Helen Young Hayes is the founder and CEO of Activate Workforce Solutions PBC. Activate’s mission is to help under-served 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 self-sufficiency through providing access to successful careers, Activate creates triple wins for employers, placements, and the community. Activate’s clients experience a three-fold increase in average annual income in 12 months of employment.  Helen delights in spotting the hidden potential in the unsung talents of the individuals she serves at Activate.

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.

A prominent investor in overseas equities, Helen was a pioneer in bottom-up, fundamental stock-picking in international markets. She is credited with bringing growth style investing to foreign markets.  Helen was the Morningstar International Manager of the Year in 1997 and was a repeat Barron’s Manager of the Year winner.

In 2018, Helen was selected as one of the Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business for her leadership at Activate Workforce Solutions.  Additionally, Helen was honored by Girl Scouts of Colorado as a 2019 Woman of Distinction.  She is a Member of the American Enterprise Institute’s Leadership Network and also serves on the board of The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, a Colorado scale-up community committed to each other’s success. Helen is a director of MalarVx, a vaccine company that seeks to eradicate malaria in developing countries, and an advisor to Q Advisors, a Denver-based investment bank. She is an Advisor and former Board Chair to Mile High Ministries, a Denver nonprofit serving the urban poor and also serves on the board of Children of Hope, which operates homes for abandoned and orphaned children in Kenya.

Helen is a frequent speaker and writer on topics including workforce development, corporate social responsibility, employee engagement, corporate culture, performance management, equity and gender issues, economic development, poverty alleviation, and self-sufficiency.

A graduate of Yale University, Helen, her husband Matt, and her family have called Denver home for 30 years. She is an avid albeit average athlete and enjoys surfing, skiing, cycling, swimming, windsurfing and hiking.


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