Perfect Party

Community Table: Summer Issue 2017

The mixed bag of the community table was once an Aspen hallmark. Here’s our fantasy guest list to restart the trend.

By Cindy Hirschfeld May 24, 2017 Published in the Summer 2017 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Image: Matty Newton

Thanks to Margot Lee Shetterly, we know the key roles seven African American women played in the early days of the American space program. Shetterly is the author of Hidden Figures, the book that spawned the 2016 movie, and the founder of the Human Computer Project, which highlights more stories from female mathematicians and engineers who contributed to the development of aeronautics. She’ll speak at Aspen Words’ annual summer fundraiser June 21.

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Image: Matty Newton

As the founder of Bravo Fine Catering and former executive chef at the Caribou Club, Jimmy Nadell has been cooking for Aspen A-listers, visiting celebs, and big-name corporate clients for more than three decades. Now, he shares the secrets that have earned him a slew of culinary accolades in his first cookbook, Aspen Celebrity Cuisine. Follow recipes for dishes like miso-marinated sea bass and pomegranate-infused lamb chops, and you, too, can whip up praise-worthy meals. Let us know when dinner’s ready.

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Image: Matty Newton

Thinking of starting a business? Get to know Julie Engels. As the new executive director of Aspen Entrepreneurs, which recently merged with mentorship group Create Aspen, Engels brings business acumen, start-up experience, and infectious passion to helping locals find career bliss. This summer she and her team of collaborators have an exciting launch of their own: a space for monthly showcases and other programming, resources, and co-working in the former Hub bike shop building.

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Image: Matty Newton


Keith Elder, the Aspen Music Festival and School’s new vice president and general manager, is a rare breed. Sure, with years of management experience at symphony orchestras and festivals, he’s in the upper echelon of arts administrators. He has a law degree, to boot. But what really sets him apart? He plays the tuba. “A professor once told me it’s easier to be governor than an orchestral tuba player,” as it may take decades for a position to open up, says Elder. Good thing he has a day job.

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Image: Matty Newton


You may be familiar with former longtime National Public Radio host Michele Norris for her insightful reporting and engaging interviews, but you may not know her local connection. After leaving NPR in 2015 to focus on the Race Card Project, which spurs discussions of race and identity by soliciting six-word written statements from people around the world, Norris joined the Aspen Institute last fall. She’ll continue to develop the project—now an Institute program—and will present at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June.

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Image: Matty Newton



Sloan Shoemaker moved to Aspen in 1984 for the proverbial one year; his first job was delivering flowers for the Aspen Branch. All these years later, he still works with the natural world as executive director of Wilderness Workshop, the 50-year-old watchdog for public lands in and around the White River National Forest. With public lands nationwide under unprecedented attack, we’re counting more than ever on committed folks like Shoemaker to lead the conservation charge.

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