2015 Forty Under 40: Denver Hutt


executive director, The Speak Easy

Of all trades: “I do whatever needs to get done. That could mean meeting with investors or taking out the trash,” said Denver Hutt, the first executive director and, until recently, sole full-time employee of The Speak Easy, the membership-based co-working space for startups in south Broad Ripple. “Companies aren’t born with 1,000 employees. They start out with a vision. We want to empower entrepreneurs to be entrepreneurial.”

Incoming/outgoing: Some members had offices at home and wanted to be around other people. Others used to work from Starbucks. “But when they got stuck,” Hutt said, “they couldn’t turn to the next table and ask for help.” One limit: Members can’t leave anything overnight. “When you want to begin creating an office culture with multiple employees, that’s the time to graduate.”

AGE 27
Hometown: Santa Monica, California

Family: single

Raising the bar: A dominant feature of The Speak Easy is its bar. “You can always have more coffee and more beer,” Hutt said. “Members grab beers afterward, hang out and are more social at the end of the workday. They put their guard down. They discuss business problems. That’s great.”

Mission driven: After completing her degree in political science and criminal justice at Indiana University, and working, unsatisfied, elsewhere, Hutt assigned herself the mission “to meet cool people doing cool things—a great way to say I was unemployed.” She found out about the soon-to-open Speak Easy, put herself in a position to meet the founders, and got permission to plan an event. “When they got funded,” she said, “they hired me.”

Why Indy? “The options are available here for people who want to find them. Indy is in a perfect position to embrace its entrepreneurial spirit,” said Hutt, who also previously served as events and outreach coordinator for IndyHub and organized Indianapolis Startup Weekend. “I can see the impact I can make here and I know I’m not done with that.”

Not business as usual: Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April 2013, Hutt is in treatment with, she said, “fantastic doctors at IU. It’s something I’m dealing with, but it doesn’t have to define who you are and it doesn’t have to keep you from making an impact on the community that you want to make.”•

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