PPWC Volunteer of the Year

This award is presented annually to the volunteer who has contributed the most outstanding effort to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference.

Nominate someone for this award

2019 – Rebecca Davis

Becki Davis has quietly worked behind the scenes at the conference for years, giving up the opportunity to attend workshops in order to make the tables at lunch and dinner as beautiful as possible, always bringing a wonderfully fun and creative spark to the meals. This year, she took an extra leap and joined the board. Even though her volunteer positions haven’t been glamorous, we would definitely have felt her absence, her kindness, her sweetness, and her large and giving heart.

2018 – Torie Fox-Philips

2017 – Sergey Barbotko and Charise Simpson

Sergey Barbotko ran our A/V program for quite
some time and he always did a wonderful job. He
mades other conference jobs MUCH less stressful by
showing up and cheerfully doing an outstanding job of
scheduling A/V help in all the rooms that needed it during
conference. He prevented us from ever going into crisis mode
because we knew we had someone solid, smart, and
reliable handling this important aspect of PPWC.
Congratulations Sergey!

We also recognized Charise Simpson – she has
always been a PPWC fixture with her onsite conference work.
Although she was often out of the limelight, helping direct the
2017 conference was a huge task. She coordinated
meetings, answered questions, and filled in where needed. If
she hadn’t done all that she did this year, we’d certainly
notice! And everything Charise handled for PPWC was done
with kindness and a smile.
Thank you Charise.

Karen Fox

2016 – Karen Fox

The 2016 Pikes Peak Writers Conference Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Karen Fox. Karen has been a part of the Pikes Peak Writers family for a long time and the knowledge and experience she brought with her were invaluable. As the Registrar, Karen had hands on every registration that came through in 2016. She was responsible for every change, every email and she handled them professionally and promptly. Even though her title does not suggest she is a director, Karen was at every director’s meeting without fail. Her knowledge and her calm, friendly nature were the backbone of our team. Without Karen Fox, the 2016 Pikes Peak Writers Conference would not have been the success that it was.


2015 – Jason Henry

Jason has worked his way up the ladder of PPW from A/V Workstudy recipient/volunteer to being the programming director for this 2015 conference. He tirelessly works in as many areas of PPW as he possibly can in addition to his PPWC duties.

He’s on the spot, does his job well, shows up early, stays late, and is incredibly focused and organized. Jason has had some uphill battles with the job this year and has done some excellent work. He asks a lot of good questions, has a lot of good ideas, and I’ve always found him willing to listen and debate ideas back and forth.

All these reasons are why Jason is our 2015 Conference Volunteer of the Year.


2014 – MB Partlow

There are many reasons that MB Partlow is receiving this award for a second time…. She’s witty, savvy, thoughtful, hardworking, and a tremendous asset to Pikes Peak Writers. Not only did she dive into the role of Conference Programming Director last year, she has followed that up with a second year of fabulous service in the same role. And, then, as if that weren’t enough, she raised her hand to be considered as the 2015 Conference Director. All of this comes after many years of helping out at Write Brains, workshops, and being a fabulous contest coordinator.

After last year’s award winning contributions, MB didn’t back down, she reached even higher… and all with such sassy grace and aplomb!


2013 – MB Partlow and Jennifer LaPointe

MB Partlow — When she was told that being Faculty Director for PPWC 2013 meant donning the newly created mantle of Programming Director, MB Partlow didn’t blink. As Programming Director, she not only managed faculty, but she also took a leading role in selecting workshops, crafting the overall conference structure, and managing events like the Pitch and Read & Critique appointments. Years ago, MB started volunteering with PPW as the Non-Conference Events Assistant working at many Write Brains and workshops. She shifted into the conference role of Moderator Coordinator before going on to serve as the PPW Fiction Writing Contest Coordinator. Both were jobs at which she excelled. Now, MB has committed herself to back-to-back sessions as the PPWC Programming Director. She assembled an amazing faculty for PPWC 2013 and is poised to make 2014 equally as fantastic. MB works tirelessly to make conference an experience everyone enjoys, and she does it with humor, doggedness, and a hefty dash of creative genius.

Jennifer LaPointe — Jennifer LaPointe wears many hats for our organization. She has worked as Pitch Coordinator for the past few years and has turned that department into a well-oiled machine. She stepped into the new role as Assistant Conference Director this year and has been an incredible asset to the team. Jennifer has also gone above and beyond with her work on the Compliance Committee to assist PPW in complying with legal guidelines and best practices. She has devoted a great deal of time and effort to see that the internal Content Management System was in place for this year’s Pikes Peak Writers Conference along with a new series of job descriptions. Jennifer is efficient, uncomplaining, and dedicated to the cause of the organization as well as its people. She has served this organization with quiet enthusiasm for years, and it is past time she was recognized. We have many volunteers who strive for the success of PPW and PPWC, but few, if any, work with the tireless dedication of Jennifer LaPointe.

Bonnie Hagan

2012 – Bonnie Hagan

With her positivity, logic, dependability, and down-to-earth realism, Bonnie Hagan is exactly the kind of person PPW has needed to help steer the organization over the past year. Bonnie has been a dedicated volunteer in many capacities, most recently serving as Secretary and Pitch Coordinator. In these roles, Bonnie’s focus, perceptiveness and attention to detail have been instrumental in keeping PPW and PPWC on track. Bonnie is unfailingly calm and rational, and has a steadying effect on all those she works with. In addition, with her positive attitude, welcoming spirit, and enthusiasm for PPW, she is a beacon for others to join the group. This award recognizes Bonnie for her contributions to PPW, and showcases her as an example of the ultimate volunteer.

