Women of Influence: Barbara Winter – Senior Vice President of Organizational Resources

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Barbara Winter enjoys being the human face in what can sometimes be an impersonal business world.

The senior vice president of organizational resources for Ent Federal Credit Union, the largest geographically based credit union in Colorado Springs, handles human resources. Winter said it is rewarding to represent the human interests in a company.

“Since Ent is locally owned and run, it’s a distinct contrast to being in a corporate environment,” said Winter, who after college worked for Colorado Interstate Gas Co. for nearly 20 years. “It’s such a pleasure, in my field of human resources, the personal contact you have within an organization. Employees are paramount to good decision making, it’s not just about the bottom line.”

Winter was nominated by Gary Atkins, director of business development for Ent Federal Credit Union, for Women of Influence. The two have worked for Ent for about four years.

“I think Barb’s an amazing person. She handles multiple responsibilities and still finds time to serve the community,” Atkins said. “I think that’s one of the great things about Barb. She gives a lot to make the world better. We need a lot more people like her.”

Winter, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Colorado State University, has a great fondness for her former company as well. The differences between working for a utilities company and working for a credit union are not as pronounced as one might think.

“I’m doing the same job-human resources, recruiting, compensation, benefits. [At CIG] I also did safety, and had responsibility for the administrative side-mailroom, travel management, print shop,” she said. “Here at Ent, I have the payroll function, training and property facilities.”

It’s the human side of matters that has always appealed to Winter. But she’s judicious about what causes she chooses to champion, and where she spends her time.

For several years, Winter has been on the boards of directors for the Pikes Peak YMCA and Goodwill, two organizations whose values she cherishes. “They are very forward-thinking boards, as it relates to strategic planning and the futures of each organization,” she said. “The Y fulfills some of my youth- and family-oriented missions. Goodwill supports some of those who need a little extra help in our community, those who could be contributors with extra support.”

Winter served for 10 years on the Silver Key Senior Services Advisory Board, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the elderly in Colorado Springs.

“We owe a lot of things to our elders that have put us where we are today. If there are things that we can provide in return, we should do that. I feel very strongly and compassionately in that regard.”

She is the liaison between Ent and the Leadership Giving Team of Pikes Peak United Way, and has been a volunteer with that committee as well.

The team promotes larger donations, and “leadership giving” is denoted as anyone who gives $1,000 or more during a fund-raising campaign.

Winter is committed to groups that live up to their mission statements. She was involved for two decades with the Boy Scouts of America, in her latter years moving to the Explorer Division. The career-oriented subgroup within Boy Scouts included membership of boys and girls.

“An Explorer post would form under the auspices of a particular vocation or career. For instance, there might be a post interested in the police force, so it would be aligned with the local police department,” Winter said. “It was a great opportunity for young people. On that particular sector, I provided volunteer leadership on how that program ran.”

For her contributions over many years, Winter was awarded the Boy Scouts Explorer Division Award of Merit in 2001. But perhaps the most important recognition that Winter has received is the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Athena Award in 2002. The annual Athena Award recognizes businesswomen who represent a spirit of mentorship and support within a community.

“I was ecstatic; I felt very humbled and flattered to be selected,” Winter said. “I cherish that recognition. I received it two years ago and treasure it so much that it sits on my desk.” She was a finalist this year for the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction award, and in 1999 received the Inroads Multicultural Achiever Award.

Inroads is an organization that tries to place newly graduating high school seniors and college students into internships in the workplace. The program focuses placement on minority students. Winter received the Inroads award while working for CIG, where she was a company liaison for the program.

But it’s the Pikes Peak YMCA that Winter has a lot of respect for as an organization, and even a personal love for. A lifelong fear of water kept her from learning to swim until she was 40. Now she is an accomplished SCUBA diver who goes on dive trips in the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii.

“SCUBA diving is quite an accomplishment for me. I made myself go to the Y and take the ‘Terrified of Water’ class. There’s a small pool in the back, three feet deep,” she said. “I give the Y a lot of credit for that, for learning to swim. It’s evolved to a great reverence and love for the water. It’s a remarkable part of my life, overcoming that particular fear.”

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Winter was adopted by an American military couple and has lived in Colorado for most of her life. She is married to David Carpenter, and has one daughter, Shelby, a sixth-grader at Manitou Middle School.

It’s with a bit of “humbled pride” that she talks about being selected for Women of Influence.

“It’s nice to be recognized by peers who think you’re doing a good job. I’m amongst a group of fine women this year, and we have a lot of wonderful women in this community,” Winter said. “I especially admire women who work in our nonprofit organizations and agencies, whether that’s Silver Key, TESSA, CASA or Red Cross. They do a lot of good works out of the goodness of their hearts. I find that very admirable.”