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Jackie Attlesey-Pries Receives Boulder Chamber’s “Women Who Light the Community” Award

Jackie Attlesey-Pries Receives Boulder Chamber’s “Women Who Light the Community” Award

Each year, the Boulder Chamber selects outstanding female business and community leaders for their “Women Who Light the Community” award, which honors women “who have made significant innovative contributions to our community by addressing meaningful business, nonprofit, education, arts and community needs.”

This year, Jackie Attlesey-Pries, Boulder Community Health’s Vice President of Operations and Chief Nursing Officer, received this prestigious honor. The 26th Annual Women Who Light the Community celebration was held September 30 at Lionsgate Event Center in Lafayette.

“I am honored and humbled by this award, especially as I look at my fellow honorees and past recipients. Healthcare is a team sport and my recognition is all because of the BCH team that continues to step up to care for this community during these challenging times,” said Attlesey-Pries when she accepted her award. “I have so much gratitude to share. I want to thank the Boulder Chamber and Business Women’s Leadership Group for their foresight and courage in creating this award specific to women leaders and continuing the process for 26 years.”

Attlesey-Pries’ s nomination focused on her major role in helping BCH prepare for the initial onslaught of COVID-19 into the Boulder area. She was a driving force behind developing BCH’s successful plans to increase hospital bed capacity by 50% to care for a potential influx of COVID patients. Her ability to develop creative solutions to the many operational challenges presented by the pandemic was invaluable to BCH’s ability to provide the best possible care while maintaining the safety of all patients and staff.

“I am grateful for this community because: 1) it stepped up to protect themselves and each other and avoid an over run hospital during a pandemic and 2) this community is compassionate about those less fortunate,” Attlesey-Pries said.

Attlesey-Pries, who joined BCH in 2011, has a passion for patient safety and quality improvement. She is a graduate of the American Hospital Association’s Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship and has been active with quality and patient safety committees at a state and national level. Prior to joining BCH, she worked for 25 years at the Mayo Clinic in various nursing leadership positions.

“Some of the first words that come to mind describing Jackie are compassion, intellect, passionate commitment and drive,” said BCH President & CEO, Robert Vissers, MD. “It’s hard to find somebody who is so absolutely committed to her profession, in the community she serves.”

The greatest leaders always keep calm, stay focused and remain hopeful. Attlesey-Pries is well known for regularly walking the floors at Foothills Hospital to check in on the nursing teams, ringing her cowbell to applaud accomplishments of Employee of the Month winners or DAISY Award nominees during online meetings, and being grounded in her profession as a nurse, just like her hero, Florence Nightingale – a British nurse, social reformer and statistician best known as the founder of modern nursing.

“Jackie exemplifies all of the characteristics of nursing,” Vissers said. “What sets her apart is that she also applies this incredible intellect and determination and makes things better for those who work with her. Finally, she does it with humility and grace: and it makes a tremendous difference.”

Each BCH employee worked extremely hard during the pandemic. Staff picked up extra shifts, lent a helping hand, provided meticulous care to increasing numbers of hospitalized coronavirus patients, and more. Attlesey-Pries led by example to those employees: answering phones to give staff a much-needed reprieve, offering uplifting messages, visiting floors to check in with fellow nurses, rolling up her sleeve for the COVID vaccine, encouraging all staff to get vaccinated, and reiterating social distancing and masking.

While the worst public health crisis in 100 years was unfolding, Attlesey-Pries also made sure to advance BCH in other initiatives.

Along with BCH’s leadership team, Attlesey-Pries has taken a stand against workplace violence – an all too often common problem - by adopting a “zero-tolerance” policy. She is a strong advocate for the well-being of health care workers and first responders. She has encouraged our #BCHBrave to participate in the Colorado COVID Impact and Recovery Survey and wants to identify what services for health care workers are needed to promote resiliency and recovery.

Each of the six “Women Who Light the Community” honorees were selected following a nominations process that highlighted the important contributions they have made to our community.

Congratulations to the additional five 2021 honorees: 

• Jan Burton – former City of Boulder council member and high-tech executive
• Ana Karina Casa Ibarra – Promotoras de Salud Program Coordinator, El Entro AMISTAD
• Berenice Garcia Tellez - Economic Sustainability Specialist, City of Longmont; Vice-Chair, Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County
• Annett James - President, Boulder County NAACP
• Janell Tarma Camposano - Emerging Youth Award Winner, Skyline High School

“To the other honorees, I am I am humbled, flattered and grateful to be amongst you (and previous awardees) for this honor,” Attlesey-Pries said.