you have maybe more meetings with people every week than I do. that's right. How many meetings do you think you

Ann:

have in a week? Oh gosh. Um, it would be close to 20, somewhere between 20 and 30 each week. Most likely. Yeah.

Curt:

And do. You probably don't give an hour and a half to most people that you're giving to me today. That

Ann:

is true. That is true. Uh, I like to lean in on that hour. Um, but, um, it's exciting to join you today cur to share some thoughts, but yes, yes. It's meeting with business owners. It's meeting with elected officials. It's meeting with appointed officials. It's making sure that the chambers at the table. Yeah. When it comes to various conversations, um, good example would be today. I was at a table and we were. Um, talking about workforce. Yeah. And how do we change our system here in Northern Colorado to make sure we're creating the workforce we need in the future.

Curt:

Oh, and cuz you're the chamber is kind of the lead horse of swords in that. Is it talent? 2.0 now or 3.0 now or

Ann:

something? Yes. Um, it's talent, 2.0, okay. Was released in 2017 and um, we're actually in a moment of refresh. Okay. To that conversation really. Broadening to look at the two county labor shed and how we can work together as oh, so cooperating with the weld county chambers. Absolutely. Yes. And things like that. Weld county chambers, the weld county workforce, um, weld county government, and

Curt:

all the chambers are really very loosely if at all connected. Is that

Ann:

true? Yeah, we, um, we're. We like to use the phrase that if you've met one chamber, you've met one chamber so we are each independent. And, um, but at the same time, we learned long ago that there's opportunity for the three largest chambers in the area to collaborate. And we do that on policy fronts. We do that relative to talent. We do that relative to transportation. We also do that on a handful of events. And then, um, the. Probably marque showcase of that collaboration is leadership Northern Colorado. Sure. And so coming together to help, to inspire and create leaders for Northern Colorado for the future, especially leaders that have a regional perspective.

Curt:

Hmm. I like it. Yes. That is a broad scope. Yes. When you think about business advocacy, like. Obviously the workforce is a super big thing. And then transportation fix I 25 mm-hmm the chamber was a leader in that conversation. Correct. What are some of the other big topics right now that you're spending time or listening closely to et cetera?

Ann:

Um, what, well, you hit the top two absolutely workforce. Uh, there's not a single conversation that I have with business that doesn't start. I have openings and I can't find people for my jobs that I have. So, um, absolutely staying at the forefront of that conversation. You're spot on with transportation. Yes. Fixing at north I 25 remains a key priority for us. Um, a shout out though, to C dot. Today we, um, did the official ribbon cutting of the ports of entry that have reopened on I 25 that will help us make sure that, um, goods that are traveling along I 25 can do that safely and effectively. And, and so it's another one of those. Were that much closer moments, which was very exciting, but we're also broadening that transportation conversation to be not just I 25, but also to be regional roadways. How are we making sure that people are, are able to connect throughout the region? Not just along that main corridor. So, um, so yes.

Curt:

Noticed county road five. Yes. High priority county ward five is more and more a regional conduit. Yes. And it's nice. It's nice to drive it. Yes. Cause it ain't so crowded. Don't tell anybody. Oh, sh dang it. I just messed it up. Yeah.

Ann:

Um, Yvonne Meers, our new VP for strategic initiatives, uh, said the other day, there are no more secret back roads. Everybody's figured out the secret back roads. you

Curt:

know, center avenue. If you're going from like shields and Drake area to downtown. center avenue to, you know, pass the gardens at spring Creek. That's a, still

Ann:

a pretty good secret. Still a good one. Yes. There's still a handful

Curt:

and Stover northbound and that just takes me right to my

Ann:

office. There, there you go. There you go. Um, but really we wanna make sure that we can create pathways for people, goods and services to travel, whether that's by vehicle. Multimodal transit. Yeah. Whatever the solution

Curt:

may be. So, so like the, the bus system here, mm-hmm, in Fort Collins, that's a city driven project, but was the chamber like involved in that from a transportation perspective?

Ann:

You know, not from a transportation students, but perspective. That's why it's so messed up. sorry, but we are pushing for larger regional conversations. We have a great transit system in the city of Fort Collins. We have a great transit system in the city of GRE. We have a great transit. In the city of Loveland, but we don't necessarily have a transit system that connects those three. So we're really pushing for those regional solutions. How do we break down the barriers that keep us very parochial in our view and broaden us out to be more creative solution based? Yeah. And also making sure transit goes where people need it to go. Right.

Curt:

Put the sidewalks where the. Through the grass are kinda thing. And

Ann:

of course I I'll always advocate for a business view of the world. So if I have a hundred people that need to get to business a let's figure out how to get them to business a, in lots of different ways. Yeah. Yeah.

Curt:

Yeah. I like it. Okay. Yeah. Um, what are the other. Topics, I guess. Um, yeah. Yeah. So that are, that are maybe less known.

Ann:

Sure. Um, you know, housing

Curt:

I'm sure. Factors in

Ann:

yes. Yes. We have been a key leader when it comes to no cohousing now that was actually a, it's a collaboration of the willing, uh, so anyone who's. Impacted by that issue or wanting to be a part of solution creating for that issue has come around a similar table. And the Chamber's been in the role of, of being the convener. Yeah. For those conversations for the last five years. Um, exciting to say. We're getting ready to support the work of habitat for humanity and creating a one voice for housing conversation. So, um, really bringing all of us that are working on this topic together to make sure, um, when we're at city hall, when we're at the state's yeah. Legislature, we're all sharing the same message. Yeah, knowing that if we're all in the same path, we can create greater solutions. Yeah. So, so certainly housing stays at the top of the list. Lots of economic issues, right. Are, um, bubbling away. Well, and trying to tear

Curt:

down barriers to business generally. Right? Like I was just thinking about affordable housing and the, the bad thing about affordable housing is when you force it kind of, then just people just don't build. Which gets the supply and demand all worse. Absolutely. And you make the problem worse than you were had before? Yes.

