We are purposeful and pragmatic recruiters and coaches that activate the potential of talented individuals.
Helen Young Hayes
Founder & CEO
Read Helen's Bio
Helen Young Hayes is the founder and CEO of Activate Workforce Solutions PBC. Activate’s mission is to help diverse individuals achieve their fullest potential through the dignity of work. Activate is the culmination of Helen’s past for-profit and nonprofit experience – harnessing the power of the marketplace to achieve profound social impact. By moving individuals to sustained economic mobility and professional success, Activate creates triple wins for job seekers, employers, and the community.
The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Helen is a believer in and the embodiment of the American Dream. But the American Dream – a life of flourishing – is elusive, as generational poverty becomes the default for too many men and women from underrepresented populations. Activate bridges the gap between individual potential and realized success through matching and placing individuals into self-sustaining careers and through intensive coaching of personal, professional, and financial skills. Activate seeks not only to advance economic and professional success but to transform lives through the learning and mastery of new habits, mindsets, and disciplines.
Helen is a 20-year veteran of the financial industry. She was the portfolio manager of the flagship Janus Worldwide Fund, Janus Overseas Fund, and related assets totaling approximately $50 billion at Janus Capital, a mutual fund company headquartered in Denver, Colorado. She also served as Managing Director of Investments, heading up the 100-person research and investment arm of Janus Capital, encompassing equities, fixed income, money market, and trading.
In 2018, Helen was selected as one of the Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business for her leadership at Activate Workforce Solutions. In 2021, she was awarded the Colorado Technology Association APEX Awards Talent Champion of the Year for launching ActivateIT Powered by Per Scholas, a tuition-free technology training and professional development program to create equitable paths in IT for individuals seeking careers and employers seeking talent.
Helen is the author and executive sponsor of the Colorado Inclusive Economy Movement, a CEO-led movement to build a community of shared opportunity and prosperity, and she is a governor-appointee to the Colorado Business Experiential Learning Commission and is a member of the American Enterprise Institute Leadership Network.
Helen is a frequent speaker and writer on topics including workforce development, corporate social responsibility, employee engagement, corporate culture, performance management, diversity and gender issues, economic development, and economic mobility.
Helen, her husband Matt, and her family have called Denver home for 30 years. Helen is an avid albeit average athlete and enjoys biking, swimming, running, skiing, and surfing.
Meet the Team
Our team has wide-ranging experience bridging public and private sectors. Together, we use our expertise to help our employers find top talent while guiding our placements to long-term career success.
Senior Manager of Talent
Dulcy is our Senior Manager of Talent, overseeing the screening and vetting of our candidates and the professional development coaching services for individuals that launch careers through Activate Workforce Solutions and ActivateIT Powered by Per Scholas.
In a variety of positions, she has consistently walked with people as they learn about themselves and engage in the world around them. She began her career at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship where she developed leaders, aided as they crossed cultures (whether across the Pacific or across town), and helped young adults transition into adulthood.
She has held many positions during and since, developing her into a jack-of-all-trades and an expert on what it takes to build a career in all areas and climates. Most recently, she managed client onboarding for new banking relationships at KeyBank. Weaving together all of her experiences, her deep love is in developing people and restoring what is fractured in this world.
Business Development Manager
Huy is a seasoned professional in talent management with 25+ years of experience in staffing and recruitment. Throughout his career, he has filled various roles as a Recruiter, Sales Executive, Manager, and Director, enabling him to be an expert in helping individuals and organizations succeed in either finding the right career opportunity or finding the right solution for their hiring initiatives. He has serviced and supported a broad spectrum of industries encompassing manufacturing, financial, healthcare, telecom, engineering, and information technology, and from small local businesses to Fortune 100, 500, and 1000 companies.
Huy understands the importance of working and growing in a healthy community that supports one another to make it better for everyone. With this in mind, he has decided to take all the knowledge and experience he has gathered over the years to help Activate people achieve economic freedom and stability through achieving their career goals.
