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Lakeside Chautauqua is excited to welcome Gretchen Colón as the new V.P. of Advancement & Marketing.

Colón served Lakeside previously as Senior V.P. of Advancement & Marketing. Beginning in 2007, she worked closely with both Lakeside boards to help nurture the culture of generosity and to raise over $20 million in support of Lakeside’s mission. She developed familiar tools like Lakeside’s #GivingTuesday and spearheaded the Lakeside Pool & Wellness Capital Campaign, bringing together a team which included many volunteers and community members. In addition, she worked with the Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation Board to develop and complete a strategic fundraising plan post-campaign, gathering insight from board members, donors and many stakeholders.

Colón’s family has a long connection with Lakeside. When her grandfather first stood on Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile, he had just returned from WWII. He was a young, widowed father with two daughters to raise. For him, Lakeside Chautauqua became a place of healing, renewal, rest and love. Four generations later, Colón continues to return to Lakeside with her young family to find renewal, reunion and reconnection.

A true proponent of community collaboration, Colón partnered with the Lakeside Association Board of Directors, the Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation Board and committees, including Executive, Finance, Governance and Guest Experience. She worked in cooperation with the Pool & Wellness Taskforce, Master Plan Taskforce, Capital Campaign Team and Lakeside Fund Ambassadors. She also mentored scores of Lakeside summer interns.

Colón worked with and for the Board to compile, organize and complete the 400-page application for the Ohio Standards for Excellence and received an excellent rating. She served faithfully as part of the Senior Leadership Team as Lakeside’s operational budget grew from $4 to $10 million. Through her work, she has partnered with staff, stakeholders, potential partners, donors and homeowners to turn strategy into action to advance Lakeside Chautauqua.

Along with Alex Stelzer, the Director of Marketing, Colón helped guide Lakeside through a rebranding effort and helped start many of the digital communications channels for Lakeside, including, in 2019, a new “What’s Happening in Lakeside” app to assist visitors and cottage owners. Using information and guest feedback from surveys and focus groups, she helped pivot and elevate Lakeside’s level of hospitality.

Throughout the Master Plan process, she partnered with MKSK, helping to ensure that surveys were written, launched and the data compiled. Together with Religious Life, she worked to align seven UMC Foundations, successfully initiating the Generosity & Stewardship Conference bringing more than 150 new people to Lakeside each year from across the Midwest.

Colón departed Lakeside in August of 2019 and she and Stelzer started their own consulting firm, continuing to help non-profit organizations grow and advance. In March, Kip Greenhill asked the partners to help fill the void when Lakeside’s V.P. of Marketing left. As a result of their efforts, the Calendar of Events brochure was completed in 30 days, gate and admissions communications were jump-started, Chautauqua program promotion was maximized, and relationships with media and travel bloggers were rekindled; as a result, several stories were published. When the Development Director and the V.P. of Development departed, they filled a second void helping to launch the Step-Up Challenge, strategizing donor relationships with the President/CEO, and pushing giving ahead of last year all while nurturing and teaching a green team.

As a consultant, Colón has leveraged her leadership strengths to secure major clients, counsel organizations on strategic communications, marketing and public relations, and prepare leadership for transformational gift solicitations. She has conducted feasibility studies and pre-campaign plans, strategic plans, and long-range plans for organizations.

Colón holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Public Relations from Heidelberg University and studied at the American University semester exchange in International Business and Trade. She also holds an M.B.A. from Tiffin University and has completed the Duke University Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership. She is certified as a Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and has completed the Intensive Planned Giving Training through the Sharpe Groupe. She is ACC trained by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and has completed training as a process consultant.

“Gretchen is the right person for Lakeside. Her vast experience, with Lakeside as well as other non-profits, has given her the wisdom and experience to move Lakeside into the next 150 years,” said Kip Greenhill, Lakeside President & CEO. “We’re lucky to have her.”

Colón is honored to lend her heart, hands, time and talent to Lakeside with the hope that her three daughters’ children will be able to experience renewal, reinvigoration and enrichment here, too.