Subject Matter Experts

Thea Chase

Thea Chase is a consultant, mentor and board member for high growth companies and communities and is a highly regarded business incubation professionals in the USA. Over the past twenty-five years Ms. Chase has started and run regional eco-system building programs, Accelerators, University Entrepreneurship Centers, Co-working spaces, Incubators, Small Business Development Centers and University Entrepreneurship curriculum and programming. Notably, Ms. Chase recently directed the Southwest Innovation Corridor (SWIC), moving the 8-county rural southwest region of Colorado towards a healthy balanced economy with a greater emphasis on innovation-based businesses. For the prior 3 years, Ms. Chase was the Director of the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), a seed Accelerator where Ms. Chase organized curriculum, programming, 120+ world-class mentor group and significant investor community. Prior to her work with the Telluride Foundation, Thea was the founding Director at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and award winning Small Business Development Center for Innovation from 2010-13; led the development of the Entrepreneurship concentration at Colorado Mesa University 2006-10; and was the Executive Director of the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction, CO from 1993-2006, a 5-time National Business Incubation Association (inBIA) award winning program. Thea has gained extensive experience working with communities and regions to build on their unique qualities to create sustainable economies, including internationally. Thea’s passion is working with entrepreneurs (1000+) and building communities interested in engaging entrepreneurs through developing supportive eco-systems. Thea believes in collaboration and efficient use of resources to build the greatest impact and has worked extensively with diverse groups of stakeholders to drive successful projects. Her international work includes projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Thailand and St. Lucia. Thea is the proud mother of two millennials and serves as Town Trustee in Palisade, CO and on several non-profit and startup Boards.

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Courtney Berg

Courtney is a highly credentialed and gifted public speaker, with over three decades of experience in Human Resources and Operations Management.  During that time, she has held many management positions, from front-line supervisor to senior executive positions in both HR and operations. Courtney has worked with for-profit, not-for-profit clients in a myriad of industries including healthcare, insurance, hospitality, retail, education, technology, and manufacturing. She is passionate about HR issues, leading people, and designing management systems and philosophies to improve employee engagement, performance, and productivity. Courtney is a member of the Colorado Small Business Advisory Council was featured in “How to Conduct Annual Employee Reviews” in Inc. Magazine, a published author and a national speaker.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Management and both SHRM-SCP and SPHR professional certifications.  

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Suzi Bahnsen

Suzi Bahnsen is Founder of Apple & Arrow Sales, a sales and marketing training business for female entrepreneurs. Suzi owned a marketing and design agency for 8 years in Boulder, as well as a consulting agency for 2 years, where she worked as a fractional CMO, creating systems and brand strategies that helped businesses to scale and increase profitability. She has also held several leadership positions as a Chief Marketing Officer, Director, and Strategist, as well as an award-winning sales professional. Over the last 20 years, her experiences have provided her with a unique perspective on sales and marketing today. Her passion is creating strategies and action plans for small business owners based on confidence, alignment and manageable steps to help her clients reach their targeted goals before burnout. Her approach is to always stay current and relevant and to share her knowledge to support businesses that need a boost with marketing and sales success.

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Stephanie Amend (Program Developer)

Stephanie Amend is an advisory director/executive consultant for govIRG which is a full-service solutions provider for government contractors. For the past 15 years, govIRG has provided companies with the extra knowledge and manpower they need to succeed in the world of government contracting and start-up culture. Specializing in proposal preparation, contract management, subcontracts, accounting and compliance, govIRG provides skill sets not commonly available to many smaller government contractors. govIRG is headquartered in Colorado; however, govIRG reaches clients nationwide. Amend is a Level II Certified Acquisition Professional and possesses a BSA and an MBA. She is an advisor for the Small Business Development Centers of Colorado and former president of the board of directors for the Denver Chapter of the National Contract Management Association.

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