Leadership Fellows


We struggle with inclusiveness.

But groups including The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce are working together to address it.

Boulder County’s elected leadership does not reflect the fact that about 20 percent of the county is either a Latino of any race or a person of color. In fact, just 4 people out of 104 are estimated to be non-Anglo. And 7 percent of our volunteer advisory board and commission members is estimated to be non-Anglo.

The community relies on its elected leaders and their advisors to represent the whole county. In short: Diversity and diverse points of view matter.


According to our new Boulder County TRENDS report, 47 percent of last year’s participants in The Community Foundation’s Leadership Fellows Program have joined a community board or commission, and an additional 20 percent have applied for one.

“The leadership program has really opened my eyes to the fact that everyone has something to contribute,” says Brian Coppom, a participant in the current class of Leadership Fellows. “I've learned that, in a way, being a leader just means stepping up and doing what needs to be done.”

Previously, though, Coppom felt like participation at a civic level was “some kind of mystical thing.”


Among this year’s participants in the Leadership Fellows program – a joint effort of The Community Foundation and the Boulder Chamber – Olga Heifets brings a unique perspective.

“I pursued the Leadership Fellows program because I value the variety of life, in general, and the diversity of human experiences,” says Olga, whose academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and master’s in communication, culture and technology from Georgetown University. “What’s compelling and meaningful to me is to come together with others who actively seek out an experience to learn from one another, and to share a spectrum of viewpoints.”


The 2015-16 class of the Leadership Fellows Program – a joint effort of The Community Foundation and the Boulder Chamber – is well underway, its 32 participants from across sectors engaged in better understanding Boulder County’s economic, civic and cultural drivers.

Among them is Boulder native Nikhil Mankekar, member of the City of Boulder's Human Relations Commission and the first Indian and Sikh-American to be appointed to any City of Boulder board or commission. “Leaders sometimes stay in their respective bubbles, both professionally and geographically – whether it’s city and county government, business, startups or schools,” he says. “This program is an opportunity to step outside our comfort zones, and broaden and deepen our connection to – and understanding of – the larger community.