Defining - and celebrating - success in our community

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Vail Valley Success Award nominees and winners help define a successful community

In a general sense, success is simply the accomplishment of a goal. Set a goal, work toward it achieve it…and boom, success. I don’t think the general definition of success is an accurate barometer of the work and effort that goes into building a successful organization; we need much more than goal-setting and hard work to truly be successful.

It is human nature to look for quick fixes. People see a successful person, team, or organization and ask, “How do you do it? Teach me how to do what you do!” But these are shortcuts that we look for, hoping to save time and effort and still achieve the desired result. The tips and tactics learned are unlikely to address the underlying condition and lead to long-term successful outcomes.

Author Stephen Covey helps frame success by saying “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage — pleasantly, smilingly, unapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.”

The demands of business and our community are complex and ever-changing. Professionals must have the ability to adapt to shifting market conditions while remaining strategic to find lasting success. Businesses must keep an eye on the big picture and plan while dealing with the day-to-day. Organizations and communities must focus on true sustainability – social, economic, and environmental – to do great things and achieve success.

Balancing the short-term need to adjust and Covey’s framework of deciding your highest priorities leads to true long-term success. Locally, we are fortunate to have numerous businesses, organizations, and individuals whom Vail Valley Partnership’s Annual Success Awards recognizes each year. These businesses and individuals have excelled over the past year and their hard work and dedication earned them recognition as the best in the Vail Valley.

Reflecting on the nominees and award winners across a range of categories it becomes clear that these people and organizations share common themes.

Long-term success requires going beyond immediate concerns and tackling bigger issues. Strong business leaders and truly successful organizations find difficult but intriguing large-scale problems and experiment with innovative solutions. Small business of the year winner Fill & Refill is a textbook example; the Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion award winner Community Consciousness Series and Actively Green Award winner Betty Ford Alpine Gardens are also addressing large-scale issues. Bright Future Foundation – organization of the year winner – is yet another perfect example of an organization having significant impacts and addressing systematic challenges.

One of the best ways long-term success is built is by helping and supporting others in the short term. Our community is filled with helpers who make a difference every day. Consider Community Impact Winner Your Hope Center and Chairman’s Award winner Colorado Mountain Medical’s behavioral health team, or Small Nonprofit award winner My Future Pathways. These organizations are making a difference today which will lead to long-term success for those impacted by their programs and services.

Success can be achieved by doing new and innovative things that help differentiate businesses and organizations from others. This might be in the business model, in the case of Emerging Business of the Year Seagull’s Cycles, or in the approach to workplace culture in the case of Best Place to Work winner Eagle County Government. This also manifests in individuals such as Colby Lefebvre (young professional of the year) and Ariana Lopez Gonzales (community impact award).

I hope you’ll join me in applauding these businesses and individuals who play a significant role in helping lead our community toward a successful future.


Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at