Ann Driggers: Once a ski bum, now a leader
Grand Junction Economic Partnership President and Chief Executive Officer Ann Driggers tried a wide variety of climates before settling in Grand Junction nearly 10 years ago.
She grew up in the North Yorkshire Moores national park area of England; went to college in Reading, a city west of London; then moved into the capitol city for her first post-collegiate job at an accounting firm.
After moving to gradually more populated areas, she decided she’d rather ski the slopes than ride the Tube and moved to Zermatt, Switzerland, after six years in London. She worked at a ski resort in Switzerland for about a year before deciding to become a ski bum in Jackson Hole, Wyo. She met her husband there — she was hitchhiking, and he picked her up — and the two eventually concluded there weren’t many high-level jobs to strive toward in the tiny town. They moved to Phoenix, Ariz., where Driggers found a job as vice president of finance and administration for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
“I found that was what I was supposed to do,” she said, and her love of economic development has continued since.
The job and its location in the United States allowed her to use her degree, which is in economics and geography, to full effect.
“Government in the U.K. is very centralized, and everything has been developed for hundreds of years, so there aren’t many opportunities to do economic development” in England, she said.
After four years in Arizona, Driggers was pining for the mountain life again and moved to Grand Junction in January 2001. She started as a vice president at the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and moved up to CEO within two years.
Being a woman interested in climbing mountains and skiing down them never earned her a reputation as anything but an adventuresome spirit, even in the more traditional Swiss culture. Similarly, her role in business leadership never caught much attention as an oddity because of her sex, Driggers said.
“It doesn’t really matter if you’re a man or a woman in this town if you can do the best job,” Driggers said.