Telford at the forefront of building a giving community

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Lynne Telford joined Pikes Peak United Way during 2000 as CFO.

Lynne Telford joined Pikes Peak United Way during 2000 as CFO.

Lynne Telford joined Pikes Peak United Way during 2000 as chief financial officer after more than 25 years in corporate America.

After taking a few months off from a job at a local high-tech company, she decided to import her financial management experience into a nonprofit setting — and has never looked back.

Telford has brought extensive knowledge of sound financial practices and team management skills to the agencies for which she has worked.

She recently took time to tell CSBJ about herself and her organization.

Organization: Pikes Peak United Way

Position: Vice president and chief operating officer

Hometown: Long Beach, Calif.

How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: 14 years

Education: Business degree from San Jose State University

A few words about your company/organization: Pikes Peak United Way brings together people and organizations to improve the quality of lives in the Pikes Peak region.

Since 1922, we have been addressing the needs of residents. The needs have changed and the ways we help have changed, but we have always been about serving people.

Recent accomplishments: I was recently named COO at PPUW and I have the honor of being one of the leaders of our school readiness initiative.

We are partnering with other organizations in town to make sure that all our local children are prepared for success. Right now, one in four of our third-graders do not read at a third-grade level.

We can and we will move the needle on this sad statistic.

Biggest career break/accomplishment: Four years as the executive director of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence gave me the opportunity to engage even more deeply in the nonprofit sector.

The toughest part of your job: The days are not long enough. There are so many worthwhile projects, events and people that I would like to engage with. I have to remind myself to focus.

Someone you admire: Jerry Smith was an inspiring leader, and I was very fortunate to work closely with him when he was the board chairman of PPUW and later when he was the CEO.

He had a big vision for the organization, and I think he would be proud that we have continued to make significant contributions.

About your family: My husband, Doug, is recently retired and I am enjoying his delicious cooking. Our daughter and son are grown and live on the West Coast.

Something else you’d like to accomplish: I want to be part of growing the collective philanthropy in our community. Giving feels good and more people should experience the joy of giving time, money and energy. The need has been growing, so philanthropy is more important than ever.

How your business will change during the next decade: To really make a difference in some of the Quality of Life Indicators, significant effort and resources will have to be invested. That is why we are looking at focused indicators that will have a positive and lasting impact on the community.

What book are you currently reading? “Community: The Structure of Belonging,” by Peter Block  and “The Scent of Sake,” by Joyce Lebra.

What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? I think we should build a more supportive system for our elected officials. They work hard and do their best to represent us.