TechPoint and the Indiana tech community will celebrate the life of entrepreneurship advocate and community organizer Denver Hutt, naming her the first ever ‘Community Champion of the Year’ award recipient during the Mira Awards – the state’s largest technology awards gala on Saturday. Hutt died in January at the age of 28 after a years-long battle with ovarian cancer, but the illness didn’t stop her from having a profound impact on the area’s tech and startup community.
Tom Hanley, founder of Nine13sports and Hutt’s “partner-in-crime,” (the couple didn’t care for the boyfriend/girlfriend labels) accepted the posthumous award recognizing Hutt during TechPoint’s 17th annual Mira Awards gala presented by Angie’s List, Interactive Intelligence, and Salesforce. Hanley himself was a nominee in the Rising Star category of the Mira Awards program.
TechPoint created the Community Champion of the Year award this year as a way to celebrate and thank people who have championed the advancement of Indiana’s tech community.
“Community champions go above and beyond to support, promote, and advance Indiana’s tech community. They project a passion for the community, help to drive it forward and inspire others to do the same,” said Mike Langellier, President and CEO, TechPoint. “Denver was all of these things and more, and the lasting impact she had on the tech community makes her an exemplary choice as the first-ever Mira Awards’ Community Champion of the Year recipient.”
Hutt served as the Executive Director at The Speak Easy, a startup collaboration center located in Broad Ripple and one of the state’s very first co-working spaces. While originally from Santa Monica, Calif., Hutt graduated from Indiana University – Bloomington and fell in love with Indianapolis and the people of this city during an internship with young professionals advocacy group IndyHub.
“Hutt was energetic, tenacious, she pushed the limits, and she never settled for the status quo,” Molly Chavers, IndyHub Executive Director, said in an Indianapolis Business Journal article. “Additionally, Hutt was very skilled at connecting people together”.
Bringing people together is perhaps one of the things Hutt was best known for during the years she was a fixture among the city’s entrepreneurial and tech community.
In the many tribute articles written about her by local media as well as an amazing outpouring on social media and memorials, story after story emerged about how Hutt was responsible for introducing co-founders, connecting employers with job seekers, and generally being the community’s lightning rod, it’s gravity for attracting “positive doers” together to accomplish great things.
Hanley said that while her death left the whole city hurting, she left a lasting legacy in her more than three years with The Speak Easy and as a compassionate leader who made everyone around her better. He said there is a lot to be learned and gained by remembering Hutt and the way she approached life. In her final blog post she wrote: “Smile at strangers. Be kind. Judge less. And hold the door.”
Hutt’s impact has been recognized by official Indianapolis City Council resolution, and a scholarship – the Denver Hutt Legacy Fund/The Speak Easy Internship – has been established in her name.
The Mira Awards — named after a variable star thousands of times brighter than the Earth’s sun — represent the best of tech in Indiana each year.