Trip To Salt Lake Inspires Interest In Bringing Skills, Mentoring Program To Denver

Understanding motivation—why someone makes a certain choice—is not the first step toward creating meaningful social change. Instead, developing the skills needed to change comes first. It was a provocative idea put forth to delegates of the Leadership Exchange last week by Joseph Grenny, the social scientist known for his bestselling book Influence: The New Science of Leading Change.

The 165 business and civic leaders in the room, brought to Salt Lake City by the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, didn’t just take Grenny’s word for it. He introduced them to Dave Durocher.

In and out of prison and looking at a sentence of 29 years, Durocher took the opportunity to go to Delancey Street, a place that would give him skills and support he needed to turn around his life. He went through the program, and then stayed there to grow it. Today, he serves as managing director of The Other Side Academy in Salt Lake, a two-year program for people who have been incarcerated, experienced homelessness or dealt with substance abuse, offering vocational training, education, counseling, mentorship and leadership training—all at no cost.

It’s an approach that inspired a number of delegates of the 27th Leadership Exchange trip. Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock challenged the delegation to learn more about this model. Dozens of delegates stood to show their support to explore the current services in Denver and continue to engage with The Other Side Academy.

This was just one way delegates got a behind-the-scenes look at the city on the Wasatch Front over this three-day trip. The delegation also focused on big, bold events like the Sundance Film Festival and the 2002 Winter Olympics, as well as how Salt Lake has engaged its community on how to grow, invest in infrastructure and support an increasingly tech and outdoor rec industries.

For more information or to get involved, please email Kirsten Vermulen at

2017-03-17T16:04:18+00:00 October 3rd, 2016|