Woman of Influence: Lynn Pelz

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Lynn Pelz, Peak Vista Community Health Centers

Lynn Pelz’s career really started in elementary school. As a Girl Scout, she was energized by the volunteer work of scouting. Her parents stood as strong examples, since they both invested time in non-profit work.

“I love working for non-profits, it is my passion,” Pelz, the director of communications and outreach at Peak Vista Community Health Centers says. Peak Vista, a non-profit group of 19 health centers, provided 59,000 uninsured or underinsured people with medical and dental care last year. About 71 percent of Peak Vista’s patients live at or below the poverty line and almost half are children.

“Connecting with the patients” is the most fun part of her job, she says. As part of her communications responsibilities, she creates patient profiles, telling patient stories, so the community can better understand the key role Peak Vista plays in Colorado Springs.

She is understandably proud of Breakfast of Champions, the signature fundraiser for Peak Vista she developed. “We always have an Olympian as the keynote speaker. We’ve had Mary Lou Retton, Scott Hamilton and others,” she says proudly. The event has transitioned to become a project of Peak Vista’s foundation, but Pelz has never quite let go of it. “This is my baby,” she says. (This year’s event is Nov. 3 at the Broadmoor Hotel and features wrestling gold medalist Rulon Gardner).

Funding is especially essential for Peak Vista right now. “We have had such an increase in our patient load because of the economy,” she says. “It is really a hard time for a lot of people.”

Pelz grew up in St. Joseph, Mo. and Sarasota, Fla. She went to Colorado College and fell in love with the area and her husband Will. The couple came to Colorado Springs in 1971. Along with raising two children, Pelz threw herself into volunteer work with the Junior League and other groups.

The volunteer work led her to a job in the alumni relations department at Colorado College and then to a series of other positions including seven years with Penrose-St. Francis Health Services. Prior to her current perch at Peak Vista, she was vice president of communications and public relations at the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce for seven years.