Meet CCIA’s new Executive Director, Helen El Mallakh. Helen comes to the position with extensive non-profit management experience and expertise in global sustainability issues, cleantech, natural resource management, and stakeholder engagement. She has served as the Director of a Colorado-based research and sustainable development non-profit, Managing Editor of The Journal of Energy and Development, and has broad business and public-sector ties at the local, national, and international level. Helen holds a M.B.A. from Rice University, a master’s degree in regional studies of the Middle East from Harvard University, and undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles in economics and in international area studies. Below is a Q&A with Helen on her background and new role with CCIA:
What motivates you to work in energy efficiency and cleantech?
I have spent much of my career working on promoting and researching best practices in global energy and sustainability. Improving energy efficiency and expanding what our definition of cleantech encompasses is a subject that I feel very passionately about. In order to meet some of the most pressing challenges we face, not only in Colorado but at a national and international level, we need to look at ways to expand the nexus among technology, sustainability, and resource management.
What makes you the most excited about becoming Executive Director of CCIA?
We have a lot of changes on the horizon in the cleantech ecosphere and it’s definitely a period where many companies and stakeholders are experiencing some major breakthroughs on a variety of fronts from technology to business strategy to improved commercialization options. It’s exciting to come on board with a well-established group at CCIA that has an engaged and diversified membership and stakeholder base, which is poised to make significant contributions across the board.
What is one thing you want people to know about you?
I am a proponent of the “big tent, wide net” approach to solving problems. I believe that more inclusivity, diversity, and collaboration is essential to driving the success of Colorado’s cleantech companies. Our state, and for that matter our nation, is blessed with some of the greatest research facilities, labs, technology leaders, academic institutions, and innovators. It’s that wealth of resources that will help expand our base to be a world-renowned cleantech hub.
What is your word of advice to those in the CCIA network who want to use their business to make a difference?
We are in a very unusual period now where the “business-as-usual” strategies for our CCIA network, and business in general, are being tested. Now is a time for the CCIA members and stakeholders to look at ways to position themselves to come out of this crisis stronger, wiser, more nimble, and with a wider perspective not only on how they can contribute in the response and recovery period, but how they can flourish. My one word of advice is that in crisis periods, it’s really important to be creative in addressing your resource needs and you often have more assets you can leverage than you think.
Join CCIA & Helen, Thursday, April 2nd at 10am for her webinar, “Crisis Management Tools for Making Better Decisions in Times of Uncertainty”. Register here