Brenda J. Allen, vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion at CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, and Penina Axelrad, professor at Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences at CU Boulder, are the recipients of the annual Excellence in Leadership Award given by the systemwide Excellence in Leadership Program (ELP).
The awards were presented during a lunch Friday at Denver’s Brown Palace. The event brings together program alumni to facilitate continued collaboration, networking and leadership development.
ELP provides opportunities for CU faculty and staff to become more effective leaders who can successfully address the challenges of a dynamic university. Since 2000, more than 562 fellows from all campuses and system administration have completed the program.
“This partnership creates meaningful and enduring relationships throughout the university,” said Felicity O’Herron, chief human resources officer and associate vice president of Employee Services.
Two awards for two exceptional leaders
Roderick Nairn, CU Denver | Anschutz provost and executive vice chancellor of academic and student affairs, presented the first ELP award to Allen, noting her contributions to the field of diversity and inclusion and her dedication to CU.
“Leadership is about having followers,” Nairn said. “Brenda is an exceptional leader with a lot of followers, and she’s an incredible source of inspiration for students, faculty and staff across the system and beyond.”
In accepting the award, Allen noted her appreciation for the Excellence in Leadership Program.
“I am extremely grateful to the university for providing this kind of program for leadership,” Allen said. “I encourage those of you who are part of the program to become more deliberate in helping leaders to emerge and to be excellent, because it is such an important part of higher education.”
Brian Argrow, professor and department chair of Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences and director of IRISS (Integrated Remote and In Situ Sensing), presented and accepted the day’s second ELP award on behalf of Axelrad.
He noted their working relationship that began in 1992, and her role in accelerating aerospace engineering on campus.
“Earlier this year, our department was named Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences after Ann Smead and Michael Byram gave the university a $15 million dollar gift,” Argrow said. “This was in part because Penina created an environment in which they felt welcome and where they felt that they could invest in our students and our department.”
On becoming a more effective leader
Each year, a speaker is invited to present topics about leadership.
Janet Lowe, director of Employee Services’ Employee Learning and Development division, introduced speaker, author, consultant and CU Colorado Springs alumna Laura Stack, who is president and CEO of Productivity Pro Inc., as this year’s Leadership Lecture keynote speaker.
Stack’s lecture, “Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Leader Spends Time,” emphasized the importance of productivity in any organization, no matter its size.
“Every time you partake in a task at work that is not high impact, it is a disservice to your organization,” she said. She then went on to discuss four key methods to increasing your personal efficiency at work: leveraging your time, quieting your brain, being selfish and disciplining yourself.
This event was partially sponsored by TIAA.