Meet Our Team

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Our Staff   |   Board of Directors

Dan Lewis
Executive Director
dan.lewis@denverleadership.org
303-620-8024

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Dan Lewis joined the team as executive director in July 2015. As a former chair of the Leadership Foundation’s board of directors and an alumnus of several Leadership Foundation programs, Dan is passionate about the work of this organization and is committed to inspiring a diverse community of leadership to improve Colorado.

Prior to joining the Leadership Foundation team, Dan served as Chief Communications Officer for Molson Coors, where he was responsible for corporate reputation, communications, corporate responsibility and employee engagement for the company’s 15,000 people worldwide. He also led corporate communications for Delta Air Lines and global public relations for Lufthansa German Airlines prior to his arrival in Denver in 2006.

Fluent in German, Dan holds a Master of Communication degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from Florida State University.  Among his civic leadership commitments, Dan currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Mile High United Way and was previously a board member with the Downtown Denver Partnership.

Our Staff — Operations

Nikki Barta
Executive Assistant
nikki.barta@denverleadership.org
303-620-8024

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Meet Nikki Barta, Denver native and executive assistant of the Leadership Foundation.  She takes on her ever-changing role with a smile and a double-jointed thumbs-up. It’s no wonder her spirit animal is a chameleon.  When she’s not taking care of our team or our board up here on the 5th Floor, you can find her walking/running/chasing after her (adorable) toddler and preschooler or sitting on a patio enjoying a glass pinto. She also likes to get her Pinterest-inspired crafting on and cooking vegan-ish meals for her family.

Wylia Sims
Manager of Finance and Operations
wylia.sims@denverleadership.org
303-620-8037

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Wylia is the manager of finance and operations at the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. Responsible for managing the finances and operations of the Foundation. She also serves as the staff lead for the Foundation’s Inclusivity and Diversity Committee. She has worked for a range of organizations from a major national network of community based organizations to a start-up online philanthropic marketplace; a privately funded global foundation to a corporate foundation; to serving on several nonprofit Boards and volunteering – she hopes to match her broad experience with her passion to bring purpose and fun to work life.

Wylia received a BBA in International Business from Howard University and a MS in Nonprofit Management from The Milano Graduate School of Management at New School University. She currently serves on the board of directors for Metro Volunteers and volunteers with Africa Development Promise.

Our Staff — Programs

Denise King
Program Director
denise.king@denverleadership.org
303-620-8055

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Denise King is program director for our flagship program, Leadership Denver, as well as the Colorado Civic DNA Fellows program. She also works with the program directors and students involved with the Colorado Leadership Alliance. If you have been in one of Denise’s classes you have probably learned her version of Roshambo (rock, paper, scissors) and know that the chimes will ring on time! A master’s degree in education kicked off a career in management and leadership development, including working at American Management Association’s Operation Enterprise, where learning to water ski and wrapping a toga were required parts of the curriculum. She likes this leadership stuff so much that she serves on the national board for the Association of Leadership Professionals as well as the Governor’s Commission on Community Service (Serve Colorado).

Kirsten Vermulen
Program Director and Executive Director for B:CIVIC
kirsten.vermulen@denverleadership.org
303-620-8109

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Kirsten is Program Director for the Leadership Foundation where she oversees issues-based leadership development programs for business and civic leaders and partnership initiatives. She is also the Executive Director for B:CIVIC, a partner of the Leadership Foundation. B:CIVIC is dedicated to advancing the positive impact of business to benefit all Colorado communities. This partnership, established in 2018, allows us to grow our shared impact by advancing the culture of giving and volunteerism at organizations across the state.

Prior to re-joining the Leadership Foundation in 2012, Kirsten served as the Director of Education and Member Programs for Housing Colorado, an education and advocacy organization advancing safe, decent and affordable housing for all Coloradans. She began her nonprofit career at the Colorado Chautauqua Association in Boulder managing membership services and donor development initiatives for the historic cultural institution.

Kirsten is a graduate of Ohio University (B.A. in English and Theater) and Northpark University (Master of Nonprofit Administration). Her community service has included board roles with CLLARO (Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy and Research Organization), B:CIVIC, Dance To Be Free, the Colorado Civic Health Network, Human Services Network of Colorado, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, National Philanthropy Day in Colorado steering committee, and as a Mile High United Way literacy partner. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, Scott, where they lead an award-winning performance troupe that travels internationally promoting Denver’s reputation as a cultural hub.

Elizabeth Prutch
Manager of Alumni Engagement
elizabeth.prutch@den
verleadership.org
303-620-8058

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Elizabeth is the alumni engagement manager at the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. In this role, she focuses on creating ways for the wide variety of alumni to stay connected to each other and the Foundation. It’s understood that every alumni needs a different form of engagement so Elizabeth has formed the Alumni Advisory Council to help form social and educational experiences as options to stay connected.  Her time is also spent keeping a watchful eye on The Network powered by Southwest, an online portal (Facebook meets LinkedIn) she helped to create for Leadership Foundation alumni.

Her professional background ranges from the National MS Society to The Denver Post where she’s spent 10+ years focused on community & corporate relations, event management and corporate responsibility. Elizabeth’s strengths will be easily identifiable as an influencer and relationship builder when you meet her.  Elizabeth is thrilled to be a part of the amazing Leadership Foundation team and looks forward to welcoming new alumni to the network each year.

