Colorado Springs, Colo. – During Thursday’s ninth annual Mayor’s Young Leader Awards, Mayor John Suthers recognized six individuals for making extraordinary efforts in their field while having a positive impact in the Colorado Springs community. Launched in 2015 to celebrate the outstanding achievements of young professionals age 40 and under, the 2022 winners were selected from 30 finalists across six categories.
“The quality of work presented by this year’s Mayor’s Young Leader Award finalists was exceptional,” said Mayor Suthers. “I am consistently pleased with these young professionals and their ambition to serve Colorado Springs across all industries. I am grateful for their contributions to strengthening our community and their drive in making a positive impact in Olympic City USA. I look forward to following their future success.”
The 2022 winners are as follows:
Military Leaders Award: TSgt Stephanie Bandy | United States Air Force
As a professional military education instructor stationed at Peterson Space Force Base, Technical Sergeant Stephanie Bandy is responsible for educating and mentoring the junior non-commissioned officer ranks on leadership, management, mission, and cultural topics. She has educated and led more than 300 service members, totaling 2,000 hours of instruction. She also coordinates seminars and became certified in lesson development on topics related to emotional intelligence, diversity, and inclusion for members across the Air and Space Force. She volunteers for a variety of community programs and organizations, including TESSA, Mary’s Home, and the New Life Family Care Ministry Team.
Technology and Sustainability: Rebecca Jewett | Palmer Land Conservancy
As president and CEO of the Palmer Land Conservancy and the former executive director of the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Rebecca Jewett is committed to community health and building through land and water conservation. Driven by on-the-ground impact, she has led the exponential growth of Palmer Land Conservancy, growing the organization more than four-fold and securing millions of dollars to conserve critical natural landscapes and water resources. She has led high-impact projects, such as expanding Ute Valley Park, conserving Jones Park Open Space, and navigating and ensuring public access through the conservation of Strawberry Hill in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. Rebecca has also served on the boards and committees of numerous nonprofits, including the Land Trust Alliance’s National Leadership Council, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Conservation Futures Project and the Trails and Open Space Coalition. She currently serves as the founding board chair of Keep it Colorado.
Sports, Health and Wellness: Aubrey McCoy | Colorado Springs Sports Corporation
As the chief operating officer for the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, Aubrey McCoy, plans and operates some of the largest events in Colorado Springs, including the Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off, the Star Spangled Symphony & 4th of July Block Party, the Broadmoor Cycle to the Summit, the Pikes Peak Regional Airshow, and the Rocky Mountain State Games. Aubrey also volunteers as a board member for the Police Foundation of Colorado Springs and serves on both the Medal Valor Committee and the Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax (LART) Advisory Committee. She also cochairs the Colorado Springs Sports Economy Team, which evaluates the Colorado Springs sports industry field, and is involved in her church and children’s school.
Education: Sloan Gonzales | University of Colorado Colorado Springs
As the program director for the Chancellor's Leadership Class and UCCSlead, Sloan Gonzales is helping to develop future leaders in the Pikes Peak region. Her leadership development program helps students engage and build relationships with the community, instilling civic pride and a stronger connection to Colorado Springs. Sloan’s volunteerism includes hosting a variety of community trainings, working with Inside Out Youth Services, Kids Hope Mentoring New Life Downtown, and the Colorado Springs Rising Professionals Group. She is an advisory board member for the Pikes Peak United Way Family Center and committee chair for the Pioneer Technology Arts Academy.
Creative Industry: Jeresneyka Rose | Trust for Public Land and ArtByRizzo
As a freelance visual artist who founded ArtByRizzo and a fellow for The Trust for Public Land, Jeresneyka Rose has contributed her expertise and passion to empower community members in southeast Colorado Springs. Over the last few years, she co-led the RISE | Southeast Colorado Springs Youth Advisory Council on several projects to improve access to quality public spaces, including the successful renovation of Panorama Park. She also volunteers for Food to Power, Grace Be Unto You Outreach, and the CommUNITY pantry.
Community and Economic Impact: Natasha Hutson | U.S. Bank
As a business access advisor for U.S. Bank, Natasha Hutson works to expand business opportunities for minority-owned small businesses by collaborating with community partners. She is an active member of several boards, including the Colorado Springs Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Springs Black Chamber of Commerce, Court Appointed Special Advocates of the Pikes Peak Region (CASA), Downtown Partnership, The Thrive Network, and Women of Impact. An advocate for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Natasha is married with three children. She received the 2022 Rising Stars award from the Colorado Springs Business Journal.
More information about the Mayor’s Young Leader Awards, including a list of all 2022 finalists and past award recipients, is available at ColoradoSprings.gov/MYLA.
Also announced Thursday was the winner of the inaugural Keep It Clean COS Spirit of the Springs Award. This award was presented to COSILoveYou for being a community group that has made a significant contribution to keeping Colorado Springs clean. COSILoveYou is a local nonprofit that partners with churches and community members to help create peace and prosperity in our city. One of its biggest impacts is an annual “CityServe Day.” This is a citywide day of service that brings together thousands of individuals at schools, parks, local nonprofit organizations, and neighborhoods. For CityServe Day on October 1 this year, COSILoveYou organized more than 2,000 volunteers working across 112 projects for a total of 6,195 service hours that provided over $180,000 of value to local schools, non-profits, parks and more. Over the last eight years, CityServe Day has seen more than 20,000 volunteers provide 65,000 hours of volunteer service, valued at over $1.7 million.
Learn more about this initiative at ColoradoSprings.gov/SpiritOfTheSprings.