Woman of Influence: Sandi Yukman

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Sandi Yukman, Colorado Springs Utilities

Show Sandi Yukman a mountain, and she’ll climb it. Whether trekking Colorado’s highest peaks, rising through the ranks of the business or lending a hand to young people, the Denver-born Yukman is up for the challenge.

As a “14er,” Yukman has climbed all 59 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. Now she’s tackling the ones at 13,800 or above — all 118 of them.

“So far we’ve climbed 108. I love it,” she says.

She’s always had her sights set on the next conquest. A few years after graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder with a bachelor of science in management information systems, Yukman joined Colorado Springs Utilities as a programmer analyst. There, she eventually worked her way up to chief integrated resources officer and then human resources general manager. Along the way she earned an MBA from University of Colorado Colorado Springs. All while raising a family, one that loves the outdoors.

“We play in the mountains every weekend,” Yukman says, although her idea of “play” might not be everyone’s.

Her love of children and young people extends beyond her own two teenagers to the community at large. She serves as the board chair for the Child Nursery Centers dedicated to providing early education for all children, and is on the board of the Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center. PPTRC works to improve lives of people with physical and intellectual disabilities or special needs through horse assisted activities and therapies.

As an alumni leadership team member at UCCS, Yukman is in charge of the Speed Mentoring program at the school. “It’s like speed dating, but we did it with mentoring. Over the course of a few hours, the students change mentors every 15 minutes,” she says.

Expanding opportunities for people in the outdoors is also important to her. She is the chief coordinator for the Catamount Wild Land Fire Team, which helps to protect Colorado Springs Utilities infrastructure. She’s a member of the Incline Friends Executive Committee, which is making progress on giving the public access to the Incline, a one mile trail with a 2,000-foot elevation gain.

But again, Yukman loves an uphill challenge. She regularly participates in the Pikes Peak Ascent, a 13.2 mile race with a 7,800 feet elevation gain.