Behind most great events there is a skilled event planner. The consistently fabulous Nancy Thompson is known as one of the best and was a Colorado Meetings + Events 2009 Hall of Fame inductee. The well-connected Thompson has won the trust of Denver’s “heavy-hitters”, and there’s a reason for it. When you have as much talent mixed with integrity and compassion as Nancy, people will want your expertise – and in Nancy’s case, your ability to get the maximum amount of profits out of the event that will go directly to the nonprofit.
Nancy Thompson has had her own Event Planning and Consulting Business for almost 14 years now, and she has worked with many major nonprofit organizations in Colorado designing and managing fundraising events and providing strategic planning and board development.
She has managed many signature events in Denver including Memories in the Making for the Alzheimer's Association, Janet's Camp for the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver, Starfish and Dreams for Arc Thrift, Western Fantasy for Volunteers of America, the Pink Tie Affair for the Denver Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, The Annual Gentlemen’s Dinner for the “Men for the Cure” Foundation that supports patient care and research at what is now known as the Diane O'Connor Thompson Breast Center at the University of Colorado Hospital,The Diamonds in the Rough Celebrity Golf Tournament and Dinner, Dinner of Unconditional Love for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Black Diamond Ball for the National Sports Center for the Disabled. She has managed projects for the National MS Society, The Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center, University of Colorado Hospital, 9Health Fair, Laradon Hall, The Marion Downs Hearing Center, The Denver Hospice, Colorado Prevention Center, The Denver Health Foundation, The Colorado Symphony, The University of Colorado Foundation, Community College of Aurora and The Children’s Hospital.
Before starting her own business, Nancy held several high-profile positions such as the Vice President of the Bob and Sharon Magness Foundation, and she was an award-winning producer with Channel 9 News in Denver working on many community events including the 9Cares Colorado Shares, the 9Health Fair and 9Who Care. She currently produces videos for nonprofit organizations and has won two Telly Awards for video production.
Nancy also was the Director of Development for National Jewish Hospital.
She produced the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon raising money for pediatric programs there. While at National Jewish, Nancy was responsible for managing the annual fundraising dinner, golf tournament, annual meeting of the board of directors and the summer jazz festival.
Nancy, and her husband Jeff, who is an executive at University of Colorado Health, are both Denver natives - and also make family one of their highest priorities. They are looking forward to an upcoming nostalgic trip back to Disneyland with their daughter Lauren and son Connor. “Going back to Disneyland” says Nancy “is something we all wanted to do because of our fond memories of previous visits.”
Dealing with her mother’s death from breast cancer when Nancy was only 10, she was then raised by her supportive father, who helped her develop the courage, strength and confidence to go out and be an advocate for cancer causes. Nancy has been there through thick and thin for many terminal cancer patients supporting them to the end. Her own life experiences seem to have given her the strength to be there for others. I found spending time with Nancy comforting. She has a unique charm and warmth that puts you at ease.
The first time I officially met Nancy Thompson in 2011, she came up to me at an event and told me she’d heard my daughter, Wendy, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and wanted to know how she was doing. I knew then I had met a kindred spirit and a beautiful, compassionate woman who genuinely cared about the welfare of people and understood the severity of the pain and grief caused by diseases like breast cancer.
As a champion of many important causes, Nancy Thompson has a fresh perspective to every event she takes on and has dedicated her life and career to helping people and organizations win critical and important battles that fight illnesses claiming too many lives of our loved ones… So what could be more honorable or greater?
When did you first know you wanted to become involved in community service? I was raised this way. Giving back and getting involved in things that mattered has always been a part of my family. My mother, before she died very young, was a volunteer and a Girl Scout leader and involved in many things in the community. My Dad was also a great volunteer and gave back to many organizations though his lifetime. They were great examples for me and my three sisters--and my kids are the same way! There were many times over the years that there were three generations of us all volunteering for the same event or organization.
Tell us about some of your upcoming events? June is going to be a busy month!
I am excited about the annual Alzheimer's Association's Memories in the Making Art Auction on June 13th. It is a great event that showcases art work created by people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia that they have painted in one of the weekly Memories in the Making groups that are in care communities across the state.
The art is professionally juried and professional framed and some are paired with a piece from a local professional artist. They are all auctioned off at the event to raise money for education, counseling and support groups for people in Colorado living with Alzheimer's and their families as well as to support research to find better treatments and eventually a cure for this fatal disease.
Janet's Camp is another big June event! Janet's Camp was started by Janet Elway ( who continues to be involved and is the founding sponsor) 9 years ago. It is a fun, outdoor evening with food, drinks, games and auctions all to benefit the summer day camp programs at the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver. We will be able to send over 350 children--who otherwise could not afford to go--to summer day camps at the Y this summer.
