Our Story

Aspen City of Wellbeing (ACW) was born out of a visit to Aspen by Dr. Deepak Chopra in January 2014. Deepak was presenting a lecture on Self-Directed Biological Transformation at the Aspen Institute and his appearance was sponsored by ACW Founder, Gina Murdock, and her husband Jerry. While touring the city of Aspen with Gina, Deepak remarked that due to its natural beauty, intellectual capital and financial abundance that Aspen could and should be a "city of wellbeing". Gina had long been a community organizer in Aspen and had been actively seeking a way to enliven and embody the Aspen Idea as it was described by Walter Paepcke in 1949 when he said that "Aspen is a place where the human spirit can flourish." She understood that while the exterior of our city is glamorous, under the surface of this beautiful place is some genuine suffering. And she was ready to focus her attention on the kind of city we all want to live in. So, with an acknowledgement of Aspen's issues, ACW was formed as choiceful way to be the change Gina and her newly formed team wanted to see in Aspen, and throughout the world, actually.

The next 18 months were spent in several visioning and strategy sessions. The priority in those days was to meet with as many people as possible working in the fields of health and wellbeing in this valley as well as speaking with leadership from the various municipalities, schools, hospitals, large employers, and non-profits. 

In June of 2015, Deepak Chopra was visiting Aspen for Spotlight Health and agreed to speak at an Aspen City of Wellbeing meeting. Gina and ACW's newly appointed executive director, Jess Ewart, worked together to create a presentation that would concisely explain the vision for this project and how it would be implemented.

 

ACW presentation: June 2015

Deepak Chopra on ACW

 

They spoke at the Little Nell to a packed room and then Deepak closed the meeting with some wonderful insights about the “ingredients” for a city of wellbeing. There was a lot of momentum for this initiative after that gathering and by January of 2016, things were really rolling as ACW began planning the launch of their first few programs and their inaugural 4 day leadership summit, Lead With Love, which would take place at the Aspen Meadows in October 2016.

To date, ACW, has piloted over 20 worksite wellbeing programs and hosted Lead With Love twice. The second Lead With Love summit was attended by over 500 people and a recap of that experience can be viewed here. We are continuing to add new programs and expanding the reach of people served. Lead With Love 2018 is already scheduled for October 25-28, 2018 at the Aspen Meadows and a new series of Lead With Love global retreats is being offered as well as an online leadership group that meets monthly on the Zoom platform. Learn about all ACW's offerings here.