Ann:

Well, I like to remind people that I, 25 was really easy because we knew exactly what the solution was. Yeah. We needed a whole boatload of money. About 2 billion and we need a whole bunch of concrete. We know how to fix that. uh, when it comes to housing, it is just such a multi-prong, um, Blish kind of issue. Yeah. That if you push on one side, oftentimes it creates more challenges on the other side of the issue. Yeah. Or, um, you can, you could bring lots of little, teeny, tiny, um, Hits to, to the issue, but there is no silver bullet and that that's challenging. Mm-hmm, it's challenging for policy makers. It's challenging for people who are actually building product. Yeah. Um, and it's hard for, it's hard for business to be able to look someone in the eye and say, I, I can make sure that you have housing in this community because it it's simply a bigger and bigger challenge for business. I

Curt:

saw that the Steamboat Springs had like a USA to today article. About how, you know, ultimately we have to get people to accept multi-family yes. Living and town homes and things like that. And to be okay with it, but the population, especially in those communities, like that is just like, no, I don't wanna live in a town home. You can't make me.

Ann:

You're exactly right. We have a lot of, um, NIMBY. Yeah. So, so we have these beautiful statements that say we're going to create housing for all in our community. We're going to take advantage of capacity building. Yeah. Making sure that we are building high density products where it makes sense. Um, but unfortunately taking pretty words and turning them into reality oftentimes comes with a human being in between. And, um, and, and we appreciate that. Sure. Um, but we also know. honest, authentic dialogue and, um, getting everyone into the boat to say, yes, this is important. Yeah. Yeah. Helps us to get on that path. And that's where one voice comes in. That's where NOCO housing now comes in. That's where we standing up as an advocate for business. Come in.

Curt:

I think we'll come back to the chamber and learn a little bit more about your team and stuff. But I like to learn about who this person is. I'm sitting across from. Sure. Um, where did you grow up? Uh, what was your third. Experience.

Ann:

So, um, so I was actually born in Fort Collins. Okay. In put valley hospital. All right. Um, I like to tell the story that I was born in the hallway. putter valley hospital. They got there a little late. Oh, yes, yes. Uh, so, so I, I was one of those babies that kind of was just

Curt:

on my way into the room. Well, you know, it was better than a 24 hour labor.

Ann:

Exactly. Right, right. Exactly. So, um, and then, um, my, my parents relocated, uh, soon after I was born when I was about a year old to Denver. And then onto Morgan county in Eastern Colorado, the country girl. Yes. Yes. So, um, my dad was in higher education personnel and, um, got invited by one of his mentors to help kick. Denver community college. That's what landed us in Denver for a few years. Okay. And then he had another mentor call and say, I'd like you to come home Ken and start Morgan community college. And so he did that for a while. Yeah. Um, so I brush Colorado is what I considered to be my hometown. Cool. I lived there from the time I was six until really I graduated from college, you know, Patrick Barney.

Curt:

I do. Oh, I know Patrick. I used to work at the bank with him

Ann:

20 years ago. Oh, I love that. I love it. Yes. Such a small world. Right? Well, he's from

Curt:

brush and there can't be that many people from brush that don't know

Ann:

each other. That's exactly right. So, um, so you brought up third grade specifically. That would be, um, Thompson elementary school was where I was, um, fourth, third grade. Um, Mrs. Op was my, was my teacher. And, um, it was a very much a small town experience growing up, kind of that ideal. Stick. Yeah. Small town. Everybody knows. Yes. I have a younger sister, Robin. Okay. And, um, she was of course in first grade in the same building and yeah. Yeah. It was a fun, fun place to grow

Curt:

up. So you are, uh, A relatively tall female? Yes. Were you early tall, like in third grade? Were you pushing the boys around and stuff?

Ann:

Uh, well, I wouldn't say push, not really boys around, but I've been tall my whole life. Yes. yeah, always the tallest one in the picture. Is that right?

Curt:

I was super short. Oh, I was five foot one until my junior year of high school. Moly. And then I shot up before college, but yeah, I, so I have both

Ann:

perspectives, right? Yeah. Whereas I've, I've never had a pair of pants you've been down on people

Curt:

all your life. fair enough. Fair enough. And so in that vein, were you like a. Student. Were you an athlete? Were you both?

Ann:

You know, that was the really fantastic thing about growing up in small town, America. Yeah. In Eastern. Do you wanna be on the team? You can be on the team. You got to do everything. So, um, my sister and I were both athletes. We played softball, we played basketball, we played volleyball. Um, I don't like running so track wasn't quite as much of an interest. Right. But none. Um, but we were also both highly involved in academics. Um, we were both involved in student government all the way through nice, um, natural born leader. Well, I don't know about that, but, um, involved in music, I was in, I was in show choir from sixth grade until graduating from high school. No,

Curt:

I was in choir. Yeah. What's show choir.

Ann:

So show choir is. Choir that's fun. So rather than the classics of, um, oh, more like show tunes, show tunes, musicals, courage stuff, music. And there was choreography and fun costume costumes and yes, it was really was, um, did a little theater. I mean, you kind of name it. Yeah. Yeah. I like it. You. Being in a small town, you got the opportunity to do it. Did you go

Curt:

all the way through graduate

Ann:

high school? I did. I graduated from brush high school, so I'm a, a, a loud and proud brush, beat Digger. uh and, um, after high school I landed. Is that one word or two? it is one word. Okay. Beat, beat Digger, Digger. All right. Yes. Yes. Um, uh, I landed at the university of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Okay. Where I went to college. Graduated from UNC with a double degree. Okay. In speech communication, as well as journalism and mass communications. Ooh. So

Curt:

yeah. Important communicator. I bet that's probably like a lot of people are like, I don't really use my degree, but probably especially looking back that. Degree background helped the whole

Ann:

way. Oh my goodness. Um, there is no doubt that my degree has been a tremendous foundation for me. Yeah. All the way through my postsecondary EDU

Curt:

experiences. Yeah, for sure. And we had a, the English teacher that I had through most of my high school was hated by most because she was so strict and so good and so capable. But it taught me to, I I'm a good communicator. You know, I, I'm a, I'm a grammar Nazi I can spell, I can structure sentences properly.

