Influential Leaders

Ellen Balaguer

Philanthropist and Retired Global Managing Director, Accenture
Recognition Year(s): 2023
Area of Impact: Mentorship or Leadership
School: Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder
Location: United States

After serving as a senior executive with Accenture for 27 years, Ellen Balaguer is now a philanthropist supporting educational organizations around the world. She is also an advisory board member for Leeds School of Business, the University of Colorado Denver, the CU Boulder Enterprise Corporation, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Florence Crittenton High School, United Way, and the Colorado Ballet.

Balaguer has been an inspiring and influential leader in the business world and beyond. In 2012, she was awarded the Leeds Distinguished Alumni and Service Award for her exceptional achievements in business and ongoing service to Leeds School of Business and for serving as a role model for the next generation of business leaders.

Balaguer is an enthusiastic supporter of many causes in education, but her most passionate focus is on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has established multiple scholarships supporting economically and socially disadvantaged students pursuing high-quality business education. Further, understanding the challenging dynamics around retention and success, she has also provided funding for programming and activities that support students who have been historically excluded from accessing educational opportunities.

Outside of CU, Balaguer has been incredibly devoted to causes around the world. For example, she led a five-year pro bono project as part of a partnership between Accenture, the African Medical and Research Foundation, and the Nursing Council of Kenya. The partnership produced 20,000 new registered nurses in Kenya, where the university system only had capacity to graduate 100 new nurses each year. Balaguer has also focused her time on empowering women in business and addressing racial and economic inequity in access to education.

A leader must be smart, strategic, energetic, trailblazing, caring, and thoughtful—all qualities that colleagues and contemporaries use to describe Ellen Balaguer. During her career at Accenture, Balaguer led many top strategic growth initiatives for the organization and countless complex global deals. She successfully turned around several distressed business units and drove significant growth in outsourcing and consulting.

Balaguer now uses her extensive business knowledge and expertise to give back to the next generation of business leaders. She is involved at the University of Colorado in numerous capacities such as serving on the Leeds Advisory Board, mentoring more than 20 students, speaking at multiple engagements, advising and investing in fundraising initiatives, making connections between CU and the corporate world, and more. She has given back so much to her alma mater, and the community has benefited immensely from her leadership.

Balaguer’s investment and advising insights have played a critical role in launching initiatives that support women in business, career development, global learning, student scholarships, and more. She is an inspiring leader, pushing Leeds School of Business to leverage its unique strengths and assets in building a reputation for excellence in business education.

As an accomplished professional and philanthropist, Balaguer both inspires and supports future business leaders. She is generous with her time and sharing her knowledge and experience, which has benefited many CU students, faculty, and staff alike. She is very passionate about her work inside and outside of the university, lending her strategic insight to engage with many pivotal programs and initiatives. Her enthusiasm and deep dedication to future business leaders has been evident in her impact at the University of Colorado.

Balaguer strongly believes that opportunities in business and education have been historically inaccessible for economically and socially disadvantaged groups, and she has worked to give back and offer opportunities to business students from these communities who are pursuing their education.