Shoutout Colorado's mission is for "people to spend more of their money with small businesses, independent artists and creatives." They feel "one of the most powerful ways to do that is by putting small business owners and creatives at the center of discussions designed to spark conversation within the community."
Fuse - Igniting Communication CEO, Tracy Graf, was honored when a fellow Denver-area entrepreneur suggested Shoutout Colorado share her story of transitioning from a corporate marketing leader to a learning and development consultancy owner. Below is a copy of the July 13, 2021 article.
Hi Tracy, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s your definition for success?
I define success for my business, Fuse – Igniting Communication, in three ways – increasing others’ success, making a positive contribution to society, and building a large network of workshop facilitators.
1. Increasing others’ success – The more people take part in communication skills workshops, the more people are improving how they get their messages across to their audiences. Improved communication leads to greater professional and personal success. I want to see that for everyone, in particular for Denver-area organizations. I have lived in Denver for 12 years and plan to stay for at least the next 20 years as I expand my business. I want to use the experience I gained from working with many Fortune 500 global clients to benefit Denver organizations.
2. Making a significant positive contribution to society – It is fulfilling to see the positive impact Fuse’s communication workshops make on participants’ lives. I find much joy in providing an engaging, enriching experience for participants and improving how they communicate with others. It is so rewarding to hear participants regularly say this was the best training they have ever experienced and how appreciative they are for learning a life skill, not just a job-specific technical skill. The participants and I feed off each other’s energy to create a thrilling experience for everyone involved.
3. Building a large network of workshop facilitators delivering Fuse’s communication skills workshops – I am spreading that positive impact, which I spoke about above, wide and far by expanding my business with more workshops and facilitators. It is very rewarding every time we accredit a facilitator in Fuse’s unique AI simulation workshops. I am equipping them with a powerful, immersive learning tool that they can take and continue to make positive impacts on others’ lives.
What should our readers know about your business?
Fuse’s mission is “To help teams communicate more effectively and efficiently leading to organizational growth.”
Fuse’s vision is “To help develop more cohesive and productive teams.”
Participation in Fuse workshops can develop visionary leadership, increase sales revenue, decrease conflict, improve client relations, foster authentic team bonds, fulfill employee development desires, and therefore reduce employee turnover and increase productivity.
Fuse’s unique value proposition is providing ten different engaging, innovative, communication workshops delivered virtually, in-classroom, or outdoors to help teams drive results. Fuse is the only U.S. company providing four very unique immersive learning workshops that utilize AI simulation technology to provide participants experience managing a multi-month project in only a few hours:
Fuse specializes in team communications vs. individual communications coaching, on which most other consultants focus. Employee feedback surveys often reveal that communication is deficient both internally and externally at most organizations. Fuse helps organizations bring their communications to a better, healthier, more productive place to achieve this important, yet often unmet expectation. Fuse has experience delivering exceptional communications workshops for a variety of notable organizations from Fortune 100 tech companies to prestigious research universities to exceptional small Denver-area businesses and non-profits.
How the idea of Fuse – Igniting Communication was sparked:
From 2002-2017 – I (Tracy Graf) held senior marketing and communications roles with prominent international corporations. I put my heart and soul into leading teams of professionals to grow revenue for over 25 prestigious international brands in my positions with Vail Resorts, Life Time Fitness, Disney on Ice, and Ruder Finn Public Relations.
In 2015 – my boss, the CMO of Vail Resorts, asked me to take on a “special leadership project” to help improve communication skills for our 300-person marketing team. She sponsored me getting accredited to deliver a workshop called Think on Your Feet® which teaches how to communicate with clarity, brevity, and impact. I found this new “side-job” of facilitating communications skills workshops much more fulfilling than my “real job” of being a corporate marketing leader.
In 2018 – I followed my passion to help others interact more effectively and efficiently. I left my financially comfortable corporate marketing world to start Fuse – Igniting Communication. It was scary to leave that safety net and take on all the challenges of becoming an entrepreneur. I began harnessing all my previous communications experience to provide others the benefits of strengthening their relationships via improved interactions.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week-long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh, don’t get me started! I adore being the “Welcome Wagon” for anyone new visiting Denver.
Denver has a plethora of activities, so many that I can overwhelm visitors with such a long list of fun options for what we can do. I’ll try to keep it to less than a novel’s length here.
I like to offer activities to do in both Denver and a mountain destination to get a taste for why we love living in Colorado. I came to Denver from Chicago because here we have all the great city life that Chicago offers, PLUS exceptional mountain activities.
In Denver, we will typically visit some outdoor sites like the Denver Botanic Gardens, City Park, and one of our many pools in the Central Park area where I now live (after 10 years of living in Congress Park).
I love introducing visitors to local breweries like Station 26, Wynkoop, Great Divide, or Denver Beer Co. We also love going to Stanley Beer Hall, pouring ourselves a drink from their beer wall and sitting on their big, shaded patio with our dog, Izzy, who loves to meet everyone.
For restaurants the list is long. Our current “regulars” are Cativella or Cholon in Central Park or Safta in The Source. We always love going to either Avanti or Linger’s rooftop and cannot get enough of Pizzeria Locale.
It’s not a complete visit to Denver without going to Union Station for a drink at Terminal Bar and to Little Man, Sweet Cooie’s, or Constellation Ice Cream.
If a visitor comes in the summer, we will go for a hike and/or camp somewhere off 285 – usually in the Bison Peak area.
If they come in the winter, we will get some skiing in at Winter Park, which has become our favorite since I left my role at Vail Resorts. Although, I will always have a special place in my heart for skiing the Back Bowls at Vail and hanging out in Breckenridge. And if we are up for a bit of a longer drive, we treasure the time we get to spend in Steamboat Springs.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am very grateful to my network of fellow coaches/facilitators who provide me guidance, support, and encouragement frequently. There are too many to include here. Five frequent “peer coaches” are:
Carol Pfeiffer with Expansive Leadership Coaching in Superior, CO
Michelle “Micki” Summeril with Lemons to Lemonade Management in Littleton, CO
Gretchen Reid with Integrated Growth in Breckenridge, CO
Brooke Moran with Zen for Business in Gunnison, CO
Trish Thurley with Sims4Training in Surrey, United Kingdom
About Fuse - Igniting Communication
Fuse offers a variety of workshops focused on improving workplace
communication skills in the areas of:
-- Inspirational Leadership
-- Team Collaboration
-- Partnership Development
Reach out to learn more about our virtual, in-classroom, or outdoor workshop delivery.