Ann:

Well, and I give a lot of credit for my ability to speak in front of a microphone, speak in front of an audience to stand up for a position to my four H experiences. So, um, so we were city girls living, living in the country, my sister and I, um, but nonetheless, we were still 10 year four acres. Oh, cool. And, um, very early on. Our mom figured out that there was a program called judging. Oh yeah. So that's, that's a part of extension curriculum that, um, you're trained how to look at four items and then decide, which is best to worst. And you get to stand up and explain that to someone verbally, but you also then score things based on how close you are to the right answer. Hmm. Um,

Curt:

And so there's anything from a steer to a flower arrangement, correct.

Ann:

To you've got it. You got a sewing project. Exactly. And each year extension would pick a handful of topics in, on the consumer side of the world. Yeah. And, um, then of course there were absolutely the agricultural side, which was judging steers, judging. Um, pigs, et cetera, et cetera, but, um, oh, interesting. Very, yeah, very early

Curt:

age. I'm standing here. I'm jumping ahead here, but also. When it comes to ideas and in the public square, you're judging using those same skills. Absolutely. To judge whether this policy would be better than that policy. Absolutely. Whether I can trust this person more or less than that

Ann:

person, you've got it. You've got as well as being able to justify it. Yeah. Being able to look someone in the eye and ex. Explain. This is why I, your baby is ugly. well, I would never say that out loud. Kurt

Curt:

so baby are so good. Look anyway, but, but I could see how that's interesting and multi-year engagement besides. Oh, my gracious. And do you still. Tailor that craft outside of just the way you apply it in your life, or you would judge for county fairs or

Ann:

anything like that. So I was for a while, um, actually my first job outta college, I was an extension agent in garden, city, Kansas. Okay. And so, uh, in those five years that I was doing that work, I was absolutely a judge at county fairs. I helped. Actually train young people, how to judge and facilitated that opportunity for them.

Curt:

So was there a lot of graft and corruption like payoffs? not too much

Ann:

at county care level? No, I'm not that excited. Uh, but it was incredibly impactful to, to be able to go through that program. And then to turn around and be a leader. Yeah. Among others. Yeah. Um,

Curt:

I was in for a while too, actually a couple years, but we lived in town. My dad was a farmer, but we lived in town. Yes. But it was lame cuz I didn't have any place to raise steers and all the boys would make fun of you if you couldn't raise your own pig at least or something. but

Ann:

you still got a taste

Curt:

of it. Oh yeah. I love that. Curt I have, I. I have a football pillow, a little football pillow that I sewed with my own two hands.

Ann:

Fantastic. So life skills,

Curt:

right? Life's skills. I can sew something if I need to, for sure. So we kind of Skipp. Over UNC pretty quickly. Yeah. Is there anything like anybody wanna give a shout out to any formative moments you were still involved with four H through this time as well?

Ann:

I was, I was a volunteer, um, with, with Colorado extension throughout my, um, my college career, you know, again, UNC ended up being that. Just right. Size experience for me. Yeah. Um, Colorado state, would've been too big. Um, some of the smaller, yeah. Parochial schools I was looking at in Kansas and Nebraska, would've been too small. UNC ended up offering me another opportunity to really kind of do everything. Yeah. So I ended up, I was a part of residence life, government. Oh. Um, my, my sophomore year, I then was a part of. Campuswide student government, my junior year. Okay. Including a sad run for, for campus president that ended of 23 vote shorts.

Curt:

Oh, and how big of a vote total?

Ann:

Um, there were about 5,000 students that vote. That's a pretty

Curt:

skinny margin.

Ann:

Yeah. Yeah. But the great news was it opened the door that I could then be a resident assistant my senior year. Oh. So, um, that was great. Really got this. Section of experience

Curt:

Um, my resident assistant, when I lived in the dorms my first year, I guess we had a fire drill and. There might have been like a three quarters empty bottle of Lord Calvert, like in the middle of my dorm room. and he caught us outside. He is like, I put your, like, put your whiskey away. Like the fire girl doesn't mean leave your shit everywhere in part. We're gonna check your rooms out. Absolutely. Anyway, so thanks for serving in that capacity. Get anybody in trouble at home. I, um, not that didn't deserve

Ann:

it. Not that didn't deserve it. Yes. Yes. But, but nonetheless again, just a tremendous opportunity to build skillset, to impact community, to really be a voice for, for my peers on campus. Yeah. In all those experiences. Well,

Curt:

and I suspect that you're not being a voice. You have a lot to say necessarily, but there's too many people that don't use their voice and you can kind of be a voice for, with them.

Ann:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Curt:

Yes. So I wanna kind of zoom a little bit through some of your career, but gimme some of the highlights you went to garden city. Yes.

Ann:

Yes. Well, so, um, despite doing all, all the things in college, um, when I graduated, uh, in may of that year, I didn't have a job of that year of that year. Yes

Curt:

You're not gonna share that year

Ann:

with us. 1991. I graduated from UNC in, in the spring of 1991.

Curt:

I thought I was older than you. Yeah. Yeah. You're like older than me. Wow.

Ann:

Yes. Well, good job looking like you're younger than me. Oh, thank you. Um, so I didn't have a job, so I ended up back in my basement bedroom at my mom and dad's house. Uh, um, I, ended up picking up a waitressing job. I was working for my mom's preschool. Just anything I could do. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and of course, this is back in the day when you applied for jobs by actually. Typing a cover letter, mailing your mailing, your resume waiting six weeks for the rejection letter to come. Totally. Um, so I was doing that and just about to lose it. Right. I mean, yeah, I'd done all the right things. Yeah. And, um, dang it I'm a winner.

Curt:

Yes, exactly. It's gonna notice that, duh. So, um, your GPA was. About half point higher than mine

Ann:

at least I did. Okay. more than that. Um, so at a certain point, um, you know, I was starting to lose confidence and my mom just kept pushing and she made me apply for a job with Kansas state extension mm-hmm and garden city, Kansas. And I did not want to apply for the job, but, uh, she threatened to end food service. If I do, she's like, well, you're not staying here forever. So I, so I sent the application off and I was just like, okay, I've got her off my back. I've got six more weeks to really find the big, right. I wanted a bright, light, big city job. I was gonna work for a PR firm or something fancy. Um, and then I get a phone call that says, we'd like to interview you Anne. And so

Curt:

this don't usually get that many qualified candidates that apply for our jobs.

