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Aspen community relations director takes job with Aspen Skiing Co.

Scott CondonThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – The community relations director and front-line troubleshooter for the city of Aspen is leaving the post after 3 1/2 years for a public relations position with the Aspen Skiing Co.Sally Spaulding said her last day with the city government will be Feb. 11 and her first day with Skico will be Feb. 14. At the Skico, she will handle public relations for tourist accommodations and restaurants, including the Skico’s five-star, five-diamond Little Nell hotel.Spaulding said she was contacted by the Skico about the position. She accepted it because it is a great opportunity for a career change into the hospitality business. “It’s a challenge I’m excited to take,” she said.Spaulding, 30, began her career as a newspaper reporter for four years at the Grand Junction Sentinel. She worked as a public information officer with the White River National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Glenwood Springs for about 18 months before joining the city of Aspen.As community relations director she’s had a varied list of responsibilities, ranging from fielding calls from local newspaper and radio reporters to being a “general therapist” for people interacting with city government, she said. She helped everyone from people who got a parking ticket to those who just “had an idea they wanted to share” regarding city government, she said.Spaulding said she also works as the city’s web master, fields complaints and tries to help people find answers, and dabbles in some tourism and marketing responsibilities. The Aspen Police Department has its own community relations director.”It’s been really interesting,” she said. “I came to this job as an outsider in some ways.” She wasn’t all that familiar with Aspen when she accepted the job and she hadn’t worked in municipal government. Spaulding has generally won high marks from reporters over the years because she works to find answers to questions rather than relying on a generic company line.Spaulding earned $80,000 annually, which is at the top of the current listed pay range for her position. That range is $60,000 to $80,000, but it may be adjusted. Spaulding said it is the city government’s plan to hire a replacement.The Skico has used a New York public relations firm Missy Farren & Associates to tout The Little Nell and the other components of its hospitality business for about 16 years, according to Justin Todd, director of sales and marketing at the hotel. The firm will continue to handle major events and national publicity for the Skico’s hospitality division, he said.Spaulding will be the local liaison who will “funnel the right information” to Missy Farren & Associates and also be the local contact.”We wanted someone who’s here connected day-in and day-out,” Todd said.He said Spaulding was approached about the job because of the skills she demonstrated as the community relations director with the city.”She knows how to manage a lot of things that are happening at one time,” Todd said.In addition to working on promoting The Little Nell hotel, Spaulding will work on public relations for the Limelight Lodge, the Snowmass Club, Montagna restaurant in The Little Nell, Ajax Tavern at the base of Aspen Mountain as well as the Sundeck and other on-mountain restaurants the Skico operates. The Skico also markets rentals but not sales at The Residences at The Little Nell.Spaulding said she will spend her last two weeks with the city finishing some outstanding projects, including preparing an updated job description for her post, which has changed in recent years with the explosion of social media.scondon@aspentimes.com


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