Jan Geden, Director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Boulder, has worked in the field of Parks and Recreation for over 30 years. For most of her career, she worked at the Chicago Park District, an organization with over 3,000 full time staff and 289 recreation centers throughout the entire system. She started out in 1974 by teaching theatre and dance in after school programs and subsequently serving in a variety of leadership positions. Jan became the transition manager for the overall administrative reorganization of the District in 1993 and later led the development of “Chicago Park District University”, a training and staff development program heralded by the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies as a national model for the ongoing development of parks and recreation professionals. This program, a partnership with Chicago State University, provided college credit course work and training programs to over 1,200 of the District’s direct service staff.
Jan became Director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Dayton, Ohio in 1999 during one of the most significant economic downturns seen in that city. During her 2 ½ years as Director, she forged a partnership with the Public Works Department to install new playground equipment and received a $250,000 grant from the Urban Parks Recovery Program to install water playgrounds at local parks in some of Dayton’s more challenged neighborhoods. Her department was also in charge of the annual Celebrate Dayton 3rd of July event, which grew during her tenure to a level that brought over 200,000 people to downtown Dayton to enjoy a concert and the annual fireworks display.
Jan became Director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Boulder in November 2001. During her five year tenure she has led the department through the city’s largest economic downturn in over 25 years with minimal to no reductions in programs and services, worked with the Convention and Visitors Bureau to bring the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) tournament back to Boulder and most recently hosted the 2007 US Cross Country Championships at the Flatirons, Golf Course.
Jan currently serves as the Chair of the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Chair of the National Certification Board. She has held a wide variety of positions on boards and committees at the local, state and national level.
Jan has a commitment to making a contribution to the future of the parks and recreation profession in order to ensure that the next generation of leaders is capable and prepared to meet the challenges of providing quality programs and services to the communities they serve. Her passion is working to assist young women in understanding what it takes to become leaders and how to create networks of support to assist them in achieving their career goals. She has recently partnered with a colleague in Colorado to develop a “Women in Leadership” program for the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association. This program examines the many leadership challenges faced by women in today’s workplace and provides opportunities for women to meet to discuss issues and share strategies on how to become better, more effective leaders.