Ann:

So, um, so I traveled to garden city, Kansas, which ended up being, um, Four hours. Yeah. Away from anything. Yeah. Where is garden

Curt:

cities? So it's in the Southwest

Ann:

kind of no Southwest the Southwest corner of, oh, so it boonies really? Yes. They're more cattle than there are human there. Yeah. Um, like

Curt:

over like hope Colorado and stuff is not too far correct to the west. You just jump

Ann:

over. Yes.

Curt:

Wow. Yeah. That is. Some lonely country

Ann:

there. So I, I made the drive. I did the interview, put my thank you letter in the mail and thought, okay, I'm done check this off. Um, they in fact called my home while I was traveling back from garden, they offered the position to my dad and he said she would love to join you. So my father actually accepted the. For me that's. And, uh, and you did 15 days later, what should say about that? Yeah, exactly. 15 days later, I, um, cried all the way to garden city, Kansas thinking this is, this is the end of the universe so much not what I had planned on. Um, and I stayed there for 11 years. Oh, wow. Yes. Uh, ended up loving

Curt:

south cases. Well, I have to think that. Opportunity to impact change with, like, even though you didn't have a lot of experience, you had a lot of skills. You had a lot of passion for a lot of energy agricultural way of life. Yes. Yeah. You were the easy button for the extension office there and

Ann:

oh, it was, it was tremendous. So yes, five years where I got to work with youth and their families to, um, help them learn. All parts of life, but also I was heavy in leadership training. I got to create a number of regional programs. Statewide programs, um, really was loved the work and loved Southwest Kansas turns out I'm. I am a country girl. Um, you know, got my first pair of boots, all, all the things,

Curt:

right. Oh, that's funny that you kinda maintained your kind of city girl. In the country throughout your time in brush. Yeah. And only really became confi. Yes. When you were

Ann:

a big girl. Exactly. Right, exactly. Right. Um, but again, it, it just matched up with me. Yeah. Because Southwest Kansas had a definite um, uh, Pulled by your bootstraps kind of mentality. Yeah. And if you're willing to show up work hard and be a part of community opportunity is unbounding. Yes. Yeah, for sure. Yes. So, um, oh, cool. So I did that for five years. Um, at that point I decided I either needed to go back to school and get a master's degree and, um, K state would happily give me that year and that degree, but then I would also have to commit to them for another five years. Mm. Um, I decided, nah, Maybe not. And, um, I ended up being a marketing coordinator for a regional accounting firm, so, oh, they're in garden city. So I stayed another six years now. How big is garden city? 40,000

Curt:

people. Okay. Yeah. So it's like, that's like half the population of Southwest Kansas is all concentrated in garden city.

Ann:

Yes. Between garden city, Dodge, city and liberal Kansas. Those, those would. Popular towns more than 5,000 pop towns, more than 5,000 yes. Cool. Yes. So, um, so yes, so I ended up staying loving it. I

Curt:

got your grad got your degree as well, or no? No, I

Ann:

didn't. Oh, I didn't. So, because I changed positions, um, really doubled down on working for business. Yeah. And, um, you know, I, I would still be there today. But that I cared for, um, a dying parent long distance. Oh. And that was just too hard to do twice. Mm. So, um, so after I lost my mom, I ended up. Beginning my search to come back to Colorado. Wow. And landed up at the chamber.

Curt:

Wow. Yeah. I did not know that. Yes. Yes. Can you talk about that a little bit? Yeah. Because people face that challenge. Oh, for sure. All the time. And you know, a lot of times there's two or three or four siblings. Yes. But only one of thems living close by and that person takes the brunt of the blow. Yeah. But every. Feels bad and sends money, right?

Ann:

Yes. Really big lift, um, was fortunate. My parents had actually relocated back to Fort Collins in that timeframe. My sister was also in Fort Collins, so, um, my dad and my sister really did the heavy lift. Yeah. Um, I was then the girl in the car. You drive out Thursday night. So you could be there for an extended weekend or come back for a special wake days off. Exactly. Exactly. Give your sister a day off. Um, we also then did care for our mom at home through hospice. So that was a. A window where my employer was incredibly kind and letting me take a leave of absence. Yeah. So that I could be here full time and Fort Collins for, uh, really the last four weeks of her life. Wow. That was, that was powerful. What a

Curt:

blessing that is. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, thanks for doing that. I love your heart to be like, you know, did this once. I'm not gonna do it again. There's tissues there. If you need. Thank you. I'm tearing up just a tiny, but I'll get over it. Um, So that started a search and started a search, that search. Were you looking at chambers and things like that, or what was your inclination? And before we leave the accounting firm, like what did you learn from that? My gosh environment. Gosh, because it was much different than working in

Ann:

government, right? Um, it was very different than working for, uh, a. University, um, university rather. Yeah. Right. Same, same thing right on the census. There's the state side anyway, on the census track. They're the same. So it's okay. Um, but working for an accounting firm was really powerful because. Um, they're consolidator of lots and lots of different business types. And, um, having that opportunity to hear the stories yeah. Of the challenges that business was facing. See the scope of variety. Oh my gosh. And the great thing about the firm I was with. They did everything from, you know, grandma Susie's tax return all the way up to, um, major feed yards, right. 500 employee.

Curt:

Agribusinesses

Ann:

exactly right. Exactly. Right. So, so to be exposed to that, to get to learn alongside that, and then to have the opportunity to, um, challenge and inspire accountants and others in our organization to really think about leadership, to think. Being a part of their community beyond numbers and senses. Yeah, that was, that was powerful. What a cool

Curt:

thing. Yes. So they win because you're helping them to reach the community and communicate with the community and stuff and they win because you helped to share with them the joy of. Really engaging in

Ann:

community. Absolutely. And the other real benefit was because it was a regional firm. Yeah. Um, we had a presence statewide, so, um, that's cool. In addition to impacting Finney county, which is where garden city is, I also had the opportunity to impact well, Kansas, all the, uh, well, that was Kansas all the way around Kansas, right? Yeah. I mean, I ended up spending as much time in Wichita and Manhattan and Lawrence. As I did garden city towards the end there just because we were, um, we were growing the business, we were impacting policy. We, we were creating, creating

Curt:

doorways well, and I'm just imagining to myself that the experience of make helping to create that change. You're one voice among many, but leading the charge in some regards. Yeah. Like that helps you feel like you can actually make a difference sometimes because. So many people feel like they just don't, you know? Absolutely. And it takes a lot of work for a long time. that's what people they want, the easy button to making change that's happen. That's

Ann:

right. No, and takes a lot of showing up. Um, it takes grit. It takes showing up. It takes doing the work to be able to impact change. For sure. Yeah.

