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Mindfulness, leadership and community excellence

In September, we hosted a Coffee and Connections event with Fort Lewis College professor Amoneeta Beckstein. The presentation and discussion focused on maximizing leadership potential through mindfulness, and I was struck by the thoughtful discourse it inspired among our Chamber members.

When Beckstein asked the group what characteristics made a good leader, the group instantly started to chime in with words like kindness, compassion and ownership. These characteristics require a great deal of mindfulness and composure to apply them consistently, and they are precisely the characteristics many of our local leaders and business owners possess.

Kindness and compassion toward the community at large make the individuals and organizations in Durango so special. Durango Rocks is one way the Chamber recognizes our community’s leaders for their tireless efforts. Look at any of our past recipients, and you will see dedicated people who have gone above and beyond to support their colleagues and community by demonstrating all the qualities of a mindful, compassionate leader.

Durango Rocks honors several businesses and community members annually for their outstanding qualities as visionaries. Our members and the public nominate honorees for each category and the awards committee votes to select the final recipient based on merit, not popularity.

The Business of the Year Award recognizes dynamic companies that share a commitment to excellence, business growth and the community. These companies demonstrate achievement in service as well as innovation in management. Past recipients include Morehart Murphy Regional Auto Center, Kroegers Ace Hardware, 1st Southwest Bank, Peak Food and Beverage, and Durango Dermatology.

Small Business of the Year honors companies that have been in business for at least three years with fewer than 15 full-time employees. These businesses demonstrate innovation, perseverance and outstanding accomplishments in management. They do all of this while creating and growing a successful business. Past recipients include Adela Flora, Southwest Eye Consultants, Honeyville and Honey House Distillery, Durango Harley-Davidson and Pet Haus.

Entrepreneur of the Year is an award given to an individual who creates a new business and is seen as a source of new ideas, goods or services. They take on the risks of building a startup and demonstrate strong vision, leadership and ingenuity. Past recipients include Ben Sorensen with Ascent Digital Media, Carol Clark with Union Social House, Erin Neer with MuniRevs, and Jeff and Jennifer Vierling with Tailwind Nutrition.

Citizen of the Year recognizes those who have made a noteworthy contribution to the community that is above and beyond their profession or regular responsibilities. These people exemplify putting the community first and making Durango a better place to live and work. Past recipients include Gaige Sippy, Karen Zink, Bob Wolf, Ellen Roberts and Joanne Spina.

Non-Profit of the Year recognizes outstanding achievement in the nonprofit sector. These organizations meet an unfilled need for the betterment of the area and serve with distinction. Past recipients include Region 9 Economic Development, Trails 2000 and the Community Foundation.

Volunteer of the Year goes to a person who exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism and leadership, which is above and beyond their profession and everyday responsibilities. Past recipients include Vaughn Morris, Dave Woodruff, Lisa Barrett and Jeff Givens.

If you have an individual, business or nonprofit you want to nominate for a Durango Rocks award, the deadline is 5 p.m. Oct. 31. You can submit your nominations under the Awards Nominations tab.

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.