Notable Women in Nonprofits, 2021

The women profiled here serve organizations that touch nearly every aspect of the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado, from the arts to the workforce, from education to poverty, from elder care to childcare, and families. Their energy, determination and devotion are helping to make our region a better place to live, work and grow.
The leaders profiled in the following pages were nominated by their peers at work and in the community and showcase the diversity of talent in our market. The leadership shown by the individuals profiled here is setting an example to shape a better future for our region.

METHODOLOGY: The honorees did not pay to be included. Their profiles were drawn from nomination materials. This list features only individuals for whom nominations were submitted and accepted after a review by our editorial team. To qualify for the list, nominees must be employed at companies in the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado, notable executives are running businesses, navigating company restructurings, arguing high-stakes legal cases, and finding efficiencies in manufacturing processes. These notable individuals also mentor, teach and volunteer in their communities.

To nominate for future Notables, please visit here


Diana Alvarado
Boulder Food Rescue
Bilingual community outreach manager
Years in industry: 4
College, university: Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia; EUDE-Spain

Diana M. Alvarado is the community outreach manager for Boulder Food Rescue, a community-driven food distribution organization located in Boulder. She works in her role to maintain more than 40 different No Cost Grocery Program sites, which are community-led food distribution points at affordable housing sites that exist to mitigate food access barriers. The sites are run within communities, by community members, which ameliorates barriers associated with operating hours, transporting groceries, and stigmas surrounding needing and receiving food.

“We deliver more than 1,200 pounds of healthy food daily to these sites. Traditional food access agencies, such as food banks, do not often build deep relationships with community members and program users. The way we reduce stigma through our programming is by building deep relationships with community members. Diana builds these relationships, and goes out of her way to make sure that community members are seen, understood, and listened to,” said co-worker Hayden Dansky.

“She not only works with community members to ensure they can give feedback, but she builds true genuine friendships with individuals involved. Diana sends grocery program coordinators a birthday card on their birthdays, she knows all of their pet names, and she sends their pets treats as well. Diana conducts outreach at programs to make sure that more members of the community can be heard. Because she is bilingual and Latina herself, she builds relationships with Latinx community members who often face additional barriers participating because of language and cultural barriers.”

“Diana provides support to these community members and connects with them on deep personal levels. She also builds strong relationships with many older adults who face food insecurity. Diana is incredibly patient, communicative, and effective at her work. She organizes all of the sites on her own and pays special attention to the details, making food access less stigmatized overall,” Dansky said.


Carol Bennis
Childsafe Colorado Inc., Fort Collins
Executive director
Years in industry: 10
College/university: Cleveland State University

“Throughout my time in the nonprofit world, I have met many people who are dedicated and give back to their cause. However, it is rare to find someone who is able to dedicate their passion in an actually effective and worthwhile manner. Carol Bennis is making Fort Collins an instrumentally better place,” said grant writing consultant Alex Koenigsberg.

Childsafe provides therapy and recovery options for children who have been sexually and physically abused.

“What sets Carol apart from others is that she amplifies results. Under her guidance, the organization has grown by 122 clients from 2019 to 2020. That is 122 more people who are receiving life-saving therapy, thanks to the leadership and direction of Carol.

“When COVID hit and other nonprofits were unsure of their future, Carol was organizing for every possible future. She brought dozens of partners into the fold to provide no-cost electronics and internet to clients who were without, so they could continue therapy. She oversaw an upgrade of the facility to incorporate new HVAC, filters, fans, and enhanced cleaning services to protect the clients. Lastly, ChildSafe began working with clients in new and innovative ways that kept everyone safe while still maintaining the support each client had come to rely on,” Koenigsberg wrote in his nomination.

“While this is only a small part of what she has accomplished, it doesn’t touch on the most important aspects of Carol at a personal level. She is a kind and caring leader in our community. She is the type of woman who can (and does) make friends with everyone, whether it be through volunteer work, collaborations with other community groups, or ChildSafe. I couldn’t be more excited to nominate Carol, as she inspires me every day I work with her, and I know she can do the same for Colorado.


Heather Buoniconti
Food Bank for Larimer County
Chief development officer
Years in industry: 23
College, university: Utah State University

Heather Buoniconti is the person at the food bank responsible for raising money and cultivating donor relationships for the agency that feeds those in the community whose cupboards come up bare by month end.

“I started my nonprofit career as a volunteer … and I have gained valuable knowledge in everything from managing special events to leading fundraising teams that exceed multi-million dollar revenue goals year after year,” she wrote in her LinkedIn profile.

“As the chief development officer for the Food Bank for Larimer County, I am responsible for developing and executing annual and long-range fundraising plans to achieve FBLC’s strategic goals. I work closely with our board of directors, and as a senior manager I am actively involved in budget setting, organizational goals and planning initiatives. I lead an integrated development, marketing and outreach team and oversee all aspects of fundraising including individual and major gifts, foundation and corporate giving, planned giving, direct mail campaigns, special events, web-based giving, and other community based fundraising activities.”

Buoniconti has learned that being a development manager means finding the donor’s interests and connecting those interests with the organization’s services. “I am grateful to live and work in Northern Colorado and to have the opportunity to build relationships and collaborate with a variety of unique and exciting individuals,” she said.

Prior to coming to the Food Bank, she worked as executive/development director for the American Cancer Society in the Natick, Massachusetts, and Denver regional offices.

She’s a member of the Foothills Rotary Club in Fort Collins, a past recipient and current selection committee member for BizWest’s Forty Under 40 program, and is on the steering committee for the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Fort Collins program.


Judy Calhoun
Pathways Hospice
Director of development
Years in industry: 36
College, university: Bryn Mawr College

Running nonprofit organizations — and especially raising money for nonprofits — mark the hallmarks of Judy Calhoun’s career.

Calhoun is the director of development for Pathways Hospice, a position she’s held for six months. Prior to that, she served for nearly 13 years as the CEO of the Larimer Humane Society.

Fundraising has taken center stage for Calhoun throughout her career. Prior to her most current positions, she was associate executive director of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation, executive director GLBT Community Care of Colorado, vice president for development and community relations at the Dumb Friends League, development director of Peninsula Humane Society in Burlingame, California, and associate director of Engineering Fund at Stanford University.

