Published: Oct. 25, 2021

Senior Climate Strategist, Boulder County

Matt Lappé chose an interesting time to accept a promotion to executive director of Action for the Climate Emergency, or ACE. Not only was he in the home stretch of completing his Leeds MBA, but he was taking over an organization that was $3 million in the red. 

Matt Lappe in a field.ACE is now on track to be a $9 million organization, and Lappé is quick to credit the remarkable turnaround to the education and network he developed at Leeds.

“I was really interested in the evening MBA, because I knew there was a good diversity of professions represented there,” he said. “And I wanted to take classes alongside people who were figuring out how to apply the curricular material right away at work.” 

Today, Lappé works within the Office of Sustainability Climate Action and Resilience, where he’s tasked with keeping Boulder County on track to meet its ambitious climate goals, which include reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent by 2050, while also addressing economic development, resilience, and racial justice priorities. In his role, Lappé needs to be a systems-level thinker who brings interdisciplinary approaches to the most complex challenge of our time. 

“The lessons in strategy from my MBA come into play daily,” he said. “Being able to think strategically and pull in qualitative and quantitative analyses to decide on the best approaches—those are some of the skills I use regularly.” 

Lappé is particularly excited about the launch of the Innovation Fund next year, which will identify cutting-edge climate solutions—low-carbon concrete production, direct air capture technology, regenerative agricultural processes and more—and find creative ways to scale them for Boulder.

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“I wanted to take classes alongside people who were figuring out how to apply the curricular material right away at work.”

Matt Lappé (MBA’14)

Lappé, who did undergraduate and master’s-level work at Stanford, remains tightly connected to CU through his service on the Leeds MBA Alumni Board, where he helps students make connections that enable them to secure jobs after graduation.

“The board is a really good example of how great this network is,” he said. “You have experts in venture capital, real estate, finance, nonprofit—having that kind of network is really rewarding and engaging.” 

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