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.

Brady Johnson, a former member of the U.S. Ski Team, now balances time between C Lazy U Ranch, Destination Colorado, his family and the ski slopes. 

While most people retire just once in their lifetime, C Lazy U Ranch’s Brady Johnson wants to retire three or four times. 

“I think that’s the fun part about life. Find something new, chase a goal and accomplish it, and then find something even more fun and exciting that aligns with what you’re doing with your life at the time,” says Johnson. 

 

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 

 

So far, webcams and Zoom meetings have been an essential part of 2020. While digital options are functional placeholders for meetings, chatting with a coworker over Skype doesn’t always set up a team for success. Human connection is vital to team building, and hosting safe, small meetings is a great way to revitalize teams after months of working from home.