Top spots change at the Vail Leadership Institute

VAIL — The Vail Leadership Institute recently announced changes in its top leadership positions. John Horan-Kates, co-founder of the institute, will become chairman of the board of directors. Ross Iverson, who recently joined the institute, will take over as president and CEO, and long-time institute associate Karah Maloley has stepped into the newly created role of program director.

“We’ve been looking at making some changes for quite some time, and the pieces have all finally fallen into place,” Horan-Kates said. “Over the past two years, we’ve been adapting our financial model from primarily a donor-based approach to more of a sustainable business model. These leadership changes will allow the institute to offer even more training and growth opportunities for entrepreneurs and leaders in our community. Ultimately, it moves us closer to our vision of creating Vail University.”

The Vail Leadership Institute was founded in 1997 as a leadership development organization, convening individuals and groups with the goal of inspiring them to lead purposeful lives while further developing their entrepreneurial and management skills. In the 16 years since its inception, the institute has grown to offer nearly a dozen programs aimed at creating better leaders.

Iverson joined the institute in January as the general manager of the institute’s Entrepreneurs BaseCamp program. He holds a finance degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and previously had been president-owner of a firm in Minneapolis before selling it in 2009 and launching a business consulting firm.

“My interests have always been with helping people connect and improve performance, and I have helped organize a destination leadership camp for the green building industry for last three years in Breckenridge,” Iverson said. “When I came to the Vail Valley, I began searching for a CEO roundtable experience like I’d been involved in before with the Vistage organization and Entrepreneurs Organization. I joined (a Vail Leadership Institute) peer group last October, and over a couple days’ of skiing with John, he lured me into a role with the institute. I couldn’t be happier.”

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The Vail Way

Iverson said the institute’s upcoming two-day program, “The Vail Way,” is an example of the institute’s redirected focus.

“The Vail Valley attracts high performers who are passionate about excelling in a lifestyle economy,” he said. “With our inaugural Vail Way event, we’re creating the opportunity for leaders here to explore the ins and outs and ups and downs of entrepreneurship in our valley.”

The event, which takes place Oct. 17 and 18, includes an entrepreneurs’ reception, breakfast presentation, Beaver Creek hike and exclusive lunch. Guest speakers Larry Donnithorne, author of “The West Point Way of Leadership,” and Brad Feld, author of “Start-Up Communities,” are recognized innovators in the field of leadership development and entrepreneurship.

Maloley, who had been heading the institute’s peer group roundtable program, will be taking on a broader role in the organization as program director. Her focus will be on creating additional workshops and programs to develop leadership skill sets, expand the current peer group program and identify new community events.

For more information, or to register for The Vail Way event in October, go to

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