Colorado Change Leader Program

Program Summary

The Colorado Change Leader Program teaches cultural and community leaders how to handle change in organizations, communities, and their daily lives.

The program is made up of a(n):

  • institute
  • certification project
  • network of participants

The institute is a three-day course to prepare leaders for a certification project. If your certification project meets certain requirements, you may receive a $500 stipend to implement the project. The network provides participants a way to continue engagement with current and past participants of the program.

Since we began this model, evaluations suggest that people gained personal, organizational, and community skills. Our surveys show:

  • 95% of participants credit the institute with increased skill in leading change
  • 95% of participants gained skills they can apply to community projects
  • 90% of participants report enhanced leadership awareness and ability 


Type: Leadership program

For: Colorado residents interested in community building

Cost: Participants are provided with a stipend that covers food, lodging, and materials required for participation.

Application deadline: Rolling

OEDIT division: Colorado Creative Industries

Change Leader Institute

The institute accepts 12-15 participants for each of the 3-day institute that is held annually in the fall. The course takes a learn-by-doing approach with reflective listening and questioning. The program:

  • develops leadership skills
  • supports a statewide mentoring network
  • reduces geographic isolation
  • helps participants change their communities

We keep class sizes small to allow active learning and personal connection. When reviewing applications, we consider participant and organizational diversity, equity, inclusion, and geographic diversity.

Change Leader Certification Project

Change Leader Certification Projects are creative solutions to social and community needs. After you take part in the institute, you can submit a Certification Project proposal. If your proposal is accepted, Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) will give a stipend of up to $500 to complete your project.

You will need to plan a project that responds to your community’s needs. Each project is different, and we encourage Change Leaders to work together on projects. Past project examples include:

  • supporting local civic engagement using arts as a medium
  • implementing a creative activity using the Change Leader network as a collective volunteer pool of collaborative partners
  • illustrating the impact of the arts and artists in meeting social and community needs through new targeted activities
  • increasing connections among diverse groups in their respective communities
  • raising awareness of and creating a stronger sense of unity in the Change Leader network and the creative sector through media and other public relations

After you complete your project, you will be officially certified at the Colorado Creative Industries Summit.

Change Leader Network

An important part of the Change Leader program is continued engagement with the statewide network of participants. Change Leaders are resources and mentors to each other in the sometimes isolated work of creating lasting change in communities.

We hold statewide meetings of Change Leaders each year in conjunction with the Colorado Creative Industries Summit to continue networking and educational opportunities. The meeting includes presentations of new Change Leader Certification Projects.

Throughout the year, we engage Change Leaders through network communications, regional gatherings and other opportunities for learning and connection. We encourage Change Leaders to be active in the network and help in creating engagement around issues, challenges, and opportunities.

Change Leaders are a diverse group and can be anyone working creatively to improve his or her community. They represent rural, urban, suburban, and mountain areas, communities and organizations of all sizes, businesses, and creatives.

To apply for the Change Leader Program, you need to:

  • be a Colorado resident
  • be at least 18 years old
  • work or volunteer as one or more of these: individual visual or performing artist or designer, civic leader, executive director, professor, government employee, business owner, representative of creative enterprises or a board member, or an administrator or volunteer of a cultural or creative nonprofit

If you are selected for an institute:

  • you need to participate fully in the three-day institute agenda
  • you are responsible for your transportation to the site

Applications are currently paused for this program as CCI completes updates to the program. We anticipate that we will accept applications for the next institute in late summer/early fall 2024. Please subscribe to the CCI newsletter for updates.

If you submitted an application in 2022 or 2023 and have not participated in a Change Leader institute, CCI will contact you to roll your application over. If your contact information changes, be sure to update it in the Colorado Creative Industries Grant portal.

