Glenwood Springs ideas summit small but ‘impactful’
Kherlen Batbayar is happy to know she can just be herself and not try to emulate somebody else to make a difference in the world.
That was one of her takeaways at the second GlenX Success Summit, held at Glenwood Springs High School on Saturday.
Batbayer is from Mongolia, native country of summit founder Altai Chuluun and his brother, Mergen Chuluun, executive director of the Business Council of Mongolia who was among this year’s event speakers on the topic of successful business networking.
“Don’t try to copy people, just learn from them and their experiences,” Batbayar, who works as an assistant to the consulate of Mongolia in Denver.
Now 27, she said that was hard for her to understand when she was in her late teens and early 20s and the pressure was on to set a successful career path.
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Batbayar said she was inspired by the message from longtime Roaring Fork Valley philanthropist and GlenX Summit speaker Jim Calaway, who told his story of discovering in mid life that he was more happy giving back than keeping his riches for himself.
Sonja Linman, a teacher and counselor at Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood Springs which had one of the many displays set up in the Experience Hall during the afternoon and evening summit, agreed.
“I’m so grateful for Jim Calaway and the message he brings,” Linman said. “The most important piece is to look at how we can live an authentic life, and especially to encourage young people to take a position of purpose in our world.
“And when we look back, if we’ve truly committed to doing for the good of all, that can be the greatest gift we both gave and got,” she said.
GlenX aspires to be the Glenwood Springs equivalent of the Aspen Institute, with the main goal being to share ideas and provide inspiration for business and community leaders.
Although lightly attended, with about 60 people on hand to hear speakers ranging from Calaway and life coach Michelle Lefebvre to educator Aaron Garland and several business and community leaders, Chuluun said he was pleased with the second installment of an event he hopes to someday grow to the scale of the Aspen Ideas Festival.
“People are still trying to figure out who GlenX is and what we’re about, but that will come,” Chuluun said. “We have a great team behind it, and it does have an impact on the people who attend.”
Calaway, who has given greatly to valley institutions including Colorado Mountain College, the Colorado Animal Rescue shelter and Valley View Hospital, was to have spoken at last year’s inaugural event, but took a fall a few days beforehand and was unable to make it.
On Saturday, in a question-and-answer session led by CMC President Carrie Besnette Hauser, he shared his story of growing up poor, earning a college degree, striking it rich in the oil and mining business, and finding his passion for giving back at age 40.
“At 85, I’m still an incurable entrepreneur,” Calaway said. But his drive is different.
He tells the story of one of the later ventures started by he and one of his sons, a software company for the legal industry, that ultimately sold for $8 million. He kept $50 from the proceeds to buy some new socks and underwear.
The best source of happiness, Calaway said, is giving.
“Live life modestly and give to the common good, be creative and be kind,” he said. “That’s the way to live.”
Lefebvre, a Glenwood Springs resident and inspirational speaker, offered five tips to bring happiness to your life: Live bigger, bolder and braver; invite your Uber driver to dinner; tell yourself “you’re awesome” once every hour; blur the lines between work and play; and, surround yourself with happy people.
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