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Finding Independence (wsg Wendy Lea) – EP 91

In this episode, Gregg Garrett speaks with, Wendy Lea, CEO of Energize Colorado. Wendy discusses her work building out entrepreneurial communities across the Midwest and Colorado. Additionally, she shares her Top 3, which includes a former boss, a mentor, and the former CEO of P&G. Finally, Wendy shares her secret to approaching each new challenge with the same energy and drive as the first one. All this and more!

About Wendy Lea

Wendy Lea is a leading expert in digital innovation strategy and ecosystem development. As an experienced CEO, board director, and strategist, she advises government, public/private partnerships, and global enterprises on growth through innovation. 

Recognized for work across industries and regions, Wendy is a maximalist who is equally well-versed in helping large enterprises systematize innovation as she is in creating vibrant startup innovation ecosystems that grow city, regional, and state economies. An active mentor and advisor for tech accelerators, Wendy leverages a global network of entrepreneurs to catalyze economic resilience.

As CEO of Energize Colorado, Wendy mobilizes resources and relief for small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals recovering from the economic impact of COVID-19. She leads a team of inspired innovators from Colorado’s private, public, nonprofit, and academic communities to revive and invigorate Colorado’s economy.

Wendy also serves on the Danaher Water Innovation and Technology Board, the P&G Ventures Advisory Board, and select venture-backed startup boards. In the State of Kentucky, she advises the Department of Community Economic Development, the public-private partnership LEAP (an initiative aligned with LHHC), and serves on the board of regional innovation hub Amplify, based in Louisville. Wendy provides corporate innovation subject matter expertise to Techstars’ ecosystem development partnership with the Country of Taiwan. She also serves university innovation and entrepreneurship programs, including Miami University’s John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship and the University of Colorado Boulder’s Engineering and Applied Science Advisory Board.

Wendy was named a “Woman of Influence” in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Recently she was honored with the Signal Excellence Award in 2018 by Procter & Gamble and the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business Distinguished Service Award.

Wendy is a graduate of the University of Mississippi in Business Administration and has lived and worked around the world. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Show Highlights

Segment 1: Overview

00:46   Big game hunting in the connected world – looking for the biggest challenges to tackle

03:15   Bringing the entrepreneurial spirit to Southeast Michigan; creating the Connected               Detroit Innovates incubator

05:06   Looking back on our previous guests – a collection of individuals trying to hunt for      the big problems

06:49   Introducing Wendy Lea

06:27   Having the grit to win – Elon Musk

09:27   Wendy’s background

11:50   How Wendy got involved in community entrepreneurial activities

12:46   Balancing community impact with less independence in actions and decisions

Segment 2: The “Top Three”

14:18   Wendy’s ‘Top Three’ begins with Randall Murphy, a small business owner who took    a chance with Wendy at a young age

17:05   Using the “student of the game” mindset to evolve and grow quickly in the               entrepreneurial space

19:22   Having a teaching mindset to help you navigate the tech sales space

20:22   Wendy’s ‘Top Three’ continues with Brad Feld, who got her into the VC space and was               instrumental in helping her direct her career to its presentpath

23:21   Making opportunity moves – making the trek from Texas to Colorado

26:01   Getting comfortable taking risks and making VC investments

27:32   Angel investing

28:24   Moving out to Silicon Valley and being a unique individual in a male dominated              industry

30:52   Falling in love with a startup and becoming it’s CEO

35:44   Wendy wraps up her ‘Top Three’ with the former CEO of P&G Bob Macdonald, who               taught Wendy to be a student again

37:05   Valuing social impact more than making money in the for-profit sector  

39:37   Leveraging your experiences: why Wendy’s Silicon Valley experience was key

Segment 3: Transformation & Disruption

43:11   Using fear as a motivator for success and being a good student

46:34   Wendy’s work in Colorado: what she’s doing there

47:46   Using her skills to help Colorado weather the pandemic

48:40   Energize Colorado

Segment 4: Wrapping Up

52:14   Check out Wendy’s organization – how can we collaborate?

53:09   Closing thoughts: embed three thoughtful rest periods into your day in order to               approach every challenge with the same energy

56:28   Keep up with Wendy at Wendylea.com and checkout Energize Colorado’s               website

Additional Information

Contact Wendy Lea

Contact Gregg Garrett:

Contact CGS Advisors:

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