SMPS Colorado Leonardo Award

Program Overview
The Leonardo Award is the most prestigious recognition by SMPS Colorado, honoring an individual who demonstrates a high level of professionalism in the marketing of services for the built environment. This individual must have achieved prominence in the industry and the community; managed and lead the internal and external marketing efforts of their firm; demonstrated integrity and character of the highest order; advanced and improved standards of marketing professional services; and performed successfully in a highly visible, results-oriented role.

To assist you with your nomination, please review these criteria for eligibility. Only nominations who meet each of these criteria will be considered for the Leonardo Award:

  • The nominee must be a current or past SMPS member with active, local Chapter participation.
  • The nominee must have a minimum of 10 years of experience in the A/E/C industry.
  • The nominee cannot be a member of the current SMPS Colorado Executive Board, which includes the Immediate Past President, the President, the President-Elect, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Director(s)-at-Large.

You are invited and encouraged to nominate a marketing professional who meets the criteria for this award. Self-nomination is allowed.

The call for 2024 nominations is now closed.

Please include the following information about the nominee in your email:

  • Nominee’s name
  • Nominee’s position
  • Nominee’s firm name
  • Nominee’s email address
  • Nominee’s contact phone number

Response Submission
Nominees who meet minimum requirements will be invited to submit a response document for the evaluation committee that describes their qualifications and accomplishments. This formal invitation is similar to an RFQ and will ask nominees to address their achievements and qualifications around the following themes:

  • SMPS Six Domains of Practice – Demonstrates high achievement in the six domains of practice, including marketing research, marketing planning, client and business development, SOQs/proposals, promotional activity, and information/resource management.
  • Professionalism – Displays a high level of professionalism in the marketing of services for the built environment.
  • Reputation – Exudes prominence in the industry and the community.
  • Leadership – Manages and leads the internal and external marketing efforts of their firm, performing successfully in a highly visible, results-oriented role.
  • Integrity & Character – Demonstrates integrity and character of the highest order.
  • Innovation – Advances and improves standards of marketing professional services.

Responses should be of the highest caliber and demonstrate how you truly stand out in the marketing industry. This is the nominees' time to shine and market themselves. It's important to note that not everyone who is nominated for the award will choose to respond or will move forward to the interview stage. When this happens, the Leonardo Selection Committee Chair is available to help nominees understand what they need to do or how they can move forward in pursuing the award in the future.

Evaluation & Interview
The evaluation of nominees is conducted by a committee of previous Leonardo Award recipients and is based on the criteria outlined above. The committee determines who to interview based on their response submission and group dialogue around nominees. Historically, not all years have yielded a selection or even led to interviews, which is up to the Selection Committee’s discretion.

Win or lose, nominees are entitled to a debrief and feedback from the Selection Committee at any step in the process. Because of the selective and competitive nature of the Leonardo Award, it may not be given on nominee’s first try, so it’s important that candidates take advantage of the debrief and learn in the process.

SMPS Colorado values a positive and collaborative community and, therefore, keeps nominee identities and submission volumes for the Award confidential.

The recipient of this award will be honored at the SMPS Colorado Marketing Excellence Awards on Thursday, May 16, at The Denver Aquarium.

SMPS Colorado Leonardo Recipients


  Leonardo Recipient

2024 Ale Spray
2023 No award given
2022 Jennifer Van Vleet
2020/2021 Michele Raftery
2019 M.R. Hicks
2018 Julie Witecki
2017 Marcy Loughran
2016 Stacy Stout
2015 Dennis Richard
2014 Amy Hopkins
2013 Deb Schindler
2012 Lisa Jelliffe
2011 Karen Gilbert
2010 Debbie Hindman
2009 LaDonna Baertlein
2008 Elaine Jensen Kanelos
2007 No award given
2006 Dena Wyatt
2005 Bob Trout
2004 No award given
2003 Jeff Johnson
2002 Dave Lewis
2001 Clayton Cole
2000 Jim Mellor
1999 Eric Mott
1998 Carol Ditchkus
1997 Christine King
1996 Elaine Hughes
1995 Sharon LaVoie
1994 Ellen Johnson
1993 Allan Fries
1992 Becky Zimmermann Morton
1991 Kari Foster
1990 Gil Mulley
1989 Angle Kinnaird
1988 Marilyn Hennessy
1987 Trish Ullery
1986 Dick Maxfield
1985 Rich Weingardt
1984 Bill Klett