Join us at the annual Alliance Summit—an immersive experience bringing together thought leaders, innovators, and visionaries from diverse fields. The Summit is a convergence of ideas, a celebration of shared wisdom, and a catalyst for transformative change. Engage in insightful keynotes, dynamic workshops, and collaborative sessions that transcend boundaries and inspire collective growth. Elevate your perspective, connect with like-minded professionals, and contribute to a shared vision for the future. Save the date for this unparalleled opportunity to learn, network, and chart the course for success. Let’s build bridges, break barriers, and shape the future together!

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Thursday September 19th

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Watch for announcements about this year’s theme, speaker line-up, workshop topics, and lead-up events. Coming soon!

Check Out What Happened Last Year

Thank You!

We had a sellout crowd who all agreed leadership matters. The collective opportunity to shape our organizations, our community, and ourselves is now.

Watch The Keynotes


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Breakout Sessions

Find summaries, content, and recordings from the breakout sessions

Description: Kerry will inspire leaders to build people-centric teams and cultures using the power of The Ownership Mindset. Expect to walk away with immediate, actionable, and transformative results for you and your team.




Kerry Siggins

Kerry Siggins is the CEO of StoneAge, the leading global high-pressure industrial cleaning equipment manufacturer. Under her leadership, StoneAge transformed into a powerhouse in the industrial cleaning industry, disrupting how the world is cleaned. Kerry also led StoneAge’s transition to become 100% employee-owned, and StoneAge has won numerous awards, including Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work.

Description: Discover actionable takeaways for how to build competencies internally to retain employees and externally to improve digital maturity, making the most out of the data sources and using digital tools and strategies to stay competitive. See how major national organizations are training employees in digital and how to use your data for optimizing marketing and operations.


Facilitators: MaryBeth Maskovas & Julia Taylor


Julia Taylor

Julia Taylor is the CEO & Founder of GeekPack®. The challenges she faced as a (former) military intelligence officer and military wife transitioning into tech made her a passionate advocate for empowering adult learners with the digital skills and community resources they need to grow successful careers and thriving businesses.  Julia is an alumna of SCAPE and TVX-W and holds a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


MaryBeth Maskovas

MaryBeth is the founder and principal analytics consultant at Insight Lime Analytics. With an international career in digital analytics, she has worked for brands such as KAYAK, Wendy’s, and other major retailers. She solves sticky problems in attribution, data usage, organizational strategy, and making business decisions with data.  Insight Lime was founded when MaryBeth repatriated to the US from Denmark in 2020.

Description: Don’t let conflicts hinder progress – learn to unveil its potential for positive change!  Conflict is an inevitable part of any human relationship, and the way we manage it can make a significant difference in our lives. This workshop will empower you to navigate conflicts constructively, fostering a better understanding of yourself and others. You will leave with a better understanding of how to dissect conflict and a tool for entering into difficult conversations.




Suzanne Phare

Suzanne has over twenty years’ experience in executive coaching and human resource management.  She currently owns Real Ideal Coaching and is the former HR Director at Ska Brewing, Prior to relocating to Southwestern Colorado 14 years ago, she managed Human Resources for an Emerson manufacturing facility in Boulder, CO.  Suzanne has worked for companies such as Panasonic, North American Energy Services (NAES) and Atari. Suzanne currently sits on the board of the Durango Network, and independent physician provider network (think local!), and is the past President of the Durango Area HR Managers.

Description: Practice the hands-on exercise of finding the energy of the collective. Walk through the steps to develop alignment from individuals that comprise the whole. Understand how this translates to your network and the communities you are in.

Recording     Slides



Andy Ellwood

Andy believes curiosity is a superpower and surrounds himself with others who believe the same thing. Whether coaching or investing or facilitating community-building endeavors around the world, Andy expects a lot out of life and gets a lot in return.  He now serves other curious entrepreneurs and world-changing founders as an Executive Coach, Andy has made a name for himself amongst the brave and daring who believe in the agency of their lives and the seriousness of their calling. When Andy isn’t pushing new limits professionally, he is hosting dinner parties or walking his rescue dog Hudson with his wife Maddie in the West Village of New York City.

Description: Learn to create tangible strategies that drive connection. In this session, Chris will unpack the principles and practice of inquisitive empathy with the understanding of mirroring, labeling, and aligning with stakeholders while creating safe spaces. Come away with a fresh perspective and be ready to communicate differently.

Slides     Recording



Chris Schembra

Chris Schembra is a values-driven, heart-led author and keynote speaker on a mission to cure the epidemic of loneliness and the crisis of disconnection in the modern workplace. Drawing on hard-hitting statistics, he shines a light on the wide-ranging impact this problem has on employee well-being, engagement, and the overall success of organizations. Chris is the Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of “Gratitude Through Hard Times.” USA Today calls him their “Gratitude Guru,” he’s a founding member of Rolling Stone Magazine’s Culture Council, and he sits on the Executive Board at Fast Company Magazine.

