2023 Business Speakers

Opening Keynote Speakers

Carla Dore | Chief Executive Officer, Workplace Resource Colorado

Rachel Clark | Chief Operating Officer, Workplace Resource Colorado

Carla Dore and Rachel Clark of Workplace Resource Colorado are teaming up to kick off MBA Research Conclave 2023!

Underscoring this year’s theme—People, Passion, and Purpose: The Pathway to Success—Carla and Rachel will share about Workplace Resource’s commitments to people, planet, and community engagement.

With ongoing labor constraints posing challenges, Carla and Rachel are leading with integrity as they chart their company’s course in this post-pandemic environment. As the premier providers of office design and product solutions for both commercial and public-sector clients, Workplace Resource is passionate about creating environments that support the success of individuals, businesses, and communities in today’s evolving workspaces.

Carla’s Bio:

Carla Dore is owner and CEO of Workplace Resource, a Platinum MillerKnoll Office Furniture dealership, where being diverse, equitable, and inclusive are integral to our values as a company, allowing us to create spaces for inspired thinking and innovative solutions to complex issues for clients. She is a 1983 CSU alumna and holds a CSU degree in Interior Design with a minor in Industrial Construction Management.

Carla serves on the Board of the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, is an inaugural member of the Colorado State University Executive Leadership Council in the College of Health and Human Sciences, and she is an RDC affiliate at the Nancy Richardson Design Center. She is also active on the Children’s Hospital Corporate Leadership Council and is a Board Member of Roundup River Ranch. She is former Board Chair of Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and a prior Board of Trustee for YMCA of Metro Denver.   

In 2011, she purchased Workplace Resource from Herman Miller, Inc. at which time she applied for and was accepted to receive her Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Certification. 

Rachel’s Bio:

Rachel Clark is Chief Operating Officer and Principal of Workplace Resource, a specialty-construction and MillerKnoll furniture dealership. At Workplace Resource, we serve others by anticipating, creating, and delivering extraordinary experiences inside and outside our organization. Rachel is passionate about corporate social responsibility and leading for the greater good of all. 

Prior to taking over her current position, Rachel was Director of Design and Project Management at Workplace Resource, where she learned to leverage design thinking to support the broader strategic initiatives of the company. She’s a graduate of the Leadership Denver Class of 2022 and holds a certificate for ESG Strategy from the CU Leeds School of Business. 

Rachel earned her degree in Interior Design from Miami University in Oxford, OH. While she has Midwest roots, she moved to Los Angeles out of college and called it home for 10 years. She’s now lived in Denver for 8 years with her husband and two sons who keep her active, outdoors, and laughing most of the time. 

General Sessions

Avery Weiler | Owner/CEO, FreelyFit Coaching

Avery Weiler owns and operates FreelyFit Coaching, a wildly successful online fitness and coaching business focused exclusively on supporting women in developing and sustaining healthy lifestyles.

Avery’s business and marketing education began at Monarch High School (where her classes were powered by educators using MBA Research instructional materials in the High School of Business™ program.) She later graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in business administration and has since developed a winning formula in the online health and fitness industry.

You won’t want to miss this presentation and how Avery’s experience might inspire your students’ future entrepreneurship journeys.

Avery’s Bio:

Avery Weiler is the CEO of FreelyFit Coaching, an online fitness and nutrition coaching company. Her team works exclusively with women to improve their physical health, heal their relationship with food, break down health and fitness misconceptions, and build healthy sustainable lifestyles. Avery graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Business Administration with a focus on strategy and entrepreneurship. She went on to become a fitness and business coach to other coaches in the online space. Avery’s business is run exclusively online through social media. 

Stephanie Hojan | President, Health Systems Informatics

Stephanie Hojan, president of Health Systems Informatics, will join us to talk about all things data analytics and governance in the current data-saturated business environment where executives want the most effective business intelligence to guide their decision-making. Steph will also share about her company’s recent inclusion on the Inc. 5000 Award List recognizing America’s fastest-growing private companies and what it takes to receive this recognition.

As a longtime supporter and business partner of MBA Research, and now the chair of the newly formed Business Advisory Council (BAC), Steph will introduce the objectives and members of this group and its plans to further engage business and industry to support high school educators and their students. 


