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Archives for November 20, 2012

Announcing the TEDxMileHighWomen Speakers!

When you attend TEDxMileHighWomen, you’re attending a truly global event.  Thousands of people from around the world, in Baghdad and Budapest, in Denver, in Valencia and Port Au Prince, will be livestreaming at least one session of TEDxWomen in Washington DC. During the livecast, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from brilliant thinkers and creators, not as a static viewer, but as a member of the global live audience.But that’s only part of what you’ll experience at TEDxMileHighWomen…announcing the speakers of TEDxMileHighWomen 2012:

Lynn Gangone, Emcee

Dean of the Women’s College of the University of Denver and a champion of women’s leadership in the new economy.  As a deeply engaged member of our community, Dr. Gangone serves on various local boards and was recently identified by The Denver Post as one of Colorado’s 75 most influential women. Under her leadership at DU, the college has increased student enrollment, introduced innovative academic programs, secured funds to support scholarships and programs, and introduced a comprehensive strategic plan that has repositioned the college to educate women to boldly lead in the communities where they live, work, and engage. @lynnmgangone

Kristen Race

Kristen Race is the founder of Mindful Life, which provides brain-based solutions for schools, businesses, children and families as they try to become more resilient to modern day stressors.  Her products and services are rooted in the science of the brain with influences from the fields of mindfulness and positive psychology, designed to improve brain function and brain development in adults and children. Race created a unique method for teaching mindfulness skills to children and trains teachers nationwide.  She also created the Mindful Life Schools Program, which is currently being used in schools around the country. Race has discovered that the foundation of her work with children transfers to business leaders, executive teams, and athletes looking to perform their best by reducing stress and increasing focus. Race received her doctorate and master’s degrees from the University of Denver, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado. She currently resides in Steamboat Springs, Colorado where she can be found mountain biking, hiking, playing soccer, and chasing her kids down the ski mountain!

Tracey Stewart

Tracey Stewart is the Family Economic Security Program Manager at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. She monitors policies and programs that improve access to resources that give every Coloradan the opportunity to work toward economic stability and security. She educates state leaders and communities on the importance of helping Coloradans on the road to economic self-sufficiency through the use of critical tools and resources, and provides research to inform Colorado businesses, governments and communities on the progress Colorado is making in its poverty reduction efforts. Before joining the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Stewart worked with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, where she was the project manager for the Colorado Homeless Management Information System. Before her career in the nonprofit world, Stewart was a network consultant and software application specialist. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree from the School of Education at the University of Denver. She is also a volunteer board member for Worklife, a participant of the Taking Neighborhood Health to Heart community group and a member of the Denver Human Services Network.

Andrea Moore

Andrea Moore makes art, and makes art happen, as a writer, performer, photographer, and producer. She is passionate about using creativity as a means for cultural activism, and works to foster connection and dialogue across social and cultural lines. In addition to running her own arts company, she operates The Detached Garage artist-in-residency program, which targets and empowers emerging artists and brings art to Denver’s Clayton neighborhood. She is also a co-founder of the No One Way Arts Collaborative. N.O.W. designs 72-hour collaborative retreats for artists in cities across the country, as well as online challenges that serve an international artistic community. She has a degree in Theatre Studies from Boston University, and her work in the theatre profoundly influences all her artistic choices. In addition to her creative pursuits, she is passionate about working with children and young adults.  Moore’s long-term vision is the culmination of all her endeavors: a retreat center that plays host to an artist-in-residence program, a community learning space, and a children’s art and outdoor adventure camp.

Joy Lujan

Joy Lujan is a senior community planner with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program. Luhan holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from CU Boulder and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from CU Denver. As a planner, facilitator and mediator, Lujan helps communities work together to create visions and reach shared goals through inclusive, collaborative planning efforts involving diverse stakeholders with a wide range of perspectives on natural resource protection and outdoor recreation.   As chair of the board of directors of the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO), Lujan helped stabilize, build and strengthen this newly-merged nonprofit to focus on and achieve its vision and mission.  CLLARO’s vision is to eliminate disparities in educational achievement, economic opportunity, social integration, health and well-being, and civic representation.  Lujan’s commitment is to inspire people find and use their inner power, potential and passion to make positive changes in their lives and help them translate that individual power into collective action through collaboration.  Lujan also founded the Center for Civility and Collaboration, LLC to bring people together to create solutions that last. The Center facilitates a shift in theprocess by which people have conversations complex issues and brings the skills of collaboration, shared understanding, respectful dialogue and cooperation to decision-making for successful outcomes.

Elizabeth Wolfson

The Girls Athletic Leadership Schools is the vision of Elizabeth Wolfson, who currently serves as head of school of the flagship school here in Denver. Wolfson is an organizational development specialist with senior-level consultancy and management experience in the profit and non-profit sectors in local, national and international settings. She has spent seven years living and working professionally in the Middle East, which highly influenced her worldview – one of urgency and potent vitality. Highlights of her professional work include designing and developing the first corporate plan for global internal communications for a world leader in telecommunications; representing a major international political leader; bringing the United Way to the Middle East and exciting projects ranging from homeless teens to high-tech start ups.

Tracy MacKenzie

Tracy MacKenzie is the manager of partnerships at ReWork, a company that helps match exceptional talent with companies and organizations that are working to make the world a better place.  Prior to joining ReWork, Tracy was a Teach for America corps member in Washington, D.C. where she taught middle school reading and math for three years. Tracy holds a B.S. in theater and business from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in education from George Mason University.