Grant and Connie McKenzie

2011 – Grant and Connie McKenzie

People frequently volunteer, and occasionally they follow through, but only rarely do they shine.  These two individuals are so radiant, they’re blinding.  At a time when PPW had lost someone integral to the functioning of the organization, suddenly there were two people who said, “We can do that.”  Their can-do attitude shines through in every aspect of their work whether it’s researching registration options, coordinating all the dietary requirements of our attendees, fielding every possible conference attendee request, or responding to emails on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.  Despite unbelievable obstacles, they have handled every crisis, every surprise, and every frustrating situation with dedication, determination, and the best interests of our members and attendees always in mind.  This year’s PPWC Volunteer of the Year Award goes to Team McKenzie – Connie & Grant.

Susan Mitchell

2010 – Susan Mitchell

Susan Mitchell is a dynamo whose insight, intelligence, and charisma make her a compelling leader. Sue has been behind the scenes of PPW for a long time, getting our information to the public via press releases, radio spots, and other media coverage. But this year, in addition to skillfully publicizing the conference, Sue embraced a leadership role on the PPW Board of Directors, and as PPWC Faculty Director, built an impressive lineup of Authors, Editors and Agents. In addition to her heroic efforts this year, Sue deserves recognition for the leadership, vision, fortitude, and overall outstanding service she’s given to our organization over many years. There is no doubt that Susan Mitchell is the Pikes Peak Writers Conference Volunteer of the Year for 2010.

Pam McCutcheon

2009 – Pam McCutcheon

Pam has worked with PPWC pretty much since its inception in a vast array of categories.  She’s done the book store for years, handled registration, faculty, and now this year is PPWC Co-Director.  Never in that time has she been recognized for her hard work.  True, she spent a few years as a paid employee, but now she’s back to donating her precious time (she’s working full-time again) and has handled the bulk of conference organization to this point since I’ve been swamped in other areas of my life.  She’s offered workshops almost every year and her Pitch Practice is one of the most beloved things we do.

Over the years Pam has donated time, intelligence, energy, organization, business sense and warmth to conference organizers and attendees.  We can’t think of anyone better suited for this award.

Martha Lancaster

2008 – Martha Lancaster

Martha is the first person you see when you enter a PPW Write Brain session.  She’s likely the first person you see when you pick up your conference registration packet.  When you join or renew your membership, Martha handles it.  When you register for conference, or a special event, Martha handles it.  Brochure and newsletter layout…  are you catching my drift here?  We’re all extremely happy and fortunate to have Martha as a part of our team, so we’re excited to announce that Martha Lancaster is our 2008 Pikes Peak Writers Conference Volunteer of the Year.

Martha has volunteered for the PPWC since 1997. A couple of years after she was widowed, she needed to fill a void in her life and asked Jimmie Butler if he had any jobs for her. That was a loaded question! She was the PG contest coordinator for a couple of years, and then passed the contest to other capable hands. She found her niche as graphic artist and conference registrar for PPWC and is currently the office administrator/ registrar for Pikes Peak Writers. She is now (mostly) retired after a long career as a freelance commercial artist. She writes children?s picture books and middle-grade novels. Martha is a lover of the great outdoors and an avid hiker, skier, painter, and nature photographer. She grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and landed in Colorado by way of FedEx. She has two grown children and two teenaged grandsons.

Laura Hayden

2007 – Laura Hayden

Laura Hayden has gone above and beyond in service of PPW and the conference.  She stepped up as Director several times when we really needed her over the years, yet still manages to maintain her enthusiasm.  She’s innovative, fiscally responsible and remarkably, manages to make everything come together smoothly while making it look easy.  She’s been the driving force in creating an exciting and memorable 15th anniversary–truly the Queen of the Universe.  We’re proud to award the 2007 Pikes Peak Writers Conference Volunteer of the Year Award to Laura Hayden.

Kirsten Akens

2006 – Kirsten Akens

As Director of the 2005 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Kirsten Akens not only organized the conference with efficiency, calm and grace, but she introduced a number of innovations such as the Relax and the Renew Room and the Reality Track which ensured a successful conference.  Her valuable expertise in grant-writing and as our Newsletter Editor also contributes toward the success of the conference and the organization.  We’re proud to award the 2006 Pikes Peak Writers Conference Volunteer of the Year Award to Kirsten Akens.

2005 – Chris Olson

The Pikes Peak Writers Conference is a time-consuming effort, one which requires many people and many hours of planning.  In 2004, PPW recognized Chris Olson with the Pikes Peak Writers Conference Volunteer of the Year Award.  As the Faculty Director, Chris was responsible for recruiting and managing all of our conference presenters, a process that starts the day after the previous conference ends.  Most years the Faculty Director has an assistant to help keep the workload under control, but last year, Chris took on the position by herself and brought in a stellar faculty (and came back this year for more!).  We thank Chris for her dedication to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference.

Karen Fox

2004 – Karen Fox

Karen Fox was the winner of the 2004 Volunteer of the Year Award. Karen has worked with PPWC since its first year when she volunteered in the bookstore and has held almost every position to include bookstore coordinator, registrar, treasurer, secretary and faculty coordinator.

Previous Winners

  • 2003:    Laura Hayden
  • 2002:    Charlie Rush
  • 2001:    Michael Waite
  • 2000:    Karen Fox
  • 1999:    Deb Stover
  • 1998:    Jimmie Butler