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Oct 17 2021
Oct 18 2021
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  • Garden of the Gods Resort Sunset

    Enriching by Nature

Garden of the Gods Mountain Overlay

The power of place.

Dream big.

Wellness for life.

Hospitality from the heart.

These values are core to our Garden of the Gods culture, and the foundation of what makes us great as a property and as a collective of passionate individuals. With service and support carefully crafted to meet the needs of each guest, our team of hospitality and health professionals will guide you through your stay with the utmost care and consideration — ensuring an experience that is uniquely tailored and seamless in every detail.


James Gibson, President & CEO at Garden of the Gods Resort & Club

James Gibson

President and CEO

James Gibson is a luxury hotelier with more than 30 years of vast and varied experience in the resort and private club industry. Gibson is coming to Garden of the Gods after an esteemed and successful six-and-a-half-year tenure as Vice President of Operations for Sea Island Resort — the world’s only resort with two Forbes Five Star hotels; a Forbes Five Star spa; the only Forbes Five Star restaurant in the state of Georgia; four PGA golf courses; and the exclusive private club, Ocean Forest.

In his role as President and CEO of Garden of the Gods, Gibson oversees all facets of the property, as well as support future growth of the organization, including: the expansion of new Cottage and Casita room inventory; expanded amenities and services; the evolved branding of Strata Integrated Wellness Spa; and the grand opening of Vermilion, a community of custom, onsite residences.

Chris Walling

Christopher Walling

Resort Manager

Walling oversees key resort operations including rooms, engineering, golf, tennis, recreation, kids club, landscaping, golf maintenance and retail.  Christopher has had a venerable career spanning the continent with decades of experience in an array of prestigious hotels, resorts and clubs. Most recently Walling served as Resort Manager for Gurney’s Resorts including Gurney’s Montauk and Gurney’s Star Island comprised of two luxury resorts and residences, a 30,000 square foot spa, eight restaurants and lounges, a 232-slip marina and expansive private beach area. During his tenure at Gurney’s Resorts his efforts led to increased profitability, improved guest satisfaction and associate retention.

Notably, he oversaw planning of a multimillion-dollar spa renovation and launched operations for 14 seasonal igloos resulting in substantial special event revenue growth. Prior to this recent role, Walling held operations management roles as General Manager at Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club, Woodlands Resort & Spa, The Cliff House Resort and Spa, and Food and Beverage Director at the Amelia Island Plantation and Ritz Carlton Montego Bay.

Dan Daughtry, Vice President of Restaurants, Bars & Events at Garden of the Gods Resort & Club

Dan Daughtry

Vice President of Restaurants, Bars & Event

Dan Daughtry began his career in the hospitality industry after graduating from Washington State University with a degree in hotel and restaurant administration. He has worked in food and beverage leadership roles for more than 25 years, including 19 years of service as a director of food and beverage at many illustrious hotels and resorts, as well as various four- and five-diamond resorts across the globe.

Prior to joining Garden of the Gods Resort and Club, Daughtry most recently served as the senior director of food and beverage at the Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. During his time there, he oversaw eight food and beverage outlets for guests and members, along with more than 100,000 square feet of event space. Before that, Daughtry held the role of director of food and beverage for the Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder Resort in New Mexico, where he grew annual food and beverage revenues, as well as re-conceptualized and renovated a number of their restaurants.

In his role as Vice President of Restaurants, Bars & Events, Daughtry utilizes his extensive background in hospitality to lead Garden of the Gods Resort and Club’s food and beverage team and all of their operations.

Pat Cone, Director of Membership & Special Projects at Garden of the Gods Resort & Club
Pat Cone


Pat Cone joined us after her position as Special Projects Director for KOAA-TV. She began her career in broadcasting in 1987 as assistant to the General Manager. She held the role of Special Projects/Community Affairs Director since 2002, and had previously been sales assistant and administrative assistant to the General Manager.

Pat has been an integral part of our community for many years. She was named the 2006 Broadcast Citizen of the Year by the Colorado Broadcasters Association, Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction, American Cancer Society Volunteer of the Year, and American Heart Association Pulse Award winner. Currently, she serves as President of Artemis, on the Discover Goodwill Board of Directors and on Parkview Medical Center Board of Directors, as well as volunteers for several nonprofit organizations.

She has worked with the senior management of all southern Colorado area hospitals, the City of Colorado Springs and the City of Pueblo, the Pikes Peak Center, UCCS, the Denver Broncos, the Colorado Rockies, and Governor Hickenlooper. Pat is married to Tom Cone, a local commercial real estate broker and developer.

