Many of us have thought about making a career change... which may involve some risk. Angela Lieurance found that she was able to leave her "big title" job as chief of staff of University of Colorado Health (having previously served as their vice president for development and marketing), to follow her true passion and what truly makes her heart sing, and she says: "Philanthropy has always been my first love."
In 2014, Angela along with Sharon Magness Blake, co-founded "Relentless Pursuits" with the mission of "revolutionizing philanthropy by transforming the way work gets done." The multi-passionate, solution-provoking boutique consulting firm based in Denver, specializes in offering personalized fundraising, event, communications, branding and crisis management services for not-for-profit organizations.
With Angela's skills in staffing, branding, strategic marketing, public relations, communications, media relations, physician relations, community outreach, fundraising, and the management of foundation boards, there is no doubt she will provide insightful and creative solutions for her clients.
Angela's presence and leadership is known in the community, and with her success-driven style, she's totally capable of doing important work helping many worthwhile charitable organizations thrive.
Both Angela and Sharon (great minds think alike) are on the same page and share an unbridled passion for philanthropy done right. They have been an inspiration and served as mentors for many, and as a team, commit to being authentic in the charitable marketplace and want potential clients to know: "We value relationships above all else and firmly believe philanthropy - whether in the form of an event, a campaign, a newsletter or solicitation - should be done in an engaged, personal manner."
Angela is vibrant, competent and wise and guides people with reason and proven knowledge of what works and what matters most. With a refreshing dose of fun, humor and "we'll work you under the table" attitude, Angela Lieurance summed it up best: "The whole point of living on this planet is to feel good and to do good!"
Angela, what really exciting things are going on for you these days?
It’s all about reinvention and it’s really fun!
Two years ago I walked away from being Chief of Staff at a huge health system, and I never looked back. I knew from the moment I decided to leave that I would start my own business – I have always gone about my work with a real entrepreneurial spirit and it has paid off. I have always worked in large, complex organizations so striking out on my own was very different.
So I went to Paris, cleared my head, got some rest; and in 2014, Sharon Magness Blake and I started our firm, Relentless Pursuits with the ambitious goal of revolutionizing philanthropy by transforming the way the work gets done. We don’t do "small"!
Right now, I have a great cadre of clients who are doing amazing work in a lot of areas – it’s really a blessing to work with them. It’s impressive and heartening to see people working for the "good of their cause."
We’re planning a lot of really exciting programming and opportunities for the philanthropic community. We’re thinking about all of this very differently than it’s traditionally been looked at—and we are going to infuse it all with a lot of fun.
What have you learned about yourself through the years?
That perseverance is key—the ability to keep going through tough times, to get back up if your knocked down—that is the secret to perpetually moving forward.
When you were in high school, what did you think you wanted to be?
A writer – either a poet or a journalist – but writing in some manner or playing French horn in a symphony!
What is one of the most important life lessons you have learned?
Gratitude changes everything.
What doors opened for you when you -?
I think from the moment I moved here. Denver has been a great city to me – more specifically, the people of Denver. I have this really terrific network of people who are just great supporters and always willing to open doors, help, advise, listen…it’s really a special place. I get to go to work and create really important stuff with Sharon—and have gotten to do that one way or another for the last 8 years; I consider Pete Coors one of my most influential mentors. And I will never forget that within a couple of months of moving to Denver, I had the great fortune to meet Arlene Hirschfeld—who told me who I needed to meet, helped me set the appointments and just helped me figure a lot of stuff out in general…she is the ultimate "people-connector."
What should someone need to be really good at to do what you do so well?
It’s all about relationship building – in a very genuine way! People can spot a phony – especially a phony trying to get money from them or get on a board. I tell people "what you see is what you get" with me – it seems to be working.
Why should potential clients call you?
Because I will work my heart out for them and work anyone else under the table! And, I have a very unique breadth and depth of experience. I have really seen it all – or at least a lot of it! I have worked in the arts, medicine and health care, academia, a law school, an art museum. I have run everything from annual funds to capital campaigns. I love to work with boards and make them better and more efficient and successful. I love to raise money! And I hope I can inspire them – to do more, to be more.
When you run your own shop, you can decide who you want to work with, and that is the coolest thing—think about it: I get to chose to work with these great organizations that I love – their mission, their work, the people.
Are you an introspective woman?
I have an intense personality – very outgoing and I love to talk, I love to get things done.
But, I also have a very "new agey" side to me – I started meditating two years ago. It was something I never thought I could master – then I realized you don’t have to master anything – you just have to sit in silence for a bit every morning and every night. Then I found out you can really change or reshape your brain! It’s a huge challenge for me to be present and in the moment—I am always thinking about what’s next, what’s on my to do list; what’s my inbox look like? So meditating has helped with me focus.
I love yoga and usually try to sneak away to Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health once a year for a retreat.
I read a lot of books on spirituality.
What motivates you to succeed?
I think the answer to this would have been very different two years ago—I was in a corporate setting, sitting in a big office with an impressive view. My answer would have been very traditional and measured and in very "corporate" terms. I worked 24/7 for years—always striving for whatever was next.
Then, you get the opportunity to do something that really makes your heart sing—so now, what motivates me is very different.
Now I am motivated by my clients and other not for profits and the work they are doing—it is incredible the amount of "making a difference" that goes on in Denver. And I am motivated to help them be better.
It’s a very liberating thing to no longer let your title define you. When I was getting ready to leave the corporate world and culture that I had worked in for 25 years I had this moment of panic (probably more than one moment) when I thought who am I now that I am no longer a "Chief of Staff" or a "Vice President." Then you realize there’s more to life.
Sharon and I chose very deliberately to each call ourselves "the other half" for our titles – it fits us perfectly—we have a lot of Lucy and Ethel moments!
What is your strongest talent?
Ability to manage a crisis
Figuring out really big, messy issues
Bringing fun to things
What do you consider your weakness?
I can be rather impatient; and I don’t suffer fools gladly – I like to get a lot done in a really short period of time and I don’t have a lot of tolerance for game playing.
You always look so fashionable; Do you have a "fashion-addiction" to anything (shoes, bags, etc.)?
Shoes, shoes and more shoes – with some purses thrown in for good measure.
Who would you personally like to interview, and why?
This is a tough one and I can’t pick just one, so I would say:
- Sylvia Plath—such an enormous talent, so flawed and tormented and yet given to such beautiful language. I think her writing and her poetry is truly a brilliant use of language.
- Valentino – what a gracious and enormously talented man who really epitomizes a life well-lived. I just got his new book for Christmas and it’s just this absolute treasure trove of living a beautiful life. Plus I would like to ask him to start making my favorite shoe again!
- Mozart – I find him fascinating. To think of what he accomplished in the time period in which he lived is mind boggling to me—I love music and even thought at one point in my life maybe I would be a music major in college – I played a lot of Mozart’s French Horn concertos and listened to even more!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In Denver, but revolutionizing philanthropy around the world, along side my partner in crime, Sharon Magness Blake. And maybe spending a month or two living in Paris and a month of cold weather in Santa Barbara.
How do you want to be remembered?
As someone who was authentic, made people laugh, made differences, someone who cared and was encouraging and really, as someone who served others. And someone who was grateful.