Track: Market Square
Presenter: Helen Hayes
Helen Young Hayes is the founder and CEO of Activate Workforce Solutions PBC. Activate’s mission is to help under-served individuals achieve their fullest potential through the dignity of work. Activate is the culmination of Helen’s past for-profit and nonprofit experience–harnessing the power of the marketplace to achieve profound social impact. By moving individuals to self-sufficiency, Activate creates triple wins for employers, placements, and the community. Helen delights in spotting the hidden potential in the unsung talents of the individuals she serves at Activate.
The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Helen is a believer in and the embodiment of the American Dream. But the American Dream is elusive, as generational poverty becomes the default for too many men and women from underrepresented populations. Activate bridges the gap between individual potential and realized success through matching and placing individuals into self-sustaining careers and through intensive coaching of personal, professional and financial skills. Activate seeks not only to advance economic and professional success but to transform lives through the learning and mastery of new habits, mindsets and disciplines.
In July 2020, Helen authored and launched the Inclusive Economy Movement, a business-led movement of CEOs who have the vision and grit to rebuild Colorado’s economy in a way that works for all. The Inclusive Economy is a call to action, inviting leaders to join together to build a community that reflects the diversity of Colorado and creates an economy of shared prosperity through building racially diverse workplaces and talent pipelines.
A successful Wall Street personality, Helen is a 20-year veteran of the financial industry. She was the portfolio manager of the flagship Janus Worldwide Fund, Janus Overseas Fund, and related assets totaling approximately $50 billion at Janus Capital, a mutual fund company headquartered in Denver, Colorado. She also served as Managing Director of Investments, heading up the 100-person research and investment arm of Janus Capital, encompassing equities, fixed income, money market, and trading.
In 2018, Helen was selected as one of the Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business, for her leadership at Activate Workforce Solutions. Helen is an Advisor and former Board Chair to Mile High Ministries, a Denver nonprofit serving the urban poor. She serves on the board of Children of Hope Colorado, and helped fund their first home for abandoned and orphaned children in Kenya in 2003. Helen also served on the board of Harlem Educational Activities Fund, a college preparatory program serving inner-city youth in New York City and is a director of MalarVx, a vaccine company that seeks to eradicate malaria in developing countries.
Helen is a frequent speaker and writer on topics including workforce development, corporate social responsibility, employee engagement, corporate culture, performance management, diversity and gender issues, economic development, poverty alleviation, self-sufficiency, recidivism, purpose and faith.
Helen, her husband Matt, and her family have called Denver home for 30 years. Helen is an avid albeit average athlete and enjoys biking, swimming, running, skiing, and surfing.