Look up “leader” in the thesaurus and words like boss, captain, helmsman, and honcho pop up. Yeah, sure, of course. But keep scrolling and you’ll also find these synonyms: channel and conduit, bellwether and forerunner. Ah, now we’re talking. These are the types of leaders this last year not only demanded but also created. These are the types of people who figured and innovated and poured every ounce of creative energy into not just surviving the pandemic’s brave new world, but also charging ahead, improvising, improving—leading.
In a year that could have flattened us, voices rang out, doing the work of many, for many. There are names we have gotten to know, the ones who have scratched their way into press conferences and newspaper, magazine, radio, and TV interviews. They have kept the industry top of mind and we are beyond grateful for their tireless work. But this month, we honor 10 lesser-known figures we’re calling the Wave Makers. These men and women from across the state have dug in and refused to give up both for their own survival and also for something bigger: community. From Denver to Salida and Crested Butte to Telluride, these people have emerged as a new generation of leadership—get to know them.
No doubt you have seen leaders emerge in your own organizations. Champion them, encourage them, and watch how they drive the industry forward. Our hope in the year to come—one that promises new growth and new thinking—is that we’ll use fewer titles like boss and manager and lean more heavily on inspiring terms like groundbreaker, harbinger, and pioneer.
Let’s see where we go from here.
Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to firstname.lastname@example.org.