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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.

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

VICE PRESIDENT OF MEMBERSHIP & SPECIAL PROJECTS

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.

Michael Garrow 3

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.

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.

Eugene Smith

Vice President of Information Technology

Eugene Smith is an information technology expert with over 20 years of experience in the Hospitality, Telecommunications, and Healthcare Industries. He holds a Masters of Science in Information Technology as well as several leading industry certifications. Throughout his career he has provided support to multiple 5 Star 5 Diamond Hotels including The Little Nell Hotel in Aspen, and The Broadmoor. Specializing in infrastructure design, implementation , and revitalization, he provided oversight and installation support for the remodel of The historic Hotel Jerome and has been an instrumental part of the construction and remodeling projects at The Garden of the Gods Resort and Club. In addition to his work at GGRC he provides IT consultation and support for small to medium sized businesses in the Colorado Springs and Denver area including Restaurants, Doctors Offices, Real Estate professionals, and Boutique Hotels. In his free time, Eugene is an Avid Hiker and Skier.

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.

Meet Our Culinary Team

ante kulusic

vice president of food and beverage

With over 30 years of hospitality leadership experience aboard cruise ships, hotels, resorts, restaurants and theme parks, Ante Kulusic joined Garden of the Gods Resort and Club as vice president of food & beverage. Ante previously served as director of food and beverage operations at Theme Parks SeaWorld , Aquatica & Discovery Cove, Orlando, FL where he oversaw countless high-profile Banquet events while managing daily food and beverage services for the park’s 17 outlets and bars, generating $60M a year. Ante was part of excellence for SeaWorld Orlando when voted the Best Amusement Park in the country by USA Today readers for 2021.

Originally from Croatia, Ante began as a server and worked his way to the Senior Maître d ’Hotel position. He later rose to the position of Director of Restaurants through three cruise lines including Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise. In these roles, Ante launched major events and created innovative services. He developed the 5 Star White Glove service for Celebrity 5 Star Ships. He was also selected to manage the successful opening of the cruise line’s largest ship at that time, the Adventure of the Seas, overseeing a team of 250 who serviced 3,114 guests on world cruises. In an increasingly competitive and rapidly evolving industry, Kulusic recognized the need for ongoing foundational training and team building. As such, he implemented a training program for two Michelin Star and Master Chef restaurants aboard Celebrity ships and oversaw the training of all restaurant staff for several ships while at Royal Caribbean & Carnival Cruise line.

Ante is delighted to now call Colorado Springs home, and in his spare time enjoys family time with his 10 year old daughter and wife or by watching the European soccer leagues.

Meet the Team 1

hailey curran

controller

Hailey Curran started her career here at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club while working as a Spa Concierge. She transferred to our accounting department to work as our Accounts Payable Clerk while working on her accounting degree from UCCS. Throughout her time here, she has worked in Accounts Payable, Member Billing, Group Billing, Accounting Manager, Assistant Controller, and finally Controller. Hailey is passionate about learning and wants to help other leaders learn to better understand their financials and processes.

Hailey and her husband Michael have a little boy, James, and love to spend time outside – hiking, bouldering and camping being some of their favorites.

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

Director of Wellness

McCorkle directs STRATA Integrated Wellness and Spa’s spa and fitness operations and assist in integrating wellness experiences throughout all resort amenities and offerings, as well as supports the STRATA Medical Team leadership. 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.

greg heartt

director of racquet sports

As a Florida native, Greg Heartt comes to us from Lake Butler, where he most recently served as Head Tennis Professional at the prestigious Isleworth Golf & Country Club. During his tenure, he developed the Junior and Men’s tennis programs from the beginning and advanced the Women’s program from three teams to 15. Heartt also served as USPTA Central Florida District President for the past six years, where he oversaw the development of 200+ certified professionals in the area through continual education and service within the industry. In 2019, Heartt received the USPTA National U-30 Professional of the Year award for his work in connecting Central Florida schools with certified tennis professionals.

Heartt picked up his first racquet at the age of three and was a highly ranked junior player throughout his adolescent career. He went on to play at the collegiate level for Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida where each season he played culminated in ‘Top 10’ Division II rankings.

With his proven expertise, Heartt will provide quality tennis instruction and enthusiasm to his new role as Director of Racquet Sports.

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.