08.29.18

Leadership Fellows Spotlight: Tim Russo

For Tim Russo, an alumni of Leadership Fellows Boulder County – a joint leadership development and networking program of the Community Foundation and the Boulder Chamber – learning from local changemakers who model innovation and change in our community is a constant inspiration. 

 
“One of the things I appreciated about the program is exposure to so many amazing leaders in Boulder County, and to hear from them about the issues that drive them,” says Tim, Station Manager at KGNU Community Radio. “Equally inspiring was getting to know the projects my peers are impassioned about, creating solutions for the present and future of our community. 
 
“I really liked the reciprocity of learning and networking among established and up-and-coming leaders across sectors, which is often overlooked in other communities. It was truly a privilege to be a part of that space, to gain a greater perspective, and to have the depth of conversations that we need to be having as a community.”
 
In particular, Tim valued the program’s emphasis on diversity and community resilience, including insights from Carmen Ramirez, Manager of Community and Neighborhood Resources for the City of Longmont. “There were many people and panels that stood out, like Carmen who offered tremendous insight into what it means to be diverse community, the work that’s being done, and the work that still needs to be done,” he says. “Carmen is obviously a pillar in our community, and the kind of leader who’s interested in passing the baton to younger leaders to ensure that efforts around diversity continue.”
 
Additionally, Tim drew inspiration from Boulder County Commissioner Deb Gardener and Mardi Moore, Executive Director of foundation grantee Out Boulder County. “A lot of our younger generation look around and get discouraged and dissuaded,” adds Tim. “But these leaders are role models in resilience … and how to stick with the issues and causes you care about for many, many years, creating significant change along the way.”
 
As KGNU celebrates its 40th anniversary, Tim says his participation in Leadership Fellows served as “an 11-month listening session” about community issues, and how they are – and aren’t – being addressed. 
 

Tim Russo assisting with KGNU tower installation.

Tim Russo assisting with KGNU tower installation.

Tim Russo assisting with KGNU tower installation.

“As Station Manager of community-powered radio, one of the few community-powered outlets along Front Range, I hope to help facilitate many more of the kinds of conversations and dialogues that move our community forward,” he explains. “I hope to better respond to questions about community issues, and develop the structural and programming changes that need to occur over time to ensure that KGNU reflects and amplifies who we are as a community.” 
 
Concludes Tim, “It’s our mission to reflect the underrepresented voices and cultures of our community, and our anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on that – as well as where we’ve fallen short, and what we need to do to be more inclusive. Intentionality for sustained results is one of the things we’re working on, and Leadership Fellows has strengthened that resolve for me. 
 
“I have a much more heightened sense of responsibility to make sure that we’re staying true to our values and standards.” 
 
Since 2009, the Leadership Fellows program has offered local emerging leaders a broadly-based overview of Boulder County’s economic, civic and cultural drivers. Graduates of the program commit to taking on local leadership roles within six months of completing the program (e.g., join a nonprofit or government board or commission, work on a candidate or initiative campaign, lead a neighborhood or school association, or run for office).