Getting Creative: Connecting Denver’s Social Impact Ecosystem
Artists, activists, designers, restaurateurs, mission driven entrepreneurs, and changemakers of all kinds in Denver are focused on creating meaningful change, but how are they staying connected to each other to collaborate, share insights, and help build the larger impactful local ecosystem? The creative economy represents 3% of the global economy and 4.2% of the overall U.S. GDP, yet as currently measured, there is 0% impact investing in the creative economy. This data confirms that the arts play a meaningful role in all our daily lives, including through the jobs we have, the products we purchase, and the experiences we share. As more individuals look to support and be a part of companies & organizations that are focused on creating change and doing good in the world, it is imperative that Denver begins to invest in developing and connecting its diverse impact oriented ecosystem. This interactive panel will focus on outlining the current impact narrative of Denver, including opportunities in the creative economy, and discuss how we might be able to work across sectors and silos to create a common vision in our communities, maximize our impact, and build a more connected social impact ecosystem.
Harris Rollinger, Centura Health
Emily Winslow, Peak Impact Consulting
Armando Silva, ARTMANDO
Sara Boyd, Highwater Wealth Management
Alexis Newton, Museo de las Americas
Harris Rollinger has worked at the intersection of innovation and social change for his entire career. Prior to moving to Denver, he oversaw the social innovation strategy for one of Boston’s largest non-profits. Harris is now serving as an innovation consultant for Centura Health in their Community Health department where he focuses on strategic partnerships with Denver’s innovation & digital health communities, in addition to infusing human-centered design into Centura’s innovation process. His work history reflects his passion for and belief in the potential that social entrepreneurship and innovation have in creating social change in our communities. In an effort to better understand how social impact ecosystems have developed, Harris spent ten days in August of 2016 as a participant on the Millennial Trains Project (MTP), an organization that leads crowdfunded transcontinental train journeys for young entrepreneurs and change makers to explore America’s new frontiers in social change. On this trip, he traveled from LA, to San Francisco, to Denver, Milwaukee, and finally Detroit. He met with different community leaders and organizations to better understand how they were developing social impact ecosystems and the role of social innovation in creating community change. Harris’s MTP experience deepened his belief that dedicating resources to building social impact ecosystems can change the trajectory of our communities and positively impact the world at large.
Emily Winslow, Founder and CEO of Peak Impact Consulting, has spent the last 6 years immersed in the Colorado social enterprise and impact investing ecosystem. Peak Impact Consulting supports early-stage social entrepreneurship ventures, experienced and novice impact investors, high net worth individuals, women and millennials specifically, family offices, and associations of impact investors. Prior to starting Peak Impact Consulting, Emily achieved a deep understanding of impact investing in her experience at PeakChange, an early-stage impact investing family office. During her time with PeakChange, she managed a portfolio of 40 direct investments and 11 impact funds on behalf of one of the pioneering leaders in early-stage impact investing. Beyond portfolio management, she has actively engaged in providing management consulting support with social entrepreneurs and their companies in Africa, Asia, and Central America, as well as across the United States. Furthermore, Emily has facilitated the work of nonprofit and for-profit boards, helping to implement best practices, establish clear communications, and build organizational capacities. She has also partnered in Colorado with industry leaders to develop strategic initiatives, fundraise, and execute community events.
Prior to focusing specifically on impact investment, Emily worked as a consultant, researcher, teacher, and/or innovator for JVA Consulting, Accion, Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, 100 People Foundation, Cross Cultural Solutions, and McREL International. Emily moved to Denver from New York City in 2012 to attend the Josef Korbel School at the University of Denver where she received her Masters in International Development. Emily earned her BA in Sociology and Religious Studies from Connecticut College. In Denver, Emily co-founded Do Gooders, an impact investing and social enterprise group of young professionals. She chairs the World Denver Ambassador Committee and is an advisory board member for The Global Fund for Women. Her memberships include Ellevate, Denver Young Professionals, Toniic, World Denver Young Professionals, and SheEO.
Sara Boyd has over 35 years of wealth management experience working with individuals, endowments and foundations. She was a portfolio manager and equity analyst on the east coast before relocating to Denver in 1994. She is a wealth advisor and portfolio manager at Highwater Wealth Management in Denver, CO offering financial planning and investment management and heads their sustainable responsible investing (SRI) strategy. Sara has a BA in Economics and a MBA in Finance. She is passionate about SRI, gender lens and impact investing. She is a member of Beyond Our Borders, a group advised fund of the Women’s Foundation of CO and co-chair of their Gender Lens Investing Committee, and is a member of The Denver Foundation’s Professional Advisors Council. Sara is a member of Women’s Investor Network of the Rockies Venture Club, and attends as well as has presented at the Women & Impact series in Denver and Boulder hosted by Next Wave Venture Fund. Sara is a lover of art, music and the creative economy and was recently part of a Denver focus group for Upstart Co-Lab, an organization that connects artists, social entrepreneurs, impact investors, social enterprises and sustainable companies, bringing creativity and investments together to deliver social impact. Sara is a member of the Social Enterprise Alliance and has enjoyed some of their webinars on financing non-profit social enterprises. She co-organized a couple of events in prior years on incorporating social enterprise within non-profits, and on social impact bonds. She seeks to fully understand the eco-system of partnerships to mobilize investment capital to complement philanthropy to address tough social issues both locally and globally, and to communicate such to interested parties so that people of all income and asset levels can take action. She is currently researching program related investments for donor advised funds.
Armando Silva was born in Sombrerete, Zacatecas, Mexico and his family moved to the Northern Colorado area in search of the American Dream when he was just five. He quickly became familiar with pop culture in America, everything from Michael Jackson to current cartoons. Armando submerged himself in the visual and performing arts behind closed doors and as he grew up and became more comfortable with his talents he decided to invest in them and received his BA in Fine Arts from The University of Northern Colorado. Since then, Armando has used his artistic platform to pursue his passion and purpose. Armando believes that with his artistic powers that he has a responsibility within his community to lead, educate and give back. He paints portraits to help tell stories, sometimes in his studio or on stages in front of thousands. As a creative, Armando looks for opportunities to present his artwork in order to paint a bigger picture. His intuition is to find the greens in a red rose and the blues in an orange. Armando lives by the motto, “every brush stroke has a rhythm and every color has its voice”.
Alexis Newton is the Director of Education at Museo de las Americas where she focuses on creating arts integrated programming and culturally relevant curriculum infused with social justice activism. She is also the Latin American Representative for the Canadian based social enterprise Lucky Iron Fish. Alexis has previously worked with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York City and in Mexico City on human trafficking prevention and advocacy. As a social justice activist, educator, and philanthropist, Alexis spends her time as Co-Founder of Do Gooders, as Vice President of the United Nations Association Denver Chapter, as a Board Member of the Mexican Cultural Center, as Vice Chair of Beyond Our Borders, as a SheEO activator, as an advocate on the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking Hotline (CoNEHT), as a mentor for Watson Institute, and as an Advisory Board Member for the Global Fund for Women. Alexis has lived, worked, and studied in Mexico, Spain, Guatemala, and India, and has native-speaker fluency in Spanish.