She is a certified fundraising executive and a certified animal welfare administrator.

Her volunteer activities mirror her professional positions: She chaired the board of the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, was president of the board of Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies and served in numerous roles with these agencies.

“I have had the pleasure of being Judy’s executive coach and lead her peer advisory Vistage group,” said Nancy Haboush in a LinkedIn endorsement. “Judy is a thoughtful, intelligent and heart-centered leader. With an eye continuously on strategy and a passion for execution — she blends the perfect balance of a leader being able to inspire others to perform while leading the team through growth, change and excellence. She is a strong leader, demonstrating a healthy dose of confidence and humility that make her easy to work with. Her belief in the organization’s mission is the secret sauce to success. I am in awe at her involvement in the protection of animals. She makes a difference by actively serving on local, state and national boards, never assuming it’s someone else’s job.”


Tammy Chandler
Boys and Girls Clubs of Larimer County
Chief financial officer
Years in industry: 18
College/University: University of Northern Colorado, Regis University

Tammy Chandler has been instrumental to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County’s success for nearly two decades. In fact, her work with youth in Larimer County began with a predecessor organization in Loveland, Youth Empire.

“Year after year, Chandler ensures that the organization stays in solid financial health, is a good steward of donor contributions and is transparent and strategic in financial management,” according to Kaycee Headrick from the organization. “Tammy’s strategic mindset and leadership has helped the club expand to more locations and serve more youth than ever before, even hitting our biggest growth spurt during the difficult year of 2020. More than that, Tammy consistently goes well beyond her job duties to make sure the kids at Boys & Girls Clubs have a great experience.”
Chandler doesn’t confine herself to the books. “Often times when her office work is done she heads to the club to implement cooking programs with teens and serves as mentor to many of them.

Chandler volunteers with other organizations as well. She is a board member with the Loveland/Big Thompson Kiwanis Club, volunteers for a dog rescue and takes on other volunteer roles whenever called.

A member of the finance committee for the clubs, Sue Wagner of Bank of Colorado, said that Chandler’s financial acumen has helped maintain the organization.

“I have first-hand knowledge of the critical impact that Tammy’s work with maintaining finances, budget and planning has had on the success of BGCLC. The sound financial management has provided the information necessary for BGCLC to be responsive and nimble in the dynamic environment of late. … She is a leader and gets a lot accomplished in a quiet way that doesn’t seek recognition or applause, but there would be a big hole to fill if she was not in the mix.


Kari Clark
Alternatives to Violence, Loveland
Executive director
Years in industry: 6
College/University: George Mason University

“Kari Clark is a truly remarkable nonprofit leader. She is a big-picture thinker and natural connector who also has expertly built excellence and professionalism into the operations at Alternatives to Violence over the past three years as the agency’s executive director,” according to nominator Allison Seabeck, the ATV board treasurer. Clark is known for posing questions that cause her team, board, colleagues around the state, and even funders to think differently and grow into better strategic decision-makers, Seabeck said.

Clark joined Alternatives to Violence in the fall of 2018 after a period of leadership turnover, declining funding and turmoil. She led a turn-around of the agency and revitalization of its essential domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault support services to the Loveland/Berthoud communities.

The agency’s financial position has become more secure due to effective grant management and donor relationship building. She oversaw the addition of services including children’s programming and counselling and the enhancement of secure housing opportunities for clients. She and her team have also increased training opportunities, community engagement and volunteer engagement.

Through the COVID-19 crisis, she maintained operations of an in-person safehouse. “Kari excelled at finding creative solutions and making strategic decisions quickly, which demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the safety of the agency’s clients and team,” Seabeck said.

Another nominator, board member Yvonne Zack, said Clark’s arrival as executive director resulted in a three-year strategic plan. “She developed training and professional growth practices for all staff, giving them tools to deal with traumatized victims of domestic violence. Kari works diligently to promote an atmosphere of positivity, respect and best working practices.


Kimberly Da Silva
Community Food Share, Louisville
Executive director
Years in industry: 25
College, university: Colorado State University

Supplying food for those without has been a career-long mission for Kimberly DaSilva, the director of Community Food Share in Boulder County.

She has spent the past two years working with Food Share, and the 23 years before that as chief development officer for the Food Bank of the Rockies.

The story of a young adult seeking to find her way in the nonprofit world provides a peak at DaSilva’s disposition:

“Upon moving back from the Peace Corps to Denver a few years ago, I was interested in learning more about what some of the major nonprofit organizations in the area were all about,” said Meggan Thomas. “Kim immediately returned a request for information, without knowing me, and invited me to tour FBR. She took time out of her day to give me an extensive tour of the FBR warehouse, hear my story, and encourage me to get involved. That meeting led to a six-month internship in her department, which then led to a full-time position that has since launched my nonprofit career. I gained enormous amounts of valuable experience from my time at FBR, which all began because Kim connected with me and shared her passion for FBR with me,” she said. Thomas is now the corporate and foundations manager at Virginia Humanities.

A long-time co-worker also talked about her character:

“In the time I’ve known Kim, not only have I made a life-long friend, but I’ve seen a woman for whom no mountain is insurmountable. She has juggled people, departments, committees, and especially donors with her special brand of kindness, humor, and finesse,” said Sean Puglisi.


Perla Delgado
I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County
CEO
Years in industry: 8
College, university: University of Colorado Boulder, Texas State University

Perla Delgado has spent her career working with youth who need assistance either finding their careers or finding a path to higher education, and then completing the program.

She is the CEO of the I Have a Dream Foundation, which has as its goal “closing the gaps and walking alongside youth to build a path to college, career or technical education.”

While she has been with the foundation only since August last year, her experience runs deeper.

She was director of the College Assistance Migrant Program at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, where she helped recruit and retain migrant students and helped them complete their college programs. She managed a mentorship program for first-year students. She implemented practices to increase graduation rates. She researched migrant parent perceptions of higher education.

Earlier in Austin, she directed outreach for the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas, and before that she worked in the Austin Independent School District on multicultural outreach and community engagement. She operated an English as a second language program for working parents. And she ran a weekly radio program directed at Spanish-speaking parents.

In Longmont, she volunteers with the Longmont Sister Cities program, Shoreline Church and Mobile Loaves & Fishes.


