Mary Lou Makepeace has led the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado as executive director since 2003. She also serves as vice president for Colorado programs of the Gill Foundation. Prior to joining the Gill Foundation, Mary Lou was the executive director for Leadership Pikes Peak, where she managed an array of community leadership programs designed to develop leadership skills and promote civic involvement.
She was Colorado Springs’ first female mayor, serving from 1997 to 2003. As mayor, she lead a nine-member city council, served as chairman of the board of Colorado Springs Utilities and provided oversight to city-owned Memorial Hospital. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member for the Center for Creative Leadership at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, as well as running the Mary Lou Makepeace Group.
From 1974-82, Mary Lou was a caseworker working with child abuse cases, and an administrator for the El Paso County Department of Social Services. She then served as executive director of the Community Council of the Pikes Peak Region, assisting in the development of the Montgomery Center for the homeless, Project Cope to assist low income and elderly with utility bills, and the award-winning Golf Acres Senior Services Complex. She lead the child placement agency, STAY, Inc., from 1995-1997, providing out of home placement services to troubled adolescents.
Her experience also includes being a teacher at the American School in Tananarive, Madagascar; assistant to the Defense Attaché at the American Embassy in Prague, Czechoslovakia following the Soviet invasion; and the adult education officer at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
Mary Lou has served on a variety of state, local and national committees, including the Colorado Space Advisory Committee, the Policy Advisory Council of the American Public Power Association, the Energy Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Leadership Training Council of the National League of Cities.
May Lou attended the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University, and holds a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Colorado and a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota.
Makepeace graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1979 with a Masters degree in Public Affairs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota.
The common thread that transcends all of Mary Lou’s professional roles is her belief in the importance of creating equality for all people. Mary Lou sees it as her personal responsibility to see to it that every Coloradan have an equal chance at opportunities in life, and that each person feel included in all aspects in life – at work, at home, in schools, and in neighborhoods.
- 2009: Colorado College, Community Diversity Award
- 2008: Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee
- 2007: Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce: ATHENA Award
- 2006: Denver Business Journal: Outstanding Woman in Business, “Nonprofits and Public Entities” sector
- CausePlanet.org: Altering the Course of History: Collaborations Make Good, Sept. 5, 2008
- Colorado Springs Business Journal: Bringing an End to Discrimination: Good for Business, June 13, 2008.
- CausePlanet.org: Advancing equality: From the Lobby to the Legal Ease, Your Work Environment Says a Lot, October 15, 2007.
- CausePlanet.org: Collaborate and improvise for organizational change, July 17, 2007.
- CausePlanet.org: Looking at Diversity in a New Way, April 2, 2007.
- Denver Business Journal: Advancing Latino Education is Good for Business, January 5, 2007.
- Denver Business Journal: Arts and Cultural Events Can Help Drive Your Business Success, July 7, 2006.
- Denver Business Journal: Strategies and Business-Like Approaches Help with Fundraising,