When I first learned about organizing and the potency of speaking truth to power, one person leaped to the forefront of my mind: Cesar Chavez.
Kate Stephenson works with small business owners and executives to increase market awareness and business profitability. Additionally, Kate focuses on Impact Investing – investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention of generating measurable social and environmental impact alongside financial return. In other words, Kate’s merges investment strategies with clients’ personal philosophies in order to establish a seamless integration between their values and their investments.
To learn more, about Kate visit her Merrill Lynch profile.
Kate is a member of the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance to show business support for public lands!
What do you like to do outside? How did you get introduced to outdoor recreation?
I love being in the mountains and close proximity to nature. Growing up, my dad was a geologist, and we spent family trips exploring the West I saw that Denver really allowed the best of both worlds – city life coupled with access to the wilderness and outdoor activities.
What do Colorado’s public lands mean to you, and why is it important to you to protect them?
Many of my roles and previous career were in the outdoor space. I saw the beauty of being able to interact with the outdoors through business, but I also saw a lot of waste and misuse. Public lands are the foundation of the economy here in Colorado. For the same reason that I moved here, I believe it is a catalyst for many individuals to relocate to Colorado. If these lands are misused or not conserved, the infrastructure that makes Colorado great and a desired place to live will dissipate.
Tell us about a specific place or time when an outdoor experience had an impact on your professional life or personal outlook.
When I first moved to Colorado, I worked and lived in Breckenridge for a season. I had the opportunity to be outside daily as part of my job. It changed my outlook on how the outdoors influenced my career choices.
Why is now an important time to speak up as a member of the business community?
It’s a matter of being authentic. I have been in roles prior — specifically marketing — where I was working for or towards something that I did not value at the end of the day. I want my work and life to have an impact on the things that I find of value and I believe that brings authenticity. I think every and any time is an important moment to share one’s voice. Right now there is a lot of voices and opinions being broadcast and sometimes the loudest one wins.
How does showing leadership on the values you care about support the success of your business and brand? What call to action would you give to others in the business community?
I wanted to put my actions where my thoughts and beliefs are. People can get behind authenticity. Now is the time to get involved. Your voice can make a difference. Join the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance, make phone calls, attend hearings. In short, be activists and make your voice heard. Our legislators are accessible, and for the next 5 months, they’ll be making policy decisions that affect Coloradans and Colorado businesses in crucial ways.
What exciting updates for 2017 would you like to share from the world of Merrill Lynch?
Under the new administration and Congress, we’re likely to see numerous attacks on our public lands over the coming four years. Those attacks at the national level will likely encourage similar activity at the state level. But Coloradans have repeatedly expressed their overwhelming support for public lands and conservation values. A COBA poll demonstrated that the vast majority of Colorado’s business community believes public lands are an asset to the state’s economy.
DENVER— Today, SB 19-181, Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations, passed the Colorado State Senate on a 19-15 vote.
The bill will:
- Refocus the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to prioritize health safety and the environment over industry profits;
- Empower local governments to have a stronger say by clarifying basic powers such as zoning and noise limitations and allowing local oversight and enforcement of operations;
- Addresses the growing climate, air, water, and wildlife impacts of oil and gas development across the state including increasing regulations for methane, a dangerous air pollutant that is a significant contributor to climate change;
- Better protect property owners from forced pooling; and,
- Combat the growing problem of orphaned wells by setting forth a rule making around financial assurances and bonding requirements for oil and gas permits.
Conservation and community groups responded to the bill’s Senate passage with the following statements.
“Thank you to the Colorado State Senate for acting decisively to prioritize Colorado’s air, water, and residents over oil and gas industry profits. This bill is nearly a decade in the making. We urge the House to act swiftly, pass these common-sense reforms, and send them to Governor Polis to sign so we can put Coloradans’ health and safety first.”
— Kelly Nordini, Executive Director, Conservation Colorado
“This is a transformational step forward for a common sense, balanced approach to fracking in Colorado. We applaud leaders in the state Senate, and local officials across Colorado, for their bravery in the face of corporate special interests.”
— Jim Alexee, Director, Colorado Sierra Club
“We are thankful to the state Senate for their leadership and for taking the time to bill thoughtful legislation that truly puts the health and safety of Colorado communities first. It is past time that we make health and safety the priority of the state when if comes to Big Oil and neighborhood drilling.”
— Sara Loflin, Executive Director, League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans
“The state Senate is showing real national leadership, showing other states how to protect communities from the public health and safety impacts of oil and gas extraction. The House should follow suit quickly.”
— Sam Gilchrist, Western Campaigns Director, NRDC
“Western Coloradans cheer the passage of SB 181 out of the state Senate as a long overdue step to protect the public health and safety of residents living with the impacts of oil and gas.”
— Emily Hornback, Director, Western Colorado Alliance