Curt:

For sure. If you were going to, if, if you've got somebody out here listening to this podcast that wants to see something change. Like, what are some, some encouragement? You just mentioned a couple things for sure. But imagine that person in their avatar and what, what would you tell that young lady? Yes.

Ann:

Well, I would tell them number one, do your homework. Um, don't just believe the headlines. Don't just take what somebody else told you do, do some homework to make sure that you are well grounded in your position. Um, once, once you've got your homework done, start showing up. Mm-hmm show up at. Um, the small conversation as well is the big conversation. Don't just think you get to show up at the microphone and impact change. You're gonna have to spend time. Yeah. When it's the one on ones, the two on ones, the whatever, talking to your neighbor, right? Talking to your neighbor, the whatever commission or board or. You know, wherever else the conversations are happening. Yeah. You need to start showing up and then, um, you know, it's standing up and bringing others along with you. Um, my, the former CEO for the chamber used to say, you need to not only show up and stand up, but you need to speak up. And I so appreciated his leadership around those themes because they are they're

Curt:

they're, you know, and it is scary. You're right. You know, By the way, kudos to you and we'll get into the, the faith family politics thing, but kudos to you for the way in which the chamber navigated the. Pandemic. Oh. And the lockdowns associated with that and cuz it was a tough line, right? Yeah. Like you're like kind of the, how I would summarize it is do these things. So they don't make it worse for us. Yes. These dirty sons bitches. I'm just editing on that. That's

Ann:

freelancing. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Spit falling but no you're right. Um, We, we were incredibly fortunate to be in a position of influence yeah. Through the pandemic, but we were also able to be in a position of being a voice. Yeah. And you better do your homework

Curt:

exactly. Right, exactly. Right. Start

Ann:

showing up in every conversation. And the great news was we had already built those relationships. We had built that credibility. Yep. And, um, we did keep showing up and, and we're absolutely a part of framing. I would suggest our successful navigation as a larger community through pandemic.

Curt:

Yeah. You certainly would contributor to the positives, right? Yes. Yes. I'll give you that for sure. Uh, no magic bullets once again, right? so let's get back to the career journey just a bit. So you, for sure you interview for what chamber job were you like entry level. Were you like in your previous role right off the

Ann:

bat? No. No, no. Um, so, so I was really looking for anything that would bring me back to Colorado. I I, I give all credit to fate and CSU for lending me back and forth Collins. Um, after my mom died, my dad decided to take my sister and I on a trip to. To, to the Liberty bowl, to cheer for the Colorado state Rams in Memphis. Yeah. Um, and, um, we're, we've always been huge Ram fans and, and this was just an opportunity for the three of us to really celebrate each other. Um, but coming back from that Liberty bowl, it was a snow in like the Dickens and we ended up getting delayed in coming home. Okay. So I. My original plan was I, I would land in Denver, jump in the car and just head right back to garden city. But, um, weather caused us to get delayed. So I ended up spending the night in Fort Collins. Okay. Um, I'm opening the paper the next morning as I. Fuel up to get ready to go. And there's a position for a policy committee coordinator at the Fort Collins chamber. That sounds like a high paying gig, right? Exactly. Uh, it was a hurter of catch job, um, uh, totally made up. We don't even have the job anymore. Um, but it was someone to run the leadership program at. The Fort Collins chamber. It was somebody to, um, truly heard cats, um, manage the committees of members yeah. As they take on various issues. So, um, cut it out right back in the day. Cut it outta the paper, took it with me applied the next day and typed it on your typewriter. I did, I did actually made a PC base by then. Um, but, um, six weeks later I might have been met, interviewed and was. Packing up the U-Haul and coming back to Colorado. So, Hey,

Curt:

I just wanna say some kudos to the accounting firm that employed you before. like, like no good deed goes unpunished sometimes. Thank you for giving Anne the grace and the space to be with her mom. Yeah. And also, sorry you lost her as a result.

Ann:

Thank you of all that grey in space. Yeah. Yeah, no, trust me. Um, again, lot. The hardest part of leaving garden was the relationships and, um, the kindness that

Curt:

well, but you left him stronger than you

Ann:

found him. Uh, I believe I did. Um, and, and there's still a firm that's active today, so go deep as

Curt:

you're working to do here at the chamber as well. Right? Right. Well, not that you're trying to leave anytime soon. um, so let's take us through the chamber journey just a bit. Oh, sure. Yeah. So

Ann:

landed in. Fort Collins. Uh, my first day on the job was February 18th, 2003. Oh, okay. And, um, We were actually in transition relative to the president and CEO role at the chamber. So I was hired by the interim. Interesting. One of the volunteers that raised their hand and said, yeah, I'll keep the, the chamber run while we hire a CEO. Right. And, um, David Mayhan came on board as president and CEO in March of that year. Oh, interesting. So you predated David. I predated David and I was always a little bit anxious of. Would I still have a job because here you weren't his people, I wasn't, his people, here's a, a new president coming in from somewhere else. And David had such a rich hit history of chambers had such a network. Um, I wasn't quite certain Yeah, yeah. Um, but the good news was, um, we. We, we were in sync immediately. That's awesome. Um, you know, he had this tremendous grounding in chamber work in advocacy work. I had this experience in, uh, leadership and, and communications and communications. And so, um, we became a fast duo that was really impacting change here in Northern Colorado. So, um, and the chamber.

