The goal of the Summit was to share inspiration and gather ideas to ensure that Colorado has the resources needed to support our communities, districts, and small businesses! The Summit stayed dynamic with discussions, polls, and engaging processes to develop an action plan together to move into our new reality stronger and more resilient than ever! The Summit brought together great minds to focus on what was, what is, and what likely will be next with COVID-19. 

We had 140+ participants from 80+ Colorado communities engaged in discussions about workforce, housing, and fiscal health in Colorado.We appreciate all of the participation in the insightful conversations, small group sessions, costume contest, and helping us share a plan for our state. 

Please give us your feedback and view the recap videos below!

Featuring Keynotes from:

Michelle Kobayashi // National Research Center/POLCO

Senior Vice President of Innovation, Michelle Kobayashi has helped local governments maximize public opinion for more than twenty years. She is a thought-leader in the field of survey research and evaluation, and has written numerous books and articles on the subject. She travels the country to speak professionally and lead workshops about resident surveys, local government employee surveys, strategic planning and more.

Sarabeth Berk // "Creative Disrupter" - Artist, Researcher, Educator, Designer

Dr. Sarabeth Berk is a hybrid professional and a researcher of hybrid professional identity. She calls herself a Creative Disruptor because she blends her artist/researcher/educator/designer identities together to lead innovation strategies and build systems around complex social issues. Currently, Sarabeth is the Founding Director of Futurebound, an innovation ecosystem focused on young children in Colorado. Sarabeth obtained her PhD from the University of Denver, and has degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Rhode Island School of Design. Her background includes leading major innovation initiatives in K-12, higher education, and in nonprofit organizations.

Chris Koehn // Second-61

Chris Koehn, Founder and CEO of Second-61 in Cañon City, Colorado has been working for years on what he calls “rural reshoring.” The purpose of Koehn’s work is to help people find their purpose in meaningful work that allows them to become self-sufficient and empowered market actors who are actively participating in building the future instead of having it pushed on them and being told their problems will be resolved by an imaginary basic income concept. Accelerating this movement towards a decentralized workforce is something Koehn feels is mission critical to the prosperity of the United States economy. He believes that by providing job opportunities and retraining communities that may otherwise get left behind or looked at as outdated, businesses can achieve both cheaper labor (unlike San Francisco where low-income is $117,400) and lower overhead costs while also feeling proud that they’ve reinspired economic growth in some of our nation’s hardest working


Elizabeth Garner // State Demographer, DOLA

Elizabeth is the State Demographer with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, an agency focused on strengthening the capacity of Colorado’s communities and local governments. She leads the State Demography Office, which produces population and economic estimates and forecasts for use by state agencies and local governments. Elizabeth has over 25 years of experience analyzing population and economic trends in the state, and her current areas of research include aging in Colorado, characteristics of migration, and poverty. Elizabeth is an economist and received her B.A. in Business at the University of San Diego, her masters in Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University. She is also a Colorado native, something only 43% of the state’s population can claim.

Jennifer Newcomer // Colorado Futures Center

Jennifer Newcomer served as the Director of Shift Research Lab, which is a program of The Piton Foundation. She led Shift’s efforts to transform data into actionable information that improves the social sector’s ability to serve Colorado’s low-income communities. Her research focuses on social and built environment issues, particularly household and neighborhood lifecycles, housing affordability, and the forces impacting family economic wellbeing. Jennifer holds a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on Economic Development from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a Bachelor’s in Environmental Design from the University of New Mexico.

Phyllis Resnick // Colorado Futures Center

Phyllis Resnick is Executive Director and Lead Economist for the Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University. In addition, she is an independent consultant with a practice that focuses on economic forecasting, revenue and fiscal sustainability studies for state and local governments, and economic impact studies. Her current and past clients include the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting, the region’s metropolitan planning organizations, many of Colorado’s municipal governments, and the State of Hawaii. Resnick is the former lead economist for the Center for Colorado’s Economic Future and for the Colorado Economic Futures Panel, both at the University of Denver. She has led and authored a number of studies looking at state and local tax policy and burdens within Colorado and has spoken nationally on the impact of Colorado’s TABOR Amendment and the role of the initiative process in formulating fiscal policy in Colorado.


Data Divas: Past, Present, + Future: Workforce, Housing, Fiscal Health

Small Group Experience and Summit Wrap-Up


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