City Center Series

This virtual speaker series features nationally renowned experts discussing urbanism, innovation, placemaking and design, with special emphasis on resiliency, equity and creative placemaking.

Join decisionmakers, industry leaders and community advocates  in exploring the impact of thoughtful planning and design on our present — and future — in Colorado Springs.


Presented by series sponsor Colorado Springs Health Foundation

For four evenings in January, February, March and April 2021, featured City Center Speakers will bring their areas of expertise to bear on current conditions in Colorado Springs, providing inspiration to design a vibrant city for all.

  • All events take place virtually via Zoom.
  • Presentations run 4-5 p.m., with facilitated Q&A following.
  • The 2021 City Center Speaker Series is FREE for all attendees.
  • Pre-registration required — see registration links below.

January 20: Talent development in the City Center

with Irma Olguin and Jake Soberal, co-CEOS of Bitwise

Panelists: Dr. Tatiana Bailey, UCCS Economic Forum
                  Dr. Lance Bolton, Pikes Peak Community College
                  Traci Marques, Pikes Peak Workforce Center
                  Hon. Regina Walter, Educating Children of Color
What is an employer’s role in raising young people out of poverty?

Bitwise Industries and its associated entities have built an equitable, sustainable talent pipeline for Fresno’s technology sector through training, education and a long-term commitment to local underresourced communities. This in turn has sparked a renaissance for Downtown Fresno.

Listen in as Colorado Springs tech industry leaders talk with Irma and Jake about what it takes to equitably develop local talent in a way that builds success for all.

Register for Irma & Jake

February 17: Equity in Transportation

with Tamika L. Butler

Presented by Trails & Open Space Coalition 
Q&A facilitated by Jolie NeSmith, PikeRide
Active multimodal transit is key to economic and public health for growing cities. How do we ensure its benefits are accessible to ALL citizens?

Tamika L. Butler is a national expert on issues related to the built environment, equity, anti-racism, diversity and inclusion, and change management. Recently, Tamika was Toole Design’s Director of Planning for California and the Director of Equity and Inclusion. Formerly serving as Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, they addressed social and racial equity in wellness by building parks and gardens in park-poor communities.

Register for Tamika L. Butler

March 17: How to retain your community’s soul during rapid development

with Dan Carmody, president of Detroit Eastern Market Partnership

Presented by Colorado Springs Food Rescue
Q&A facilitated by Rev. Dr. Stephany Rose Spaulding
Community revitalization can mean many things. On the eve of Colorado Springs’ sesquicentennial, what does our city need to thrive in the next 150 years?

Dan is a dynamic speaker who led the renaissance of Detroit’s Eastern Market as a hub for healthy food and local jobs, eventually expanding a wholesale food district to include mixed-use buildings, additional light manufacturing, and better public spaces. “Don’t change a thing; just make it better” – the motto of many longtime Eastern Market stakeholders – speaks to how long-venerated institutions must evolve with the times to survive.

Register for Dan Carmody

APRIL 14: Public space design for public health equity

with Dr. Keshia Pollack Porter, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Presented by Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO)
Q&A facilitated by Tilah Larson, Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services
The upheavals of 2020 highlighted long-standing inequities in how public space serves public health. What needs to change to make our city center safe and healthy for all?

Dr. Keshia Pollack Porter’s research focuses on tactics to center equity and public health in how we address public spaces, promoting safe and healthy environments where people live, work, play and travel. 

Register for Dr. Keshia Pollack Porter


The 2021 City Center Speaker Series is presented by Colorado Springs Health Foundation, providing grants that target immediate health care needs and encourage healthy living in El Paso County and Teller County, CO.

Sponsors of individual speaker events include CONOTrails and Open Space Coalition and Colorado Springs Food Rescue.

Colorado Springs Business Journal has been the media sponsor of the City Center Speaker Series since its inception.

To learn about other sponsorship opportunities with the City Center Speaker Series and Downtown Ventures, please click here.



View talks by Brent Toderian, Chuck Marohn, Gil Penalosa, Jeff Speck and more on the Downtown Partnership YouTube channel.