posts related to COBA

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.

Through experiences ranging from a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa to an educator to a practicing attorney to an ultra-distance runner to a marketing professional to an entrepreneur, Peter has forged a unique perspective and a quiver of potent tools to advance his clients’ business, reputation, image, and profitability.

Written by Gabe Kiritz, Public Lands Business Organizer

There have been several recent attacks from Washington, D.C. on Colorado’s public lands and waters. Just this week, the Trump administration issued an executive order that will begin a process to “review” the 30 national monuments created since 1996 that are larger than 100,000 acres, which could result in Colorado’s iconic Canyons of the Ancients national monument being shrunk or losing it’s protections entirely.

Additionally, the Trump administration’s proposed budget threatens harmful cuts to our nation’s public lands and environment. The Department of Interior, which manages our national parks, national wildlife refuges, other public lands, is facing a massive 12 percent cut that would have major impacts on conservation and our recreation economy.

These public lands support diverse economic interests, including an outdoor recreation economy that’s estimated to be as large as the auto industry and pharmaceutical industry combined, at $887 billion. According to the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2017 Outdoor Recreation Economy Report, outdoor recreation employs more Americans than construction, computer technology, or education. Cutting funds for our public lands damages the communities that depend on tourism and outdoor recreation, the wildlife living on those lands, and the health and well-being of Americans who explore our nation’s wild places.

That’s why Colorado businesses have decided to stand up and speak out. In fact, 98 businesses just signed on to a letter with the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance calling for Senator Cory Gardner to defend and protect Colorado’s public lands. Here’s an excerpt from their letter, and you can read the full text here:

“Colorado’s national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, and monuments are essential to our industries, way of life, and bottom lines. COBA members are united to conserve and protect access to our public lands and sustain our state’s economy….

We now urge you to support our economic interests by advancing meaningful public lands protections and defending our national public lands from any and all legislative attacks…”

The companies that signed this letter are outdoor recreation manufacturers, retailers, guides, and outfitters, alongside ranches, marketing firms, tech companies, and startups, depend on public lands for their way of life and to attract employees. They make Colorado a thriving place to do business.

With this letter in hand, seven Colorado business leaders flew to Washington, D.C. on March 27th, 2017 to meet with staff from Senator Michael Bennet, Senator Gardner, and Congressman Scott Tipton’s offices. There, they called for leadership in standing up for Colorado’s public lands. They asked Colorado’s congressional delegation to:

Colorado business leaders in Washington D.C.

The call for leadership has been made — will our representatives respond and protect Colorado’s economy?

The outdoor recreation industry in Colorado has continued to be an important indicator of how much progress Colorado has made on public lands over the last few years. For example, no land seizure bills have passed in the Colorado state legislature, despite almost ten attempts by extremist legislators to do so. These bills would have paved the way for our public lands to be seized by the state and eventually leased or sold off to private interests. Additionally, last year our state legislature established Colorado Public Lands Day, the first state holiday of its kind in the country.

That’s why, when the Outdoor Industry Association announced that it was looking for a new home for its massive Outdoor Retailer show that is friendlier to public lands that Utah, Colorado was in a position to make a strong case that we deserve the show. In fact, Conservation Colorado ran these ads in Utah newspapers making the case for the show to come here:

Senator Gardner claims to stand with Colorado businesses and the outdoor recreation industry. However, his track record thus far this Congress on protecting public lands and air quality, two fundamental pieces of natural infrastructure that sustain a healthy recreation economy and Colorado businesses, does not reflect these values. Senator Gardner must prove he values public lands as much as the support of the outdoor industry. Defending against attacks on our lands and supporting proactive legislation is a good place to start.

As the businesses said in their letter to Senator Gardner: “Our public lands are essential to Colorado’s economy and quality of life. Please uphold the legacy of bipartisan support for protecting public lands that makes us proud to base our businesses in Colorado.”

Written by Audrey Wheeler

Fourpoints Real Food Energy Bar was started by brothers Kevin Webber and Patrick Webber, and friend Steve Shenfish. All three are second generation Coloradans and avid outdoor enthusiasts. They brought together backgrounds in fitness, nutrition, and culinary arts to develop a true energy bar unlike any other in that fuels you when you need it the most.

More information can be found at www.fourpointsbar.com. 

They’re members of the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance to use their voice as a Colorado outdoor company to protect public lands.

What do you like to do outside?
As Coloradans growing up in Evergreen, an after school mountain bike, or hike was the norm. Our father was our boy scout troop leader growing up. He not only introduced us to mountaineering, hiking, camping, etc., but taught us the principles of outdoor ethics and environmental stewardship. Our outdoor passions include skiing, mountaineering, backpacking, camping, biking and golf. Any excuse really to be outside, but the mountains are our Valhalla!

What do Colorado’s public lands mean to you, and why is it important to you to protect them?
As the world becomes a smaller place, we crave Colorado’s wide open spaces and have an obligation to protect them so that they may be enjoyed now and by future generations. They are what makes Colorado…Colorado, therefore, is worth fighting for.

Tell us about a specific place or time when an outdoor experience had an impact on your professional life or personal outlook.
There are so many, it’s hard to choose just one. Growing up in the mountains teaches you so much on so many different levels, nature has a way of humbling you. I (Patrick) was able to introduce my wife to backpacking for a week on the Colorado trail last summer…that was a life changer for her and us as a couple. You can discover so much about yourself, your partner, and your environment when stripped down to the bare essentials in the wild. As it pertains to business, however, high altitude pursuits fueled the need and design of our flagship product (Fourpoints bar) by solving a problem of nutritional demands for the athletic endeavors of mountain sports.

Why is now an important time to speak up as a member of the business community?
In the current climate, everything is becoming more accessible. Social media, technology, interstate migration, and population influx all contribute to more people using the lands. It is imperative we take the time to share the importance of outdoor ethics and environmental stewardship. Now more than ever, do we need to protect these lands and ensure its future health. As a business, we have a unique platform to get that message out.

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?
Our greatest form of success will come when people look at Fourpoints bars as not only a great product, but a dedicated company and brand that pays it forward, supports individual dreams and aspirations while exercising values that protect our lands, environment, and our way of life here in Colorado. As a Colorado outdoor company, we believe it is our duty and privilege to be good stewards of our beautiful backyard and to use that platform to not only educate users but protect and preserve these lands for present and future generations…we encourage like-minded businesses to do the same.

What exciting updates for 2017 would you like to share from the world of Fourpoints Bar?
Fourpoints was featured in February’s issue of SKI Magazine. We recently launched a partnership with ink! Coffee. On the horizon in April is a featured spot in Backpacker Magazine’s Annual Gear Issue and launch in Colorado REI locations.