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STARS executive director resigns – Steamboat Pilot & Today

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Julie Taulman

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The executive director of Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports, STARS, resigned Friday, Jan. 24, in an email to STARS supporters. Julie Taulman had served in her position for 12 years.

In the email, Taulman said she was resigning to pursue new opportunities outside of Steamboat Springs.

“It has been an honor to serve as the first employee and Executive Director of this organization for over a decade,” Taulman wrote. “The amazing participants, families, donors and volunteers that I have met through the years has been a joy, and there are many cherished friendships that I will carry with me in the next phase of my life.

“During my tenure, I had the opportunity to help to create an amazing organization and shape the vision for the STARS Ranch. I am extremely proud to see the opening of the Ranch and the first group of Veterans that got to stay here. I can’t thank the donors enough that believed in our dream to build this amazing place. Finally, I am so proud of our STARS Staff which is a remarkable group of dedicated individuals that work hard every day to ensure that our participants have a life changing experience.  

“It is very hard to move on, but I know that it is time for someone else to take the reins and to grow and support this organization into the future. I personally wish everyone at STARS the best, and I know that we built a strong organization that will continue to serve the adaptive community for many decades to come.”

Taulman declined to be interviewed about her resignation, according to Ashley Lowe with Betty Ashley Public Relations.

Gail Jensen, STARS board president, was also quoted in the Friday email message.

“The STARS Board of Directors would like to thank Julie for her unwavering commitment to the STARS mission,” Jenson wrote. “Under Julie’s leadership, STARS expanded its scope with locals’ programs, military groups and partnerships with other organizations that work with adults and youth with disabilities. Julie successfully led a $6.5 million capital campaign, resulting in the recent completion of the STARS Ranch, a 27-bed, fully accessible lodge. The Ranch has fulfilled Julie’s dream of creating ‘A Place for Hope and Healing’ for our participants.”

STARS board member and volunteer Jeff Messinger will serve as interim executive director.

Messinger is president of the Ski Town Lions Club and retired as a sales director with Pfizer Inc. He began volunteering in 2018, quickly sold on “the mission of empowering and enriching lives through adaptive recreational sports.” He’s put in more than 100 hours volunteering and joined the board in the summer of 2019 to contribute his experience in leadership and organizational management.

“Jeff brings extensive experience from his career in sales and healthcare management,” Jensen wrote in the email. “Jeff will be supported through the transition by the STARS Staff and Board.”  

Messinger stated his goals are to “support the amazing staff at STARS in their efforts to enhance the participant’s experience, solidify existing donor relationships and explore new partnerships, put the finishing touches on the new STARS Ranch facility and prepare for upcoming group event, and to initiate the hiring process for a new Executive Director who has the qualifications to lead STARS into the future.”

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.

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