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Fellowship Alum Brings TED to Denver

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Stephanie South

In October 2010, El Pomar Fellowship alumnus Jeremy Duhon was named one of Colorado’s top 25 most influential young professionals by ColoradoBiz Magazine. In a few days, Duhon will demonstrate why he made the list when TEDxMileHigh makes its debut at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

TEDxMileHigh, taking place on April 7 in Denver is, as Duhon put it, “a conversation on transformation, inspired citizenship, and shaping the future.” It’s a big event, with big aspirations that all started with a little thought. In early 2009, Duhon first learned about TED—a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” which started in 1984 as a conference that brought people together from the worlds of technology, entertainment, and design. A few months later, Duhon verbally committed to a group of friends that he would “take the plunge” and organize an event. In the 12 months that followed, he worked to clarify his vision, engage in critical conversations, and, ultimately, apply for and receive the license to host TEDxMileHigh.

The TED concept is very compelling to me, because I believe strongly in the power of ideas to deliver solutions to today’s big problems,” said Duhon. “Part of the beauty of the TEDx program is that it brings together leaders and idea generators from all parts of the community to inspire an audience, and, ultimately, effect positive change. I plan to bring together the leaders and innovators from these different communities.”

This sort of cross-sector collaboration has always been appealing to Duhon, who has worked in both the private and nonprofit sectors and has indirect experience with the public sector. He believes it was during his time at El Pomar Foundation that this idea became so ingrained in him.

“During my time as a Fellow, I gained a strong appreciation for the importance of leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as civic engagement and cross-sector partnerships,” said Duhon, who was a Fellow from 2002 to 2004, . “These first three values were woven consistently throughout the Fellowship experience and quickly became part of my moral compass.”

When he is not busy with TEDxMileHigh or one of his many extracurricular endeavors—the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN), the Pueblo Opportunity Fund, the Denver chapter of the Social Venture Partners (SVP), and the Gordian Fund—Duhon works as a portfolio manager and analyst for Denver Investments. Much of Duhon’s community engagement has focused on “investing” in high-impact organizations and ideas, collective giving, leadership development, and community collaboration, which makes sense when Duhon explains his approach to creating change.

“I believe firmly that if you put the right people in the same room under the right circumstances, previously unimaginable results will follow,” said Duhon.

Speaking to his nomination as one of the top 25 young professionals in Colorado, the 30-year old said he was honored and humbled to receive the award but admits to feeling “influenced” rather than “influential.”

“I am very fortunate to have a tremendous network of friends, family, and colleagues, and have been inspired by their greatness in both their personal and professional lives,” said Duhon. “My experiences with TEDxMileHigh have only reinforced that there are absolutely incredible people here in our communities.

As for TEDxMileHigh, assuming the license is renewed for 2012, the vision is to hold the event annually and to steadily build the TEDxMileHigh community and develop strategies to leverage the ideas and experience of each TEDxMileHigh event.  According to Duhon, ultimately, the goal is to “energize action” as an access to meaningful and lasting change in the community.

For more information about TEDxMileHigh or to purchase tickets for the event, visit http://www.tedxmilehigh.com/.