Talent Screening Specialist
Lorenzo is responsible for helping candidates through the initial phase of Activate’s screening and vetting process. He received his associate degree in fashion merchandising from Johnson & Wales University in Denver. Lorenzo has a passion for customer service, developed during many years spent in the retail industry including managing stores for The Buckle and Old Navy. He loves hearing others’ stories and providing help to those in need. Lorenzo recently received his Administrative Assistant certification from Penn Foster.
Strategic Programs & Partnerships Manager
Driven by an insatiable desire to see others succeed at being their best selves, Emanuel joined the Activate Team to help individuals articulate their clear message of “purpose” to an employer. Originally from Chicago, he has served in various capacities within the workforce development space including Career Coach, Training Coordinator, and Employer Relations Specialist at both the local and state levels.
Most recently serving as the Program Coordinator for both the BankWork$ and Latinos in Finance programs, Emanuel remains committed to providing professional development training and career pathway opportunities for individuals living in underserved communities. Through these programs, he has been humbled to singlehandedly recruit, train, and place over 150 individuals into sustainable careers within the financial sector.
The hallmark of his legacy is easily identifiable by his commitment to serve others. He aspires to continually advocate for individuals in Colorado seeking first opportunities and second chances by inspiring them to deepen their perspectives on the world around them.
Kathryn V. Harris
Chief Operating Officer
Kathryn is the Chief Operating Officer for Activate Workforce Solutions and the Managing Director for the tuition-free IT training program, ActivateIT Powered by Per Scholas. Kathryn began her career at Accenture, consulting for large financial service companies to streamline small business lending processes and to build software applications to increase productivity. For the past 20 years, she has worked in the nonprofit sector both in Winter Park, running the Grand Foundation, and in Denver at Rose Community Foundation.
Kathryn has spent the last 7 years in education, most recently focused on improving the quality of early care and education as President and CEO of Qualistar Colorado. She has a passion for building bridges to opportunities for underserved populations. Kathryn is a Leadership Denver member from 2012 and a 2019 Buell Early Childhood Leadership Fellow.
Marketing Manager & Career Advisor
Melissa works individually with candidates on resume writing, interview skills, and any necessary preparation for securing a professional position with an Activate Workforce Solution employer partner. She also oversees the marketing and communication efforts across Activate, including ActivateIT Powered by Per Scholas.
With an M.A. in Marketing and a B.A. in Psychology, Melissa has spent her career building large-scale marketing teams where she recruited and onboarded hundreds of people from diverse backgrounds into positions throughout Colorado. She understands the challenges and the costs of recruiting and, most importantly, she knows the value of employee retention.
Melissa is dedicated to giving back to the community and is passionate about lifting up individuals through dignified work while helping businesses find talented employees. In addition to her role with Activate, she is a mentor with Minds Matter Colorado and a volunteer with the Colorado Inclusive Economy movement.
Jillian “GiGi” Hahl
Jillian “GiGi” Hahl has a deep passion for helping people develop into their full potential. She first fell in love with coaching five years ago while working at a local non-profit, where she eventually ran the organization’s coaching department. Since then, she has dedicated her time to her husband and children and developing her coaching craft. She is a storyteller and a questioner, and loves getting people connected to their own stories.
Manager of Admissions
Lacey comes to Activate and ActivateIT Powered by Per Scholas with six years of experience in higher education enrollment and marketing at Colorado Christian University, where she has helped students on the path to degree completion and partnered with businesses to help make higher education more affordable and attainable for adults. She has also served with the Denver Rescue Mission as a Volunteer Coordinator and Chick-fil-A as a Marketing Director.
Through all of these experiences, she has found her greatest joy: to help others pursue their calling by helping them to take the next steps in their life and career path. Lacey received her Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and an M.B.A. from Colorado Christian University.
