Rachel Beck, government affairs manager with the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC, is a native of Southern California who moved to Colorado in 1995. She graduated from high school while living in Golden before making her way to Colorado Springs to attend the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She soon discovered health care was not the path for her.

“I switched my major to English [at UCCS]. I went from the practical choice to the extremely impractical choice — and I loved it!” she said.

It was Beck’s love of reading that led her to follow her true passion — writing.

She was working at a coffee shop just prior to college graduation and had recurring conversations with a regular.

“He asked me what I wanted to do, and I said I wanted to write,” she said. “He worked [for the city of Colorado Springs] and he introduced me to someone in the city’s communications office. I got an internship there and started out writing speeches.”

Beck wrote speeches for then-mayor Mary Lou Makepeace.

“That was a great [city] council,” Beck recalled. “They had great discussions. They were often very lively and would often disagree, but they did it in a respectful way. It shaped my whole view of government.”

Beck was eventually hired on full-time by the city, and then went on to work at Colorado Springs Utilities as a communications specialist.

She left that role for two reasons: a yearning to travel and to work for herself.

Beck resigned from CSU and spent three months in Costa Rica with her husband. When she returned, she began freelancing.

“I struck out on my own and that was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my career. It was a big jump,” she said. “I got to work on some of the most exciting projects of my career during that time, and it really forced me to be proactive. At utilities and the city, I was at the very bottom of the chain. In my own company, there was nobody but me — nobody to deflect to, no one else to make the decisions, no one else to get things done. But that was good.”

Beck was recently hired by the Chamber & EDC, where she combines her knack for communications with her passion for policy.

“One thing I love about working in government and communications is all the different things you get to learn about and work on,” she said. “One day it’s budget stuff and credit and bonding. The next day it’s parks and water and how that works.”

And Beck has grown fond of everything that “stuff” creates.

“I think Colorado Springs is the biggest small town. It’s a cool space with the advantages of a big area, but I love that I can walk down the street and always see people I know,” Beck said. “I’ve been on a first-name basis with the last four mayors, and it’s not because I’m anybody special, it’s just how this community works.”

Friend Beth Seymour was one of Beck’s nominators for Rising Stars recognition.

“When I think of Rachel, William Shakespeare’s quote ‘Though she be but little, she is fierce!’ comes to mind,” said Seymour. “Rachel is a quiet, humble tour de force in every endeavor she commits herself. She is never looking for glory in her work; instead she strives for tangible, positive results that benefit the whole community. Rachel is thoughtful, meticulous and professional in all she does. I am thrilled she was selected for this prestigious honor — she is so deserving.”