Kelly Evans
Neighbor to Neighbor, Loveland
Executive director
Years in industry: 18
College, university: University of Kansas

“Kelly Evans is an unparalleled leader in the nonprofit sector, combining care for her community with an ability to envision long-term solutions.” So said co-worker Jenny Maeda.

“Over the past year when many nonprofits shrank, Kelly provided visionary leadership to expand Neighbor to Neighbor’s capacity for service and its geographic footprint, all while ensuring staff were at the forefront of that change. Specifically, Kelly confidently led the organization through a 25,417% increase in Emergency Rent Assistance distribution, preventing 3,278 evictions for local families. This would not have been possible without Kelly’s ability to advocate for community members to get them the help they need,” Maeda said.

Evans’ existing relationships with area partners and funders was crucial so the agency was top of mind and well poised to receive significant increases in funding. “N2N was incredibly nimble in response to the increased demand caused by the pandemic. She prioritized staff culture and wellbeing through added PTO, raises, and bonuses for the team, even as demand for services escalated. Because of Kelly’s ongoing leadership style of building a team of experts she can trust, N2N’s managers were empowered to make critical decisions to navigate pandemic challenges and transition to work from home. Kelly is a champion for housing affordability and regularly provides expert insights for how to provide housing stability in our community. She works closely with other Northern Colorado affordable housing providers to advocate for local housing issues. N2N did not get mired in the day-to-day of pandemic response; Kelly kept her eye on future goals by hiring needed staff, planning for a future rehab, and engaging board members in a dynamic strategic planning process.”

“Overall, Kelly is an incredible executive director, and N2N would have struggled immensely without her leadership,” Maeda said.


Ella Fahrlander
Community Foundation of Northern Colorado
Chief engagement officer
Years in industry: 16
College, university: Colorado State University, University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Whatever the event or initiative led by the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, Ella Fahrlander will likely be involved in the foreground or background.

Fahrlander began her nonprofit career with the foundation, moved on to other nonprofit organizations, and returned in 2015 to an active role with the region’s primary foundation.

In her current position, she is responsible for managing development and stewardship efforts, communications and events. She helps lead development activities and builds relationships.

And relationships have been part of her nonprofit work throughout her career. At the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, she was associate director of development and worked to raise money and support for the college of nursing and health sciences. She wrote grants and worked with potential donors.

Before that, she spent several years as development director for the Adaptive Sports Center of Crested Butte, the organization that provides sports activities for people who might have disabilities and are unable to participate in a traditional way.

She’s a certified fundraising executive. And she’s a graduate of the Leadership Pikes Peak Class of 2015.

Outside of work, she serves as a member of the CSU Board of Advisors for Women and Philanthropy and also as a member of the board for the Better Business Bureau serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming.


Jennifer Falkoski
Forward Steps Foundation, Realizing Aptitudes Foundation
Executive director
Years in industry: 9
College, university: University of Montana, University of the Rockies

Jennifer Falkoski built the Realizing Aptitudes program, a career guidance program, which served more than 200 at-risk youth per year along the Front Range prior to COVID-19. In addition, she navigated the exceptional challenges presented during the COVID-19 quarantine by maintaining program impact and setting the stage for a merger with Forward Steps, which experienced growth in terms of number of youth supported, retained and graduated under her leadership.

“She proactively developed an inclusive culture where all employees remained actively engaged and committed to the missions of both organizations,” said her supervisor, Rob Tiernan. “In order to support each of these programs, Jennifer has been a participant in the youth education coalition that provides statewide guidance for post secondary readiness. In this capacity, she advocates for the challenges experienced by our populations of at-risk and emancipated foster youth.”

Falkoski has grown in her leadership position over the course of the past nine years and uses a thoughtful, collaborative style to affect change and motivate staff, Tiernan said. She is diligent in her approach to building both internal and external support for our youth and carries a sincere sense of responsibility to those around her.

“She is credible, capable and presents a calm assured drive toward goals. These attributes have enabled her to successfully cultivate lasting strategic partnerships with Mile High Youth Core, The Longmont Youth Center, Forward Steps and others. In addition, her discerning attention to staff skill set, cultural fit and mentorship has helped her to hire and retain a remarkable group of professionals despite the many challenges that many have experienced over the past 14 months,” he said. “I have had the pleasure of witnessing Jennifer’s development from single domain expert to fully functional organizational leader, and it is my pleasure to nominate her for recognition.”


Julie Gallegos
Habitat for Humanity of the St. Vrain Valley
Director, homeowner services and international development
Years in industry: 14
College, university: Azusa Pacific University, St. Mary’s University in Minnesota

Julie Gallegos has brought more than 90 families into the Habitat for Humanity homeownership program in the St. Vrain Valley. This includes 12 families who are currently earning their sweat equity and completing their educational requirements.

“Since joining Habitat in 2008, she has driven a strong focus on equity and inclusion of the Hispanic community in the organization,” said John Lovell, a co-worker. “She is trained as a licensed mortgage originator for both Habitat and USDA loans. She manages the sales of loans to both commercial banks and the Colorado Housing Finance Authority. Julie collaborates with other Habitat affiliates along the Front Range to assure that there is consistency and a clear understanding of all mortgage regulations,” Lovell said.

Gallegos developed the Blueprints program to help Habitat families and others focus on where and how to direct their efforts to improve the quality of life for themselves and their community.

“Julie also has a tremendous heart for the international work of Habitat for Humanity. Habitat currently serves in 70 countries around the world. Julie started a program to focus on supporting four countries both financially and with volunteers. Each year she leads a team of local volunteers on a Global Village trip to one of these countries. She focuses the team on understanding the culture of that country as well as their unique housing needs.” Lovell said.

St. Vrain Habitat was recognized this year as one of only 56 affiliates in the nation that have contributed $1 million to building Habitat homes overseas since 1988. Gallegos’ leadership is a big reason for that achievement, Lovell said. She recently received her masters degree in international development to continue her personal growth and focus on this aspect of her life.


Mallory Garneau
FOCO Cafe
Executive director
Years in industry: 5
College, university: Colorado State University

Mallory Garneau operates the FOCO Cafe, which provides meals to people in Fort Collins, regardless of ability to pay, using locally grown ingredients whenever possible.

