If you drive along 8th Street in Colorado Springs, you probably have noticed a big red stone and glass building on the hill overlooking a beautiful open space. That building houses the Center for Creative Leadership’s Colorado Springs campus.
If you’ve wondered what business is conducted there, you are not alone. Many local residents know little about this global treasure right in their back yard.

Who are we?

The Center for Creative Leadership is a nonprofit global provider of executive education, developing better leaders through an exclusive focus on leadership training and research. The Center was founded during 1970 in Greensboro, N.C., where it is headquartered. CCL also has locations in San Diego, Brussels, Belgium and Singapore.
Our clients come from both profit and nonprofit organizations in 120 countries on six continents. We work annually with some 20,000 leaders who are primarily mid- to senior-level executives, top-tier or C-suite leaders (CEOs, CFO, COO’s), human resource practitioners and consultants in the leadership development field.
CCL’s world-class researchers and faculty are dedicated to developing solutions for clients’ leadership challenges. The goal is to achieve greater individual, team and organizational effectiveness.

What’s in our name?

Why are we called the Center for “Creative” Leadership?
We believe that creative leadership is the capacity to think and act beyond the boundaries that limit our effectiveness. CCL’s founder H. Smith Richardson was passionate about developing leaders to create sustainable organizations. He believed that creative leadership was a necessary ingredient.
Richardson’s family developed Vicks Vapor Rub and parlayed it into a hugely successful product. He is largely responsible for building the Vick Chemical Co., which eventually was sold to Procter & Gamble. Freed from his operational responsibilities, Richardson created the foundation that bears his name to provide CCL’s initial financial backing.

History of Springs campus

The Colorado Springs campus opened during 1983 in a Victorian house downtown and ran programs out of hotels. A grant from the El Pomar Foundation led to what is now a 66-acre campus that houses four training rooms, conference rooms, action learning laboratories and a fitness center.
In addition to training, this facility conducts extensive research on assessment tools, teams and issues regarding senior executives — the focus of several of its programs. In particular, the local campus offers a series of programs for community leaders including the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, the Community Leadership Program and the New Leaders Program.

Visions for the building

Jody Taylor, CCL’s first director in Colorado Springs, wanted the building to represent leadership. She also wanted people to leave the campus with CCL’s image of leadership imprinted in their mind.
So, creativity was reflected in the vision, and construction took place in two phases. If you have never been inside the building, here are some interesting points about its development:
PHASE 1: First building (opened October 1992)
The building was designed so you have to make choices and exercise your own intent, without predictability but with the feeling of being boundary-less. Spaces with surprising shapes were created.
Before beginning the original blueprints, local architects Holger Christiansen and Leland Reece attended programs to better understand CCL.
CCL received a $750,000 grant from El Pomar Foundation for the 66 acres of land.
The Smith Richardson Foundation paid for the building costs.
The property is zoned as “open space.”
PHASE 2: Second building (opened September 1998)
To achieve our mission of generating revenue for research, our participants required more space. This phase was financed from operating funds and the building was paid for within a year.
Since we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational facility, any additional revenue is funneled back into our leadership research.
We also “give back” to our participants through scholarship opportunities and community leadership programs.
Gateway from mountain to prairie
The full-service dining room, called the Gateway, is the core of the building. It functions as a multi-purpose room/auditorium/stage area, book store and wireless café.
Its design as a gathering place is our representation for the world — a crossroads about leadership where everyone can come and share.
The Gateway also functions as a performing arts center. Our performing artist in residence conducts a leadership module called “Artistry of Leadership” at the piano.
The Gateway has multiple levels and angles that reflect different perspectives and ways we can achieve our mission. We wanted the building to symbolize what we do and who we are — a place for inquiry.
The symbol of our leadership programs, a Button-Button appears on the banister and outside the building.
Multi-use conference room and artwork
Multi-use rooms were created for efficiency. We learn to use spaces in different ways.
Paintings and art work are on permanent display, and local artists can showcase their work for sale.
CCL is highly committed to demonstrating leadership in a sustainable environment and has done extensive work on the building’s interior and exterior and in its business practices to promote energy conservation and social responsibility.
For instance, it purchases carbon offsets for participants in our top executive program and uses green materials in new construction and renovation whenever possible.
To learn more about CCL and its offerings, visit www.ccl.org and find a program that suits you or your business.
Joan Gurvis is managing director of the Colorado Springs campus of The Center for Creative Leadership. She can be reached at 633-3891.