While not spelled out on the proverbial cocktail napkin, the Colorado Institute for Excellence (CIE) did have its beginnings on two laptops in a meeting room at our local library. Ours is a “timing is everything” story. Both of us were at critical decision points about what to do next in our careers. Though Ellen had already logged 35 years of consulting experience, she wasn’t “done yet.” Heather, now that her children were older, wanted to take on a new business. Our career conversations led us to discover we shared a very common focus: helping people and organizations to improve. We had one common frustration – “Why is mediocre ever okay?”

Then the “ah-ha moment.” Excellence is a choice…so is mediocrity. That realization propelled us to partner and create the Colorado Institute for Excellence which combines the proven basics of organizational development with the contemporary perspective of today’s world.

May you choose excellence!


“Let excellence be your brand…when you are excellent, you become unforgettable.” – Oprah Winfrey

Ellen Rand Kendall

Ellen Rand Kendall

As a Founding Partner of the Colorado Institute for Excellence, Ellen Kendall brings her more than 35 years of experience in organizational improvement. She has worked with hundreds of organizations, including major corporations, small businesses, government, hospitals, and non-profits, with varying levels of involvement, from conducting seminars, facilitating retreats to contractual long-term consulting arrangements. She is uniquely qualified to deliver consulting services and training to executives, managers and employees at any level.

As one client described Ellen, “The key to Ellen’s success is her strong knowledge of the material she works with and her extraordinary interpersonal skills. She very quickly connects with the people she works with and gains their trust. This allows her to spend more time effectively getting the job done, no matter what the consulting assignment.”

Her career began with The University of Tennessee’s Institute for Productivity through Quality, the first quality program endorsed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the man most credited with the stunning rise of Japanese industries. For three years, she served as an internal quality management consultant for Norton Company a Fortune 500 company, where she conducted seminars to the top 1,000 managers worldwide, advised the senior management team, provided ongoing education and training at all levels, and served as an in-house coach and resource.

For 30 years, she has been a Senior Associate with Conway Management, Inc., founded by Bill Conway, who was the first American CEO to work with Dr. Deming.

For four years, in partnership with Professional Growth Systems of Anchorage, Alaska, she had the experience of working with a consortium of three organizations in Northwest Alaska: The Manillaq Association (including the hospital), NANA (a Native-American owned company), and the Northwest Arctic Borough.

Ellen holds a B.S., Honors College, from Michigan State University and a M.S. from the University of Tennessee.

She currently lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She is very involved in community organizations and is a member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs. She enjoys spending time with her two grown children and three grandchildren and traveling internationally, especially through the HomeExchange program, as she did recently with her month in Melbourne, Australia.

Heather Martyn

Heather Martyn

Heather Martyn is a Founding Partner of the Colorado Institute for Excellence. Her 20 years of diverse experience, in both the private and public sector, and her exceptional business and communication skills makes her uniquely suited to the mission of CIE: helping organizations achieve excellence.

Hailing from Wyoming, Heather brings her “cowboy spirit” to all she does – with a fearless attitude towards finding solutions. Consequently, entrepreneurship comes naturally to her. She has started and operated several businesses, including owning and managing a local campground franchise, with over 25 employees serving thousands of guests each year. She knows first-hand the challenges of employee retention, training and motivation, and how to bring out the best in her staff. She always seeks to help others improve and reach their full potential.

She also brings her passion for problem solving to her local community, as was clearly displayed in 2009. She discovered a very pressing need for parents to have safe and productive after-school care for their children. In response, she was instrumental in the founding of a local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club of America in Steamboat Springs. Heather’s drive, experience and commitment overcame many obstacles, resulting in a club that now enrolls more than half the community’s children.

She continued her commitment to the community as the Collaborative Management Program Coordinator for Routt County, where she facilitated youth serving organizations to reduce duplication of services and to address fragmented collaboration. This sparked her interest in taking those same process and waste reduction challenges to the business sector.

Through her work in both non-profits and government, coupled with her background in professional coaching and positive psychology, she has gained a reputation as a skilled facilitator and change agent. She is able to “cut through the noise” to identify the real issues confronting individuals and groups and to move towards solutions and positive results.

Heather enjoys the outdoor lifestyle and all that comes with living in Colorado. She recently embarked on a journey with her family where they sold everything and lived on a sailboat for a year. If she isn’t working, you might find her on a mountain with her husband, Ren, their three boys, Andrew, Ryan, Lander and her dog Routty.