On May 4, an audience of nearly 350 people chose Natural Habitat Adventures as “the most exciting company in Colorado” during a sold-out Colorado “Companies to Circle” Event & Awards Ceremony, hosted by Luke’s Circle (a Denver-Boulder professionals’ community) at the Rayback Collective in Boulder.

Before the event, a Luke’s Circle committee evaluated nominations from 65 growing businesses across Colorado’s Front Range and selected Natural Habitat Adventures as one of 10 companies to compete for the designation of top “Company to Circle” at the May 4 awards ceremony. Each of the 10 finalists chose a company representative to deliver a one-minute pitch about why their business is the most exciting in the state, with a focus on three criteria: disruption/innovation, revenue and employee growth, and positive impacts beyond profits.

Nat Hab Adventure Specialist Lauren Deeley took the stage shortly after 6 p.m. and wowed the crowd with a clear, concise and compelling case for why Natural Habitat Adventures should be named the top Colorado “Company to Circle.”

Watch a video of the winning speech.

Deeley highlighted Natural Habitat Adventures’ global leadership in ecotourism, conservation travel partnership with World Wildlife Fund, status as the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company, contributions to endangered species preservation, sustainable operations practices worldwide, the company’s six-time recognition as one of Outside magazine’s “Best Places to Work,” and its rapid growth rate over the past five years.

After all 10 company speakers gave their short pitches, the audience voted to decide which company should win the award. Natural Habitat Adventures prevailed, based on the company’s culture, growth, innovation and overall conservation mission.

“Lauren’s inspiring speech captured our employees’ shared passion for our conservation travel mission,” said Natural Habitat Founder & President Ben Bressler. “We’re honored to have earned this award and are proud to be one of the many inspiring and innovative companies that make up our state’s thriving business community.”

Second place went to Boulder-based Skratch Labs, a natural sports hydration and nutrition company. There was a tie for third place between Bobo’s, producer of small-batch natural oat bars, and Love the Wild, another Boulder winner whose frozen fish entrees are based on sustainable aquaculture. Visit the Luke’s Circle website for a full list of the 10 finalists and 10 runners-up for the Colorado “Company to Circle” award.

Thanks to the support of several sponsors, Luke’s Circle will be donating the ticket proceeds from the May 4 event to a local nonprofit, Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA). Together, the nearly 350 attendees at the Colorado “Companies to Circle” Event & Awards Ceremony raised more than $2,100 for the organization to help local families in need.