Janet's Camp will be in the back yard of Tom Shane's Home in the Historic Denver Polo Club neighborhood on June 21st.
I am also honored to be working on the University of Colorado School of Medicine's "Bow Tie Ball" which will be on November 15th. We will be honoring Dr. Dick Krugman who will be stepping down as the Dean of the CU School of Medicine after 25 years! He is the longest sitting Dean of a medical school in the country and is so well-respected and is a great guy.
It will be quite a celebration!
You are so focused and disciplined - any advice on how best to emulate you? I am not sure I would advise it! I need to be disciplined, because my office is in my home and I am always working on lots of projects and commitments at the same time. While I am out with my clients and in their offices a lot during the day, I am able to run my business and work from home because I am disciplined. I have to stay very organized to stay on top of things, but I also try to have fun with it!
I am grateful for the focus and discipline because it has afforded me the path to a successful business and serves me well in other parts of my life, too.
Maria Shriver recently talked on the Today Show about the realities of the “Woman who Does it All.” How do you feel about women trying to “do it all?” I think it becomes a very careful balancing act for many women. We want to raise great kids, be great wives, run a household, be successful in our careers, give back to our community, reach for new opportunities, be there for our friends and take care of our parents as they age. It is exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. I think we need to remind each other to take care of ourselves and tell ourselves that it is ok to say "no." This is advice I should take!
How did you and your wonderful husband Jeff meet? Jeff and I met several months after his former wife, Diane, died of breast cancer. We came together with a group of mutual friends to start the Men for the Cure Foundation and through that helped to start the Men for the Cure Annual Gentlemen's Dinner to raise money for breast cancer clinical care and research at University of Colorado Hospital in Diane's memory. We worked together for many years managing the event. ( The Men for the Cure Annual Gentlemen's Dinner is still going strong--now run by the UCH Foundation.)
Cancer has been something you and several of your family members have had to endure. Is that one of your number one priorities as far as fundraising? I will always look at raising money to find a cure for this disease as an important part of who I am. My Mom died of breast cancer when I was 10. My husband's former wife died of breast cancer at age 44. My Dad died of colon cancer almost 6 years ago. A good friend of mine died of breast cancer just last fall at age 29. I know we all have these same stories. I will never forget the devastation this disease can bring to families and friends. Both Jeff and I and our families are committed to supporting the fight. I hope I will see a cure in my lifetime!
You have become close to many cancer patients through the years, and some haven't survived. How do you find the strength to stay involved in spite of the emotional toll it can take? I find the strength and the compassion through my Faith in God. I believe that end of life can be a really beautiful process...while painful, it can be clothed in love and compassion. I was with a friend who died in Hospice care recently and every day when I went to see her--the first thing I would do was pray with her. The peace and the comfort that comes from believing there is more to this world and that God has a special place prepared for you makes the enormous loss a little easier. It also ignites the fire inside to stay involved until there is a cure.
Aside from your family, what is the greatest gift given to you? My faith in God.
What is something nobody knows about you? I would really like to own my own Home Decor Store!
What is the best advice you have ever been given? My Dad used to say---"You can't take it with you." It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes-- "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." ( Winston Churchill)
What words best describe your life right now? Happy, Full, Fun, Busy, Creative, Joyful, Safe, Blessed.
What is your idea of a perfect vacation? On a beach with my family or in Europe with my husband or anywhere with my running buddies!
If you find time, what are your favorite leisure time activities? I always find time to have fun! I love to cook and entertain, read, decorate, hang out with my daughter, watch my son play baseball, go to Rockies and Broncos games, try new restaurants with my husband, travel, go to church, sing in a choir, spend time with family and friends and run marathons!
Is there a special “aha” moment in your life when you knew “I get it now? I think there have been many---some bringing joy, others that require forgiveness.
When you have to have a (decadent) snack, what would it be? Fresh guacamole and chips and a margarita!
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising two strong, healthy, kind children. Lauren is a CU graduate, has a great job, works hard, is really fun, is very involved in the Young Professionals community here in Denver and is gorgeous inside and out! Connor is soon-to-be a senior in High school and is a great young man--smart, incredibly funny, and an awesome baseball player. They both volunteer for anything I ask them to!
That---and finishing marathons!
What would you still like to learn how to do? I really want to learn to swim, paint a beautiful landscape and play the piano.
Do you believe you are where you are supposed to be in life? Yes – for now!
How do you want people to remember Nancy Lamb Thompson? As a good and loving Mom, wife, sister, daughter and friend. That I was kind to people and used my time, talents and resources for good...and that I walked by Faith.
Great article Nancy!