VJ Brown
Program Manager
vj.brown@denverleadership.org
303-620-8073

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VJ is a program manager for the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation and oversees Impact Denver and works closely with the Colorado Leadership Alliance. In addition, VJ supports the Leadership Foundation’s initiatives around Inclusivity and Diversity. A proud Daniels Fund scholar alum, he received a bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. Throughout his professional career, VJ has engaged with leadership programming at different levels, most recently as a fellow with El Pomar Foundation. In addition, he serves as a board member for the Civic Canopy, a member of the Colorado Academy Alumni Board, and alumni of the Chinook Fund’s Giving Project. He’s an avid foodie, hiker and all about the local sports teams. As a native, he believes wholeheartedly in cultivating a healthy civic community to make Denver the best place to live.

Megan Vivier
Senior Programs and Advancement Specialist
megan.vivier@denverleadership.org
303-620-8035

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Megan is a graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver where she found her interest in leadership (and her husband) through the Urban Leadership Program. She enjoys daily walks to Starbucks for a white chocolate mocha to collect stars on the Starbucks app. Yay free drinks! One thing on her bucket list is to swim with her spirit animal, the great white shark, in South Africa. She loves all things tropical and loves traveling to coastal cities.

Megan lives in Arvada with her husband and golden retriever puppy, Oakley.

Jess Welser
B:CIVIC Senior Membership Specialist
jessica.welser@bcivic.org
303-620-8085

Jess serves as the membership specialist for B:CIVIC, a partner of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation focused on advancing corporate social responsibility for the betterment of all communities and businesses. Jess has always been an advocate for social and environmental responsibility within companies and is excited to continue this passion with the Leadership Foundation. So it’s no surprise you can find her outside on weekends (and weekdays after work) hiking, camping, snowboarding or just enjoying the sunshine.

Blake Trujillo
Programs and Events Coordinator
blake.trujillo@denverleadership.org
303-620-8066

Blake was born and raised in Northern Colorado and still currently resides there in Broomfield. She holds a degree in Event and Meeting Management and is a 2018 graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Blake discovered her passion for leadership and event planning while working in a variety of roles throughout her entire time at her university. She feels she has found a true home at the Leadership Foundation and wants to continue her life’s work serving others, providing access to resources, and engaging with her community. When Blake is not in the office, you can find her spending time with family and friends, attending an abundance of concerts, and binging true crime series and podcasts

Board of Directors

Lorii Rabinowitz
Board Chair
CEO
The Denver Scholarship Foundation

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Ruth Rohs
Past Chair of the Board
VP Corporate Communications / Executive Director of the IMA Foundation
IMA Financial Group, Inc.

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Akasha Absher
Chief Consulting Officer
Syntrinsic Investment Counsel

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Iván Anaya
President
Astucia Ventures

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Kathie Barstnar
Executive Director
NAIOP Colorado Chapter

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Kelly Brough
President and CEO
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce

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Lisha Burnett
Manager of Sustainability and Communications
Suncor Energy USA, Inc.

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Pete Casillas
 Vice President and Publisher
 American City Business Journals

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Savinay Chandrasekhar
Executive Director
Minds Matter of Denver

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Jennifer Chang
Regional Manager
Federal Civilian Scientific
Cisco Systems

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Nolbert Chavez
Chief of External Initiatives and Executive Director
University of Colorado Denver

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Justin Cooper
Vice President
Saunders Construction

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Josh Craver
Global Head of Talent Management
FIS

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Janine Davidson
President
Metropolitan State University of Denver

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Eric Duran
First Vice President
D. A. Davidson & Company

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Laura English
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Kaiser Permanente Colorado Region

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David Eves
Executive Vice President and Group President of Utilities
Xcel Energy

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Renny Fagan
President and CEO
Colorado Nonprofit Association

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Norm Franke
Regional President
Alpine Bank

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Andrea Fulton
Deputy Director and Chief Marketing Officer
Denver Art Museum

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Bill Fulton
Founder and Executive Director
Civic Canopy

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Brent Geist
Senior Vice President of Compliance
FirstBank Holding Company

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Anthony E. Graves
Director of External Affairs for Economic Development
City and County of Denver

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Jennifer Hallam
Senior Operations Manager
BKD, LLP

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Demesha Hill
Community Relations Manager of  Janus Henderson Investors
Managing Director of the Janus Foundation

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Kenneth Ho
Principal
Westside Investment Partners

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Gene Hodge
Vice President and General Manager
Mortenson

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Scott Hutchings
Director of Government Affairs
Waste Management

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Michael Katz
Colorado Market President
Keybank

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Adeeb Khan
Director of Corporate Social Responsibility
TIAA

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Kittie Hook
Managing Director
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

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Barb Jahn
Chief Operating Officer
SCL Health – Saint Joseph Hospital

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Marty Lassen
Vice President
Complete Intelligence, LLC

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Jon Lehmann
Senior Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs
Comcast

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Paul Lhevine
CEO
Swallow Hill Music

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Jim Licko
Managing Partner
GroundFloor Media/CenterTable

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Michelle Lucero
CAO and General Counsel
Children’s Hospital Colorado

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Richard Martinez
President and CEO of Young Americans Center for Financial Education
President and CEO of Young Americans Bank

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Doug Miller
Senior Director of Wisdom
DaVita

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Gretta Mincer
Program Director
Metropolitan State University of Denver

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Jennifer Nealson
Principal
EMERGE Strategy Group

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Alexis Owen
Principal
Kennedy West, Ltd

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Meshach Rhoades
Partner
Armstrong Teasdale

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Diane Reinhard
Vice President of Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer
Craig Hospital

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Jason Romero
Vice President, Client Advisor
JPMorgan

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Andrew Schmidt
Partner
Core Contractors

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Gloria Schoch
Community Affairs Director
Molson Coors Brewing Company

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Tyler Smith
Area Manager – Community and Local Government Affairs
Xcel Energy

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