She is dealing with the most vulnerable in our community who can do nothing for her. This is where greatness in our country starts.

— Denver Mayor Michael Hancock referring to Mi Casa’s CEO/Executive Director Christine Marquez-Hudson

Starting your day by attending the 5th annual Mi Casa Path to Prosperity Breakfast is like a drinking a Venti cup of inspiration. The morning was about life-changing achievements by the agency’s participants, new and innovative projects in response to economic challenges, and good work in carving out a clear direction by its board. Yet, one thread ran through all the news of the day.  Mi Casa is being led by a woman who is as grounded as she is visionary.  Earlier this year, 9News named Mi Casa’s CEO/Executive Director Christine Marquez-Hudson the 2013 Leader of the Year. Rightfully so, as under her guidance, Mi Casa nearly tripled its outreach moving from 800 served in 2008 to 2,300 served in 2012.

When Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock spoke he educated the audience on what it is like to be at the helm of a non-profit. He humbly and light-heartedly reflected on his time in leading the Urban League. He shared what his mentor taught him: success rests on building a reputation as being someone people know is going to do what they say they will do. And, along with that, the person is someone they like. Then his message turned to present day. With glowing and authentic words, he emphasized that Christine Marquez-Hudson is that person.

“You have a superstar in Christine Marquez-Hudson and I hope you recognize that,” said Mayor Hancock.

When Mi Casa’s leader took the stage she more than personified the mayor’s words. She is as compassionate as she is focused in what people need to succeed.

“At Mi Casa we go beyond the tech skills. It’s about helping people believe in themselves again. And my staff tells me that’s what they need most.”

And Mi Casa is delivering on both fronts. Part of the excitement of the event was the announcement of the opening of the Mi Casa Innovation Lab in Northeast Park Hill. The Lab offers a menu of services from career planning to entrepreneurial counseling to courses on financial literacy and technology.

She also introduced another Mi Casa project: TalentSource, a full-service Denver staffing agency providing diverse talent. With an endearing combination of giddiness and pride, she beamed as TalentSource’s freshly launched website was illuminated on the big screen. It’s a project to be proud of. TalentSource will connect Denver area employers with a skilled, bilingual and diverse workforce and as a division of Mi Casa, TalentSource is the only full-service staffing agency in Colorado whose profits support a social mission.

Christine Marquez-Hudson also praised her board, and the many board members before them. She shared how the current group came together to outline the organization’s direction for the next five years. The plan includes a focus on integrating services, moving the agency toward financial freedom by initiating revenue generating projects, and providing impeccable community leadership. All efforts support Mi Casa’s mission to advance the economic success of Latino and working families.

Perhaps, though, the most moving words came from a young man named Alan. He’s known as a “super participant” at Mi Casa’s neighborhood center since he has logged more than three-digits in days attending the center. He summed up the meaning of all Mi Casa is doing when he said, “I think the world would be a better place with more Mi Casas.”