2016 Business Marketer of the Year Award
Is chief communications officer of MWH Global, headquartered in Broomfield, Colo. In this role, VanderLaan serves as the senior public relations executive and primary company spokesperson. She leads the company in its efforts to enhance its corporate brand and uphold its purpose of Building a Better World. In addition, VanderLaan leads message development across various media channels for the company’s operations in 35 countries.
VanderLaan has a passion for taking the complex subjects that often accompany MWH projects and effectively communicating those topics in a way that is relatable, accessible and easily understood for people in communities around the world.
Prior to joining MWH in 2009, VanderLaan spent 13 years with Gates Corporation, a world leader in industrial and automotive solutions, ultimately serving as the vice president of corporate communications and public affairs. In 2006, she became a member of the board of directors for Gates Winhere, a joint venture based in Yantai, China, serving as the board’s only American and only woman. She also worked in marketing for a dot-com start-up and managed marketing programs in the health insurance industry.
VanderLaan is an active member of the board of directors for several organizations, including the Downtown Denver Partnership Management Group, Downtown Denver Partnership Denver Civic Ventures and Downtown Denver Events. In 2012, VanderLaan was named to the Board of Trustees for Gannon University in Erie, Pa., her Alma Mater. Since 2008, VanderLaan has chaired the fund-raising task force for the 9News Parade of Lights, a 40-year holiday tradition in Denver.
As a community leader, VanderLaan was named as a 25 Most Powerful Women in Colorado by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce in 2016, Business Person of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 2015, and the 2014 Outstanding Woman in Business in Media, PR and Communications by the Denver Business Journal.
VanderLaan earned her bachelor’s in communication arts and a proficiency certificate in German from Gannon University. VanderLaan was recognized with the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011. In December 2014, the university also awarded VanderLaan the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
VanderLaan has been a speaker at national association and industry conferences, covering topics such as crisis communications, corporate brand and women in leadership.
In her spare time, VanderLaan enjoys skiing, mountain biking and traveling. She currently lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado with her husband, John.
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