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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Darsey Nicklasson was working in Washington, D.C. as a community planner when she found herself sparring with developers over how wide a sidewalk should be. The developers said it was wide enough; Nicklasson disagreed.

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A Colorado Springs native, Marjorie Noleen makes her mark on her city through marketing, recruiting, community engagement and philanthropy. 

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Joyce Salazar has lived in Harrison School District 2 for 40 years, attending Stratmoor Hills Elementary, then Gorman Jr. High, and graduating from Harrison High with the class of ’82. Her children enrolled, and now her grandchildren are being educated in D2.  

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Founded in 1996, the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute has worked to grow the quantity and quality of leaders in the region by enhancing personal, professional and civic knowledge. CSLI provides a platform to network, share ideas, problem solve and form collaborative relationships. The r…

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By fighting for their beliefs, the women we honor this year — trailblazers, changemakers, influencers — have made the Pikes Peak region a better place.  

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Congratulations to our 2021 nominees! The Women of Influence committee spent hours combing through 50 applications — and every single one of you is a winner. Thank you for being engaged in Colorado Springs, working to change the world and for blazing a trail for the next generation of women …

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When Patricia Cameron hiked the Colorado Trail this summer, she saw few people of color around her. That’s something she’s looking to change as she strives for a more equitable outdoors.

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Laura Neumann doesn’t have to worry about leaving a legacy in Colorado Springs — she’s already forged a path that few will forget. 

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Ellie Red Cloud wants to leave a mark on her community by helping social impact companies generate millions of dollars that will, in turn, allow them to help others.

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In Erin Miller’s childhood, technology was a mainstay — and it’s easy to draw a line from that start to the work she does today. 

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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.

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Throughout her decades-long career leading independent living centers, Patricia Yeager has fought to change public perceptions and empower those with disabilities.

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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.

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Carrie McKee enjoys being a part of Coloradans’ lives and being trusted to share their stories with thousands of people around the state.

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After more than 21 years climbing the ladder in the insurance industry, Debra Dean’s career was a picture of corporate success.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]