We select Change Leader participants whose applications represent:

  • Passion and commitment to community engagement and the arts
  • A variety of arts and cultural leadership experience
  • Geographic, ethnic, and cultural diversity
  • Age and gender diversity
  • Community vitality through the arts and the creative sector


View CCI Change Leaders in a full screen map

Spring 2014: Mt. Princeton Change Leaders

14 change leaders pose in a line in front of a mountain view framed by trees

Brandy Brandy, Eagle, CO
Chantalle Hanschu, Denver, CO
Charles Leslie, Durango, CO
David Dadone, Boulder, CO
Delaney Keating, Gunnison, CO
Gisela Flanigan, Grand Junction, CO
Jay Seller, Denver, CO
Marilyn Leuszler, Trinidad, CO
Pamela Denahy, La Junta, CO
Pamela Pleasant-Foster, Craig, CO
Tanya Mote, Denver, CO
Tom Dessain, Crestone, CO

Fall 2014: Shining Blue Change-ineers
16 change leaders pose on steps in front of a white colonial style building. one woman in the front of the group holds a poster that says shining blue change leaders in blue marker

Amanda Flores, Taos, NM
Armondo Silva, Greeley, CO
Bruce Borowsky, Boulder, CO
Carlie Kenton, Gunnison, CO
Julie Worley, La Junta, CO
Katherine Danforth, Crestone, CO
Kathy Webb, Laporte, CO
Kenneth Grimes, Denver, CO
Kim Keith, Steamboat Springs, CO
Mary Hockenberry, Hotchkiss, CO
Ralph Holloway, Woodland Park, CO
Michael Varnum, Salida, CO

Spring 2015: Goose Buck-A-Neers
15 change leaders pose in a line in front of a brick industrial building

Andy Vick, Colorado Springs, CO
Angela Canada Hopkins, Loveland, CO
Catherine Augur, Creed, CO
Curtis Killorn, Salida, CO
Danielle Brooks, Aurora, CO
Jeannene Bragg, Denver, CO
Jose Esparza, Denver, CO
Judd Farner, Fort Collins, CO 
Kim Harrell, Aurora, CO
Maureen Hearty, Joes, CO
Rachel Basye, Denver, CO
Rachelle Alvarez, Rocky Ford, CO 

Fall 2015: GooseRiders
16 change leaders pose around a wooden planter with a mountain vista and cabin style house behind them

Annette Coleman, Lakewood, CO
Barbie Corey, Yuma, CO
Damon McLeese, Denver, CO
Dulcie Willis, Fort Collins, CO
Justin Garoutte, Antonito, CO
Lynn Waldorf, Denver, CO
Michelle Uyemura, Wray, CO
Nathan Richie, Golden, CO
Ryan Foo, Denver, CO
Sarah Leversee, Boulder, CO
Sheila Sears, Denver, CO
Tyler Breuer, Denver, CO

Spring 2016: The V Force 

Amy Kimberly, Carbondale, CO
Ben Litwin, Denver, CO
Bryce Alexander
Carla Aguilar, Denver, CO
Crystal Bliss Lardy, Colorado Springs, CO
Elizabeth VanDyne, Loveland, CO
Jeff Owsley, Alamosa, CO
Leah Brenner Clack, Boulder, CO
Leanne Goebel, Pagosa Springs, CO
Mary George, Paonia, CO
Ryan Nisogi, Denver, CO

Fall 2016: Change Devils
12 change leaders pose on a porch with mountain vista behind them

Toluwanimi Obiwole, Denver, CO
Karol Gates, Denver, CO
Deborah Malden, Boulder, CO
Ashley Ahlene, Buena Vista, CO
Kendall Smith, Englewood, CO
Winter Ross, Crestone, CO
Candice Bannister, Steamboat Springs, CO
Christy Costello, Denver, CO
Andrew Schneider, Trinidad, CO
Kristina Bad Hand, Denver, CO
Robert Joseph, Montrose, CO
Christine Scott, Durango, CO

Spring 2017: The Charettes
11 change leaders pose in a line in front of a golden wall. the front row of the group is holding an official change leader institute poster

Ruth Wilson, Denver, CO
Andre Carbonell, Denver, CO
Cris Ciani, Denver, CO
Maria Cocchiarelli, Walsenburg, CO
Kasey Correia, Ignacio, CO
Krista DeHerrera, Gypsum, CO
Hamidah Glasgow, Fort Collins, CO
Mary Hoffman, Alamosa, CO
Kathy Iwanowski, Denver, CO
Jing Yeng, Denver, CO
Jack Rogers, Fort Collins, CO

