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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Erin Pulling

President & CEO

Food Bank of the Rockies

Location: Denver, CO

Founded: 1978

Industry: Nonprofit

Erin Pulling began her nonprofit career in her early 20s at Project Angel Heart and since then has shown an aptitude for working tenaciously to learn about and understand what she doesn’t know and bringing individuals into her orbit who have mastered those topics and can advise and help her lead organizations to success, her team said.

As Pulling climbed the ranks at Project Angel Heart, she helped turn the organization into a high-performing nonprofit. After 24 years at Project Angel Heart, including 14 years as CEO, Pulling became CEO of Food Bank of the Rockies in January 2019.

Food Bank of the Rockies seeks to address hunger within its footprint, which covers about half of Colorado and all of Wyoming, “We provide direct services, including home food delivery to older adults, kids’ programs and mobile food pantries, and partner with more than 800 hunger relief partners to provide food and necessities to our neighbors in need,” the nonprofit said. “We believe that by working together, we can all rise to answer the challenge of hunger and nourish a thriving community. With support from our community, we distribute enough food daily for over 178,000 meals.”

Pulling ushered in a time of reflection and change at the nonprofit. She connected with everyone available who shared in the agency’s passion of nourishing people facing hunger: donors, volunteers, hunger relief partners, staff, board members, community members and more. She listened, absorbed feedback and, with the team, developed a new strategic plan that was implemented in January 2020 to enhance Food Bank of the Rockies’ infrastructure to better serve the community.

In March 2020, faced with a global pandemic and a heightened demand for food assistance, Food Bank of the Rockies found itself on the frontlines and began to rapidly respond to community needs. Under Pulling’s leadership, the organization increased food purchasing and operations to keep up with the demand.

“The last few years have entailed countless risks for Food Bank of the Rockies’ leadership — operating a frontline workforce during the pandemic, tripling food purchasing expenses to meet unprecedented needs for food assistance (first due to COVID and more recently due to inflation), launching new programs while many organizations were scaling back, making bold moves to increase support of our staff team, and launching ambitious plans, preparing us to meet future community needs,” Pulling said. “With every decision, our leadership team has leaned into what’s right rather than what’s easy and is in constant pursuit of how we can most effectively listen to, learn from, and serve our community.”

Pulling’s awards include Most Admired CEO and Forty Under 40 from the Denver Business Journal and 2022 Food Bank CEO of the Year from Food Bank News. She is a Livingston Fellow, Leadership Denver graduate, and holds a Master of Nonprofit Management and B.S. in psychology.

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Erin is an avid runner, and she recently ran a rim-to-rim-to-rim run through the Grand Canyon. This is longer than a marathon.


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