Leadership Fellows Spotlight: Katherine Malzbender

Sometimes, it’s true: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 

A little more than a year ago, we featured Pamela Malzbender – an alumna of Leadership Fellows Boulder County – on our blog; today, we’re just as pleased to feature her daughter, Katherine (Katie), who’s also an alumna of the joint leadership development and networking program of the Community Foundation and the Boulder Chamber.
“I was introduced to Leadership Fellows by my mom,” says Katie, a self-described politico with an environmental bent. “She had such great things to say about the curriculum, the people, and the cohort itself.”
Indeed – anticipating and responding to shifting demographics and increasing cultural diversity in our community – Leadership Fellows offers emerging leaders a broad-based overview of Boulder County's economic, civic, and cultural drivers. Curriculum topics of the 11-month program include, among others, Boulder County economics, Local Government 101, inclusive leadership, planning and development, critical human needs, health, education, and the arts and culture. 
“Through Boulder County Democrats, I’m very involved in our community,” continues Katie, who currently serves as Vice Chair of Capacity Building for the Boulder County Democratic Party, as well as National Distributed Organizer of the American Civil Liberties Union. “It wasn’t until Leadership Fellows, however, that I also got to know people in the local arts and business sectors, for example. 
“I’ve worked in nonprofits and politics most of my life, so meeting people from different backgrounds – and with different lived experiences in our community – was incredibly valuable, adding new dimensions to my thinking.”
Educated at The London School of Economics (environmental policy and regulation) and Johns Hopkins University (international studies), Katie also spent nearly four years working for The Climate Reality Project on local, regional, and national advocacy campaigns to educate the public and mobilize a global grassroots network around climate issues.
Adds Katie, “The topics we discussed in Leadership Fellows every week, along with the perspectives of everyone else in the room, gave me a new appreciation of the nuances of civic engagement. And talking about local government – and government on both county and state levels – really deepened my own understanding, even as it provided an introduction to new information for others in my Leadership Fellows cohort.
“People don’t just automatically know about local boards and commissions that impact their lives. That’s one reason why Leadership Fellows is incredibly important – inspiring an inclusive community where everyone’s voice is heard, and encouraging each of us to reach out to people who have been historically ignored, or taken for granted.
“Beyond multilingual outreach, Leadership Fellows promotes what it means to lift up the strengths of Boulder County Latinos, for example – and their positive contributions to our community.”
To date, 80% of Leadership Fellows have joined a nonprofit board or a commission, or worked on a campaign; 50% will join a board or commission this year, and 2% will run for office this year. Another 55% of Fellows have assumed a different leadership role, and 90% report a better understanding of what it means to be an inclusive leader.