What have you learned since becoming ED?
I have learned to delegate and empower others. We have a great team at CCALT and it has been fun to watch our staff take on new responsibilities and flourish. Their hard work, dedication and “just get it done” attitude have helped CCALT accomplish a great deal in the past 12 months. There is always more to do, but the great thing about CCALT is that we are a team of passionate people willing to take on any challenge to improve our service to the landowners who choose to work with CCALT.
What has been the biggest challenge thus far?
Finding ways to work within the new regulatory environment and still complete agricultural land conservation. The Division of Real Estate’s administration of the easement program is critical to giving both landowners and the public confidence that transactions are meeting the goals of the program, but the existing processes need to be tweaked to facilitate a more efficient review process. The good news is we are making progress on this front.
What are you most proud of accomplishing this year?
Strengthening our relationship with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). Our relationship with CCA is our competitive advantage. It gives landowners confidence that the foundational principles we stand for will not change over time. I am thankful for CCA Executive Vice President Terry Fankhauser and the CCA board’s willingness to think outside of the box about ways in which both organizations can partner together for the benefit of CCA members and ag producers.
Anyone important you want to thank for helping you throughout the year? A mentor? Someone who helped advise you?
My wife. She has been so supportive throughout this year and helped me navigate a new job, grad school and a baby. I could not have done it without her.
How did you balance grad school, a new baby, and a new role at CCALT? What was key?
I did not sleep. While the lack of sleep think is largely true, the real key to balancing all of those things was to have a supportive family, staff and board of directors. Also important was learning how to delegate and letting go of control of certain things that in the past I would have had a hard time relinquishing.
What are your future goals for CCALT?
We have to find ways to make conservation work better. I have challenged the CCALT staff to figure out ways in which we can reduce hassle, reduce risk and increase value. If we do those three things we will make conservation work better. Beyond that we have to increase our reach and our fundraising effectiveness. Why? So we can better serve the CCA members and ag producers who express interest in working with CCALT and ensure that Colorado continues to be defined by its natural beauty and western heritage.
Random wisdom you gained this year?
If we think about stress in a positive manner it can help us to perform better. There is a great Ted Talk on this subject that I think is worth everyone watching to gain a different perspective on how to think about stress.