McConnell bringing championship perspective to CVB

Filed under: One on One,Print | Tags:, , ,

Alicia McConnell, director of athlete services and programs for the U.S. Olympic Committee, was recently selected as board chairwoman for the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.

She replaces former chairman John Washko, vice president of marketing for The Broadmoor.

McConnell will help cultivate partnerships with community organizations throughout the U.S., and provide additional resources, services and facilities for athletes and National Governing Bodies.

She also oversees 11 Olympic Training Sites which serve national athletes and teams, as well as eight Community Olympic Development Programs that create sport opportunities for youth.

McConnell took some time recently to talk to the Business Journal.

How long have you been with the USOC and how did you become involved?

I have been fortunate to have been with the USOC for 14 years. It is a unique organization and one that I am proud to represent. I became involved because of my extensive sport background as an athlete, coach and youth sport program director. Also, the opportunity to work with and impact numerous sports at the national level. Even though I majored in economics at the University of Pennsylvania, I soon realized that the sports industry would always be in my future because it captured my interest and motivation.Back in 1998, I was encouraged to apply for the manager of athlete development at the USOC by a fellow athlete and that was the beginning of my career at the USOC. At the time I was the head squash professional at the club I grew up playing at and the USOC was seeking a person who had years of experience as an elite athlete, coach and youth sport director.

What will your primary responsibilities be as chairwoman of the CVB Board?

My primary responsibilities as CVB chairwoman will include assisting the CVB in implement their new three-year strategic plan. I will provide assistance in getting the word out to businesses, residents and visitors as the new “brand” is launched. Also, being an advocate for tourism in general. I will enjoy supporting the CVB staff as the organization continues to collaborate with numerous organizations to promote Colorado Springs and see my role as an opportunity to speak further about the talent, innovation and possibilities of this community.

How will your sport background and experience be of service in your new position?

I think striving to achieve a high level of excellence in sports has given me a good understanding of the time, energy and commitment that it takes to reach your goals in any endeavor. It takes a team to achieve success and I look forward to working with the CVB team. My experience in sports and with the USOC have enabled me to travel across the nation and around the globe. Through that experience I have observed and collaborated with communities that have implemented a long term vision that has transformed their community into a more economically vital city in the US. Sport has also taught me the value of partnership, appreciating differences, being patient, staying positive and persevering through challenges. I appreciate the opportunity to serve the CVB and will do my best to support the staff as we strive to grow tourism, speaking to the assets, beauty and variety of experiences available in our community.

What role will tourism play in Colorado Springs during the next decade?

Tourism is such a huge part of our area and it will continue to be an economic engine that makes Colorado Springs a better place for both residents and visitors. I travel frequently with work and I have rarely met a person who does not state “Wow, that is a beautiful place to live.” Our community just needs to get the message out locally, nationally and internationally that we are a great destination.