Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Inside Colorado PERA

Board Refreshes PERA’s Mission, Vision

Photo credit: DigtialStorm – 519625615 – GettyImages

How well do you remember 2002?

  • The Winter Olympics took place in Salt Lake City. Mitt Romney, who would go on to become a Massachusetts governor, presidential candidate, and Utah senator, led the organizing committee.
  • President George W. Bush signed a bill creating the Department of Homeland Security
  • The word “Googled” appears for the first time in pop culture, on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • For the first time, US consumers could buy a cell phone with a built-in camera (thanks, Sanyo!)

2002 was also the year in which PERA last adopted mission and vision statements it used until the Board adopted updated versions at its November meeting.

Mission, Vision, and the Board’s Strategic Plan

Colorado PERA’s Board of Trustees adopts strategic plans that guide the organization’s work. The most recent plan, adopted by the Board in 2019, will guide PERA through 2023. One objective in the current strategic plan is refreshing the organization’s mission and vision statements.

“A mission and vision statement helps an organization articulate who they are, and who they want to be,” said Laura Morsch-Babu, PERA’s director of communications. “PERA has evolved significantly since our mission and vision were created, and so has our industry. It was the right time to reflect on our mission, who we are today, and how we will serve our membership in the future.”

Creating a New Mission and Vision Statement

Despite the brevity of the statements, a lot of work goes into ensuring they represent PERA’s wide array of stakeholders. PERA staff conducted dozens of interviews and distilled the feedback into key themes that were then woven into the new statements.

Earlier this year, PERA staff presented the Board with a number of different approaches. The Board whittled down the options to just a few choices and asked staff to incorporate additional feedback. At the November Board meeting, the Board approved a new set of statements.

“The Board’s final mission and vision reflects PERA’s commitment to providing retirement security in a sustainable way for our members, but it also closely aligns with the board’s strategic plan to evolve and modernize the way we do business,” said Morsch-Babu. “These new statements will guide every aspect of our work and become part of the PERA culture.”


  1. Brian Lessman says:

    The old vision statement, for good or bad, was clear and succcinct, requiring limited explanation. The new vision statement requires much explanation and is very broad in nature. While it might serve the association well, it leaves much for interpretation and definition and may have multiple and even opposing actions deemed appropriate. The distance between the curbs that define the vision is broad. I hope the board can act with clarity with such a wide street on which to drive.

  2. Linda G White says:

    Agree with Brian’s comment. Simpler the better.

  3. Alan Dearth says:

    So is PERA now stating that PERA’s retirement plan is not the preferred plan for PERA retirees?

  4. Thomas GEtz says:

    I think the old vision statement is more concrete. It seems there would be too much flexibility for PERA to move away from being a retirement plan for retirees.
    Could you give a more detailed rationale for the longer vision statement?

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi Thomas,
      The vision statement informs how PERA should build for the future. The Board wanted the statement to show that PERA should work to modernize certain operational elements (using technology to become a more efficient organization and to provide a better user experience, for example) while at the same time reaffirming PERA’s commitment to principles that don’t need changing (serving member needs, for example).

  5. Ryan Christy, CFA says:

    I am so excited to see these positive changes! Let’s live them!

    Ryan Christy, CFA LinkedIn

  6. Ryan Christy, CFA says:

    For next week’s Q&A, if I don’t have Facebook, can I participate?

    Other questions:

    Was a special board meeting called last week?

    Did the Chairman of the Board leave before his term ended?

    Thanks for finally answering my question about the 3% interest change that you tried to squeak by your members.

    Colorado PERA changed its mission statement for I believe the first time ever. Awesome. Why now and what will actually change?

    Can teachers finally have the same choice as State Workers, You, and Judges? If not, why?

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Ryan Christy, CFA LinkedIn

  7. Cara Meyers says:

    Lmao so you change a couple of words around with the new revisionist rhetoric so that it’s pc? You changed “stability” to ” sustainability” in the first line and added “diversity” to the second? In the end whether you use the traditional English composition as in the old statements or the new “feel good” post modern culture mumbo jumbo , PERA’s function is still the same- you are to be the ethically and fiscally responsible managers of the public employees retirement funds. And yes we were already diverse in the first place so I didn’t know one needed to point out the obvious. Sigh.

    • Ryan Christy, CFA says:

      Cara. I’ve always thought the ESG movement is silly.

      It’s like we became so unethical that the industry realized they needed to change. That’s good.

      As financial professionals, you gotta find a way to monetize change.

      Let’s just get back to trying to do good for the members, right? We don’t need to put programs on it. Let’s just fix it. Maybe remove of silly money funnel programs, and use that money for the members’ benefits.


      Ryan Christy

  8. John W Odenheimer says:

    The new Mission statement modification is positive and provides better clarity: changed “promote long-term financial” security to “provide retirement” security. Good move.
    On the other hand, the Vision statement went from clear and concise to ambiguous and wordy. I don’t even know what the new Vision statement means. There’s always time to go back to clear and concise.

  9. Evelyn Clinton says:

    The old mission statement is straightforward. The new one is vague in its intentions and is double speak suggesting changes are on the way that will not focus on PERA members as the top priority. Already recent legislative changes have not been honored except for the sacrifices asked of its members.

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