Last week we heard from three incredible leaders – our 9NEWS Leader of the Year finalists Anthony Aragon, Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler and Andrew Schmidt. And, in case you missed it, it was amazing! As many of you know, each year our Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation and 9NEWS partner to select the 9NEWS Leader of the Year. This year is particularly cool because for the first time in the history of this award, Chamber members will help select the winner!
Here’s what we heard about their leadership journeys as Kevin Pitts, Denver Business Journal Publisher, interviewed the three finalists:
Nita shared the leadership lessons she learned from her parents and growing up in the segregated South, “recognizing that leadership is more about how you move in the world and less about the title that I was going to hold.” That’s why it’s no surprise that after decades of successfully working her way up the government and corporate ladders, Nita started her own businesses – The Equity Project and The HR Shop. Through her work today she guides community and company conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion and she is having an incredible impact. Nita also shared that a big part of leadership for her is to give back to her community, including her work with the Denver Foundation and the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation.
Andrew’s commitment to his community has really been on steroids these past two years, where he has dedicated himself to bringing an innovative, self-sustaining, two-year vocational training school to Denver that helps men and women break the cycles of addiction and crime. The Other Side Academy: Denver is set to open this spring, and what’s even more incredible is that Andrew is running a business, growing his family and supporting other nonprofits like the Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute at the same time. I love how Andrew sees his business, Core Contractors, Roofing Systems, as the spark for his community engagement. “The process of small business and the discovery of purpose within our organization has led to this adventure of purpose in myself in the community,” he said.
Anthony shared how a negative experience in his life is what ended up putting him on his career trajectory. “I came out in junior high school in the ninth grade when I was 14 and got bullied a lot,” he said, noting that experience impacted how he looked at school. While he graduated, he wanted to go right into the workforce. “I was so blessed when I was 20 years old to get hired as a receptionist in Mayor Federico Peña’s office,” he said. “And that really started my journey and my career.” Over the past 30 years he’s been an advocate in the LGBTQ and Latino communities and has given his time and talent to countless organizations, including planning the PrideFest parade and launching a Latino giving circle. Anthony is also embarking a new leadership role as the director of community engagement for the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative.
These three have done the hard work – now you get to do the easy part – just vote for one of them. Cast your vote.
You can learn a little more by checking out the videos for these three amazing individuals:
We hope you will join us in celebrating these three incredible leaders and recognizing this year’s 9NEWS Leader of the Year by joining us at the Leading Colorado luncheon on March 14th. Get your table or tickets
Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.