Talent Screening Specialist
Rebecca has over 20 years of human services and customer service experience earned at diverse organizations as i3Screen and Royal Dairy Crest. She has a penchant for clear, empathetic communication with customers including Boeing and the Department of Transportation. Rebecca is bilingual and has coached and taught urban youth through Colorado Uplift in high school and middle school settings. She has also mentored students using trauma-informed methods.
Rebecca is committed to building a stronger community by encouraging, challenging, and equipping individuals to reach their potential.
Cindy Chang Mahlberg
Cindy is the founder of The Law Venture, a mission-driven exploration and consulting practice dedicated to re-imagining the world of law practice. She is also Co-Founder of Women in the Mix, a convening and networking organization for women, and is Chief Exploration Officer of Blue Dot Advocates, providing expertise relating to impact investing, social enterprise, corporate finance, company formation, and international business transactions. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Cindy practiced corporate law at Credit Suisse and Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher.
Scott serves as Innovate+Educate’s National and State Strategist, focusing on the development and implementation of skills-based hiring models. Prior to his role with Innovate+Educate, Scott worked for Accenture, serving as the Executive Director of the Accenture Foundation and leading the implementation, operation and maintenance of large computer applications and business process outsourcing activities for many of Accenture’s clients.
Wes is the CEO and Founder of Prime Trailer Leasing, one of the nation’s largest truck trailer leasing, sales, rental, and service companies. A serial entrepreneur, Wes is a leader in developing corporate socially responsible programs, such as their Career Partner Program, an apprenticeship model employing single moms, and Prime Days, a company-wide volunteer program in which employees participate in community building and service projects.
Jeff is the Founder and Executive Director of Mile High Ministries. Formed in 1988, Mile High Ministries is a community of programs and organizations working for change in the metro Denver area. Through its legal aid clinic, residential program for homeless families, urban leadership development, and social enterprise, Mile High Ministries serves thousands of low-income individuals annually.
Hendrik is the CEO of One Thousand and One Voices, a pioneering private equity fund that invests in fast-growing companies in Sub-Saharan African, aiming to achieve superior returns while creating jobs and accelerating prosperity. Prior to his role at One Thousand and One Voices, Hendrik was Global Head of Private Equity Investments & Buyouts and Managing Partner of Morrison & Foerster, LLP.
Randy, a native of Colorado, is the Chief Operations and Marketing Officer at The Creative Alliance marketing agency. He has had executive management positions in the transportation industry and with AT&T, US WEST, Qwest, IBM, and Telstra (in Australia) and has consulted for many companies in the areas of Business Strategy, Leadership and Management, Marketing, Sales and Business Development. He also has experience in small business and franchise management and ownership. Randy is a past board member of The National MS Society and Junior Achievement.
Jennifer is the founder of Thirst Matters, a human resources and talent development consultancy for nonprofits. Jennifer’s passions are talent assessment and people development, diversity initiatives, culture excellence, and spiritual formation. Jennifer combines a deep knowledge of human resources with a heart for the advancement of under-resourced individuals. Her previous roles include Corporate Manager, Walgreens, where she was responsible for IT recruiting and diversity initiatives; HR Manager at Willow Creek Community Church; and Director of Midwest Recruitment for CBSI.
Becky is the owner of Bethel Counseling in Denver. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. Becky has spent much of her 14-year career focused on bridging the divide between community mental health and the faith community as a therapist, crisis evaluator, youth ministries director, and faith-based mental health nonprofit board member. Becky has a passion for helping individuals discover and develop an abundant life worth living through the integration of spiritual, emotional, mental, and relational healing.
Barry is the Chief Financial Officer of CoolPlanet Energy Systems, a technology company that is developing sustainable products to address three of the world’s largest markets: energy, food, and water. Barry has over 25 years of financial and operational experience building technology and communications companies, including senior financial roles at Vonage Holdings, Nextel Partners, VeloCo., and Fluke.