John Tredennick isn’t just a member of the board of the Colorado Chapter. He’s also an alumnus, having served on the board in the early to mid-1990s when Colorado was an independent chapter under the Alzheimer’s Association umbrella. What inspired John to return to the board in 2018, and what changed in the intervening years? Here’s the story in John’s own words…
“In my first term on the Alzheimer’s Association board, I was a lawyer with Holland & Hart, which had a long tradition of both encouraging and expecting lawyers to be well-rounded and contribute to the community. I had a personal connection to the (Alzheimer’s) cause: my father had Alzheimer’s and we were caring for him at home. I, too, was affected by this disease…second-hand suffering. So the Alzheimer’s Association had a special place in my heart.”
What was John’s first impression of the Colorado Alzheimer’s board? “As a board and an association, it was so well-run and solid, I’d have thought it was around for 40 years. It really was amazing that it ran so smoothly, with a solid board and leadership. It seemed to be hitting it out of the park, even by the standards of an established organization. And the Walk (to End Alzheimer’s) was the biggest thing and the most fun thing, and it still is.”
Flash forward about 25 years, and John returned. It was a conversation with fellow equestrian Beth Bowlen Wallace, a member of the current Alzheimer’s Association board in Colorado, that renewed his interest.
“I knew Beth Bowlen – we’re both show jumpers – and we talked about the great things the Association does. I decided it could be a great time to give back. The Alzheimer’s Association remains nearest and dearest to my heart for the same reasons it does for many others affected by this disease. You’ve got to find the thing that touches you where you can contribute.”
And with 25 years of added experience behind him, John figured he might have more to offer.
“Twenty-five years ago, I had a passion about technology, but tech was in its early stages – before email. Since then, I’ve developed a technology platform used by companies like Apple, Intel, AIG and others around the world. I bring 30 years of speaking and teaching experience. I’ve delivered hundreds of talks around the world…written six books. Hopefully, there will be something in there for the Association.”
The timing also was right. John had recently sold the software company, Catalyst, that he founded while at Holland & Hart. He thought that would free up time in his life. The lull didn’t last long: he formed a new softwear company (Merlin Digital Magic) and a new non-profit foundation (www.MerlinFoundation.org, which focuses on open-source legal software). But John remains committed to the Alzheimer’s cause, and believes he can use his technology expertise to make a difference. He’s already introduced advanced telecommunications equipment into the Denver office, and is exploring other cutting-edge technology to improve communication.
So, what’s changed in the 25 years since he departed the board?
“Ironically, aside from the obvious growth in the organization, there’s no difference, but that’s a compliment to how well it was run under Linda (Mitchell) and how it’s run now. Same spirit. Same kindness. Same commitment. Just bigger. It’s an amazing thing, and the highest compliment. It’s one thing to get a team to the Super Bowl. It’s another to keep them there year after year. How does someone maintain such a high level of spirit and service over a long time?”
It’s that level of excellence that John believes should attract other business executives to the Alzheimer’s Association if they want to be part of the board of an organization that makes an impact,
executes on a mission, and provides a necessary service to the community.
“This is an organization that is drama-free and filled with happy people on a mission. That’s important if you’re going to devote your precious personal time to make sure it’s worth the effort.”
Perhaps it’s due to the priorities that he learned as a young lawyer at Holland & Hart. Perhaps it’s in memory of his father. John believes that getting involved and giving back to the community is a priority for him, and should be for many others.
“We’re part of a community. A community only stands as tall as its members. Without people contributing, we don’t have a community. We all have a duty to serve when we can.”