Political pairing a perfect power play

Three years ago Jean Galloway, president of a highly respected consulting firm in Denver which specializes in corporate philanthropy and community relations, saw then-First Lady Frances Owens at an event for “Open Your Hearts to Newborns in Need.” Owens was the spokesperson for the local charitable campaign and Galloway was there because Denver Health, the sponsor, is her company’s biggest nonprofit client. Both Owens and Galloway are mainstays on the charitable giving circuit and are well known for the many causes they support.

Republican Frances Owens, left, and Democrat Jean Galloway, right, show off proof of their ability to engratiate themselves with the other political party as they pose for a photo in their Cherry Creek office. Owens holds an official proclamation signed by Gov. Bill Ritter (Democrat) which declared a special day in her honor. And Galloway holds up a photo of herself shaking hands with former President Gerald Ford (Republican.)

Galloway, a Democrat, was curious at the time about what Owens, a Republican, might do after her public career as Colorado’s hard working first lady ended in early 2007 when Gov. Bill Owens left political office.

“I felt that she’d be a valuable resource,” said Galloway, who specifically lauds the integrity and character of Owens in addition to her dedicated work over the years. “She was an extraordinary First Lady who gave away her talent free. I’ve had this in mind for a couple of years.”

So now, the two are working together at Galloway Group, merging their wealth of experience in the nonprofit sector and their keen abilities to facilitate strategic relationships in the community. Galloway is President and CEO of the firm she founded at the end of 1999, and Owens is Executive Vice President of Community Affairs. She works part time in her new position.

“I’m ecstatic about the opportunity,” Owens said last week.

Owens thrives on working with nonprofits so this is a pretty perfect fit. And the fact that they both come from active political backgrounds — albeit different political persuasions — only serves to highlight their shared passion for community involvement.

Galloway pointed out that there are 4,000 nonprofits in Denver, and about 20,000 in the state. Recent economic conditions have made them more competitive. The old model of fundraising, Galloway pointed out during a recent interview at her Cherry Creek office, was more a pitch for a handout. Now it’s all about forging strategic partnerships.

The new model of corporate giving has served to highlight Galloway Group’s ability to work stategically with local partners. Although about two thirds of the firm’s clients are from the private sector, the remainder are based in the nonprofit arena.

“The decision to offer her this opportunity has been reaffirmed,” Galloway said about Owens on her new employee’s first day of work.

Owens served as First Lady of Colorado from January 1999 through 2006. Most recently, she has been recognized for spearheading the privately funded, long-term project of renovating and restoring the Governor’s Residence at Colorado’s historic Boettcher Mansion as well as serving as board chair of Saks Fifth Avenue and Denver Health’s 2008 Key to the Cure fundraising luncheon for women’s health issues.