Helena’s journey is similar to thousands of Americans—non-traditional. As a young woman, earning her dual degree in Business Administration and Marketing Management at the University of Colorado Boulder, Helena was building her foundation in the professional arena.
Early in her career, Helena managed core business operations in the financial, transit, and housing industries. Her foundation of analyzing and managing policy initiatives, enterprise programs and corporate budgets at Standard & Poors Compustat Services, the Regional Transportation District, and the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority ground her business expertise in service to diverse and underserved communities.
With a solid foundation and proven record of looking at business through the lens of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion to create opportunities in underserved and underrepresented communities – Helena ventured into a career in Diversity & Inclusion. “I didn’t choose Diversity & Inclusion; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion choose me.”
Today, Helena’s stands tall upon more than 20 years of experience successfully leading all aspects of Diversity & Inclusion, including workforce, supplier, community, social responsibility, marketplace, and business development. She believes economic inclusion is the next frontier to create equity and urges companies to rise to the expectations of the global society.
Customers and stakeholders value Helena’s broad industry expertise gain as Vice President of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for U.S. Bank, Inclusion and Diversity Business Enablement Leader with United Health Group, and Executive Director at the Denver Minority Business Development Center (operated by the Minority Business Development Agency—part of the U.S. Department of Commerce) and Xcel Energy.
Helena’s mantra of real work with real results applies to her board service in communities and non-profit organizations including the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Denver Urban League, and the Colorado Small Business Development Agency. In 2016, Helena was appointed to the Colorado Minority Business Council by former Governor John Hickenlooper. In community service on leadership boards including in small business, energy and utility, housing, advocacy, and the arts. She recently served as Board of Directors President of the Karen L. Charles Thread Dance Project, a Minneapolis based non-profit that seeks to better humanity through dance, education, and outreach.
In her free time Helena loves spending time in the beauty of the outdoors, (pre-pandemic) exploring new art exhibits and the theatre, completing 2000-piece jigsaw puzzles, and talking to her two adult children, Jordan and N’dea Carter, who she considers her life’s greatest accomplishment.