Description: Engaging your team is more important now than ever before. This highly interactive session integrates neuroscience with proven strategies that enable you to lead your team more effectively. During this session, we explore the five most common ways that employees become disengaged. Then, we provide clear techniques to not only prevent disengagement but actively build trust and inspire confidence within your entire team.


Slides     RecordingHandout



Michael O’Brien

As a consultant and executive coach Michael O’Brien unravels the complexities of organizations into easy to understand interrelationships. Michael’s diverse background in finance, economics and human behavior enable him to take the seemingly unpredictable relationship side of business and make it tangible and manageable. This clear understanding of corporate cultures has allowed Michael to lead some of the world’s top companies to new perspectives of their strengths and of their challenges. Michael has leveraged this gift of discernment by establishing strategic relationships with organizations around the world, as their culture and leadership expert.

Description: Embracing change is a hallmark of successful leadership.  Join us as we delve into the art of change management, where effective communication and self-leadership take center stage. In this session, we will explore the nuances of transformational leadership and communication that enable growth through transitions.

SlidesRecording     Handout

Facilitators: Amber Blake & Phil Bryson


Amber Blake

Amber Blake leads a niche consulting firm specializing in leadership growth and coaching for entrepreneurs and leaders in the public and private sectors. She brings two decades of rich experience in leadership, organizational development, and change management expertise. 
She is a graduate of Villanova University, the University of Montana, and the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. Amber is a certified professional coach and trainer through the International Coaching Federation and the Somatic Coaching Academy.


Phil Bryson

Phil Bryson has been involved in organizational and leadership development since 1985 through his company On The He has designed and conducted breakthrough programs and management consulting for over 750 organizations globally. He has consulted with the leadership teams of 45 Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, AT&T, Boeing, Intel, Microsoft, Nike, and professional sports teams. Phil has been delivering Leadership La Plata’s leadership development programs as a volunteer for the past 15 years. Phil is a past president of the La Plata Economic Development Alliance and one of the founding members of Animas High School.

Description: The Regional Housing Alliance (RHA) of La Plata County has revived the Intra-Governmental Agreement between La Plata County, City of Durango, Town of Bayfield, and Town of Ignacio.  Hear from the board leadership how a roadmap has been created to achieve long-term success for workforce housing and what those short-term solutions include. By combining the RHA’s efforts with the Alliance, the RHA is utilizing public-private partnerships to create innovative funding and projects, with an ever-present goal of housing the workforce in La Plata County.

Slides      Recording     

Facilitators: Sarah Tober, Marsha Porter Norton, and Pat Vaughn

Panel of Housing Leaders: Katie Sickles (Bayfield), Eva Henson (Durango), and Clark Craig (Ignacio)

Sarah Tober Deputy Director at La Plata Economic Alliance

Sarah Tober

Sarah Tober has built a career in entrepreneurship, communications, and advocacy in a wide array of industries, including small business, sustainable building, community development, and environmental stewardship. Achieving an MBA at the University of Texas accelerated Tober’s growth as a leader and solidified her prowess to make systemic changes in equity, equality, and resource access. Tober’s work has centered around building community resilience, and she is currently addressing the housing crisis in La Plata County and SW Colorado as the Deputy Director of the Alliance.

A professional hedashor of Marsha Porter-Norton, La Plata County Commissioner

Marsha Porter-Norton

Marsha Porter-Norton is a La Plata County Commissioner serving in her first term. She has lived in La Plata County for 29 years, has an extensive background in nonprofit management, and is a professional meeting facilitator and consultant. She is passionate about healthy communities and sees workforce and affordable housing as key ingredients in keeping the communities of La Plata County economically and socially diverse and strong.


Pat Vaughn

blankPat Vaughn, Real Estate Investment and Operations Consultant. Pat has been directly involved in acquiring, developing, and managing income properties and large-scale land development projects for almost 40 years. Previously Pat was the Operating Director – Non-Energy for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund overseeing the Tribe’s off-reservation investments in real estate and private equity with investments from coast to coast. Pat earned a B.S. degree in Geophysics from the University of Arkansas.

Bonus Materials

Chris Schembra has curated his own webpage of materials and resources specifically for attendees of the Summit. His keynote and workshop continue to have an impact on this community. Explore Chris’s page and keep the conversation going.



Hard Copies

Gratitude Through Hard Times

By Chris Schembra


Enabling Growth through Culture Transformation

By Michael O’Brien

Being an Engaging Leader

By Michael O’Brien

The Ownership Mindset

By Kerry Siggins


Platinum-Keynote Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Animas Surgical Hospital 

SEH Inc. 

Durango Chamber of Commerce 

Bank of Colorado 


The Payroll Department 

Farha Roofing 

Osprey Packs 

The Gable House 

Fast Signs 

Region 9 

Shaw Solar 

Durango Motor Company 

City of Durango 

Bank of the San Juans 


Ascent Digital

Photography and video by: COLE DAVIS PHOTO & FILM