Mattie Gullixson is no stranger to shaping public policy. At only 30 years old, she has built an impressive resume effecting tangible change for her fellow Coloradoans.

“I like new challenges,” Gullixson said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

Gullixson rises to those challenges, both in her job as a senior regulatory compliance analyst for Mayor John Suthers’ office and her volunteer work with various nonprofit organizations in Colorado Springs.

“Mattie has a decorated background as a scholar and government professional and continues to make a large impact in the Colorado Springs community,” nominator Shawn Gullixson wrote of his wife. “Colorado Springs and the mayor’s office are lucky to have Mattie working to move our community forward.”

In her newly created position, Gullixson focuses primarily on marijuana policy – studying the practices of other jurisdictions, monitoring the state Legislature and coordinating a working group of stakeholders with diverse perspectives and community interests.

“Even though it’s been legal for several years now, it still is a very nascent industry,” Gullixson said. “I have an opportunity in this role to understand, appreciate and look at the topic from a lot of different perspectives.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree in economics from George Mason University, Gullixson returned to her home state to pursue a masters degree in international political policy from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. A stint as a budget analyst in then-Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Office of Budgeting and Planning followed; then a job designing, developing and implementing the state’s performance management program.

“It was a lot of building a program from the ground up, and Colorado is still recognized as one of the foremost states that has a really effective, goal-oriented state government,” Gullixson said.

Gullixson moved back to Colorado Springs in 2015 to take over as executive director of The First Tee of Pikes Peak, an international nonprofit organization that uses golf as a medium to teach kids life skills and core values. She continued to use the connections she formed in the local nonprofit community when she returned to the public policy world a year later as El Paso County’s assistant election manager.

“I worked in getting a lot more exposure for voter registration programs in the county, and I worked with a couple folks to put together new games and a giant chessboard in Acacia Park,” Gullixson said. “That was a way to continue to add some vitality to that central part of our city.”

Gullixson currently is collaborating with former city councilwoman Brandy Williams to organize events and community conversations about men’s mental and emotional health, she said.

“There are some really important issues to work on,” Gullixson said. “I love this community. I want to see all folks rise.”

— Erinn Callahan

What makes Colorado Springs home?

“There was something different, something special, every time I drove down and visited. When people talk it about it being a big city with a small-town heart and feel, it does … It’s kind of Camelot.”