Reimagining Community Partnerships: How Microsoft Builds Relationships Rooted in Trust | Net Impact

Reimagining Community Partnerships: How Microsoft Builds Relationships Rooted in Trust

What becomes possible when partnerships are rooted in trust? What can partnerships between funders and nonprofit organizations create in communities if there is a shared commitment to building relationships based on transparency, dialogue, and mutual learning? By exploring how these questions have shaped the development of capacity-building programs and services in Cheyenne, Wyoming, this conversation will highlight key practices that are necessary to build effective community partnerships. 

Net Impact is excited to dive into a conversation with Dennis Ellis, who leads Microsoft's TechSpark program in Cheyenne, along with Eric Trowbridge, the co-founder of both Array School of Technology and Design and Wyoming Technology Coronavirus Coalition (WTCC), and also Robin Bocanegra, the Executive Director of COMEA Shelter. Together, they will look back at 2020 and explore how their trust-based relationships created an opportunity to respond to the challenges of COVID with creative care and innovation. The conversation will offer perspectives on: 

  • How partnerships can be reimagined and shift the inherent power imbalance between grantors and grantees;
  • The key elements for building strong relationships between grantors and grantees; 
  • The process for identifying shared goals and developing alignment around the strategies to achieve these goals; 
  • How creative solutions and ideas emerge from open and transparent conversations. 

Join us for this insightful conversation into the building of sustainable and effective community partnerships on Thursday, May 13th, at 1:00 pm PST/4:00 pm EST

After the main event, everyone is invited to a special networking and connection opportunity as we wrap up the Reimagining Capitalism series. Join other attendees on the Wonder platform in an informal space where you will have the opportunity to continue conversations from the main event and network with new people. Everyone will be provided the link to join us on Wonder at the end of the main event around 2 pm PT. 

About our Speakers: 

Dennis Ellis is the Microsoft TechSpark Community Engagement Manager for Cheyenne, Wyoming. In this role, he works with local partners on programs that will help accelerate economic growth in Wyoming through regional internet connectivity, digital skills development, career pathways, nonprofit support, and digital business transformation. He brings to the role his experience as proprietor of Ellis Public Affairs, a communications and advocacy firm connecting corporations with local causes. Dennis serves on the steering committee of the Wyoming Business Alliance, is past president of Wyoming Ag in the Classroom, past vice president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, and currently serves on Wyoming's Mixed Martial Art Commission. He also led the Wyoming Medical Society, an organization that represents Wyoming physicians and their patients. Dennis also served as Deputy Attorney General for External Affairs in the Colorado Attorney General's Office and in Governor Bill Owens' cabinet as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and was Legislative Director and Counsel for United States Representative Barbara Cubin overseeing her policy staff in Washington D.C. Dennis holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wyoming and was certified as a mediator by the Supreme Court of Virginia. He completed leadership training at both the Kellogg Institute and the Kennedy School of Government and is a Leadership Wyoming graduate. A Wyoming native, his family owned a sheep and cattle ranch for over 100 years. He is married to Wyoming State Senator Affie Ellis and is a father of three. 

Eric Trowbridge, commonly referred to by his initals, ET, is the Chief Executive Officer of and helped to found Array, Inc, which is Wyoming's first Technology and Design Apprenticeship School. After working in a leadership capacity at Apple for eight years in Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago, Eric returned to Wyoming to pursue technology-oriented entrepreneurship endeavors. In 2018, he was appointed by the City of Cheyenne's Mayor to chair a city-wide broadband task force exploring solutions to affordable and high-speed broadband efforts for the city. Later that year, ET was appointed by Wyoming'sGovernor to serve a four-year term on the state's Workforce Development Council and, in 2021, was appointed to serve as its Vice-Chair through 2024. 

Robin Bocanegra, bio pending. 

This session is sponsored by Microsoft.