Yes, we have to pull over. I need to have a picture with any National Park sign I see.

Bright Spot Q&A

Tell us a little about yourself; what should the world know about you?

I’m from Michigan, I’ve also lived in upstate New York, Boston, and New Zealand before coming to Colorado. I grew up in a really flat part of the country. When I left Michigan, I wondered why anyone would build cities on hills. And now I love mountains and hills, and I can’t imagine life without them.

Things I love about living here:

  • Musicals! I see a lot of shows in Denver and I appreciate the Denver Performing Arts Center makes an effort to bring in smaller shows. These ones are often the most thought-provoking, and I get to laugh and cry in the same hour.
  • Hockey and watching the Avs win (except when they play the Red Wings)
  • Sunny, short winters (as compared to the 6-month long dreary winters from my childhood)
  • The people! I appreciate that it’s been easy to make lifelong friends here. So many of my friends and coworkers are doing exciting and fun things with their life, like running their own business, writing novels, and cramming a whole second life into their current one. They are an inspiration and remind me there’s always more I could be doing.
My favorite town in Colorado is Crested Butte

What made you interested in attending Peak’s Black Belt Training?

I had taken the introductory Green Belt training that Peak offered and loved it! One of the Peak peeps (spoiler: it was Drew) was in my Listen Like a Leader Training, and I had a chance to talk with him and Melissa. They both have a way of talking and focusing on you that is special. I thought that if the whole Peak team was like them, I wanted to meet them and learn more about how to be the type of change you want to see in your organization. I like change but it’s hard for a lot of folks, and the fact that they’re able to do their work with such a positive but genuine attitude helps me stay positive too. They’re my kind of people  – they want to help make the world a better place and understand that by starting small, big changes can happen. Brainstorming and coming up with solutions comes more easily to me, but it’s the follow through and change management that can be a struggle. Peak marries many different schools of thoughts and methods to that is both data and people driven. It creates structure without stifling creativity. It’s scalable and adaptable to any process. I like that Peak provides a foundational framework and logic that is not convoluted or easily forgotten. I like that Peak training and materials don’t sit on a shelf gathering dust – I’ve pulled them out to help tackle different processes and questions at work .

My mom and I like to travel together, and I like to take goofy pictures of us/her and send them to my brother.

What about your innovations are you most proud of?

Generally, my intrinsic motivation is high, so I like to improve for the sake of improving. Efficiency and reducing waste (including time) sound boring, but it isn’t at all. When something is efficient, it frees up your time. When you’re efficient, your customers are happier and so are you! It’s all linked together. I enjoy puzzles and putting the pieces together. It’s fun to join what I learned from a podcast or from what a coworker in another department mentioned to me in passing or my current situation. You need to earn people’s trust and really listen to what they tell you. When you do, people will share their true thoughts, why they’re unhappy, or how they want change to happen. And if you can find that and deal with the real problem instead of a symptom, then you’ll get somewhere.

What advice do you have for other innovators or people seeking to innovate in the future?

The world around you is going to say no to you often and frequently. There’s no need for you to say no to yourself. Try to surround yourself with people that believe in you and are your cheerleaders. And be a cheerleader for other people.

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