Meet the Team

Melisa Lesperance

VICE PRESIDENT OF Human resources

Melisa Lesperance has served in the hospitality industry for a remarkable 20 years with a specific focus in human resources. She began her career at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a AAA Five-Diamond resort. Lesperance joined the team in 1999 and continued to work positions over the span of eight years as a Front Desk Agent, Executive Assistant in Human Resources, Employment Coordinator, Learning Coach and Recruitment Specialist. She began her first leadership role thereafter as Employment Manager in 2007, a position she held for four years. In this role she directed recruitment efforts for the resort, conducted new hire orientations, initiated and administered all H-2B and J-1 Visa seasonal hires and assisted with team member relations.

As a result of her efforts, she was promoted to Benefits Manager, a position she held for two and a half years in which she managed team member benefits including medical, dental, 401K contributions, monthly benefit audits as well as arranged annual health fairs for employees and quarterly learning events for the property. In 2013, she was promoted to Assistant Director of Human Resources. During her eight years in this position, she led the Human Resources department and reported to the Regional Human Resources Director who oversaw multiple properties.

In her spare time, Lesperance likes to hike, read and chat with her family. Lesperance looks forward to exploring the surrounding scenery of Colorado Springs and is thrilled to be joining such a notable team at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club.

Denise Perkins, Director of Marketing of Garden of the Gods Resort & Club

Denise Perkins

Vice President OF Marketing

Throughout her career, Denise Perkins has held numerous positions with prestigious hotels and resorts across the country. Prior to joining Garden of the Gods Resort and Club, she served as Director of Sales and Marketing for Noble House Hotels & Resorts in Napa, California. During her three-year tenure there, her efforts included launching a new CRM marketing program and re-launching the nationally acclaimed AAA Four-Diamond Napa Valley Wine Train attraction.

Her previous positions also include senior hospitality sales and marketing executive roles at Red Mountain Resort and Spa in Utah, the Mandalay Resort Group Las Vegas, and as VP of Marketing & Sales at the Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. In her free time, Denise loves adventuring in the outdoors and traveling. She is an avid hiker, snow skier, cyclist, golfer, and twice completed the 27-mile Grand Canyon North Rim to South Rim hike.

Michael Garrow

michael garrow

Vice President of sales

With over thirty years of experience at notable and prestigious hotels and resorts across the country, Michael Garrow most recently held the position of Director of Sales at Meadowood in Napa California where he was responsible for all aspects of group and leisure sales. During his tenure over the past 9 years there, Michael helped to lead the property to a Triple Forbes Five-Star rating for the resort, spa and restaurant. Michael has also held several senior sales and marketing roles across the country including Director of Catering & Conference Services at Peaks Resort in Telluride, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, and Director of Sales and Marketing at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida.

In his role as Vice President of Sales at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club, Michael will oversee a team of sales professionals with an eye on creating a superior client experience. Michael, with wife Laura and their two fur babies 6 month old Black Lab Greta and 5 year old French Bulldog Rose, are thrilled to be back in Colorado, a place to which they have always wanted to return.

Grant Jones, Vice President of Wellness at Garden of the Gods Resort & Club

Grant Jones

Vice President of Wellness

Grant Jones is a distinguished, veteran, health and wellness executive with vast experience in the private and public medical industry. He joined Garden of the Gods Resort and Club after most recently serving as Senior Philanthropy Officer for Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation, where he secured philanthropic revenue — contributing to a milestone fundraising campaign raising more than $423M+ from over 200,000 donors.

Prior to Children’s Hospital Foundation, Jones was the Director of Development at Team USA. During his tenure, he created and directed a new philanthropic national fundraising department to raise resources for the highest priority sport-program needs that enhanced elite-athlete performance and developed innovative High-Performance programming.

As a Clinical Researcher for Columbia University of Physicians and Surgeons, Jones oversaw top-line financial, administrative, and operational activities for the multicenter Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), including developing strategic plans, funding sources, scientific protocols, and research grants.

Pain Management Medical Services, the largest interventional anesthesiology private practice in the nation, enlisted Jones as Private Practice Director where he prioritized, optimized, and enhanced operational effectiveness and efficiency.

As the Vice President of Wellness, Jones serves on the resort’s strategic leadership team and oversees STRATA Med Body Fit, directing its innovative clinical practices and operations, luxury spa, and fitness enterprise. Additionally, he assists in further integrating health and wellness into guest amenities and club member experiences, as well as contributing to the resort-wide vision of becoming a nationally and internationally recognized wellness destination.

Michael J. Barber, MD, PHD, FACC, FHRS, FAHA, Medical Director at Garden of the Gods Resort & Club

Michael J. Barber, MD, PhD, FACC, FHRS, FAHA

Medical Director

The STRATA Med’s clinical team is headed by board-certified Cardiologist, Internist, and Electrophysiologist, Michael J. Barber. He received his PhD with distinction in Physiology from Loyola University in Chicago. Dr. Barber attended the Indiana University School of Medicine where he received his MD, as well as the University of Virginia for residency, and Duke University for Cardiology and Electrophysiology fellowships.