“Mallory took over the role of executive director at a time when the organization wasn’t sufficiently developed for such a transition, in my estimation, and it lost many supporters who had a personal connection with the prior director; [this] endangered the sustainability of the cafe for a period of time,” said Curt Bear of the LoCo Think Tank, who nominated Garneau. “She responded by building a membership program and rebuilding a board of directors that could provide experience and mentorship for her in the role. Mallory displays integrity, determination, and caring in almost every interaction, and these qualities have allowed her to not only recover, but to build the kind of support base and volunteer base that will ensure sustainability for years ahead.”

Bear said the response to the pandemic offered another existential crisis, which was navigated by the creation of a grant-supported food delivery service — and later pickup meal service similar to the former model, that allowed FOCO Cafe to not only survive, but to thrive and serve more meals to more individuals and families than ever before.

“Because of Mallory’s significant efforts, food insecurity is lessened, and community connection is enhanced, and that’s good for us all,” he said.


Gwen Garrison
Front Range Community College
Foundation coordinator
Years in industry: 7
College, university: Colorado State University, Colorado State University Global

Gwen Garrison began working with the FRCC Foundation in 2018. “Gwen’s job title does not justify the work she does for the FRCC Foundation and our students. Gwen has streamlined many processes, saving the organization both time and money. She serves as the first point of contact for all our scholars, where she annually awards more than $1million in both scholarship and programmatic support,” said her supervisor, Ryan McCoy.

“There is not a day or hour that goes by where she is not working diligently to advance their [student] lives. Since she has managed and overseen the scholarship award process, we have seen an increase in students applying for aid and a record number of volunteers. Moreover, due to the pandemic, Gwen oversaw two very important funds, the High Need (Student) Emergency Fund and the Staff and Faculty Emergency Fund.”

“Managing these funds required great attention to detail and all were time sensitive. Because of her dedication, hundreds of students and staff had access to emergency funding ensuring their rent, bills, childcare, etc., were taken care of. In addition to all this, Gwen also oversaw our daily accounting and annual audit. Operationally, Gwen has elevated the role and the work of the foundation, and in 2021 the foundation was recognized as the Department of the Year at FRCC.


Stephanie Gausch
Weld Food Bank, Greeley
Chief development officer
Years in industry: 12
College, university: Colorado State University, Regis University

Weld Food Bank’s ability to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic would not have been possible without Stephanie Gausch’s leadership. “Her voice of reason and experience helped guide the food bank to navigate the early days when no one knew what to do in the growing health crisis. As the months went along, she led the food bank’s development team to make the necessary adjustments to fundraising events to make them safe for all, as well as to effectively communicate to our donors and the wider community about the increased needs of our clients,” said co-worker Weston Edmunds.

“Through her leadership, the food bank secured funding to increase the purchasing of food when donations were low, to update our aging fleet and renovate and repair our freezer,” he said.

Edmunds described Gausch’s leadership style as one that values employee strengths and allows them to grow in their own ways, while also helping them to overcome their weaknesses. “She never micro-manages and is always willing to give advice when asked. Even employees who are not directly under her leadership will often seek her input and advice because she is so well respected by everyone at Weld Food Bank,” he said.

Outside of the food bank, Gausch serves in several capacities in the community. She is a member of the board of the Rocky Mountain Kiwanis District Foundation and leads the grant committee, as well as a member of a local Kiwanis club. She also serves on the Human Resource Board of Weld County as an adviser. Lastly, she helps lead her daughter’s Girl Scouts troop, which recently held a service day at the food bank.


Melissa Green
Boulder Bridge House
CEO
Years in industry: 10

“Words cannot describe the unwavering commitment of Melissa Green as a fierce leader in her field, particularly as a newly appointed CEO of one of the most impactful nonprofit organizations in Colorado — Boulder Bridge House,” said board member Renee Israel.

“Melissa is high integrity, very caring and available 24-7 to tackle any challenge. Navigating the pandemic expertly for the organization, Boulder Bridge House continued to provide a range of programs and services to help adults experiencing homelessness. Whether addressing homelessness through social enterprises and employment combined with housing at Bridge House’s ready to work program, supporting her team at Community Table Kitchen to provide meals to hungry, low-income individuals and families, or ensuring that basic needs are met by our community’s most vulnerable populations, Melissa embodies the mission of Boulder Bridge House, working tirelessly to be unstoppable in the face of homelessness,” Israel said.

As Israel noted in Green’s nomination, Green is new to her CEO role but has been instrumental for more than six years as the organization’s COO in helping to build Bridge House’s team, which works to transform lives of the formerly homeless.

“We are fortunate to have such an inspiring leader supporting life-saving services for Colorado’s most vulnerable,” Israel said.


Cindi Hammond
Loveland Habitat for Humanity
Executive director
Years in industry: 25
College, university: Western Carolina University, Colorado State University

“Cindi Hammond’s exemplary leadership as our executive director at Loveland Habitat for Humanity has been demonstrated through personnel development, program expansion, and financial growth for our organization. Since arriving, Cindi has led the organization to good standing and quality compliance requirements expected by Habitat for Humanity International,” said colleague Tori Stepp.

According to her nomination, Hammond restructured the organization, created detailed budget tools to contain building costs, established a signature fundraising event and added new sales strategies for the ReStore to maximize efficiency and capacity growth outcomes. “These efforts led to an increased net asset position of more than $7.5 million,” Stepp said.

Hammond presented and advocated for legislation change to support affordable housing at the state and national levels. She serves as a board member of the Loveland Housing Authority’s non-profit, Aspire 3D; as a board member for Habitat for Humanity Colorado; and serves as a member of the executive task force for Habitat for Humanity International.

She is currently leading Loveland Habitat in a collaborative land development project with Loveland Housing Authority, city of Loveland, faith partners, for-profit, and non-profit partners that will develop 14 acres of donated land to create 47 single family home lots for Habitat and will also provide two lots for rental apartments serving households with incomes of 30% to 60% of the area median income.

Hammond relocated and renovated Habitat’s administrative office to its current location on W. 29th Street in Loveland while incorporating new technologies to increase inclusivity and access to community members interested in affordable homeownership.

“By cultivating relationships with stakeholders, board, and community members, our brand recognition broadened. Her visionary and thoughtful approach to leadership built an effective team of leaders and volunteers,” said Stepp.


