Many people dream of changing the world. Rebecca Kanaly is taking it local, creating sustainable change in Eagle County and the communities she loves.
Rebecca graduated from Colorado Mountain College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with an Entrepreneurship Emphasis. After that, she earned her Executive Master of Business Administration from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.
Now she funnels her education and experience into her position as the Executive Director and CEO of the United Way of Eagle River Valley. Under her leadership this year, the United Way of Eagle River Valley will fund 25 local programs, the operating budget of 13 more local organizations, and provide capital for more local medical facilities for under-served populations.
“As CEO, I draw on every single lesson I learned in every single class at CMC and DU, from accounting, philosophy, economics and marketing to upper level concepts like business strategy and social entrepreneurship,” Rebecca says. “I love applying my education and experience to change lives…to lift my neighbors out of poverty, to offer them hope and opportunity, to feed, shelter, and protect them in times of crisis, to prevent suicide and substance abuse, and collaborate with other community leaders to affect profound change.”
Her favorite class at CMC was Sustainable Economics with Mercedes Quesada-Embid, where she learned about the opportunities and corresponding responsibilities of impacting lasting and meaningful change on an entire system or community. She was also deeply impacted by the CMC online curriculum and Dr. Susanna Spaulding, who introduced Rebecca to corporate social responsibility and change leadership.
“I left CMC with a personal commitment to devote my work to positively impacting lives,” Rebecca said.
Rebecca is also quick to thank the donors who created the scholarships that allowed her to pursue her degree. She received a HERO scholarship which funded her senior year through the Gerald Gallegos Foundation. She also received several other scholarships from the CMC Foundation. With support from teachers, staff and others, Rebecca graduated at the top of her class, is in the CMC Hall of Fame and also belongs to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Her advice for other students is pretty simple: show up to every class and really participate, even when difficult life circumstances try to get in the way.
“Persevere, don’t hesitate to express your opinions, and ask many questions,” Rebecca says.
Next on Rebecca’s list is a doctoral degree. “I want to synthesize my education and experience in a way that helps to advance the entire industry of social/collective impact. I am excited about the possibilities.”