#15 – Sarah Huntley

Sarah Huntley

Sarah Huntley

City of Boulder, CO

Director of Communication and Engagement


Curious, Courageous, Inclusive

Sarah is an incredible asset to the City of Boulder. She embodies the city’s values and always prioritizes sharing information with our community. Her work has been critical to keeping the community informed about anything from public safety to engagement opportunities, with an eye on making sure our outreach is equitable. She leads her team with grace, compassion and poise and it is a pleasure to work with her every day.

Sarah Huntley is leading an organizational culture change toward transparent and inclusive public engagement in Boulder, Colorado. Sarah’s brave and innovative leadership has created a new relationship between city staff, elected officials, and the community we serve. Recognized by the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) as Organization of the Year in 2019, the City of Boulder under Sarah’s guidance continues to find ways to bring more voices to the table, co-create more inclusive spaces to listen and learn from community members, and report back on how feedback was heard and used. As a frequent presenter at national conferences and the President of the Colorado IAP2 chapter, Sarah is as invested in the broader field as she is in the local community. She looks to other communities to learn about best practices, and when she can’t find what she is looking for, she draws on colleagues to create something new. She is a fearless, smart and empathetic leader who is carving pathways for Boulder and other communities to follow.

Sarah’s leadership was truly on display during the mass casualty shooting that Boulder experienced in March, 2021. She held her team and the community in her arms while leading more than 25 communication and engagement professionals from our own staff and from nearby communities who showed up to help. She made sure each victim’s family was resourced as the national media descended and supported the Mayor, Chief of Police, and other city spokespeople in sharing and receiving messages of support and grief. She modelled self-care while maintaining flows of communication. She inspired and empowered the engagement team to listen to the community and find ways to respond. Already and impressive leader, she stepped into this new and extremely difficult role with calm, grace and a nurturing spirit for all.

Sarah is a natural relationship builder who is tirelessly dedicated to increasing trust between local government and the community. Her dedication to inclusive engagement has paved the way for more meaningful decision-making – that engages underrepresented community members – throughout the City of Boulder and across the region.

Sarah is a patient, wise, and profound mentor to countless staff, community partners, and local government professionals. Her drive to share situationally-effective practices, advance the field, and increase accountability is unmatched.

The 2021 Top 100 Influencers List is made possible by ELGL’s partnership with CivicPlus.

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