Tatiana Hernandez
Community Foundation of Boulder County
CEO
Years in industry: 19
College, university: George Washington University

Tatiana Hernandez assumed the role of CEO of the Boulder County Community Foundation in just July last year, but she’s no newcomer to philanthropy and foundation work.

For the past 19 years, she’s been deeply embedded in nonprofit work that extends not just to raising money for charitable purposes but also attempting to solve problems.

She came to Boulder County from the Emily Griffith Foundation, where she served as president. She led the development of mission aligned fundraising strategy that resulted in revenue of $2 million annually. She also created the nuts and bolts policies necessary for any successful foundation: fiscal management policies, gift acceptance policies, investment policies.

Prior to Emily Griffith, she worked as senior program officer at the Kresge Foundation in Detroit, where, among other things, she worked with a cross-team group to “strengthen democracy, protect human dignity and build access to justice,” according to her LinkedIn profile.

“Tatiana is a creative, thoughtful and dynamic professional who cares deeply about using the power and platform of philanthropy to create a more just and equitable world. I enjoyed collaborating with Tatiana while we were both at The Kresge Foundation and would eagerly do so again,” said Chris Kabel, senior fellow at Kresge.

She worked at the Hemera Foundation in Colorado to create the first public/private funders collaborative for the arts in the state. And she worked at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as program officer for the arts where she managed a portfolio of more than 500 grantees totalling more than $100 million in investments.


Allison Hines
United Way of Larimer County
Senior vice president of resource development
Years in industry: 19
College, university: Colorado State University

Raising money for charitable causes has been the life work of Allison Hines, who in her position with the United Way is responsible for leading the year-around fundraising efforts, major gifts programs and affinity programs. She oversees a $5 million annual revenue goal and directs the development staff in meeting that target. She directly manages the major giving portfolio of about 125 members who contribute about $2 million annually.

As noted in her LinkedIn profile, she enjoys building relationships with people — volunteers and donors. She likes being able to connect people with their passions and produce results for the community.

While she’s moved through the development ranks at the United Way, she’s also had fundraising experience in other organizations. She worked as assistant director of development for the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University, her alma mater. There, she was major gift officer, soliciting support for scholarships, fellowships, research and faculty.

She was development director for Respite Care Inc., again handling coordinating major gifts along with special events and grant writing.

Hines worked as regional development manager for the National MS Society, Colorado Chapter, and was responsible for all the fundraising activities in Northern Colorado, including Walk MS, Bike MS, Dinner of Champions and Women Against MS luncheon.

She volunteers with multiple organizations, including as a Fort Collins Soccer Club coach, senior partner with Partners Mentoring Youth, past chairwoman of Women Give, past president of the Junior League of Fort Collins and as a board member with Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center.


Nancy Hurt
Colorado State University Research Foundation
Vice president of operations
Years in industry: 20
College, university: Colorado State University

“It is my privilege to nominate Nancy Hurt as a Notable Woman in Northern Colorado. I have worked for Nancy at the Colorado State University Research Foundation as a member of the real estate services team until she was recently promoted to be the vice president of operations for CSURF,” said colleague Rick Callan.

“She is one of the best bosses and mentors I’ve worked for and her institutional knowledge is second to nobody within Colorado State University. Her entire professional career has been with the university advancing from the CSU Facilities Management group to the CSURF Real Estate Services office. She educated herself along the way while working full-time as a mother and wife. Her management style, professionalism, commitment and dedication to her people and the organization have been stellar. She has done an extraordinary job managing people and resources to help advance the university, which is an integral part of our Northern Colorado community,” Callan said.


Wendy Ishii
Bas Bleu Theatre Company, Fort Collins
Founder, artistic director
Years in industry: 35

In the early 1990s, over a few margaritas at a local Fort Collins restaurant, Wendy Ishii and colleague Ava Wright started a theater company that became known as the Bas Bleu Theatre Company. Wright ultimately moved on, but Ishii breathed life into a fledgling company that has soared to international heights under her direction.

“She has poured her money, her heart, her soul, and her life into Bas Bleu, developing a cultural center, not only for Fort Collins, but also for the state of Colorado,” said associate Lynn Bogner. “To say that Wendy Ishii has made a difference in the theatrical and cultural landscape of Colorado is an understatement. Wendy has encouraged and coached many young actors along their paths to make theater their profession. She has provided countless actors, technicians, directors and other theater enthusiasts with a place in Bas Bleu Theatre. Her work has been seen, not only in Fort Collins, but around the state at Colorado Community Theatre Coalition Festivals, around the country at American Association of Community Theatre Festivals, and internationally at events celebrating the work of Beckett. She has always raised the bar and given others a goal for which to strive,” Bogner said.

“Ms. Ishii has led her organization through what can only be described as an incredibly difficult and turbulent year. The challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the world of theater have been unprecedented. Her primary focus during this time has been safety of staff and keeping them healthy. As we move toward opening again, she has shifted her sights to audience, cast, and crew safety. This unprecedented time was a challenge both financially and artistically but Wendy has managed to lead Bas Bleu Theatre Company through it seamlessly over this past year.”


Annett James
NAACP of Boulder County
President
Years in industry: 5
College, university: University of Colorado Boulder

Annett James has a long history of working to address the needs of African-Americans in Boulder County. James was president of United Black Women long before Boulder’s NAACP Branch was formed. She is a 2020 National Philanthropy Day Colorado Honoree.

“Annett has an innate understanding of the needs of Black community members, for dignity, for a voice, for recognition and for opportunities for success,” said Bruce Borowsky, an NAACP member.

As president of NAACP BoCo, membership has tripled to more than 700 members. Under her leadership the branch not only has grown in size, but also in impact, Borowsky said. “Annett speaks out unequivocally for diversity, equity and inclusion in all facets of community life. Her visionary audacity has energized our branch to both celebrate Black contributions and culture and to persevere in tackling systemic racism wherever and however it reveals itself in Boulder County. Annett demonstrates leadership by standing up for, speaking up for, and demanding action for, equal rights and justice for the BIPOC community. Her leadership is characterized by her steadfast perseverance, her ability to speak truth to power and most importantly, in her ability to inspire others to join together in these endeavors,” he said.