Steph’s Bio:

With over 20 years in the healthcare industry and the last 18+ years as a consultant, Stephanie Hojan has ascended through the ranks from consultant to Director to Vice President to Chief Operating Officer before being named President in 2022. Responsible for the overall operations of the company, she continues to be actively involved in building and nurturing client relationships. 

Having helped healthcare organizations in their reporting and data needs in a variety of capacities, Ms. Hojan continues to stay active in the reporting and data analytic advisory space. Her expertise ranges from strategic planning and process design, assessing the skills set of technical staff, designing and implementing new organizational structures, organizing enterprise information governance, serving as an interim reporting manager, and assisting hospital executives in understanding complex data issues. 

Ms. Hojan has been involved in numerous roles over her career. No matter the context, rolling up her sleeves and helping get it done to the satisfaction of her clients is a priority as she strives to make all her customers “customers for life.” 

Christin Crampton Day | Executive Director, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA)

Christin Crampton Day, executive director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) will join us to share about the important connection between the business and arts communities in Colorado.

It is well-documented that the arts drive economic development, and we look forward to hearing how businesses and artists exponentially benefit from combining forces. Christin has over 30 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and in the private sector as a small-business owner. Prior to CBCA, she led a performing arts nonprofit, as well as co-owned a public relations agency in Denver for more than a decade.

Christin may be joined by a CBCA business partner to explain why art is smart for business. Stay tuned! 

Christin’s Bio: 

Christin joined Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA), a 38-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to advance Colorado’s creative economy by connecting business and the arts, as its Executive Director in February 2017. She led the organization to achieve 25% revenue growth during her first three years, and from 2020-2022 helped CBCA evolve stronger from the pandemic to better serve the changing needs of the arts and business sectors. Today, under her leadership CBCA has expanded programming and membership and champions arts advocacy initiatives in the state. 

Christin has over 30 years experience in nonprofit leadership and in the private sector as a small business owner. Prior to CBCA, she led a performing arts nonprofit, as well as co-owned a public relations agency in Denver for over a decade.  

Christin is the president of the Board of Directors for The Dance Archive at University of Denver, is an Emeritus Board Member of Colorado Ballet, and serves on the Theater and Dance Advisory Board of Red Rocks Community College. In 2020, she was named a finalist in the Mile High Leader category for the Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business.

Nicknamed the “black-belt ballerina” by the Denver Business Journal in a 2020 Executive profile, Christin is a lifelong dancer and 2nd Dan black belt in Korean martial arts of Taekwondo, Tang Soo Do, and Hapkido. She received her B.A. degree from Michigan State University. 

George Sparks | President & CEO, Denver Museum of Nature and Science

George Sparks, president and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, will join us to discuss his two passions: business and science.

With a strong background in marketing, sales, and general management at Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies, George fuses his background in aeronautical engineering and astronautics (yes, that is rocket science!) with his business knowledge to bring differing viewpoints to the table.

With his long career in both worlds, George supports public policy by encouraging relationships built on trust and shared values. He believes in the power of business to create value that can drive the economy for all.

George’s Bio:

George Sparks has been the President/CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science since November 2004. He spent 24 years in the electronics measurement business at Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies. His career included marketing, sales, and general management of global businesses in software, systems, and services.

Prior to joining Hewlett-Packard, George spent 9 years in the Air Force as a pilot and as an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics at the USAF Academy (1976-1978). He is a Distinguished Graduate of the USAF Academy with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering, and holds an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT.

George’s passion is public policy, particularly around science and education. He is a member of the Colorado Forum, Colorado Concern, and is on the Boards of Colorado Education Initiative, Colorado Inclusive Economy, Colorado Business Round Table, Colorado Music Hall of Fame, Denver Council of Foreign Relations, and current board chair at Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

George is the founder of the Institute for Science & Policy, a program of the Museum.

He loves his wife and all of his children.

Mowa Haile | President & CEO, Sky Blue Builders

Mowa Haile, president and CEO of Sky Blue Builders, will join us to discuss his long career in the technology sector, working in corporate development, operations, and management, to then starting his own business, Sky Blue Builders, in 2007.

Within his many entrepreneurial ventures, Mowa ensures a strong leadership focus on the external and internal threats, opportunities for expansion, and innovation within industry developments and standards. Mowa is passionate about giving back to and supporting the needs of the community, and he infuses this core value into his leadership and company culture.

