To personalize my journey, it’s important to know where I started. My journey began in Louisiana, and I struggled on many fronts; being the first one in my family to go to college and fighting to become my authentic self. I knew I was different, that I thought differently than those around me, and that I felt different from what my family and community believed I should be, should think, and how I should feel.
I quickly realized that finding my own voice had to come first. Later along my leadership path, it would become clear that finding one’s voice is paramount to leadership – it all starts with an ability to lead yourself, before beginning to lead others.
In school, I learned from the voices of those who have tried, failed, and eventually accomplished great things. It was a degree in broadcast journalism of all things that I truly felt pulled to as a way to tell the stories of the oppressed and advocate for those without a voice. Too many times in our history the stories not told are the ones that matter most. For me, that’s when it clicked. From finding my voice and authentic self to finding a career to use my voice to make a difference for others who may also feel and think differently.
To me, being a good leader isn’t about glory or recognition but the end result of improving the lives of a lot, a little, or even one person. Mark Twain spoke the truest words in leadership…” It’s remarkable what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit”.
My career has taken me on many different paths I never thought possible because I was courageous enough to be uncomfortable and try something new. I found the courage that I never knew I had by doing things that terrified me, like running for office and taking risks. The rewards have most definitely been worth it!
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
My wife Carolyn and I have been together for 13 years and we have cared for her 95-year old mother in our home since 2014.
Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
What led me to seek public office? In a word: Advocacy. Hearing the stories and challenges of so many during my career in the media, what resonated the most was seeing the power of sharing people’s stories, and how hearing those stories could result in action: from neighbors helping neighbors to communities adjusting policies. I care deeply about elevating the voices of our community to protect and improve our quality of life. With the fastest growing population in the state at 75,000 residents, it’s critical we represent all of those looking for a good value for their hard-earned tax dollars, a safe community to live in and raise a family, a place to feel they belong, and a place to feel at home. To do that it’s important that we take the time to listen actively, hear empathetically, and act accordingly on behalf of all residents in this community. If my role as Mayor can help ensure better access to local government and to give more people a seat at the table, I will have succeeded. When I first ran for City Council in 2017, there were moments of sheer terror and self-doubt. But you know what? It’s ok to be terrified and do it anyway. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something you believe in, seizing the next opportunity, and staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. It’s an endless journey of leadership development, with new opportunities to grow, learn, and serve along the way. Navigating the strange new world of local government was my greatest challenge yet and I still have so much to learn. By caring…and continuing to evolve into my best self as a servant leader, I’ve never been more gratified by a job that pays less than minimum wage. Being elected Mayor doesn’t come with a handbook or operating manual. To me, a good Mayor and leader, leads with integrity and honors their commitments. I try to be the representative that I would have wanted: responsive, inclusive, and accessible. While in my first “professional job” as a news producer I was never on TV… besides the credits that rolled at the end… seeing my words spoken by the trusted TV Anchors of the day carried weight with their credibility that showed me… once again.. how powerful a voice can be to impact real change. In the newsroom environment, I also learned quickly that each person, no matter their rank, had a voice worth hearing and a perspective worth considering. For that, I’m continuously reminded to take the time to ask, listen, and truly hear from as many sides and angles as possible. The very best work always comes from collaboration and inclusion.
Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
My favorite local restaurants include Vinca and Roots.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
I moved to Broomfield in 2013 for a slower pace of life from the media industry in Southern California. We chose Broomfield because of the beautiful open spaces and multitude of City and County services for residents and seniors.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
Former Broomfield Mayor Pat Quinn
Q: What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
The Lost Daughter, Inventing Anna, The Crown, Yellowstone
Q: What advice would you give to people?
We’ve all faced adversity. The pandemic took many things away from us, things we took for granted but now have a greater appreciation for. The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned. They say change is the only constant, and we have proven our ability to adapt, pivot, and overcome huge challenges. Every one of us is capable of doing hard things. We could all use a little more grace for ourselves and each other. I truly believe we were put on this earth to help one another through this great human experiment. I am a big believer in showing appreciation to others, especially our dedicated employees who are tirelessly serving our community with their heart and soul. Leading with courage, compassion and kindness is at the forefront of everything I do.
Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
Great Scotts Eatery
Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
Ellie McKinley – She has lived in Broomfield a long time and I would love to hear her stories of how Broomfield came to be one of the most desirable places to live in the Denver Metro. We could go to Great Scott’s Eatery.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
What makes Broomfield feel like home to me is the friendliness and helpfulness of the community and how our neighbors all know one another and look out for each other.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
I feel like I’m exactly where I am supposed to be and I love being Mayor of Broomfield. I care deeply about elevating the voices of our community to protect and improve our quality of life. With the fastest growing population in the state at 75,000 residents, it’s critical we represent all of those looking for a good value for their hard-earned tax dollars, a safe community to live in and raise a family, a place to feel they belong, and a place to feel at home. To do that it’s important that we take the time to listen actively, hear empathetically, and act accordingly on behalf of all residents in this community. If my role as Mayor can help ensure better access to local government and to give more people a seat at the table, I will have succeeded.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
Back in the 90s, I applied to be a flight attendant and the airlines still had strict weight requirements for female flight attendants. The airline’s regulation stated that flight attendants must retain a ”firm, trim silhouette, free of bulges, rolls or paunches . . . for an alert, efficient image.” I starved myself for weeks to try and meet the weight requirements for my height but when I was weighed in at the interview – in front of all of the other applicants – I was told I would only be able to apply for a ground position. It was humiliating but also a sign… that I was meant to do something else.
Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
The views in Broomfield!
Q: Who inspires you to be better?
My wife Carolyn.
Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Friendly, helpful neighbors.