Spotlight COlorado  

Have You Met?

It’s easy to be in awe of “class act” Les Woodward. When others might be thinking retirement, Mr. Woodward – with his tireless energy - is still going strong as Senior Counsel for the prestigious law firm, Davis, Graham, & Stubbs. He has practiced law there since his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1957. His emphasis in law is on federal securities and the representation of mutual funds.

Brimming with joy, Woodward says: “I feel fortunate to have such a wonderful career!” His exuberance for life is catching. When you talk with Les, you will find yourself sharing a laugh and a bit of humor with him. It’s rare to see Les without a smile on his face that seems to say: “This man is fiercely alive.”

In addition to serving as lead corporate counsel for a number of companies - both small and large - Mr. Woodward has devoted a large amount of his time to civic activities, primarily in the field of education. His life-long passion for education (especially for our most vulnerable children) is shared by his wife, Marianne, a retired elementary school teacher, who has been teaching “English as a Second Language” classes on a volunteer basis for more than 20 years.

Les & Marianne Woodward have done a great job passing the torch of “commitment to quality education” to their children. Their daughter, Victoria Eisele, teaches at Front Range Community College. Their oldest son, Richard, is an associate professor at Texas A&M University, while another son, David, is an elementary school mathematics coach in the Boulder Public School System. Their youngest son, Andy, is an artist and likes to study architecture all over the world.

Les Woodward embraces the essence of life with a grounded centeredness and an “inner beat” all his own. He believes that things usually turn out the way they should – especially if you give it your best effort. As he wisely says: “After that - Let it happen…”

As one of the most astute attorneys in Colorado, what laws do you think need changing? Reduce regulations – particularly of schools.

Since you have been so involved in education and the school systems in Colorado, name a few positive changes that have taken place over the years? We have seen a significant increase in accountability – along with a professional compensation system for teachers.

What still needs to happen to create better educational opportunities for our kids? A commitment to excellence from the entire community – that won’t accept excuses.

What do you believe should be the true meaning & essence of the “No Child Left Behind” model? We must give our children the important tools to develop and build their self-esteem. Self-esteem is developed by their successes and accomplishments.

What can we do to get our young people more involved in charitable giving and volunteering? Be good examples for them.

What non-profit organizations are you involved with at this time? We contribute to numerous charitable organizations. Right now I’m most involved with International Development Enterprises, Lutheran Family Services Foundation, Bethany College, & Augustana Lutheran Church.

Is there a charitable event you really look forward to attending each year? The Denver Public Schools Foundation Gala.

What is your fondest childhood memory? Working with my father.

What is a piece of wisdom your parents gave you that you will remember all your life? My parents never talked about what you should be, they simply showed you what you should be; they gave generously to their community.

Do you and Marianne have a motto you live by? For Marianne it’s: “Plan ahead.” For me it’s: “I’ll get by...” (Laugh)

What is your greatest strength? Listening.

What is your greatest weakness? Over-commitment.

What is your greatest fear? Dependency.

There is a big gap in this country between the wealthy and those living in poverty; what can be done for those who don’t see much hope for their future? Education.

What do you love most about living in Colorado? Climate; beauty of the mountains – and most important: the positive attitude of the people.

What’s the best book you have ever read that you wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to others? The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis.

What are your favorite leisure time activities? Skiing & Skating; Spectator Sports: Broncos & Nuggets.

Who is your hero/mentor? My father - who played a key role & paved the way in my life; & Dick Davis, one of the founders of our law firm. Many people thought of Dick as a good friend – not just an acquaintance. He really cared about people and was greatly respected.

Who is the most interesting person you have ever met? Dr. Paul Polak, a Psychiatrist & President of International Development Enterprises (IDE), a nonprofit, poverty alleviation organization he founded in 1981 - and he is also a Holocaust survivor.

What word best describes your life right now? Satisfying.

If you were to write an autobiography right now, what would the title of it be? “Let it Happen.”

What do you still want to learn how to do in your lifetime? Speed-reading.

What’s up in the future for Les Woodward? Just let it happen.

How do you want to be remembered by future generations? As wise, generous, and caring, and as someone who was always participating.

Mr. Woodward’s Professional & Community Service: Listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” & is a member of the Denver Bar Association, the Colorado Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

Served as the Chairman of the Securities Law Committee of the Corporate, Banking & Business Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association.
Les has served on numerous corporate boards.

Served as a member of the Denver Public School Board of Education – 1999 - 2005.
Board of Directors & Chairman of Bethany College.
Member & Chairman of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education – 1979 - 1981.
Board of Directors of the Public Education Coalition of Denver – 1985 – 1989.
Pioneering Member of the Citizens for Quality Schools.
Board of Directors of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce – 1973 - 1977.
Vice Chairman of Public Affairs for the Chamber in 1976 – 1977.
Active Member of the Augustana Lutheran Church since 1960. Served on the Church Council & and President of the Congregation.