Speaker Series: Hometown Branding Heroes Done Good


Speaker Series: Hometown Branding Heroes Done Good


Monday September 24th, 2018

About the Event

In what seems like the blink of an eye, Colorado-based brands like Topo Designs, Pizzeria Locale, and Ratio Beerworks have sprouted into recognized names synonymous with quality, community and taste. Join panelists Chris Donato, Lead Brand Manager of Pizzeria Locale, Jedd Rose, Co-Founder of Topo Designs, and Tristan Chan, Marketing Manager of Ratio Beerworks, moderated by Jason Belaire, Executive Director of Denver Design Week, as they discuss how they won the startup game by building brands with soul.

Obstacles overcome, major marketing wins, audience engagement and continued brand focus are only some of the topics covered during our ONE-hour inclusive, open-forum panel-led talk during Denver Startup Week. Stick around afterwards to network with fellow DSW goers, featured speakers, and TOCD members.

Our Denver Startup Week session is designed to spark a robust branding conversation as viewed from the client's perspective. Its symbiotic, open-forum format invites audience members to join the discussion as they wish, at will.



Alliance Center
1536 Wynkoop St. Ste 100
Denver, CO 80202

Session Time: 1:00PM - 2:30PM



To attend our Speaker Series: Hometown Branding Hereos Done Good: Local is the New National held during Denver Startup Week, you will need to register on Denver Startup Week's website. This is a free event and space is limited. Arrive early to ensure your seat.

Register here



Denver Startup Week is a celebration of everything entrepreneurial in Denver and the largest free event of its kind in the world. In 2017, the sixth annual event brought 19,000 people together at 376 programs and events to celebrate Denver’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and build the center city’s culture of innovation.

The weeklong event is intended to unite the entrepreneurial community in Downtown Denver and beyond, and celebrate great companies, innovation, ideas, and people. Events throughout the week are organized by the community at-large and the Organizing Committee, and include sessions, presentations, panels, workshops, happy hours, social events, job fairs and more.


Chris Donato

Lead Brand Manager, Pizzeria Locale

Chris Donato serves as Lead Brand Manager for Pizzeria Locale, the fast-casual pizzeria created by Frasca Food and Wine’s Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson and Bobby Stuckey. Originally from Massachusetts, Donato’s career in the restaurant industry began at age 16, when he worked at a local butchery. Donato studied photojournalism at Fairfield University in Connecticut, and spent a year abroad in Spain, where his love of Mediterranean flavors deepened. Upon graduating, Donato moved to Boulder, CO and began working at the St. Julien Hotel and Spa, where he quickly worked his way up to General Manager and Sommelier, putting his Level II Sommelier certification to good use.

Ready for the next phase in his career, Donato heeded the advice of Frasca's co-owner and Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey to spend time in Italy. He left his job and departed for Italy within two weeks’ notice to make it in time for the wine harvest. Working at several wineries and Michelin-starred restaurants while living in Italy, Donato developed a stronger appreciation for authentic Italian tradition and flavors. Bringing this newly acquired knowledge with him, Donato returned to the states determined to work at Frasca Food and Wine. Without an immediate opening to fill, Donato took Italian language classes and helped open a local family Italian restaurant until a position became available at Frasca. His hard-work and dedication did not go unnoticed, and when Pizzeria Locale’s full-service Boulder restaurant opened, Donato was named General Manager and worked in that capacity for three years.

Donato has since been named Lead Brand Manager of the two Pizzeria Locale’s fast-casual restaurants in Denver with plans for more pizzerias in the area soon.

Jedd Rose

Founder/President, Topo Designs

Topo Designs is an apparel and accessories brand based in Colorado where Jedd leads the product design, branding and marketing teams. Before founding Topo Designs, Jedd spent over a decade in the graphic design and branding world working everywhere from print studios to motion graphic and video firms.

Tristan Chan

Marketing Manager, Ratio Beerworks

Tristan Chan is the Marketing Manager for Ratio Beerworks, a craft brewery focused on fueling Denver DIY, located in Denver's River North Art District. He's also the founder of PorchDrinking.com, a national craft beer publication focused on keeping beer fun and telling great stories within the craft beer industry.

Jason Belaire

Executive Director, Denver Design Week

Jason has recently become the Executive Director for Denver Design Week (the Rocky Mountain Region's premier event for all creative disciplines) where they aim to be a platform to promote dialogue and discussion about design and how it relates to our city, state and world.
To compliment his industrial design career, Jason had been on the Board Of Directors for the IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America) as District Vice President for the Western US and is currently serving in the role as the Director At Large - Conferences. His service has extended for a total of 6 years where he has been advocating on behalf of Design and where he developed content and curated design conferences around the United States. He also is on the Advisory Board for Struktur Events (Outdoor Industry Design Conference) the Advisory Board for Denver Does Design and The One Club Denver and sits on the Innovation Council for SRG-Boulder. He has helped co-create and is managing the Trend and Design Center for the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show (worlds largest trade show for the outdoor industry). Jason recently fulfilled his tenure as Presidential Advisory Board for The AIGA of Colorado.

Jason has over 25 years of experience as a creative resource for high-profile global clients in the outdoor industry, commercial/industrial equipment and children's products. He is an Entrepreneur, Keynote Speaker & Presenter, Conference Chair, Content Creator, Creative Cultural Director @ Large, Industrial Designer, Product Manager, Graphic + Brand language developer, Packaging Designer.

Jason has designed, developed, and led product management efforts for high level brands such as Field Piece, RE:THINK, TARGUS, Columbia, Zen Postures, GoLite, Nature’s Lodge, Cotopaxi, Lafuma Groupe, BlueBird, Sierra Designs, Ultimate Direction, Kelty, Slumberjack, Wenger Swiss Army, Mountainsmith, Browning Camping, and Cabela's. Products he has designed have won Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice Awards, Camping Life Editors’ Choice Awards, Explore Magazine’s Best Gear Awards, and Urban Climber Gear Guide Awards. The Kelty Kids Carrier 3.0 backpack he designed was profiled on the TODAY Show.

To support his design and development efforts, Jason travels extensively. He has worked collaboratively with product development teams throughout the United States, China, Argentina and France. He regularly coordinates product management and product development efforts with factories and vendors.

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