AnnJannette Alejano-Steele

AnnJanette Alejano-Steele serves as the research and training director of the Denver-based Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, a non-governmental organization that works to develop sustainable and comprehensive responses to human trafficking. LCHT is committed to combating human trafficking through community-based research: awareness and education; leadership development; and collaboration. Alejano-Steele has also been a professor in the departments of psychology and women’s studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver since 1996. Her educational background includes a Ph.D. in psychology from Michigan State University and NIH-supported postdoctoral work in psychology and medicine from the University of California, San Francisco.  Her health psychology expertise has focused on local and global health access for vulnerable populations, and comprehensive services for victims of human trafficking. She serves on the steering committee of the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking, and also serves on a key investigative taskforce led by the State of Colorado Division of Criminal Justice. Her decades of academic experience supported her role as a law enforcement trainer for the Colorado Regional Community Policing Institute, supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice.


People in Colorado know that Fort Collins is abundant with bicycles, awash in craft beer and rich in arts of all kinds. Understanding the town’s unique cultural brew begins (but only begins) to explain the novel sound of SHEL. Four sisters-Sarah, Hannah, Eva, and Liza-raised in an atmosphere of creative freedom and diligent study, have honed their musical skills surgically sharp and blended their personalities and visions into a unified whole. They are a vocal group with outstanding instrumental capabilities and an instrumental group with a thrilling vocal attack. From their fetching, unpredictable songs to their whimsical, hand-made top hats, SHEL makes a profound impression, something they are doing to growing crowds and critical acclaim. They’ve played public radio’s Etown, South by Southwest, Nashville’s Music City Roots, Lilith Fair, the Four Corners Folk Festival and the International Folk Alliance Conference, and we are excited that they are taking the stage at TEDxMileHighWomen! @iloveshelmusic


Who are you looking forward to seeing?

The Rocky Mountain Scrimmage Round-Up

“Don’t fail. Learn…

Don’t guess. Learn…”

Tom Chi’s advice in the advance of the Rocky Mountain Scrimmage was to scratch the concept that ‘failing is good’ from the minds of the attendees.  For a man who has spent his professional career in Silicon Valley, this is unusual advice, given that so many tech entrepreneurs have been inundated with the opposite–to “fail cheap” and to “fail fast.”

The idea behind Chi’s thinking is that saying you “failed” darkens a whole area around a concept, so that related ideas are immediately counted-out. But if you learn, the idea is not a failure, but merely a work in progress, and there is no concept that is off-limits.

And to be fair, Tom Chi knows what he’s talking about. He’s one of the brains behind Google’s top-secret Google X Lab, which has produced projects like heads-up displays (Google glass), driverless cars, learning robots, and other gadgets the public doesn’t yet know about, but so badly (and so obviously) wants to find out.


As an expert on rapid-prototyping (his team tries to produce 15 prototypes/week at Google), Tom Chi was a perfect fit to lead Colorado entrepreneurs in the first-ever Rocky Mountain Scrimmage, hosted by ReWork on November 3 at Galvanize in Denver. In August, ReWork was awarded the TEDxMileHigh Prize, which helped to support the day’s planning and programming.  Rapid-prototyping seeks to get things done, fast. But not in a careless or reckless way, but in an approach that is measured, tested, and practiced.  Tom Chi’s keynote touched on the main areas of the concept before the entrepreneurs dove in, head-first.

The Rocky Mountain Scrimmage was an all-day, intensive rapid-prototyping and problem-solving boot camp that brought together 17 local organizations and 70+ community members interested in changing perceptions, accelerating local business, learning new skills, and helping to advance the state of Colorado.

After the keynote address by Chi and 30-second pitches by each organization that identified areas of need (ie marketing, front-end web development, identifying sales channels, product prototyping), people broke off into groups depending on the skills desired.  Each person at the Scrimmage paired up to create a diverse team of 6+ members that sought to, yep—you guessed it, RAPIDLY solve the problems of the organization with whom they worked.

Rapid-prototyping is all about breaking down our 20th-century concept of time.  How long did it take to prototype Google glass?  According to Chi, one half-day of furious exploration. For the entrepreneurs and many attendees, the idea that BIG things can actually get done in 2-3 hours of crushing it is a relatively new one.

Rapid-prototyping tosses the “sleep on it” concept out the window—instead, it pushes the idea of furious passion in a limited time-frame.  Rapid-prototyping is saying, “Here’s an idea” or “Here’s a challenge,” then, with immediacy, pushes you to relentlessly discover, challenge, change, create, develop, construct, tear-down, debate, and critique. It’s a completely new way to problem-solve; a new way to overcome hurdles in the early (or late) stages of business development.

The Sessions

For me, after 2-3 hours of working to identify a target market, coming up with a marketing strategy, messaging, mediums, and designs for an organization I wasn’t familiar with, my brain was fried and I didn’t know if I was “doing it right.”  But, like anything, the concept of rapid-prototyping takes practice.  It’s not just an idea, it’s a skill.  It’s a skill to take something that generally takes weeks (marketing strategy) and develop a framework in an hour. It’s a skill to look at an opportunity and say, “let’s do it–now” and keep from getting frustrated by early, weak results. It’s a skill to have endurance to continue a difficult pursuit, ask the right questions, and stay focused for long stretches.

At the end of the two sessions, each of the organizations presented their takeaways from the day. Some made ENORMOUS shifts in their businesses, others made little tangible progress but took away the concept of rapid-prototyping and a community of involved stakeholders…but ALL learned something new, memorable, relevant and real.  Let’s do it again.

 Were you at the event? If so, what did you learn?  Is rapid-prototyping relevant to your business?

If you weren’t there, what are your thoughts on the process? Have you had experience with rapid-prototyping?

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