As an expert in his field, Dr. Barber holds several medical fellowships and serves on advisory boards and committees within these professional organizations. He holds fellowships with the American College of Cardiology, the Heart Rhythm Society, and the American Heart Association. Dr. Barber’s areas of focus are cardiovascular disease, integrative cardiology, internal medicine, hypertension and lipid abnormalities, executive wellness, and IV nutritional therapies.

Tania McCorkle

Tania McCorkle

Director of Spa and Fitness

McCorkle directs STRATA Integrated Wellness and Spa’s spa and fitness operations and assist in integrating wellness experiences throughout all resort amenities and offerings.   Tania has had a distinguished career in wellness resort destinations, executive spa leadership and athletic health club operations. As recent Spa Director at Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort, McCorkle oversaw all areas of the spa, including its programs, services, facilities, and staff. She was responsible for creating inspired, industry-leading spa and sports services centered around life-enhancing properties aligning with the resort’s wellness brand.

Before that, McCorkle held spa and fitness leadership roles at Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa, Lakeway Resort and Spa, The Downtown Club in Houston, Club One Incorporated and The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa. McCorkle, born in Cape Town, South Africa, is also a world-class athlete having been an award-winning member of the U.S. National World Netball Championship Team and an accomplished cyclist and triathlete.

Rich Parker, PGA, Director of Golf / Head Golf Professional at Garden of the Gods Resort & Club

Rich Parker, PGA

Director of Golf / Head Golf Professional

Rich Parker comes to us from Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where he was the Head Golf Professional at Benvenue Country Club for the past 15 years. Along with substantial, professional golf management experience, he brings great enthusiasm and vision to the operation and tournament programs at Kissing Camels Golf Club. Rich and his wife Beth have three children, Meredith, John, and Andrew.

Scott Leifer, Director of Tennis / Rec. Manager at Garden of the Gods Resort & Club

Scott Leifer

Director of Tennis

Scott Leifer started playing tennis at the age of seven, and loves to share his passion for tennis with all the children and adults he coaches. He comes to us from the Country Club of Colorado. Scott is a stroke technician and relies on coaching mental toughness. He has molded many junior players into strong athletes and successful college students, and his life lessons turn them into great individuals who thrive in whatever endeavor they choose. These skills make him a fantastic asset to Garden of the Gods Resort and Club and our tennis programs. Scott is happily married to his wife, Shannon, and is a father to three children, Savannah, Samson and Scarlet. He also has two dogs, Solo and Sylvie.

Rick Perkins

Rick Perkins

Chief Engineer

A seasoned professional with over 25 years of experience in the construction and building trades industry, Rick Perkins brings immense knowledge and experience to the engineering department at the resort as Chief Engineer. Prior to Garden of the Gods Resort and Club, he served as Superintendent, Project Manager and Purchasing Director for several years at California-based Brooks-Street Development where he managed development projects including Napa Valley Wine Train and shopping center spaces, commercial rental spaces, restaurant and wine bars with renovation values to $25 million. Within the engineering department at Xanterra Parks & Resorts’ Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley, CA, Rick served as Fire Chief and Fire Life Safety manager responsible for the Fire Department overseeing over 378 acres and all its entities including training, EMS, ICS, NIMS, Hazmat, Fires and Medical Response and directly managing outside agencies such as Fire, Medical, Life flight, Hospitals, National Parks, BLM, Division of Forestry and Las Vegas Emergency Management Teams.

Beyond career passions and over 20 years of experience as a Firefighter, EMT and Fire Chief in Texas, Utah and California, Rick enjoys a diverse array of outdoor activities including golfing, hunting, skiing and scuba diving and spending time with his family.

Maggie Basler

Maggie Basler

Director of Front Office Operations

Maggie grew up in Colorado Springs and is returning to the city after 10 years on either coast. Maggie graduated as Valedictorian from Boston University and has worked in the rooms division at The Drake Hotel and The St Regis Aspen. Maggie held progressive positions in her last 5 years at the Fairmont San Francisco and was promoted from Housekeeping Manager to Assistant Front Office Operations and VIP manager to Director of Front Office Operations.

Michelle Johnson

Director of Retail

With over 24 years of retail experience from Fortune 500 publicly traded companies to small boutique shops to owning her own ecommerce business she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the resort.

Most recently Michelle was Regional Director of Retail overseeing a $1.5 Million Dollar operation that included two Four Diamond Four Star Resorts, The Sheraton Bay Point Resort in Panama City Beach Florida and Horseshoe Bay Resort in Austin, Texas. These operations included three club houses, Tennis, Marina and two Retail Market outlets along with assisting hundreds of Club Members and all the Clubs Golf Tournaments with their specialty purchases.

When Michelle is not building new relationships and staying on top of all the new fashion trends you can find her spending time with her family enjoying the great outdoors of Colorado. Originally from Tucson, AZ she now calls Colorado Springs home and is excited to help you find that next one-of-a-kind items you have been looking for.