The 24-year-old communications graduate then moved to Colorado Springs in the spring of 2010, after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa.
She wasted no time getting involved in the community. She took a spot on the board of the Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers and was elected secretary of the Public Relations Society of America. She also is on the auction committee for the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Ball fundraiser.
This month she embarked on a new role when she accepted a job as marketing and communications manager for the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.
Harp took some time this week to talk to the Business Journal about her new job.
What attracted you most about the position with the Business Alliance?
When the Business Alliance began looking for a marketing and communications manager, I saw the opportunity to be a part of a team that has the “business interests” of the Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak region at heart. The mission of the organization is focused on growing the economy of our great area. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? I went into the public relations field to be a voice for companies looking to grow. The Business Alliance is here to support businesses of all sizes. It’s also here to work in partnership with every organization and company that has a hand in helping to grow the economy, existing companies and prospective companies that could move their business here alike. We are bringing the brand of the Colorado Springs area to life for those who live here, in partnership with several other organizations.
What are some of the challenges of the job?
Obviously, with any newly merged organization there are going to be communications challenges. We have more than 1,500 member investors, and the list is growing every day. We have a board of directors and scores of member volunteers already engaged in the organization and those seeking to become engaged. And, we serve a thriving and growing community of military and defense contractors, community partners, numerous business interests as well as the interests of businesses considering relocation to our region. Everything we do as an organization involves communication. The challenge will be streamlining that communication so we get the right information to our vast audience at the right time.
What are some of the biggest projects you anticipate working on in 2013?
My major role will be communicating the programs the Business Alliance is leading and involved in, legislative initiatives that are critical to our region such as potential sequestration and the discussion of the future of Colorado Springs Utilities and the Martin Drake Power Plant, for examples, as well as communicating Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak region’s current economic news/trends and happenings. Communications may be through traditional channels and electronic tools such as email and the Business Alliance website, or through social media. We are currently in the remodel phase of a new website for the organization. By this spring, there will be a new look and a user-friendly format with functionality for current member investors as well as for local and prospective businesses to find information about our area.
How has your past marketing/communication experience prepared you for this job?
In Grand Junction, I was fortunate enough to have an internship with the chamber of commerce. As the marketing intern, I helped with events and printed communications pieces that were distributed to members. At Berwick Electric in Colorado Springs, I developed several website pages and improved the functionality of the site. In June 2012, I organized a five-day meeting that brought contractors from around the world to the local, yet famous, Broadmoor hotel. It’s been a learning opportunity, where you teach yourself that your weaknesses can also be your new strengths, and you can only improve. I have had the assistance of several wonderful mentors helping to guide me in my professional growth.
What advice do you have for fellow young professionals?
If you don’t know where you’re going, you only have to request the opportunities, and doors will be opened. Help from others in your organization, in the community and a little divine guidance go a long way.