Mowa’s Bio:

Mowa Haile is President of Sky Blue Builders, which he founded in 2007 after a tenured career in the technology sector. As of 2020, Sky Blue was the Denver Business Journal’s 4th largest minority-owned business. He is also the CEO of Apex Plumbing, a company that was converted to an ESOP in 2022. Mowa is also Managing Member of Sky Blue Properties, Lucina Eatery & Bar and Member of Sky Blue Concessions.

Mowa has 22 years of corporate development, operations, and management experience. Before Sky Blue, Mowa worked in various management roles with Level 3 Communications and Inflow (Acquired by SunGard). Mowa was selected as the Minority Business Person of the Year in 2012 and CEO of the Year finalist in 2015 by Colorado Biz Magazine.

Mowa grew up in Fort Collins after emigrating from Eritrea in 1981 with his family at the age of nine. He was a State High School track champion and went to CSU on a track scholarship, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and later getting his MBA from University of Phoenix.

Mowa serves on several boards including Board Member of the DMCC and Pinnacol Assurance. Mowa also Co-Chaired the City of Denver’s Economic Relief and Recovery Council from March of 2020 to August of 2021 and Chair of 2021 GO Bond Executive Committee. He also serves on the Africa Air Service Committee for Denver International Airport to bring the first direct flight from Denver to the continent of Africa.

Closing Keynote Speaker

Michelle Lucero | Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel, & Corporate Secretary, Children’s Hospital Colorado

Michelle Lucero, the chief administrative officer, general counsel, and corporate secretary for Children’s Hospital Colorado, will be sending us out on a high note by wrapping up our theme of People, Purpose, and Passion: The Pathway to Success

Operating from the belief that leaders create the culture in which we live, learn, and work, Michelle will share how workplace culture is changing, and how we all need the necessary skills and resources to adapt. We look forward to hearing Michelle’s message and learning more about her unofficial title of chief flash mob officer. (Hint: Be prepared to dance!) 

Michelle’s Bio:

Michelle has the best job in town as Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary (and of course the Chief Flashmob Officer) for Children’s Hospital Colorado. Before joining Children’s, she held some pretty rad jobs with fancy and damn impressive titles with Centura Health, the City and County of Denver, US West, and Denver Health.

Michelle truly believes it’s an obligation to give back to the community. As such, she’s blessed to serve on the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees, the Vectra Bank Advisory Board, the Denver Art Museum’s Marketing and Strategic Alliance Committee, the National Association of Corporate Directors (Colorado branch) and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s President’s Leadership Council.

Michelle is also the co-chair of United States Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper’s United Stated District Court Judicial Advisory Committee. Michelle wore “Roadrunner Red” as past Chair of the Board of Trustees for Metropolitan State University of Denver, was named to the Denver Chamber of Commerce Leadership Foundation Board for a six-year period and served on some other pretty amazing boards and taskforces.

Globally she is a board member of the Papua New Guinea Tribal Foundation doing “change the world” kind of work with an amazing team in a beautiful country. Michelle has recently been elected to join the Board of Directors of COPIC Companies as an Independent Director.

Over the years she also received some rocking accolades, like the 2022 “Power Award” from the Girls Athletic League School (“GALS”); 2021 “Raising the Bar” Award from the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation; the 2020 “Athena Award” given by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce; 2019 Top 100 Influencers (Law Executives) in the United States – named by National Business Journals’: 2018 Denver Business Journal (DBJ) C-Suite Awards; 2017 “Outstanding Woman in Business (Law)” by DBJ; 2016 “Business Woman of the Year” by Colorado Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; 2016 “Outstanding Corporate Counsel” by University of Colorado School of Law; 2015 Trailblazer Honoree by Latinas First Foundation; CWCC 2015 “25 Most Powerful Women in Colorado, and 2013 Girl Scouts’ “Woman of Distinction.”

Michelle has delivered keynote addresses focusing on leadership, mentorship, organizational culture, and women’s empowerment to groups such as the Denver Art Museum, Denver Scholarship Foundation, Vectra Bank, Metropolitan State University of Colorado, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, the national Women in Leadership organization, and the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Michelle was invited by the US Embassy for Papua New Guinea to be one of the keynote speakers at both the 2017 and 2016 PNG Women’s Forums.

Michelle is also a partner in the consulting firm Edgefinders, LLC.

Her biggest accomplishments have been her three wonderful humans: her children, Jordan, Alex, and Noah. Oh, and she loves her Jeep and the places it can go.