The Aspen Citizens Academy Class
| Ali Marshall|
Ali Marshall was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. In 1996, she came to Aspen for one season and
has never left. Ali is the Executive
Assistant with a local CPA firm and a mom to two children. And, fun fact: she’s
married to Eminem.
Originally, Ali applied to Citizens Academy to learn about
where we live and how to change things we don’t like. Her experience has turned out to be so much more. She has found that the information shared each session
is filled with knowledge and facts about this amazing place we call home.
| Andy Curtis|
I grew up in Massachusetts and was placed for an internship
in Aspen almost 10 years ago, where I quickly ditched my coastal lifestyle and
embraced my new life in the mountains. Since then I have spent my time here as
a film and tv producer / editor, which has allowed me to dive into the many
faces of Aspen's diverse cultural experiences.
I joined the Aspen Citizen's Academy to give me a crash
course in the ins and outs of Aspen City Gov't, further my knowledge and
understanding of city programs and protocols and to hopefully jump start my
future civic involvement.
Christina Speck is a recently returned
Aspen native who has worked in non-profits, corporate and as a civil servant. She came home to Aspen to reunite with family after studying, working and traveling
in the US and overseas.
Christina joined the Citizens Academy to gain a better
understanding of current issues facing Aspen today and how the City of Aspen
government works, it's top priorities, concerns and challenges.
| Cindy Hirschfeld|
Cindy Hirschfeld is
the editor-in-chief of Aspen Sojourner, the award-winning magazine that
covers everything local for both residents and visitors, as well as a freelance
travel and ski writer.
As soon as she heard about the Citizens Academy, Cindy was
interested in participating, both to satisfy her own curiosity about what goes
on behind-the-scenes in local government and to better serve the magazine’s
readers with that enhanced local knowledge.
| David Berkson|
I fell in love with
this place the first time I saw it in 1979. Met several friends going to
college in Boulder (1981-1984) that lived here, but I could not afford to move
here till I decided to just go for it in 2010.
I am a therapist
that does Bodywork on people. More dealing with structure and flexibility and
healing physical inadequacies from past injuries. Teach Yoga and Metaphysics
and I am a Transpersonal Astrologer.
I never served my
country as my age put me in between having to serve our country, in these
unnecessary wars. How lucky! So getting involved with civic duty has always
been on my mind to give back to society somehow. When I heard about this
program I could not want to learn and get involved.
| Julie Thorne Engels|
Julie Thorne Engels is a lifelong
visionary, strategist and entrepreneur with a passion for employing creativity
to drive business and social change.
Recently, Julie and her family took
the leap of faith, moved to Colorado and have landed in the deep embrace of the
Aspen community. Her curious nature led her to Create Aspen Mentorship Program,
where she serves as the Executive Director, helping unite
intergenerational citizens through mentorship, collaboration and
The Aspen Citizens Academy was a natural extension to learn what
makes her new hometown tick. Julie is honored to find herself in a community
that actively cultivates prosperity.
|Richard T. Lai|
Born in Beijing and
raised in a global context by foreign service parents, I first came to Aspen as
a 22-year old in 1959-60 to work in architecture for Sam Caudill, but leaving
after five years to teach at UT-Austin and Arizona State, only to return at
every opportunity with my family to ski, hike, and fish. I earned two degrees
in architecture at Princeton as well as a doctorate in city and regional
planning from Penn.
I appreciate the
prospect offered by the Citizens Academy to re-immerse myself as a retiree into
the Aspen community. This community allowed me in my early twenties to chair
the committee on the Aspen experimental mall (modeled after my master’s thesis
displayed at the Jerome and then proposed at an Institute conference on the
Future of Aspen) and later to serve on the planning and zoning commission
(while still an applicant for U.S. immigration status).
I’ve been in Aspen for 12 years and sell wine for a Colorado based
wholesaler. I also work several other jobs throughout the year as many of us
must do to make it in this town.
I applied for the program for two reasons. I wanted to learn more about
what makes this amazing town work, and also as a possible avenue to getting
more involved and perhaps finding a job or serving on a committee within the
| Sherese Chrétien|
The Aspen Citizens
Academy has enabled me to learn the city's strategies for balancing Aspen's
I am a community
builder who wakes up each day and asks how I can make our community fuller and
more connected. I have worked for our President, started companies, run
non-profits, and volunteered my time towards that goal.
As Chair of Aspen
NextGen and Co-Chair of P&Z I felt it was my responsibility to know as much
about our system and process as I could and to set an example for other public
servants to do the same.
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