Women Rocking The Boat - Barb Shipley - Making People her Priority
By Christina Freeman
Story by Amanda DeVos/Photo by Corey Kopischke
Barb Shipley will look you straight on and share exactly what’s in her heart and on her mind; she hopes you’ll do the same. For her, work – and life – is about connecting with people. “I’m totally a relational person,” she says.
Her energetic, straightforward personality and love for helping people have guided her career in property management in Steamboat Springs for more than 30 years; she is currently an associate broker with MR Reality.
Shipley built a close relationship with “Hazie” Werner – a local legend known for her devotion to the Yampa Valley – who taught her how to better care for people. “Hazie was one of the most remarkable human beings I’ve known because she treated everybody equally,” she says.
A few years ago, Shipley founded the Hazie Werner Hospitality Fund and hosted benefits with the goal of raising $10,000 annually for local nonprofits like Lift-Up, the VNA, Hospice and Partners of Routt County. “The best way I could honor Hazie was to find a way to support causes that were important to her,” says Shipley, her blue eyes pooling with tears. “That’s truly my passion. But I’ve had to back off lately to let people recover from the economic troubles.”
For 16 years, Shipley has also organized local clinics for “Buck” Brannaman, a renowned “horse-whisperer” who trains horses through the natural horsemanship style. “It’s not about power and force,” she explains. “It’s about developing a better relationship with the horse based on positive results.” She believes this approach can help people to improve their own relationships.
And after 40 years in Steamboat, that is Shipley ’s own goal, too.
“What’s important is making better relationships – not how much money you make, not about the house you own or the kind of college you went to,” she says. “The reality is, life is about how you treat people. Hopefully every day we are trying to be better at that. But you have to be open to change.”