Curt:

Five star chamber when David joined, we were

Ann:

not, we weren't even just trying to keep the lights on. We weren't even accredited. Oh, really? Yeah. Yeah. Um, so the first year that David was here, um, we became a three star chamber. Nice. Okay. Um, and after that, then I'm happy to say we've now received five star accreditation, three reviews. Systems in a row. So, um, so yeah, don't coast. Don't coast. Don't take it for granted. No, no, no, trust me. it terrifies me every time I fill out that application that we're gonna we're I'm gonna have to slip a notch, turn around and look at volunteers and say, well,

Curt:

you're gonna have to now have a different message. Actually. We're just gonna not mention the stars thing anymore,

Ann:

but no, um, again, David's leadership was so powerful and, um, So enjoyed working with him. Um, he then about three years later, promoted me to executive vice presidents. Oh, wow. So you were

Curt:

in that role for a good long while I

Ann:

was, I was.

Curt:

And was there any jealousy, other other people. Ann's David's favorite no. Or were they more like sweet? I don't have to take that job. Say

Ann:

directly with David. I was of that whole, um, Jill of all trades master of none. Yeah. Yeah. Very few people had interest in running an event for 600 people and crafting messages and yelling at city hall all in the same day. Yeah. So yeah.

Curt:

Um, it takes a special type. Yeah. I, you strike me as somebody that has both a lot of ideas. And vision and, and communication around it, but also a high pleasure in executing. Yes. Yes. And just checking things off the list. Oh you're so those are rare.

Ann:

Um, you, you, I, did you sneak a peek at my strengths finder? I mean, no, but

Curt:

that's what I do. Like I put people together with people that will. Well,

Ann:

and so, so strategic is my number one strength, according to strengths finders. Okay. So that is about that idea, generation looking big vision kinds of things. Um, but I also then have a lot of executor in me. Yeah. And, um, it's actually my number five.

Curt:

So if you get tired of the chamber, I'm sure we could use somebody like you at local headquarters someday.

Ann:

well, thank you. let's keep that door open.

Curt:

fair enough. Fair enough. So. I think I want to, we got a pretty hard stop here coming up in about 25 minutes. Okay. Are there other highlights around chamber and your career path there that we should really focus in on? Well, you

Ann:

know, um, I'm just so proud of the fact that I've gotten to work with so many amazing leaders across Northern Colorado. Yeah. So, um, because I

Curt:

get some shoutouts, some

Ann:

name dropping or sure. Um, you know, because I've managed the leadership Fort Collins program for the last 18 years. That's just, I'm

Curt:

so embarrassed that I haven't taken the time to do that. By the way, Kurt, I'm kind of like your target

Ann:

market applications drop at the end of June. Really. I'd love to see you. Okay. Um, but, but the fact that I've had the tremendous pleasure of running that program, getting to show off our community to 30 leaders every single year for the last 18 years, um, I mean what a joyful experience that has been. And that has allowed me to not only celebrate our community, but also build relationships with those 30 participants, hopefully inspire them to find that next opportunity. Yeah. That makes sense. Whether it's not in a volunteer space or it's a job space or, or something else. Yeah. And then to see how many of them, after they go through the program, raise their hand and say, you know what? This was powerful enough. I wanna give back to that program. Yeah. Yeah. So our steering committee, um, when I came to Fort Collins was a group of about six people today. We've got 35. Wow. Former graduates that, um, are giving back to that. That's

Curt:

made a difference for me and I want more

Ann:

people to benefit from it. Absolutely. Absolutely. Such amazing, amazing humans, um, that just really wanna celebrate this community. Yeah. And show it off and challenge people to think differently. Um, again, SU such an impactful, impactful experience

Curt:

while I'm thinking about it, even though it's probably gonna be too late before this deadline, uh, before this podcast airs might be close, but like who's the target demographic for leadership Northern Colorado.

Ann:

Yeah. Well, so we have leadership Fort Collins as well. We have, yes. We have two programs. We have leadership Fort Collins. Yeah. And we have leadership Northern Colorado. So leadership Fort Collins, we're really looking for a cross section of our community. Ideally, when we select that class, it looks just like our community. So we have people that are from education. We have people that are. We have stay at home moms. We have, um, you know, people of color. We have new leaders. We have leaders that are maybe in their third or fourth or their fifth chapter of life. Interesting. Um, we've figured out that. The program is best when it's this beautiful cross section of our community. Um, so, so that's, that's our Fort Collins target as far as leadership, Northern Colorado, which again, that's a program that we do, oh, with other two chambers, probably with the other two chambers, right. With, um, with the Greeley chamber, as well as the Loveland chamber. Our goal there is to make sure again, we've got a cross section of Northern Colorado. So from the two county area, more about a regional, a. And it is absolutely about a regional awareness. It's about how do you lead in a region, right. Because it's very different than when you lead at city hall or you lead in your community. So

Curt:

yeah. Building momentum around a regional issue is exactly right. Much more fragmented kind of

Ann:

thing. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, but again, Two programs that are very near and dear to my heart. Yeah. Yeah. For lots of reasons. And

Curt:

you're still heading those up or do you have to pass that torch now that you should, but exactly. You can't figured quite how you

Ann:

If any of my board members are listening, trying I'm I'm still working on it. it's just one of those, um, been really fortunate to build a relationship with Amanda Miller. She's she's a graduate of both programs. Yeah. She, she, she's

Curt:

one of she's she's in the top 20 smart. Ladies in town.

Ann:

Absolutely. One of my old homies, shout out to Amanda, my dog. Um, but, um, we've been able to hire the place setting company to help us with execution that administrative side of both programs. We've got the program exactly with an execution support. So that still gives me the chance to play a little bit, but, um, hopefully I'm not, um, Making copies and right. Picking up donuts. Fair enough. Fair enough. And not that those aren't great jobs.

Curt:

No, those are important. They're very important. but the president and CEO shouldn't make votes pick up donuts. Let's talk about, let's go into closing segments. Yeah, sure. Are you ready? Sure. Uh, we always talk about faith, family and politics. Okay. Uh, which of those three would you like to confront first?

Ann:

Well, let's start with politics.

