There aren’t many Springs natives who stick around long enough to be highly visible members of the community. Shannon Coker is one of the few. Coker has called Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado her professional home since October of 2007; she currently works as chief operating officer.

Melissa Burkhardt-Shields, originally of Pueblo, began her career in education from a place of adversity. She took a job teaching second grade at now-shuttered Helen Hunt Elementary School, in Colorado Springs’ Hillside neighborhood, which at the time was one of the lowest performing student…

Susan DiNapoli does the kind of nonprofit work that nobody hopes they’ll need. Sue’s Gift, formerly the Sue DiNapoli Ovarian Cancer Society, supports people who’ve been diagnosed with gynecologic cancer.

Dr. Sandy Ho (she/they), Assistant Dean in the UCCS College of Education, has been teaching since 2006, but she didn’t start out wanting to be an educator. “I wanted to deliver babies,” Ho says. “That was my goal.”

For 20 years, Dr. Kenya Lee worked in pediatrics, both at the Air Force Academy and in private practice. But after two decades as a pediatrician (a board certification she still holds), something wasn’t right.

Mina Liebert’s mother was a Vietnamese refugee. Coming to America, a country whose language she did not know, meant she would have to abandon her professional career as an attorney.

Ernest Chamblee has treated community service as a fundamental part of who he is, just as much as his real-estate businesses and two related LLCs. He was a Mayor’s Civic Leaders Fellow in 2021 and is involved in the City Investment Advisory Committee, the Boots to Suits program through Veter…

When Fernando Gonzalez confronts aggression in dogs in his work with Two Tails Training, he sees it as reflective of the changes he’s made in his own life. He’s proud of going to therapy and making intentional changes in himself to influence those around him. 

When Joseph Shelton spoke out against transphobia and for the LGBTQ+ community at Colorado Springs School District 11’s Feb. 24 board meeting, he took the podium in a rainbow-colored jacket and made an impression. But he’s been on this mission for years. 

Stephen Martin spent eight years in the United States Army. In that time, he rarely sat behind a computer and hardly ever looked through the lens of a camera. 

There are great combinations that everyone knows, like peanut butter and jelly. And then there are pairings that are less well known, but still worthy of exploration, like poetry and philosophy, or artistry and incarceration.

Daniel Campaña got a very early start as an entrepreneur and leader. At 19, he started a nonprofit focused on encouraging students to leave the confines of church walls and volunteer in inner city communities. That communitarianism also motivated him to help found FOCUS several years later, …

Colorado Springs native DeLovell Earls grew up in Southeast, and attended The Colorado Springs School. As a senior, he was named to the Denver Post’s all-Colorado basketball team, while also excelling academically. A comment he made to the Denver Post about starring for his class 2A team is …

After graduating in 2005 from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in economics and government, Alex Lugo searched for a job that aligned with his values.

Stephany Rose Spaulding recalls one of her first in-person interviews 10 years ago for her teaching position at UCCS. The Chicago native was told of all the living things that make the area home, including plenty of deer — and the occasional mountain lion.

Jessica “Jessie” Pocock was homeless at 13. She couch-surfed in unsafe places while struggling with substance abuse. At 17, she got sober, and this year she’s celebrating 20 years of sobriety.

If you ask Dr. Detra Duncan what her full-time job is, she’d likely tell you she’s a public health officer with Spectrum Healthcare Partners. The licensed dietitian and Fountain resident consults local health care providers to ensure nutritional services are up to par.

During her 14 years with Visit Colorado Springs, Amy Long has earned a reputation as someone who is able to handle a crisis in a calm, professional and effective manner.

When Yolanda Avila moved home to Colorado Springs in 2011, she was struck by the lack of public transportation, sidewalks and businesses in the Southeast. So she jumped in to make a difference and give back to her community.

As former business relations and employment development director for the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, Dana Barton made a difference in the lives of job seekers. Now, as director of the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, she’s making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities and their families. The common thread: affecting numerous lives for […]

If you don’t ask, the answer is no. If you have a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. That’s the advice Kristen Christy’s mother gave her years ago, and it’s the way she’s lived her life ever since. It hasn’t been easy. Christy has seen far more than her share of […]

Torie Giffin’s dream of founding and operating a cycling-centric lodge began as just that — a dream. “I always wanted to do my own thing,” Giffin, owner of the Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort, told the Business Journal. “Two nights in a row I had a dream about a hotel that would cater to bicyclists. It […]

Native Coloradan Amber Coté has been a go-to person in the Colorado Springs nonprofit world for more than 20 years — and she’s far from finished. So extensive is her resumé that it might be that of someone a generation older, about to enter a well-deserved retirement. She’s served on the boards of the Fine Arts […]

Not long after Cynthia Chung Aki retired from the military and moved to Colorado Springs, she felt a need to give something back to her new community. Since her arrival 21 years ago, she’s volunteered her time serving on numerous boards and committees for city and county government initiatives, as well as for local businesses […]

Chamisa MacIndoe knew she wanted to be a physician when she was a teenager. Growing up in a small, rural southern Colorado community with a single mom and three sisters, she had to work harder than most to achieve that goal. “I grew up very poor and had to work from a young age,” said […]

As a child in Upper Michigan, Shawna Kemppainen was always aware of her privilege. But it wasn’t until her time volunteering for Care and Share Food Bank in 2004 that she came face to face with it. While manning the food bank’s phone lines, Kemppainen answered a call from a woman in her 60s. The […]

Stella Hodgkins knows the importance of preparing for the future — and not just because of her background in sustainability. As a sustainability specialist for GE Johnson Construction Company over the past six-plus years, Hodgkins led the company’s efforts to meet the needs of its clientele through ecologically, socially and financially responsible means. Hodgkins moved […]

Karen Palus credits her father, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, with instilling in her a “leadership heart.” “My dad set that example well for me,” Palus said. “He always showed me what servant leadership looked like — not only putting your life on the line for your country, but also when he retired.” The […]