Emily Eelman

Cues and Views

Government executive, consultant, writer and strategist Emily Eelman, in brief.

Emily Eelman

Home: Denver, CO.  Age: Generation Oregon Trail.  Birthplace: Wisconsin.  Profession: Healthcare and the public sector.  Organization: Juniper Peak Consulting, LLC.  Title: Founder and CEO.  Alma mater: University of Chicago (A.B.); Carnegie Mellon University (Masters in Public Policy).  

Current project: Volunteering as a budget delegate for Denver’s inaugural participatory budgeting initiative.  Latest accomplishment: Improving employee engagement and satisfaction at a state health agency during the pandemic, which was a major focus in my role as chief of staff.  What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Starting my own consulting practice.  Last book read: The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee.  Recently viewed and recommended: The G-Word (Netflix).

What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Thoughtful.  How do you define a perfect friendship? Friends are the people who are intentional about showing up for you with love, humor and grace.  What is your greatest joy? The age old “time with family and friends”, in particular, right now watching my dog Sadie bond with my baby nephew.  What word or phrase do you use far too often? Indeed.  With and without sarcasm.  What natural talent have you neglected? Singing.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Teachers (pay them more).  What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? Local plant nursery.

What was your first paying job? My mom paid me a penny per weed in our garden.  What was your favorite college course? “1968.”  My final presentation was reenacting a sit-in at the administration building, which nearly gave the Dean of Students a heart attack.  What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? A cork board full of index cards with ideas and notes on them.  What’s the best advice you received in your career? Get lost, with confidence.  What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Walking or hiking.  

What change would you like to see in the world?

Widely available, affordable, and utilized mental and behavioral health care.  Everyone can benefit from a little help sometimes.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? Citizen-centric government.  What mega-trend most excites you? CX and UX as applied to the public sector. What mega-trend most concerns you? Anti-democratic political movements.

Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? My grandparents.  I’d ask them the questions about their lives that I never had the chance to ask.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A beekeeper and a detective, simultaneously.  After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? Counting pets as loved ones, and after that, my passport, for practical and sentimental reasons.  What advice would you give your younger self? Chill out and be kind to yourself.  And ditch the pleated khaki shorts.

Personal motto: Be a happy warrior.  Favorite quote: “Be hard on systems and soft on people” (my best friend of 20+ years, Sarah).

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