Curt:

Okay. Let's do it. Sure. What, uh, What would you like to say? We've got an interesting political environment. The January 6th hearings are taking place right now. Yeah. Uh, I'm not sure what more new we've learned, but

Ann:

yeah, we'll see, you know, um, and for me, it's not, your politics are local. What exactly. It's not politics with a big P it's politics with a little P and, um, And hopefully we can inspire people to really think about local. Um, it's just so easy when you hear politics to think about the national stage, to think about really kind of the mess. That's all

Curt:

the, that is, well, the media politics, there is no local newspapers anymore and stuff, so it's hard to stay aware of what's happening looked.

Ann:

Right. Right, exactly. Right. And so, um, you know, for me, it's, it really is. What's impacting our local community and how can we affect change? Yeah. So, um, as you've kind of heard through this storytelling, um, I'm a policy nerd at heart. Sure. Um, and, um, I, I just feel so fortunate that I'm in the position to be able to take that nerdism yeah. And, um, turn it around to be changed for the positive for business.

Curt:

Yeah. So let's talk. Like some local stuff that we've not done the right thing on whether it's Fort Collins, city council. Oh gosh, LaMer county commissioners, or right. Got governor poli. Even if you wanna go statewide, like what are some things that you wouldn't have done it that way? Oh

Ann:

gosh. Oh, um, I, I don't know that I'll rat out anybody, but I'll bring up, um, a conversation that's starting right now at city hall and that's minimum wage. Hmm. So, um, as a, as a chamber of commerce, we are strong advocates for fair pay for fair work. No doubt about it. Yeah. And, um, the great news is we have finally seen an increase in wages. Northern Colorado over the last several years. We've long talked about, right. We've been lagging exactly. The Northern Colorado discount. Right. Right. So, so a job you could do in Denver versus the job you could do in Fort Collins, past 20 grand, more in Denver.

Curt:

Exactly. Right. Cost the

Ann:

same to live, roughly. Exactly. At least 20% discount. Yep. That has flipped around and oh, wow. And. As we look at the data Fort Collins and Northern Colorado has finally started to increase their wages to the point that they should,

Curt:

which means that employers are paying those extra wages and absolutely not struggling too much from it.

Ann:

Absolutely. They are. Um, so, so our agreement is. The market has responded, right. And the market has done exactly what the market should do, which is create an opportunity for people to be employed and to be fully employed. Government local government is wanting to intersect into that conversation. Yeah. And, um, I get anxious. That traveling down that roadway puts government in a position they shouldn't be in. Yeah. And so, so those are deciders then. Exactly, exactly. So it's, it, it will be a very fascinating conversation for, uh, our city council to be having over the next

Curt:

six months. Well, in the, like there's a lot of potential unintended consequences. Right. Like absolutely businesses move out of Fort Collins to be in Timnath instead. Yes. And stuff like that. Right.

Ann:

And there's parts of the conversation, um, you know, been and Jerry's, that was a locally owned franchise forever and ever and ever. Yeah. And, um, the family that owned it, um, are, are strong believers in, in social solutions to the world. Sure. I mean, there's a reason that they bought that franchise. Um, When you cornered Lee Swanson, he would look you in the eye and say, I should not be paying a $15 minimum wage to an 18 year old. right. The, my jobs are not for life. They are jobs for experience and an 18 year old high school student. Right. Doesn't have these, the same demands as a 24 year old yeah. Warehouse worker. Exactly. Right, exactly. Right. So, um, so for me, it's, it's being very thoughtful. Yeah. Setting a single path when really it's a very nuanced conversation. And, and I wanna, I wanna make sure we take the time to celebrate the fact that business has stepped up right. And business is making the right choice. And are there employers that are, are still not a part of the whole for sure. Sure. Um, but at the same time, people will Le it is an employee market. Right. And if, if a business isn't stepping. If you're, if you're a worker,

Curt:

right. We're fixing a problem that does not exist. Exactly. If you actually are a worker, yes. You can get more than at least $15 an hour. These days you can,

Ann:

you can name your price at the location you want. Yep. In a large sense. So, so anyway, it'll be an interesting conversation, but again, that's local politics. Right. I feel

Curt:

like there's actually no, like politically correct way to live a person's life now. Like nobody can live a life that's politically correct. All, unless you sit underneath a tree and whittle. Yes. but you have a sustainable source of wood and knife sharpening. Right. Right. But if you fly anywhere and travel, if you like that kind of shit, you're just burning carbon unnecessarily, you know, whatever, whatever you do, you can't be right. It's tough. It's tough. Yeah. So, um, family or faith? Uh,

Ann:

family. Sure. Um, you know, um, my sister and I own a home in north Fort Collins. We, you guys are Bud's best friends. We are still, we are best friends. Um, you know, neither one of us has quite found our prince charming, so interesting rather than having two houses that neither one of us has ever asked. Well, it's

Curt:

lonely. I don't know about you, but I get lonely when, by myself too

Ann:

much. So, so yeah, so

Curt:

we, we, uh, so if we got. Bachelor brothers out there. double date might be order there. There

Ann:

you go. Fair enough. Um, but no, um, you know, um, my sister is absolutely my best, my best friend. Um, it's always nice when family ends up being more than family. Yeah. Um, and feel really fortunate. And then I've, I've got a number of aunts and uncles that are here in Northern Colorado. So, so that's nice to you guys

Curt:

have any fur babies or anything like that, that we.

Ann:

We have a little son of a gun called Sheldon he's our cat. Okay. Unfortunately he was really my dad's cat. Oh, wow. So then, um, we inherited him when my dad passed away and I don't think Sheldon's ever fully recovered from the cat so, um, he, he really runs the house. He just lets Robin and I live there.

Curt:

well, that's, you know, that joke. Uh, dogs have masters cats have servants. Yes.

Ann:

very true. Very true. So anyway, so yes, that Shel Sheldon is our, is, is our cat extraordinaire.

Curt:

fair enough. Fair enough. And what would you have to say about faith?

Ann:

You know? Um, yeah, super interesting question. Um, You know, I, I, I don't necessarily have a church that I call my own,

Curt:

but definitely from kind of Eastern Colorado where yeah, everybody's a Catholic or a Lutheran probably or something. We

Ann:

were Presbyterian Presbyterians too. Sure. Right. Presbyterians one off from Lutheran. Um, so, um, so yeah, so, so, so nothing formal in my life right now. Tend to lean in on a lot of optimism.

