Julie Boswell came to Colorado Springs on vacation from England in 1971, and never went back.
“I didn’t actually make a decision to move to the United States,” said Boswell, whose American uncle was stationed at the U.S. Air Force Academy. “I got married six months after I got here and I stayed. It was not the plan to move here.”
With the exception of a two-year stint working for national law firm Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C., during the 1980s, Boswell, who graduated from Christie College in Cheltenham, England, has lived in Colorado Springs. She has been working for the Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit corporation privately funded by 250 companies, “just short of forever,”-for 16 years-said CEO Rocky Scott, who nominated Boswell for Women of Influence.
“She’s a very sincere, dedicated person who works hard to make things right, in many respects,” Scott said. “Every day she comes into the office and has some issue about trying to make the community better.”
“What I like most about my job is the people I meet,” Boswell said. “What’s most important to me is contributing to the creation of jobs for individuals in our community. The cyclical nature of business means that jobs must be created in order to offset layoffs.”
Boswell also has worked for six years on the Silver Key Senior Services Advisory Board, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the elderly. The agency provides a number of services to help senior citizens with daily chores, including house cleaning, transportation to and from doctors’ offices and the grocery store and Meals on Wheels.
And with the number of people between the ages of 55 and 64 expected to more than double by 2020 in El Paso County, the need for elderly services will likely grow.
“The goal is to keep the elderly independent and in their homes for as long as possible,” said Boswell, who is secretary of the 18-member board. “It’s the day-in and day-out functions; people reach a point where they need help performing them.”
In 2003, she co-chaired the 30th Anniversary Gala Fundraiser for Silver Key. She strives to help the whole community, from the oldest residents to the youngest.
Boswell received the Colorado Bright Beginnings Brad Butler Memorial Children’s Champion Award in 1999, for her help in putting together a forum for child care groups in the Springs. Attempting to create this seminar-type setting was the Employer Summit Planning Committee, which she was on from to 1999.
“We were trying to raise the profile of child care issues in regard to local employers and how they can help, with flex time and assistance to employees with finding child care, and so on,” Boswell said. “We were just trying to raise the issue of day care and how employers can impact that in a positive way. Frankly, we made some progress but not nearly enough.”
She got involved through Child Care Connections, a comprehensive resource and referral agency serving parents, employers and early childhood professionals in El Paso, Cheyenne, Elbert, Kiowa and Teller counties. The experience gave her the chance to see Debbie Lawrence, president of Child Care Connections, in action.
“She eats, sleeps and breathes child care,” Boswell said. “She is warm and cares deeply about young children and their futures.”
One could say that Boswell cares deeply about Colorado Springs’ future. Among her many community activities was a spot on the board of directors for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb from 1997 to 2000, and co-chair of its 75th anniversary celebrations in 1998.
“My father is a Hill Climb competitor in England. I’ve had a keen interest in that sport for a long time. It’s a great group of people who are highly committed to that race, and one of the oldest sporting traditions in Colorado Springs.”
Boswell co-founded the Springs 2000 Millennium Committee, an event she remembers with a laugh. “That was hair-raising because we had Y2K and didn’t know if the lights would even be on. It was a bit of a risk to plan the event that we did,” she said. “When I turned on CNN and saw other countries celebrating, we did feel pretty confident it would come off.”
She has had a number of local business affiliations. From 1999 to 2003, Boswell sat on the board of directors for the Colorado College Business & Community Alliance. In 2000, she was on the city of Colorado Springs Global Strategic Team. The spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corp. was also vice president of the Colorado Springs Press Association from 1997 to 2001.
By their accounts, Boswell and Scott have a great working relationship at the EDC.
“I have worked with Rocky Scott for 16 years,” Boswell said. “He’s extremely focused and very future-oriented in regard to issues affecting the community. He’s always looking down the road; he’s very goal-oriented.”
According to Scott, “Julie Boswell has been directly responsible for one of the most successful development programs in the nation. Her commitment has been without peer and her personal contributions to Silver Key have been extraordinary.”
Boswell’s position at the EDC has been redefined in the years she’s been there. She started in a job described as “selling memberships.” “The job was not then what it is now,” she said. Now Boswell handles fund-raising, plans events, and manages media and community relations.
The mission of the EDC is to sustain and improve the quality of life in the Springs by helping the city meet the community’s demand for diversified jobs needed to support the population and tax base.
The Economic Development Corp. also works to market Colorado Springs to companies that are looking to relocate a project-companies such as MCI, Progressive and Intel – companies that will employ hundreds of skilled and unskilled workers.
Since 1971, what has changed has been the level of investment from those 250 companies. “We put a lot of emphasis on what we call our major investors,” Boswell said. “That group has received a lot of my attention and the investment levels have increased over the years. From where I sit, fundraising is more about the number of dollars.”
And making certain those dollars go toward attainable goals is also part of Boswell’s job. “I feel strongly that your strength is based on promises kept,” she said. “What you tell your donor or investor you’re going to do with their money is what you do.”
In her spare time, Boswell enjoys reading, hiking and flower gardening-“my neighbors and I developed sort of a communal garden project that’s ongoing.”