Art is a univeral language. Nobody knows that better than Birgit Whitelaw, who speaks three—German, French and English—but knows that creativity supersedes them all. Whitelaw grew up in Germany, worked at her uncle’s hotel and earned her bachelor’s degree in hotel management. She worked at a number of European hotels, exploring other countries in the process.

She came to Colorado to visit a friend and ended up meeting her future husband. Eventually, she took a job as director of sales and catering at Denver’s Burnsley All Suite Hotel. But she craved a way to also use her lifelong passion for art. She had studied under a number of art professors in Europe, eventually completing her studies at The Art Institute of Colorado.

Whitelaw and her business partner, Renata Dolz, started The Art Connection in 2003. Drawing upon combined experiences in hotel management and marketing and a shared passion for art, their business has blossomed into one of the most creative experiences a company can buy. T-Mobile, Vectra Bank, Star Foundation and others have tapped their creative energy to provide branding, team-building and other enhancements to their business cultures. “Basically, we use art and other creative methods to connect people with each other,” Whitelaw says. “And we very much customize each experience to [each] client.”

People in general enjoy being creative and find The Art Connection’s projects release a side they might not ordinarily show. Art becomes a catalyst to creativity and human connection. Whitelaw says, “It brings me much joy.”

Her mantra?: “In a desert, there’s always sunshine; but for growth you need rain and for creativity, you need a thunderstorm.” Art Connection brings the thunderstorm.

When she’s not working, Whitelaw loves skiing and hiking in Colorado’s mountains with her 13-year-old daughter and husband, who she’s been married to for 21 years.

Uncharted Society works with outfitters across the globe to give groups and individuals the opportunity to try motorsports on BRP-certified vehicles. Teams can bond in some of the nation’s most beautiful spots on a wide range of nature tours offered on land, snow, and sea. Check out these three examples from Colorado and Utah. 

 

Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana, has named Molly Smith and Kristen Snavely co-general managers of the all-inclusive luxury property situated in the Bitterroot Valley. Smith is returning to Triple Creek Ranch after a brief hiatus. Previously serving as GM for four years after working her way up from pastry chef, she has since perfected her skills at The Inn at Hastings Park in Massachusetts, another Relais & Châteaux property. 

 

With meetings returning to normal as the COVID-19 pandemic levels out, outdoor mountain pursuits are finding more time on meeting agendas. Taking events outdoors not only boosts attendees’ comfort level as they ease back into in-person meetings, time spent in nature is proven to improve brain health and stimulate creative thinking as well.

We’ll be looking at this topic in-depth in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Mountain Meetings. Consider this as an introduction to some of the possibilities.