From advocating for communities around Colorado to empowering women in Denver and across the globe, Stephanie Donner leads by “meeting people where they are” to create collaborative, innovative and connected communities.
Donner’s career has included a variety of roles that all were inspired by her desire to be a small part of something larger: “When we work together and collaborate and we when we include other people, we can do a lot more than we can do just by ourselves.”
She believes in the importance of empowering others – those who lack opportunities, who desire more and, especially, women here in Colorado and across the world. Within her first year at Galvanize as chief legal and people officer, Donner created Galvanize Gives, the company’s community involvement initiative dedicated to providing opportunities in the technology world and increasing access to education.
Her commitment to helping women break through glass ceilings isn’t limited by age or geographic location. As an active board member with Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, Donner regularly helps the organization access resources and plan educational events to empower young girls to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). She is also a newly enlisted volunteer with the Global Livingston Institute, helping to develop a workforce initiative for women in rural areas of Rwanda by elevating the fashion industry in East Africa.
Donner is also dedicated to creating connected and cultured communities. Through her involvement with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra she continues to bring people together to experience a world-class orchestra.
From early on in her career, Donner was known for her ability to bring people together – in good times and bad – and lead with grace, inclusivity and style. While serving as the legal counsel for Gov. John Hickenlooper, Donner was asked to step into what she describes as the “most pivotal moment” in her career. As the general counsel and executive director for flood recovery for the state, she traveled across the state and met with countless families and community leaders – navigating our communities through the largest natural disaster in Colorado history.
“The decisions she made and her extraordinary and tireless commitment to good government not only helped Colorado emerge intact from a series of complex issues, but also impacted thousands of citizens throughout the state for the better,” said Jamie Van Leeuwen, a senior adviser to the governor.
Known among her peers as an advocate, a friend and a “STEMinist,” Donner’s passion for creating connected communities by bringing together diverse individuals with varied talents has reaped positive rewards for every cause she supports and every community she calls home.
Meet the other two oustanding 9NEWS Leader of the Year finalists.
Stephanie Donner in a SNAPSHOT
Quote: “Collaboration changes lives.”
Biggest hope for Denver Community: “My wish for Denver is that we continue to evolve into a collaborative community that rallies around new ideas. I also hope that we continue to bring diverse minds to the table.”
- Launched Galvanize Gives, the corporate community involvement initiative of Galvanize
- Chief architect of the Galvanize Foundation, which provides funds for women, GLBTQ, minority groups and veterans to afford an accelerated tech education
- Secured over $300 million in federal funding to support Colorado’s flood recovery effort in 2013
- Facilitated coding events for youth participants with Girls Inc. of Metro Denver to introduce young girls to the world of technology
Awards, Accolades and Community Investment
- Denver Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree (2016)
- Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Colorado, Colorado’s Women’s Chamber of Commerce (2017)
- Girl Scouts of Colorado Woman of Distinction (2016)
- Law Week Colorado Top Women Lawyer (2015)
- Colorado Symphony Orchestra Board of trustees, treasurer and executive committee member
- Girls Inc. Metro Denver Board member
- Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District Board member
- Government Entrepreneur Leadership Accelerator Advisory board member