Archive for the ‘Fellows’ Category


Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Ashley Cornelius

Take a deep breath.  Easy, right? Breathing is so innate and effortless; we may go days without even thinking about it.  This isn’t true for everyone. For some, breathing is crushingly difficult, every breath is simultaneously a struggle and a gift.

Tuberculosis was rampant in the 1900’s and was the driving force behind many people’s pilgrimage to the Pikes Peak region.  According to Matt Mayberry, director of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, “For 30 or 40 years, tuberculosis was our sole industry. People afflicted with the disease came to Colorado by the thousands to experience the high altitude, mineral springs, and ample sunshine credited for treating tuberculosis.” Thousands more sought job opportunities in the sanatoriums. By the mid-1920’s, there were fifteen sanatoriums across Colorado treating tuberculosis patients.

I was diagnosed with asthma at a young age, and the humidity of my home state of Michigan only exacerbated my condition. By the time I was three, I was spending eight months per year in the hospital. Seeking to provide a better life for her child, my mother moved us to Colorado Springs in hopes that the dry air and high altitude would provide some reprieve.  Over the last 19 years, I have learned that I am not the only person to owe their health to this city- Colorado Springs has a deep history of restoring physical health and providing a high quality of life for residents. To this day, through institutions El Pomar Foundation and many others, Colorado Springs strives to improve the physical, emotional, intellectual and civic well-being of its citizens.

Edwin Solly, a well-known English doctor suffering from tuberculosis, moved to Colorado Springs in search of a cure.  In 1902, his dear friend William Jackson Palmer provided funds to develop a cutting edge sanatorium for America’s wealthiest individuals.  The Cragmor Sanatorium, designed by Thomas MacLaren opened in 1905 and was nicknamed the “Sun Palace,” known for its sun soaked rooftop lounge area. Following the advent of pharmaceutical treatments for tuberculosis, in 1964 Governor John Love issued the Cragmor facility to the University of Colorado. To this day, it serves as Main Hall at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. While the purpose of Main Hall may have changed, the ultimate goal remains the same, to build a brighter tomorrow and improve the lives of their students and the deep history of hope is still palpable within the walls of Main Hall.

With each effortless breath, I am reminded that this city has been more than a home to me and my time at El Pomar has been more than a job; these opportunities have shaped me into a healthy and strong leader and resident of Colorado. Thank you Colorado Springs, for saving my life and giving me hope for the future.

Welcome Fellows, Class of 2014

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

The time has come- yesterday we welcomed the El Pomar Fellowship Class of 2014. Our new class is driven, passionate, and full of energy as they embark upon their two years of personal and professional growth through the Fellowship. These 12 individuals join us from all walks of life, each bringing their own unique perspective as well as a shared commitment to bettering the state of Colorado.  (more…)

Lean In

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014


Cecelia Crossen

“The time is long overdue to encourage more women to dream the possible dream.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In

I had the great privilege of attending the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame event in Denver on March 20. It was impossible to come away from the night uninspired by the incredible stories of the honorees, But with Sheryl Sandberg’s recent best seller Lean In fresh in my mind I could not help but visualize the long path, fraught with obstacles, that these women had to overcome on their journeys. (more…)

Board Service: Kids on Bikes

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Ben Haughton

My time at El Pomar has helped clarify what makes an effective board, and what makes an effective board member. As a rule of thumb, a good board member brings the “three w’s” to the table:  Wealth, Work, and Wisdom. By this definition, it will likely be years before I am qualified to serve on any board of directors. Nonetheless, the opportunity to apply what I have learned as a Fellow makes the lessons far more tangible and gives me an increased sense of commitment to this community. (more…)

Fellow Alumni Spotlight: Nat Robinson

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Nat Robinson was a Fellow with El Pomar Foundation in 2003-2005. A native of Evergreen, Colorado and graduate of Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Nat received an MBA from Vanderbilt University in 2007. While at Vanderbilt, he also helped found and endow the $250,000 Project Pyramid initiative, designed to alleviate poverty by connecting MBAs with social entrepreneurs in the poorest countries of the world. Nat has studied and traveled in 33 countries across 6 continents. He currently resides in Kenya, where he is CEO of the company Juhudii Kilimo. Nat generously agreed to share some of his post-Fellowship experience for this article. (more…)

A Good Morning for a Night Owl

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Zoe Goodman

I’m not a morning person. I do everything in my power to avoid getting up before 7:10am, leaving just enough time to get to work at 8 on a typical day. Two Saturdays ago, however, I was happily up by 5:30am and on my way to Pikes Peak Community College for El Pomar’s College Readiness and Success Program (CRSP). Once every few months, a dedicated team of community volunteers, school counselors, representatives from each institution of higher education in Colorado Springs, and several El Pomar staff members come together to host a day-long college and career readiness seminar for over 100 high school students from military families and diverse ethnic backgrounds, many of whom could be first generation college students. During the seminar, students attend college classes, meet with college counselors, fill out financial aid forms, and interact with community leaders who are invested in their success. (more…)

Building a Better World

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Colin McCarey

As an anthropology major, I am deeply interested in human nature and action.  I tend to believe that altruism is not inherent in our nature, but is nonetheless critical to societal prosperity.  Actions taken for the benefit of people other than yourself and your immediate kin strengthen and enrich humanity, and establish a precedent that will enhance the future quality of human life. (more…)

Applied Leadership 101: Rattlers Case Study

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Beau Kelly

My first day as the head coach of the Academy Little League Rattlers was a little overwhelming. Nine and ten year old boys ran wild at Keller Park. After four years of college baseball and a few weeks of preparation, I drew up a practice plan for a group of all-stars. After my assistant coaches and I spent the first five minutes of our practice corralling the Rattlers, I realized I needed to revise our game plan. Thankfully, the leadership training provided in the Fellowship prepared me for the challenges I faced throughout the season. (more…)

My Love Affair With Colorado

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Devanie Helman

I was born and raised in Gunnison, Colorado and attended the University of Denver. The mountains have become a permanent fixture in my concept of natural beauty, and the laid-back, loving nature of Coloradans has become commonplace. I am a true Colorado native, yet I have never felt more connected to the state than I do right now. As I consider my future plans, I decided to begin by looking outside Colorado’s borders.  The opportunity to leave the state forced me to look inward, and I began to realize how desperately committed to the state of Colorado I am. (more…)

From Team USA to Team Colorado

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Ashley Cornelius

The Olympics convene the best and brightest athletes from around the world to compete not only for medals, but also for their country.  The whole world watches as these fine-tuned athletes compete in a myriad of sports showcasing their strength, endurance, and perseverance.  National pride is ever present during the games for athletes and audiences alike. Citizens from across the globe share in both the pride of its champions’ accomplishments and the sorrow of their defeats. (more…)