As noted in her nomination, James has initiated working with local businesses and nonprofits to be accountable for their impact and responsibility to the community in the perseverance of racial equity goals through the NAACP corporate membership initiative. Her vision is evident in the NAACP BoCo Ambassador Program, designed to work with businesses to support Black recruitment and hiring, greater cultural competency in the workplace and a more intentionally welcoming Boulder community.


Sarah LaBarre
Artworks Center for Contemporary Art, Loveland
Executive director
Years in industry: 12
College, university: Oregon College of the Arts, Colorado State University

Sarah LaBarre has more than 12 years of executive and curatorial experience in non-profit arts organizations. Her passion for contemporary art and experience as a gallery director, curator, and professor has elevated Artworks Center for Contemporary Art to a national stage.

Artworks’ mission as a 501(c)(3) non-profit is to transform lives through contemporary art. “Sarah rises to the demanding role of both serving a community of artists and curating and hosting exhibitions from local, national, and international artists for the public in the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado,” said her nominator, co-worker Marissa Flores. “Her lengthy qualifications include serving as a committee member, studio manager, and guest professor at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Sarah has orchestrated more than 30 exhibitions since joining Artworks in 2018. These have drawn in countless artists, students, and members of the community,” Flores said.

LaBarre is not only an executive director and curator but an accomplished artist in her own right. A master of contemporary fiber, her work has been exhibited in seven solo shows and more than a dozen group shows. She is currently working on a commission for the Denver Art Museum.

“Sarah’s passion for art, care for the community of Loveland, and leadership style emphasizing growth and encouragement make her an excellent candidate for the BizWest Notable Women in the Nonprofits Award. I am the grant-writing intern at Artworks Center for Contemporary Art. Sarah was my art appreciation professor at Front Range Community College. She offered me the position of grant-writing intern almost a year ago, and it has completely changed my life,” Flores said.


Alice League
Art Center of Estes Park
Treasurer
Years in industry: 21

“Alice [League] has been one of those people who seems indispensable for our organization. The role of treasurer is vital to the success of any organization, and Alice has performed exceptionally for the art center for many years. She has been detail oriented and up to date on all of our financial issues, such as keeping track of sales and paying artists accordingly,” said her nominator, Lars Sage, gallery manager.

League has taken the lead to organize and coordinate the art center’s annual art market held over the Memorial Day weekend, which is the art center’s main fundraising event. “Alice is co-chair with me for our Estes Valley Plein Air program, which is our other fundraiser. She organizes the Quick Paint event that involves volunteers, and handles payments for the auction that is part of that morning’s activities,” Sage said. “Alice prints out title cards and assists in the hanging of each new exhibit. She also handles any grant writing opportunities, especially seeking funds that became available as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which aided us in keeping the art center solvent.”

League is responsible for updating the art center’s policies and procedures and assists in the training of new artist members in regard to staffing the gallery.

“Overall, Alice has been and continues to be a vital member of the board and the total organization itself,” Sage said.


Mary Elizabeth Lenahan
Dance Express, Fort Collins
Founder, artistic director
Years in industry: 32

Mary Elizabeth Lenahan started Dance Express 32 years ago and acts as the founder and artistic director. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency, Dance Express is an inclusive dance company improving lives through dance in Northern Colorado and beyond.

For 32 years, the organization has served people with and without disabilities. Many of the nearly 200 dancers trained there over the years have Down syndrome, cognitive delay, or autism.

“During this past year, Mary Elizabeth has put in countless hours making sure the Dance Express survived the pandemic. She had to learn how to move everything to a hybrid model and include virtual experiences, which is challenging in the performing arts. She put on two performances and one workshop during this time and continued to work with other organizations around Northern Colorado to see how we can partner and collaborate for workshops, fundraising and perform. During the lockdown we also had one of our most successful fundraising campaigns, all virtual and something that the organization had not done before. Not only does Mary Elizabeth work as the artistic director and put together all the performances, develop and teach the choreography, but she also speaks on Dance Express’s behalf and networks with the community. She is truly an advocate for inclusion in our community and in the arts.


Valerie Macri-Lind
ChildSafe of Colorado
Clinical director
Years in industry: 40
College/university: Colorado State University

“Val [Macri-Lind] is the best leader I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. She started ChildSafe from basically nothing and over the last many years has helped it grow into the thriving organization it is today,” said her co-worker Cathy Jones.

Jones said that Macri-Lind seamlessly balances her many roles at ChildSafe — boss, fundraiser, supervisor, mentor, therapist and advocate. “Her passion and support for providing quality mental health care to the populations that most need it are highly evident. Many of the clients and families she serves at ChildSafe would not normally be able to afford the complex and often long-term therapy that can accompany trauma,” Jones said.

“Her care for staff is also very clear as she is always encouraging training, collaboration, consultation and self-care. And while she is extremely knowledgeable in her field, she also has the strength to admit that she doesn’t have all the answers.”

Macri-Lind’s work at ChildSafe extends beyond the office. She often testifies in court as an expert on the effects of childhood trauma and sexual abuse, and she is involved in monthly case review meetings bringing together professionals in the community to collaborate on shared cases. She also encourages staff as they are inspired to support the community’s mental health through collaborations with local schools and local non-profits such as the Cultural Enrichment Center of Fort Collins and the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center.

“This last year has been difficult to navigate with the COVID pandemic, but Val’s strength as a leader and passion for this work have pulled through. She showed ingenuity, flexibility, and courage in finding new and safe ways to provide mental health services to the community, especially during a time of increased demand. And through it all, she has never forgotten to encourage staff to take care of themselves, too,” Jones said.


Glorie Magrum
House of Neighborly Service, Loveland and Berthoud
Executive director
Years in industry: 21
College, university: Long Beach City College, Eagle Rock University

Glorie Magrum joined the House of Neighborly Service 21 years ago as a volunteer and has been a staff member for 20 years, 16 of those as executive director. The House of Neighborly Service provides basic needs services, as well as assisting and advocating for those challenged by the effects of poverty or situational crisis.

“Due to her leadership, HNS has become a Larimer County first responder in disasters and crises occurrences. Glorie has served our community through multiple crises, most recently COVID-19,” said fellow HNS staff member Cheryl Wong.

