A Vail local since 1981, Lissa Tyler was named chair of the board of directors for the Bright Future Foundation in January, replacing Yvonne Jacobs who held that post for three years. Tyler brings a wealth of experience and local knowledge to the position, having worked as a financial planner for Vail Resorts during her early years of residency in the valley. Tyler went on to serve as director of finance for the Vail Valley Foundation, where she played a key role directing national and international corporate sales for the 1989 and 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships, among other world-class events, and later was integral in developing the foundation’s educational programs.
In 2005, Tyler tried her hand at real estate and quickly became one of the top-producing brokers at Slifer, Smith and Frampton while continuing her work in the community by forming the Colorado Mountain College HERO Scholarship program. In 2010, through her relationships with former Bright Future Board Chairs Susan Frampton and Craig Cormack and Executive Director Sheri Mintz, Tyler joined the BFF Board of Directors, bringing along a strong network of fundraising experience.
The Bright Future Foundation communications team recently had a chance to catch up with Tyler to discuss her first few months in office and plans for the future.
BFF: Tell us a little bit about how you became involved with the Bright Future Foundation.
Tyler: My passion has always been education and social issues in our valley. I truly believe the fabric of the community is people, and we have to take care of the people who live here. It’s really easy in a community like Vail to lose site of the fact that there are many, many people here that make the resort community work. I’ve just always been passionate about trying to make the valley a better place and feel that people need to contribute not only from a financial standpoint but also emotionally through a commitment to the community.
BFF: How has your role on the board changed or expanded since becoming chair?
Tyler: It’s still pretty new. Primarily, we are really focusing on the (possibility of a new) shelter, the fact that we need to move forward with that. We’re evaluating whether or not we’re in a position and time in which a capital campaign makes sense. And we’re being very judicious about that in light of the economy and other organizations in the valley, as well as our need. Beyond that, I would say our goal is to continue our outreach and maintain a really solid, financially sound organization, and to implement programs that are meaningful in the community. I think the expansion of the board into arenas where we wanted to strengthen our depth of experience— the addition of Judge Tom Moorhead, Steve Suggs, Doe Browning, Jim Flaum and Cindy Engle — has been tremendously beneficial.
BFF: You touched on some of your goals for tenure as board chair. Do you want to elaborate or discuss any other plans for the foundation?
Tyler: I would say the strengthening of our statewide reach, particularly as it relates to foundations that may assist us in our grant and fundraising capabilities. I think it’s important for any organization that ebbs and flows — and in order for us to do our long-term work — we have to be financially viable. To help build that financial stability through private funders, through existing Colorado nonprofit organizations that would be a big goal of mine. And we’ve made huge progress on that, but I think we have some untapped opportunities.
BFF: Tell us a little more about your day job at Slifer and what you like about it.
Tyler: It’s the people part of the business that I love. It’s the interactions with all the brokers in our company, my clients. I enjoy being able to put my background in finance to work — using that ability to help (my clients) make wise decisions for their families while enabling them to come here and enjoy the lifestyle we all love.