Each year, the title Rising Star is awarded to a local emerging leader. The Boulder Chamber has named Alyssa Harding, External Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Justin’s Nut Butter, as this year’s Rising Star for her efforts within the Boulder community and the natural foods industry. In addition to her position at Justin’s, Alyssa has been a member on the Board of Directors for Naturally Boulder since the beginning of 2018, working with their Give Back program to generate a positive impact. She is also a former student in the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility (CCSR) program who studied under Geri Mitchell-Brown. Her many projects coupled with her education in corporate social responsibility (CSR) have allowed her to thrive within the industry, making her success impossible for The Boulder Chamber to ignore.
“I am incredibly honored to be the recipient of this award. The Boulder Chamber is an amazing group with many mission-driven members, so to be selected as the Rising Star out of all the people in this community is truly humbling. I appreciate the recognition for my efforts and leadership within the Boulder and natural products communities, and it adds even more fuel to my fire to keep growing collaborative programs that prove businesses can do well by doing good. I think one of the resounding notes that helped me achieve this recognition was my collaborative mindset. One brand can’t save the world, but together we can aggregate the good and build scalable programs.”
- Alyssa Harding
Harding’s Career Path
Alyssa studied sustainability and agricultural ecology before she began her career at a nonprofit. Afterwards, she entered the solar industry where she enhanced her knowledge of sustainability and deepened her passion of working in the impact industry. When she applied to Justin’s, she was interviewed for an entry-level position, but Justin’s saw her potential and offered her the role of External Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager instead.
In her position at Justin’s, Alyssa has organized more than “…600 hours of local community service for Justin’s around brand passion points like hunger relief, pollinator conservation, and environmental education.” Her work has made an extraordinary impact in society and the environment through projects such as Nuts for Bees, one of the first initiatives she took on at Justin’s. In this project, she was tasked with identifying national, state and local organizations who share a passion for pollinator conservation that could partner with Justin’s to increase the scale of Justin’s impact.
To develop her skills as CSR Manager, Harding enrolled in the CCSR course with Geri Mitchell-Brown where she was able to access valuable industry data and establish a structure to underlie her CSR efforts. Harding offers the following advice to current students interested in a similar career trajectory:
“Find what your mission is; I didn’t have experience managing national corporate responsibility programs when I joined the team at Justin’s, but I did have a clear mission and passion to advance environmental and social health. I think that knowing yourself and what you want to fight for is your differentiator when pursuing a CSR oriented career path.”
- Alyssa Harding
The CCSR course helped Harding narrow in on her passions and create a toolkit necessary for the successful initiatives in her career. Her expertise in CSR, participation as a board member of Naturally Boulder, and dedication to making a positive impact make her worthy of the honorary title, Rising Star, by The Boulder Chamber.