Vail Daily column: The next generation of Vail Valley leaders emerging |

Vail Daily column: The next generation of Vail Valley leaders emerging

Many of the leaders of our community have or are reaching retirement age; these are the founding folk of Vail as we know it today, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their leadership in building our community.

Much hand wringing has occurred throughout the past few years concerning the next generation of leaders for our community. I’ve been fortunate to call the valley home for 19 years, and it’s not a stretch to suggest that we’ve been discussing building the next generation of community leaders for much of that time.

The good news is that we’re a community filled with young and emerging leaders across the private and nonprofit sectors. This isn’t new, but we’ve lacked a formal way to connect these emerging leaders to the established and recognized leaders within the community. After all, what makes a leader? Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. They set direction, build a vision and create something new.

Next Vail Valley program

While leaders set the direction, they must also use management skills to guide their people, smoothly and efficiently, to the right destination. Vail Valley Partnership has built the Next Vail Valley program to support and advance emerging professionals in our community. The program aims to serve professionals with a mentee mindset who seek to learn from established community leaders in the valley while connecting with other emerging professionals.

Next Vail Valley is an opportunity for 12 emerging professionals to meet, converse and engage with a community leader in a group setting. Two separate groups meet monthly to reflect on the previous month’s meeting and to prepare for the upcoming meeting with the community leader. While meeting with the community leader, participants will have two hours to inquire and converse with the leader in a group setting about topics determined in the planning meeting. Each group will meet with a different community leader each month.

We’re fortunate to have support from established community leaders who recognize the need to build the next generation, and to share their institutional knowledge on the valley. Our community leaders consist of:

Group 1

July: Elaine Kelton, president, The Kelton Group.

August: Chris Jarnot, EVP and COO, Vail Mountain.

September: Virginia Egger, town manager, Avon.

October: Rob LeVine, general manager, Antlers at Vail.

November: Dr. Jason Glass, superintendent, Eagle County Schools.

December: Laurie Mullen, owner, West Vail Liquor Mart.

Group 2

July: Dr. Kathryn Regjo, vice president, Colorado Mountain College, Edwards campus.

August: Ceil Folz, consultant, Premier Projects Consulting.

September: Brian Nolan, owner, Group 970.

October: Johannes Faessler, owner, Sonnenalp Hotel.

November: Doris Kirchner, president and CEO, Vail Valley Medical Center.

December: Jeff Shroll, town manager, Gypsum.

Peter Drucker famously stated that when “management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things.” Great leaders possess dazzling social intelligence, a zest for change and vision that allows them to set their sights on the things that merit attention. It’s not a bad skill set for the rest of us, and it can be nurtured by learning from those who are walking the road of community leadership.

We encourage you to apply for this program if you consider yourself as part of the next generation of professional leaders in the valley. Interested participants must fill out the program application available at and submit to Jill Lammers at jlammers@visitvail by Wednesday.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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