Fall 2017: Colaborado Change Gang

Meredith Badler, Denver, CO
Becca Bay, Timnath, CO
Lerita Cavness, Denver, CO
Lares Feliciano, Denver, CO 
Ann Lukacs, Fairplay, CO
Jill MacKay, Bellvue, CO
Matthew Mammola, Englewood, CO
Sooner McKay, Mount Crested Butte, CO
Erin Murphy, Durango, CO
Brendan Picker, Denver, CO
Mundi Ross, Colorado Springs, CO
Jan Nadav, Denver, CO

Spring 2018: Super Tasters
14 change leaders pose in a cluster on a grass lawn with a mountain vista behind them

Mary Jo Coulehan, Pagosa Springs, CO
Stuart Handloff, Steamboat Springs, CO
Amy Lynn, Denver, CO
Crystal Jacquez, Denver, CO
Wael Khalifa, Denver, CO
Denise Leslie, Durango, CO
Dagny McKinley, Steamboat Springs, CO
Taylor Tschida, Denver, CO
Claudia Moran-Pichardo, Denver, CO
Keyonne Session, Denver, CO
Anna Lee Vargas, Antonito, CO
Emily Whalen, Denver, CO

Fall 2018: Wave Riders
12 change leaders pose in a cluster in front of red rocks

Angie Lackey, Greeley, CO
Antonio Mendez, Denver, CO
Heather Leavitt Martinez, Durango, CO
JD McCrumb, Columbine Valley, CO 
Jonathan Howard, Denver, CO
Katherine Rich, Carbondale, CO
Samantha Johnson, Denver, CO
Scott Parker, Steamboat Springs, CO
Sydney Clapp, Denver, CO
Tara Thomas, Colorado Springs, CO
Victoria Martinez, Alamosa, CO
Suzi Smith, Denver, CO

Fall 2019: The Veginots Eleven

Caitlyn Love, Grand Junction, CO
Susie Kaldis, Paonia, CO
Gillian Laycock, Hugo, CO
Jennifer Dewey, Denver, CO
Garrett Hilpipre, Denver, CO
Alexis Whitham, Denver, CO
Sandra Dolak, La Veta, CO
Mary Elizabeth Lenahan, Boulder, CO
Helanius Wilkins, Boulder, CO
Ulises Fernandez, Denver, CO
Susan Lander, Durango, CO

Spring 2022: CO-FLOW
12 change leaders pose in a cluster on concrete stairs in front of a white stone covered building

Jen Olsen, Denver, CO
David Goe, Grand Junction, CO
Kristi Rogers, Trinidad, CO
Armida Huerta, Mancos, CO
Kennedy Reilly-Pugh, Pueblo, CO
Evan Tueller, Telluride, CO
Sarah Harrison, Denver, CO
Jevon Taylor, Denver, CO
Rachel Hanson, Lafayette, CO
Emily King, Arvada, CO
Sarah Slater, Denver, CO
Tya Anthony, Denver, CO

Fall 2022: Flocking Amazing
14 change leaders pose on a gravel path. Behind them is a river and brush-covered hills.

Andres Giraldo, Denver, CO
Beau Augustin, Denver, CO
Bliss Coleman, Aurora, CO
Cindy Foley, Colorado Springs, CO
Emma Acheson, Denver, CO
Josh Palmeri, Denver, CO
Katie Kindle, Fort Collins, CO
Lila Day, Pueblo, CO
Maura Adamson, Golend, CO
Megan Janssen, Carbondale, CO
Mitchell Oliver, Hotchkiss, CO
Alan Brooks, Denver, CO
Rachel Wattles, Hayden, CO
Tina Chavera, Denver, CO


Success Stories

“Art is often a solo enterprise, but it can also play a bigger role in communication and community building. Change Leaders has been a positive, practical influence and inspiration for me. Everyone who has anything to do with art should be part of this. Keep up the good work!”
– Craig Hibberd, Fort Collins 

“The Colorado Change Leader Institute helped me better understand the strengths and weaknesses in my community work, and gave me the tools to be effective in achieving my heart’s vision. The beauty of this training is I am still learning from it three years later.”
– Mary Hockenbery, Hotchkiss 

“The institute didn’t just help me refocus and gain a new perspective on what community leadership really means, it reminded me how to connect with others through authentic dialogue.”
– Becca Bay, Timnath 

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