Could the Springs become leadership capital of U.S.?

Filed under: Opinion |

If you took a minute and catalogued all the leadership organizations in our area, it wouldn’t be a stretch to envision marketing the Springs as the leadership place to go in the United States.

Here are the groups I know about:

• Center for Creative Leadership

• Catamount Institute

• Colorado Springs Leadership Institute

• Leadership Pikes Peak

• University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Chancellor’s Leadership Class

• Leadership Arts, put on by the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts

Could these groups get together and market Colorado Springs as “your leadership connection?” Could Experience Colorado Springs (the former convention and visitor’s bureau) put some money toward a campaign in a national business publication?

I could put the advertising in business journals across the United States but this isn’t about me.

Could we get to the level that when someone hears Colorado Springs they don’t think Pikes Peak and “America the Beautiful” they think leadership training?

I see this as being a marketable opportunity to brand our area with a positive, rather than as the sixth most conservative city in the nation.

Now, I am not saying that we have great leadership in public office but we do have great leadership training opportunities, so let’s capitalize on it.

Winter Night 2005/2006 speakers season set

The Winter Night Club has been around since 1902. It’s an outgrowth of two groups that got together over dinner for discussions, the first organized before 1890 and the second about 1893.

According to materials sent over by last year’s program chairman Lindsay Fischer, the club started with membership limited to 100 but soon increased to 150 and is now at 500.

For years they met at the old Antlers Hotel and the dress code was white tie and tails. Talks or “papers” were usually presented by a member and “tolerant discussion” was led by two other members.

It was not too long before speakers from outside the membership found their way to the head table. Usually the meetings were centered on thought-provoking subjects with speakers from far and wide who were authorities in their fields.

However, even way back then some programs were light and humorous and many involved sports figures, particularly sports at Colorado College because the membership reflected a large CC following.

The Winter Night Club has as its objective “to promote good fellowship among its members and guests and tolerant discussion of questions of the day.”

For 103 years the business and professional leaders of the Springs have found the club a medium for cohesiveness that indirectly benefits the city and El Paso County.

The club was originally men-only, but started accepting women in August 2004.

There is quite an impressive set of speakers for the upcoming season.

October 26: Scott Carpenter, “How the Impact of Science and Technology is Changing the Human Species.”

November 16: Bob Losure, “How Politics and Profits are Polarizing the Media.”

January 25: Air Force Gen. Roseanne Bailey, “Why I’m proud to be an American Soldier in the 21st Century.”

February 22: Hank Brown, president of the University of Colorado System, “Meeting Our obligations to the future of Colorado.”

March 22: Capt. Larry Brudnicki, “The Perfect Storm – Courage Under Pressure.”

I will be attending all of these, but the one that really intrigues me is Capt. Brudnicki.

I spent three and half years as a 100-ton licensed boat captain running yachts through the Great Lakes, East Coast, Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, and the scariest movie I have ever seen is “The Perfect Storm.”

I have read the book numerous times, seen the movie and have the story on audio tape. My palms still sweat.

On one delivery of a 53-foot motor sailor from Ocho Rios Jamaica to Fort Lauderdale we got caught in some pretty snotty seas and the yacht was actually falling off of one wave and being buried by the next.

Our bowsprit broke off and with two heavy anchors was about to hole the bow. I had a lifeline on and had to work on the foredeck to pull the bowsprit with a halyard. One big wave washed me off the boat but luckily the lifeline held and I was able to crawl back on board.

You can now see why “The Perfect Storm” is close to home for me. But now I am safely in the newspaper business – high and dry. I will be looking forward to Brudnicki’s talk. Come to think of it, polarizing media will be an interesting topic, too.

For more information about the Winter Night Club, call Stuart Scott at 529-8800.

Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at lon.matejczyk@csbj.com or 329-5202.