Those who knew Lauren Guthrie reflected on her leadership style as “Kindly Bold.” If you look up “Kindly Bold” in the dictionary, it is not there. Seemingly impossible to define in a few, concise words, it is a leadership style that has to be lived out. A leadership style that is full of both grace and courage; a leadership style that pulls out the best in others.
Leading Kindly Bold means not just talking about doing good, but walking in kindness. It means serving the people around you and lifting those people’s interest above your own. It means focusing on change rather than comparison, community rather than personal goals. These “type” of Kindly Bold leaders stand shoulder to shoulder with others.
When we reflect on the legacies our 2020 Kindly Bold scholarship recipients, Morgan Davis and Riley Ruff, left in their high school years, we see two Kindly Bold leaders marching side by side choosing to be the change they want to see in the world. Best friends with different passions but one foundational mission to make their communities better. And they have.
Morgan, as Riley would describe, “can make anyone feel comfortable.” She has a leadership style that both thrives in community and builds community. Leading from her core values of community, honesty, and quality relationships, Morgan played an active role as a Youth Advisory Board member for the past three years. She had opportunities to develop and lead conferences and service projects. She even had opportunities to speak in front of groups of adults as large as the members of the Colorado school boards, which she admits she never thought she would do. During her four years with CYL, she has learned that leaders are open minded, informed and empathetic, and she has put these characteristics into practice.
Riley, as Morgan would describe, “is a master of words and full of passion.” Riley has evolved from a shy fourteen year old to a young person willing to stand on the capital steps or in front of hundreds of athletes urging others to care about the daily choices they make that impact the environment, to live a life that truly matters, and to listen first and lead second. Riley has also spent three years on the CYL Youth Advisory Board, this past year as the Board President. When asked about her most memorable moment in CYL, she is most proud of her role in facilitating Lauren’s legacy project to adults in Vail and across the nation in Tampa, Florida. In every interaction you’ll find that Riley leads out of her core values of empathy, effective communication, and strong community.
Both these Young Leaders will be headed west to Oregon. Morgan will be attending Willamette University, majoring in International Studies. She wants to use what she has learned at the local level to make a positive impact around the world. Riley will attend Reed University pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in biology. Riley’s dream job is to write climate legislation or at least sit at the table with politicians who are doing that work.
Both would agree they want to actively pursue leadership and community service peer groups in their college years, and CYL has given them the blueprint for the community they want to have in their collegiate years.
When we asked for some advice for the next generation of high schoolers in our program. Morgan wants to tell them to “Say Yes!” We spend so much of our lives saying “no” and hearing “no.” CYL is your chance to be who you want to be. Riley said, “Just do it,” because you find your passion and your people.
Morgan and Riley, we honor you and thank you for who you are!