Wong said Magrum led the organization’s management team into its Continuum of Operations Plan implementation. “By evaluating and prioritizing deliverance of most critical services and programs, and prioritizing safety for clients, staff members, and volunteers, we strategized and transitioned to an outdoor and drive-through model for food services, and implemented electronic and phone communications with public vendors and other partnering agencies for other services. Her primary goal was to ensure community members, whose needs were immediately escalating, had access to resources and provisions. HNS remained open making available and accessible life sustaining and stabilizing resources for those seeking assistance,” Wong said.

“She rallied the managers and team members, despite loss in volunteer base, to work harder and smarter than ever. Due to this, we shifted and simplified the process to maximize our ‘reach’ and ability to serve the community. Glorie worked alongside the team demonstrating servant leadership. With Glorie’s leadership, HNS is a voice in our surrounding communities where all people of diverse groups can come for help, ensuring social and racial injustices would never interfere with people receiving the assistance they need”.


Gina Maione Earles
Blue Sky Ridge, Boulder
Executive director
Years in industry: 14
College, university: Northwestern University, Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College

Gina Maione Earles is the executive director of Blue Sky Bridge, Boulder County’s Child Advocacy Center. Since 2012, she has overseen Blue Sky Bridge’s collaboration with law enforcement, the District Attorney’s Office, human services, the hospital systems, and school districts to address cases of child abuse and ensure that adults and children have the knowledge and resources they need to keep children safe from abuse.

“Throughout the past 18 months, Blue Sky Bridge has grown to meet the changing needs of the community. Under Gina’s leadership, staff expanded in the education, therapy, and child advocacy programs to provide seamless tele-services, ensuring the safety of clients, partners, and staff,” said Melissa Santorelli, a co-worker. “Growth can be challenging, but with Gina’s guidance, the organization continues to expand to meet the growing need for our services.” Beyond her commitment to keeping the children of Boulder County safe, Gina also serves as treasurer of the board of directors for the Colorado Children’s Alliance. She enjoys the arts and cultivating creativity, and is on the board for Trash the Runway, and independent creative lab using sustainable fashion to drive environmental and social responsibility.


Tracy Mead
Project Self Sufficiency of Loveland-Fort Collins
Executive director
Years in industry: 15
College, university: University of Dayton, University of South Carolina

“Tracy [Mead] has successfully led our organization through a very challenging year, with COVID-19, full of unknowns and constant changes. She deftly led our organization and encouraged staff to be innovative and to try new modalities for delivering our program services to families during the last 12 months,” said her nominator and co-worker, Audrey McElwain.

“Under her leadership, we were able to maintain our programs and pivot to a virtual format, which we found to actually serve our families better by “meeting them where they are” literally and figuratively. She pushed our organization to stay relevant and shared out communications to donors, grantors, and the community that the needs of single-parent families were crucial to be met. We obtained additional funding from our supporters and helped prevent evictions, replaced income from job loss, gave additional support for online schooling, and provided technology to families who now had to work or school from home.

“We brought in 49 new families into our program since the start of COVID, which shows that our services were still essential to the community. As the pandemic hit, our organization had just started a new strategic plan (StratOp). Instead of halting progress toward our strategic goals, as we all worked remotely, Tracy encouraged us to continue pursuing our initiatives, meet with partners, evaluate data, and set new goals and objectives to move forward,” McElwain said.

Mead has worked in sales, operations and management in the construction equipment and coffee retail industries. Her transition into nonprofit work allowed her to use her business background to influence and align workforce development and poverty alleviation initiatives important to families in the region.


Jean Mooney
Larimer Humane Society
Director of human resources
Years in industry: 11
College, university: Texas A&M University

Jean Mooney’s contributions to the Larimer Humane Society flow through the organization’s people to impact the animals in the organization’s care. Starting her career in the high tech arena with Agilent Technologies and Hewlett-Packard, Mooney switched gears in 2010, joining the Larimer Humane Society team as director of human resources. Since that time, she has enhanced culture, reduced risk, and expanded benefits to care for and retain staff.

“She maintains a thoughtful relationship with every staff member, creating an atmosphere of trust and authenticity. Most notably, Jean is committed to developing competent, confident managers and leaders. She provides dedicated training and coaching to help staff grow beyond their core competencies and into effective, supportive, equitable, and inspiring leaders organization-wide,” said co-worker Kara Pappas.

Beyond her work within the organization’s walls, she is also committed to professional development in order to bring her best to the field each day. She holds a professional in human resources certification, a human resources generalist certification from the Society for Human Resource Management, and a corporate community involvement certification from Boston College.

“We are so fortunate for Jean’s contributions to the organization, which extend well into our community. Her genuine concern for the organization’s people is evident by her ability to ensure that everyone with whom she comes into contact feels valued and heard.”


Rebecca Novinger
Imagine!
CEO
Years in industry: 9
College, university: Penn State University, George Mason University

Rebecca Novinger was introduced as CEO of Imagine! in the summer of 2019. If leadership is defined by where someone stands during times of challenge, then it is clear Rebecca stood strong and navigated Imagine! through its most difficult challenge ever — a global pandemic, said her nominator, co-worker Fred Hobbs.

Imagine! serves people with intellectual disabilities, and the goal of those services is to provide opportunities for them to fully engage in their communities. “So what do you do when community disappears? For Rebecca, that meant shifting how our services were delivered in an instant. Under her leadership, in less than a month, Imagine! developed a robust virtual services program designed to keep the more than 4,000 Boulder and Broomfield county residents we serve active and engaged despite a world that was essentially shut down. Of course, the end goal was always to return to in-person services, and the best way to do that is to ensure that everyone we serve can safely be out in the community,” Hobbs said.

To meet that goal, Novinger collaborated with local organizations and Boulder County Public Health to create a series of vaccine clinics designed specifically for people with intellectual disabilities. During the months of March, April and May 2021, more than 800 people with disabilities received two doses of vaccine, and with them, the freedom to once again engage with their friends and neighbors.

“Rebecca’s commitment to providing opportunities for people with disabilities comes from a very personal space. Being deaf herself, she has experienced first-hand both the isolation and the lack of expectations that can come with having a disability. She has made it her life’s goal to ensure everyone with a disability can achieve full potential, and her leadership at Imagine! during the pandemic unequivocally demonstrates her commitment to that goal.” Image courtesy Befree Moments Photography.


