By Debra Crawford
ASPEN – A panel of new media and business experts, moderated by Aspen Institute CEO and President Walter Isaacson, led a discussion on visioning the future of Colorado Mountain College’s Isaacson School for New Media during a meeting of the college’s board of overseers in Aspen Monday.
Panel members included Tyler Moebius, founder and CEO of FastG8 digital-marketing company; Jerry Murdock, co-founder of Insight Venture Partners and of the Aspen Technology Group; Marc Nathanson, chairman, Mapleton Investments; and Lynda Resnick, vice chair and co-owner of the Wonderful Company.
The discussion largely centered on how to train workers for not only immediate workforce needs, but for future, and as-yet-unknown needs. Finding students with a passion, and teaching them entrepreneurial skills rather than a limited set of skills, was the general consensus of the discussion.
Isaacson said that the Roaring Fork Valley is an ideal setting for the Isaacson School. “Part of the DNA of this valley is the disruptors, the innovators, the pioneers,” he said.
Murdock added, “That’s entrepreneurship – being a leader in your own life.”
The Isaacson School has been offering classes in Aspen, Spring Valley and several other of the college’s locations since 2012.
Board of overseers names new chairman
Also at the meeting, the CMC Board of Overseers heard noted philanthropist Jim Calaway, who founded the voluntary advisory group in 2012, announce his retirement as its chairman. To fill his shoes, he and CMC President Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser have invited retired technology executive, past chair of the CMC Foundation Board and long-time college volunteer Jon Warnick.
“I am very honored that Carrie and Jim asked me to take this role,” said Warnick. “I’ve taken classes probably 16 of the 18 years we’ve lived here.” He told the group that the board of overseers has an advisory, strategic focus. “Our role is to influence, to use our connections, our passion, our strategic thinking and our resources,” he said.
Even as Calaway exited his formal leadership role, he reminded the group of his purpose in forming the group: “We have no authority and we seek no authority. We’re helpers and friends, sharing our collective expertise with the president to help our college be the best.”
“Today the Isaacson School was the beneficiary of that collective expertise,” said Hauser, “and we are looking forward to continuing to hear dynamic ideas that can help our students get an even better education through Colorado Mountain College.”
The board of overseers currently has 20 members, including new members David Chase, business and private equity investor; Bob Ferguson, founder of Jaywalker Lodge; Scott Gilbert, president of Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley; Carole Segal, co-founder of Crate & Barrel; and nationally renowned photographer John Fielder.
Calaway also announced to the group that a $500,000 fundraising drive to support the Isaacson School has reached $425,000.