Colorado Tourism Office Announces Class of 2020 for Yearlong Executive Training Program

Latest participants in the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey represent hotel, ski, casino, cultural attractions, transportation, cannabis, destination marketing and more

DENVER (Aug. 21, 2019) – The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) today announced the latest participants in the yearlong Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey, a tuition-based executive training program aimed at building the bench strength of the state’s tourism industry. The Class of 2020 includes representation from a range of tourism sectors – from hotel to ski, airport and cannabis – and settings as diverse as the Denver Art Museum, Steamboat Springs, the Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service and Ameristar Casino Resort.

The 24 members of the Class of 2020 are set to begin their yearlong experience at the Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 in Denver, where participants of the current Class of 2019 will be taking the stage to graduate. 

“Year after year, we continue to be impressed by the caliber of applicants willing to commit a year to building their personal potential through the Leadership Journey,” said CTO Director Cathy Ritter. “The work that these participants do during their year with us -- and the way so many already have advanced their careers -- is truly an inspiration.”

First of its kind in the U.S., the program was created in 2017 to provide a growth path for managers seeking to build leadership capabilities in a tourism setting. For employers, it is a cost-effective means for developing, rewarding and retaining top talent. Tuition of $2,500 covers all educational expenses, including attendance at two successive Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conferences, with limited scholarships available.

To facilitate the program, CTO contracts with Keystone Policy Center, a public policy group with offices in Keystone, Denver and Washington, D.C. With guidance from the CTO’s Leadership Committee, Keystone designs a curriculum that encompasses required readings, one-on-one mentoring, small groups, action learning projects and facilitated experiential learning opportunities in five different Colorado locations.

“One of the largest opportunities for our industry is cultivating future talent. It is imperative that we fill the tourism leadership talent pipeline with diverse and qualified leaders for the future,” said Doug Price, President & CEO of Visit Colorado Springs, vice-chair of the Colorado Tourism Board and chair of the CTO Leadership Committee. “The Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey is a great support program to help develop and mentor people to become our leaders of tomorrow.”

Members of the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey Class of 2020 are as follows: 

Juliet Abdel, President/CEO, Westminster Chamber of Commerce

Pat Attkisson, Colorado Travel Media Sales & Marketing Executive, Miles Partnership, Fort Collins

Erik Barstow, Director of Sales, Visit Fort Collins

Lenore Bates, Program Manager, Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways, Colorado Department of Transportation, Denver

Amy Cassidy, Owner/President, Amy L Cassidy Consulting, Denver

Austyn Dineen, Public Relations Director, Breckenridge Tourism Office

Crystal Egli, Video Production Specialist, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Denver

Michael Eymer, CEO and Founder, Colorado Cannabis Tours, Denver

Elizabeth Fogarty, Director, Visit Grand Junction

Dawn Glanc, Visitor Center Manager, Ouray Tourism Office

Suzanne Harrison, Director of Marketing, Visit Durango

Justin Hill, Vice President of Personnel & Operations, MARS Hospitality, Parker

Leslie Hylton, Legislative Liaison, Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade, Denver

April Ingle, Account Director, B Public Relations, Denver

Abby Leeper, Communications Manager, Colorado Tourism Office, Denver

Scott Peterson, Marketing Director, Chaffee County Visitors Bureau, Salida 

Nancy Rezac, Executive Director, Visit Longmont

Jason Robertson, Deputy Director, Recreation, Lands, Minerals & Volunteers, Rocky Mountain Region, USDA Forest Service, Lakewood

Brianna Schroth, Promotions & Events Manager, Ameristar Casino Resort, Black Hawk

Jennifer Shea, Director of Resort & Hotel Sales, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation

Kara Stoller, Chief Executive Officer, Steamboat Springs Chamber

Mark Uriarte, Director of Airline Affairs & Airport Properties, Denver International Airport, Denver

Crystal Van Kull, General Manager, Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours, Fort Collins

Heidi Weisman, Associate Director of Events & Group Services, Denver Art Museum, Denver 

Candidates and employers can view testimonials from past participants and learn more about applying for the tuition-based program at


About the Colorado Tourism Office: The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) is a division of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The CTO’s mission is to generate traveler spending by promotion of Colorado as a four-season, four-corner, world-class travel destination and development of compelling, sustainable travel experiences throughout the state. In 2018, Colorado travelers spent $22.3 billion, generating $1.37 billion in local and state revenues. To replace those taxes would cost each Colorado household an additional $659. Tourism is the state’s second largest employer, directly supporting 174,400 jobs. For more information, please visit