Stephen Goldberg, HarperDB CEO

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program (DFEI) at the University of Colorado Denver Business School announces Stephen Goldberg, CEO and co-founder of HarperDB, as the 2023 Bill Daniels Ethical Leader of the Year.

Now in its eighth year, the award recognizes local leaders that demonstrate remarkable integrity and ethics in business, exemplifying the ethical principles practiced by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels. The award will be presented at the Toward A More Competitive Colorado event on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., hosted by the CU Denver Business School and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the DFEI presenting the Ethical Leader of the Year Award, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce will present an overview of the findings from their latest research and a panel of experts that will discuss economic growth and development in Colorado. Toward a More Competitive Colorado will be held in the Mile High Ballroom at the Colorado Convention Center. The event is open to the public, and registration is open here.

“The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program at the CU Denver Business School is pleased to recognize Stephen Goldberg’s focus on ethical principles while he formed and grew a very successful information technology business in a field that has had more than its share of ethical challenges.” -Ira Selkowitz, DFEI director at the CU Denver Business School. 

Stephen Goldberg began his career interning for Sequoia Software in the mid ’90s. He soon found success in the technology industry, working as a CTO and CEO of multiple startups and in other roles in larger organizations, including Red Hat. Throughout his career, Goldberg has obtained two patents. He is well-recognized as a leader in the technology industry.

As the CEO and Co-Founder of HarperDB, Goldberg’s experience and passion help provide customers with a data platform that is the right fit for them. He works closely with each customer to build trust and pragmatic problem-solving. Goldberg’s dedication to the company’s mission and values has helped grow the company 100% over the past year. He makes it clear that an ethical culture and values are the topmost importance for success within HarperDB.

Founded in 2017 in Denver, CO, the heart of the tech industry, HarperDB was formed to solve the problem around data storage and management complexity. Alongside his co-founders, Goldberg worked through the challenges of a startup and is now partnering with global enterprise customers. Much of this success is due to the hard work, focus and foundation of ethical principles that Goldberg defined at the beginning of the journey. These principles include accountability, transparency, and respecting and empowering HarberDB’s staff. Anna Kummerlowe, chief of staff at HarperDB, shared that Goldberg shows accountability and respect by taking ownership when problems arise and noticing when a team member needs time off. Goldberg isn’t afraid to tell employees to take time for themselves and is always there to cover for them. He is willing to do tasks most CEOs wouldn’t be interested in.

He is dedicated to the company’s viability and long-term success by consistently holding himself and his employees accountable.

Margo McCabe, head of DevRel

“HarperDB employees universally love the culture at this company due to Stephen’s leadership and values being lived daily. He is dedicated to the company’s viability and long-term success by consistently holding himself and his employees accountable. He takes the time to have one-on-one meetings with every single employee at least once a month to ensure that their needs are being met and see if there is anything the company can do to further support them.” – Margo McCabe, head of DevRel and coworker.

In addition, Goldberg prioritizes transparency and trust in his work and daily life. The company previously held meetings within their departments, but Goldberg spearheaded a daily company-wide standup meeting, allowing everyone in the company to be involved in decisions being made and aligned on company updates. These company-wide meetings now fully promote inclusion and a safe place for questions to be answered.

This award is extremely important to me because, in today’s business culture, nothing is more important than a strong sense of ethics and core values.

Stephen Goldberg, 2023 ELYA recipient

“I am grateful and humbled to receive the Bill Daniels Ethical Leader of the Year Award. This award is extremely important to me because, in today’s business culture, nothing is more important than a strong sense of ethics and core values. The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative principles strongly align with my core beliefs, and as a result, I am deeply touched to be the recipient.” – Stephen Goldberg, 2023 ELYA recipient.

A Business School student selection committee considered a large pool of nominations and evaluated each nominee based on the eight DFEI Principles:

Integrity – Act with honesty in all situations.

Trust – Build trust in all stakeholder relationships.

Accountability – Accept responsibility for all decisions.

Transparency – Maintain open and truthful communications.

Fairness – Engage in fair competition and create equitable and just relationships.

Respect – Honor the rights, freedoms, views and property of others.

Rule of Law – Comply with the spirit and intent of laws and regulations.

Viability – Create long-term value for all relevant stakeholders.

Bill Daniels, believed deeply in ethics and integrity and his charitable foundation, the Daniels Fund, honors his legacy through grants and scholarships in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The award program is presented each year at Toward a More Competitive Colorado event by the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program at CU Denver Business School, created with a grant from the Daniels Fund aimed at teaching students business ethics, emphasizing real-world application of ethical principles, and extending ethical behavior beyond campus and into the community.

Past Ethical Leader of the Year award recipients include Kellye Gordon, vice president of Ethics & Compliance and Legal Operations at VF Corporation (2021), Giovanna Carriero-Contreras, CEO and founder of Cesco Linguistic Services (2020), Bob Hottman, partner at Plante Moran (2019), Gregory Anton, chairman and CEO of Anton Collins Mitchell (2018), Patrick Hamill, CEO of Oakwood Homes (2017), Kate Paul, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Colorado (2016), and Evan Makovsky, managing partner at NAI Shames Makovsky (2015).

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