For Mundi Ross, it all started with a cookie.

She developed Salt + Butter Co. to market locally made gourmet cookies, and then grew her local network into not one, but two jobs.

Ross left Leadership Pikes Peak last month to start developing marketing ideas and designing restaurant areas and product displays at Garden of the Gods Market and TILL Restaurant. She also oversees Colorado Collective, a nonprofit magazine that highlights entrepreneurs and creative products in the community.

And she does it all because she believes in making a difference where she lives.

“I get so tired of other young professionals saying that they think Colorado Springs is lame, that there’s nothing to do here,” she said. “There is plenty to do here, if you get out and look for it. There are all kinds of creative people, making things, doing things in this community. I want to be part of that, part of that conversation.”

Ross is doing more than just being part of the conversation. She’s leading it. In fact, the magazine gained her the job she just started.

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“I had the latest issue of the Colorado Collective at the [Garden of the Gods] market,” she said. “And the owners saw it and wanted to talk to me. They offered me a job redesigning the market and working with the chefs on the menus. I’ll be overseeing the market and working with the new restaurant, TILL, as well.

“I’m designing space and products in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing. It’s taking what I do with CoCo and translating it from paper.”

Ross said she wasn’t looking for work, but it was a “pretty amazing opportunity.”

And Yemi Mobolade of the Wild Goose Meeting House says that’s why he nominated her for the award.

“She did that with Leadership Pikes Peak,” he said. “She went in to work with some of the programs on a volunteer basis, and they offered her a job.”

Mobolade said he nominated Ross for the award because “she gets it. She gets the community; she gets local; she knows what it means to roll up her sleeves and take an active role in the community,” he said. “She’s not just talking — like so many other young professionals — she’s doing. Many people have ideas, but Mundi takes the risk. She has courage to do what needs to be done to see those ideas function.”

But it takes more than hard work, he says.

“She has this capability to draw people together,” he said. “It’s not just about networking. She can create a call to action, to make visions a reality. Her leadership powers — that’s just something intangible that she is very good at.”

And the cookies might be making a comeback.

“I’d love to do it again,” she said, “to have my cookies in stores and at the farmers markets. It’s definitely a possibility.”

­­—Amy Gillentine Sweet