What motivated you to become a Founding executive of Get Smart Schools and Co-founder of Denver School of Science & Technology?
I got involved with the charter school movement after learning more about the low graduation rates for students in Denver Public Schools. I was appalled to realize that, at the time we started DSST, the odds of a low-income DPS student attending college were about 10%. I believed that my previous experience as an entrepreneur had prepared me to tackle the challenge of starting new, more effective schools. After the launch of DSST, I saw an opportunity to support others who wanted to create innovative new schools. Between my work with DSST and Get Smart Schools, I’ve played a role in the development of more than 20 schools, and those schools are changing the future for thousands of students.
How have you turned your passion into a career?
I feel incredibly lucky that I get to work in the nonprofit sector helping all kinds of visionaries put their ideas into action. While I am passionate about education, health care, and human services, which are the fields most of my clients work in, what I truly love is supporting leaders who have big ideas and seeing those ideas take flight.
Share one of the most exciting ways you’ve helped a client experience positive change.
One of my clients was a youth service organization with a track record of success that was experiencing some stagnation. I led the Board through a process of revising its mission and vision statement and developing a strategic plan in line with the new mission. Through this project, the Board and Staff were reinvigorated and rededicated themselves to the work, and the organization has subsequently seen gains in everything from fundraising to program participation.
What has been your most gratifying project?
A few years ago, I facilitated a large-scale strategic planning process at Children’s Hospital Colorado. The goal was to identify new ways that the hospital could identify young children who are living in vulnerable situations and ensure that their families are receiving the support they need to give their children the best possible start in life. It was exciting to be part of a project that has the potential to impact so many kids and families and to really change outcomes for families.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have two toddlers- I don’t remember what free time is!