Mayor’s Office announces finalists for 2021 Mayor’s Young Leader Awards

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Launched in 2015 to celebrate the outstanding achievements of young professionals age 40 and under, a record number of nominations were received during the nomination period (Aug. 11-30).

Of the nominees, 27 finalists have emerged across five categories. The finalists, who all live or work in Colorado Springs, are as follows:

Community and Economic Impact

  • Dani Barger, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC
  • Jordan Empey, Stockman Kast Ryan + Company
  • AJ Frasca, Panino’s
  • Latrina Ollie, Solid Rock Community Development Corporation, Quar Notary
  • Jessie Pocock, Inside Out Youth Services
  • Bree Shellito, Ent Credit Union

Creative Industry

  • Brandon Borne, BornesPro Media, My Black Colorado
  • Ashley Cornelius, Denver Health
  • Brother Luck, Four by Brother Luck, Lucky Dumpling
  • Stephen Martin, Explore With Media
  • TerryJosiah Sharpe, Anthem Music Enterprises
  • Megan Whalen, Vladimir Jones


  • Connor Beaudoin, Harrison School District 2
  • Harris Kalofonos, Goodvoice Group, Young Champion Ambassador
  • Cory Notestine, Colorado Springs School District 11
  • Corey Williams, Harrison School District 2
  • Adam Wright, Mountain Song Community School

Sports, Health & Wellness

  • Kristi Durbin, El Paso County Public Health
  • Jess Lyons, YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region
  • Dayton Romero, Silver Key Senior Services
  • Dr. Sara Saporta-Keating, Children’s Hospital Colorado – Colorado Springs
  • Cassandra Walton, Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership

Technology & Sustainability

  • Trevor Becker, Rackspace Technology
  • Sara Koeppel, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Magneti Marketing
  • Natasha Main., Exponential Impact
  • Alan Peak, South Platte Fly Shop
  • Michael Riggs, Perch Security

One winner from each category will be announced during an award ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 28 from 4-6 p.m. at the 3E’s Comedy Club, 1 S. Nevada Avenue. A special “Military Young Leader Community Impact Award” winner will also be announced.

The ceremony will be emceed by Fox21 Morning News meteorologist Matt Meister. A livestream will be offered on the Mayor’s Facebook page (@MayorOfCOS).

Event sponsors include 3E’s Comedy Club, the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, Fox21, Glassical Designs, Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, and Vectra Bank. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring the event should email Donna Nelson at

For more information on the Mayor’s Young Leader Awards, including a list of past recipients and a description of each award category, visit

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