Curt:

yeah. Seem like a value is driven kind of a person.

Ann:

Yeah, exactly. Right. Do the right thing at the right time. Yeah. For, you know, for the greater good. Absolutely. But, um, yeah, not quite

Curt:

sure about. The bigger questions necessarily.

Ann:

Well,

Curt:

maybe you're sure about them. Well, I don't know. Yeah. It's hard to be sure. Even if you say you have faith in my

Ann:

mind. Yeah. Really, really hard. Especially, you know, you lose two parents. Yeah. Those journeys aren't necessarily easy for sure.

Curt:

Yeah. Yeah. There's some challenge at all. Yeah, for sure. Well, that's I learned about Greek Orthodox, uh, faith a while back, um, met a guy that was curious about logo think tank and he started telling me about it and. One thing that he characterizes different from kind of the Protestant or, or even Catholics. Yeah. Is that the Greeks kind of recognize that suffering is part of the human experience nice in itself. Yeah. Yeah. And also the other thing he mentioned was that, um, like Greeks tend not to define it so much. Like we say, God is infinite or the Protestant would, or the Catholics would, but the Greeks would say, well, God is not finite. I can't really say that it's infinite, you know, so it's more about what God is not almost in a way. Yeah. So anyway, if you're ever, uh, curious, there's some good podcasts out

Ann:

there and I, I love that. I love that. Um, speaking of which I, I was listening to your podcast with, um, Val and miles. Oh yeah. And, um, uh, I so love that curiosity is a key. Tenant for, for them as a couple for them individually for their organization. And, uh, and, and so I guess if there was a word to label it for myself yeah. When it comes to faith, it certainly curiosity, curiosity will serve me. Yes, it will. Absolutely. I love that.

Curt:

Yeah. I think that's pretty cool. Yeah. Um, your local experience, the craziest experience of your whole life that you're willing to share in a public forum.

Ann:

Oh, my goodness.

Curt:

Craziest. and it could be a day. It could be a week. It could be who knows? Well,

Ann:

yeah. Um, well, you know, I, I'm just so lucky to live in Northern Colorado at the end of the day, this town is so full of experiences, opportunities, celebrations on a regular basis. Yeah. Right. I mean, um, I, I don't know that I have a, a single. Oh my gosh moment,

Curt:

but, but you're the, the leader of one of the most impactful and influential organizations. Thank you in this most amazing place in the

Ann:

world. Yeah. And, and, and the tables that I get to sit at and the conversations I get to see and be a part of. Yeah. Very, very powerful. But at the end of the way, Day, I kind of reflect on my last weekend. Um, you know, Friday night I got to hang out at paddler's pub with some friends, sweet and hear the putter valley Playboys sweet. Um, Saturday ended up at the crown pub, hanging out with some other friends and we made our way to the exchange and heard a swing band. And then on Sunday, um, my sister and I landed at the lyric for their deconstructed dinner, which included. Live art, um, you know, a, a community

Curt:

we punch above our weight. Yeah. A culture for a town of our size. Right?

Ann:

I mean this beautiful community dinner. Yeah. Where we a lamb roast and then followed by live music. Where else, if you. Raise your hand. Could you do all of that? Yeah. In a matter of really 48 hours.

Curt:

Well, and I could tell you're like humbled and honored by it to be like in a place to have that experience. Absolutely. Whenever you want to, just about exactly. Right. I like say, uh, people ask me how it's going or, and I'm like, well, I, you know, I live like in the best neighborhood of the best town and the best state in the history of humanity. Yeah. Yeah.

Ann:

And if you say yes, You get experience all of that. Well, and, and you just get to the key to being in such a great place is to say yes. Yeah, yeah. You don't get to experience that if you just stay home. Yeah. You don't get to experience that if you don't pay attention. Yeah. So, um, for me, it's all about saying yes.

Curt:

So to me, you're an inspiration to thank you leaders everywhere, but especially to young women leaders and things. Yeah. Do you have any just moments of encouragement for young ladies? I mean, do you, I guess here's a quick question. We've got a couple minutes. Yeah. Um, like, did you feel like you. Ran against a parochial wall of limitation through your career, or did you feel empowered to be unequal standing with David May or with these other leaders along the way?

Ann:

You know what a powerful question and I'm sad. We only have a few minutes for it. Um, you know, There's no doubt that we're seeing, especially here in Northern Colorado, this transition of long time leaders to a new kind style yeah. And gender of leader. And, and I, I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of that change in leadership. Um, at the same time, there's no doubt that, um, I, I, I stand on the shoulders of people that have been before me, men and women across Northern Colorado, that, that I had the opportunity to learn from, to learn with, to, to be mentored by and across Southwestern Kansas. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. But, um, certainly as I think about the last 18 years that, or 19 years it's been here in Fort Collins and, um, again, all different kinds of leaders with all different kinds of backgrounds and, um, being at the chamber, it just had this incredibly rich opportunity to learn from everyone around me. Yeah. Take the most that you can from each person. Hmm. Um, I, you know, I, I learned as much from mark Driscoll. Yeah. Um, who served as chairman for our board of directors as I did from Sherry grant, who served as. Woman for our board of directors. Um, everybody has something to bring to the table and if you're paying attention and you're invested, you can learn

Curt:

from all of it sometimes. Exactly. Right. Uh, do you know the motto LO's motto? I do not. It's uh, ask of your needs and share of your abundance. Oh, I love that. That's fantastic. You've been using it your whole life. Yes. Yes. Thank you. Um, thank you. If people like wanna look up the Fort Collins chamber or look up you, I guess they can stock you on LinkedIn or

Ann:

something, or they absolutely can. They absolutely can. Um, you know, Fort Collins area chamber we're in downtown Fort Collins, Fort Collins, chamber.com. The Google will find it for you. The, the Google will find it for you. Um, and, and we invite. Anyone who's attached to business to give us, give us a look. Yeah. Uh, give us a taste. Um, see if it fits and if it does, we we'd love to talk to you. It's different

Curt:

than Ben and Jerry's, but, uh, it's better for you. That's right. Thanks. Appreciate having it

Ann:

here. Thank you, Kurt.