Kara Pappas
Larimer Humane Society
Director of development and community affairs
Years in industry: 15
College, university: Colorado State University, Regis University

Kara Pappas sees organizations such as humane societies as exemplifying “the power of the human/animal bond” and the power of forgiveness, resilience and unconditional love. Humane societies “provide safety, care and compassion and second chances to our most innocent and vulnerable beings,” she said when nominated for BizWest’s Forty Under 40 in 2019.

Pappas has made a career of work with both animals and humans. She originally worked as event coordinator for the Larimer Humane Society, then moved to director of development for the Longmont Humane Society and for a national nonprofit serving military families. Finally, she returned in 2018 to the Larimer organization as development director.
Her role is to steward major and planned giving for the organization.
She and her husband, a military veteran, work to improve services for military and veteran families. They support Project Equine and Project Healing Heroes.


Amy Pezzani
Food Bank of Larimer County
CEO
Years in industry: 26
College, university: Missouri State University

For Amy Pezzani, providing nutritious food has been her mission her entire adult life. Shortly after graduating from Missouri State, she volunteered for AmeriCorps VISTA at Ozarks Food Harvest in Springfield, Missouri. There, she started a Kid’s Cafe and nutrition education programs, along with a community garden.

She joined the Food Bank of Larimer County in 2004 as CEO. The food bank is the source of food for 36,000 people a year, and saw increased activity during the pandemic year as people lost jobs or were scratching together money to pay escalating rent.

The food bank receives about 35% of its food from grocery stores in the area — food that would otherwise be thrown away. The rest comes from food drives, private donations and through a network run by Feeding America, which matches food providers with food distributors.

Pezzani serves on the board of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, she is vice chair of Feeding Colorado and she’s a member of the Fort Collins Rotary Club.


Lori Preston
Museum of Boulder
Executive director
Years in industry: 2
College, university: Lamar University

Lori Preston has been the executive director at the Museum of Boulder since August of 2019. After a career of more than 20 years as an educator, head of school, and school administrator, Preston took the helm of the museum at a critical juncture in its 75-year history. The museum had just moved into a sparkling new structure in downtown Boulder, the board was reconstituted and re-directed, and a capital campaign neared completion.

“Arriving after a period of leadership change and indecision, her energy and communication skills re-energized and grounded the small staff. Working closely with the board and community stakeholders, she led the formation of a new mission, vision and values as well as a new, clearly defined strategic plan,” said board chairwoman Kathleen Spear. “She quickly established herself as the voice and face of the Museum of Boulder and became an active participant in several influential Boulder nonprofits, including the Boulder Chamber and the Downtown Boulder Partnership.”

Preston has established close working relationships with the city’s and county’s NAACP, the Boulder County Community Foundation, Right Relationships, and Boulder City Council, Arts Alliance, and Boulder Strong Memorial.

“The past 15 months, of course, have been a trial for non-profits across the nation. Boulder is no exception. Our financial health and sustainability have been challenged to the tipping point. Lori has skillfully managed this precarious situation, maintained staff and board morale, and applied her indefatigable energy to enhance the museum’s role as a vital community resource,” Spear said. Exhibits, virtual and now in-person programming, community cultural events, and refinement of the museum’s collections are more vibrant than ever, Spear said.

“We are hardly out of the woods, but Lori’s ability to lead and capitalize on the opportunities presented by the pandemic are unique and confidence-inspiring. Her achievements are truly notable and warrant this recognition.”


Joan Raderman
Circle of Care Project, Boulder
Founder
Years in industry: 19

Joan Raderman founded and continues to direct the Circle of Care Project in Boulder County.

According to her nomination, she has worked the past 20 years to improve the quality of life for Boulder County senior citizens, to end social isolation and build an equitable model to age in community, touching the lives of our older citizens and in turn people of all ages.

She has received a national best practice designation and many local awards for her work. Among the honors:
• Boulder Chamber of Commerce: Women Who Light Up the Community Award
• Ashoka Affiliate Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation
• Daily Camera Pacesetter Award — Quality of Life
• National Best Practice MetLife Foundation and Partners for Livable Communities
• Channel 7News EveryDay Hero
• And her most recent accomplishment during the COVID-19 pandemic is building a partnership with the MasterClass, accessing $198,000 in scholarships to pass on to low-income and vulnerable seniors to enrich their lives and reduce isolation.

Raderman has worked to enhance and expand opportunities for economically and socially disadvantaged elders and seniors with disabilities to ensure their participation in community life and access the resources that would otherwise be unattainable.

Circle of Care provides door to door volunteer transportation, free concert and event tickets and and escorts to performing arts, cultural and lifelong learning opportunities. The organization has built partnerships with more than 50 arts, educational and cultural partners to facilitate the full inclusion of older adults into the fabric of community life.

It promotes intergenerational social events to encourage sharing of generational life story and experience, and it connects trained volunteers with isolated elderly.


Lark Rambo
Coal Creek Meals on Wheels
Executive director
Years in industry: 2
College, university: The Evergreen State College, The University of Pennsylvania

Lark Rambo joined Coal Creek Meals on Wheels in a time of financial hardship. “[But] since Lark joined the organization, it has seen a 30% increase in meals served and the overall financial position has improved greatly,” said co-worker Marc Sisler. “Lark has restructured the staff to make the organization more efficient and effective in all areas. Lark’s staff is now a high performing team that is centered around teamwork, development and a sense of pride and ownership in their jobs,” he said.

Rambo previously served as the PTA president for Ryan Elementary in Lafayette, and she has remained actively involved in that board’s activities.

“Lark is an extremely conscientious leader. She is thoughtful, calm, methodical and objective. She empowers her team to lead in their respective roles and provide the tools and information they need to be successful. She is not afraid to make difficult decisions around staffing or program adjustments if it’s in line with the organization’s goals,” Sisler said. “With all that being said of Lark professionally, she is a real people person and a joy to be around and work with on a daily basis. I would recommend her for this recognition as I believe she exemplifies a leader in the nonprofit area.


Jenna Riedi
Canyon Concert Ballet, Fort Collins
Executive director
Years in industry: 15
College/university: University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

As executive director of Canyon Concert Ballet, Jenna Riedi is one of two full time staff members; she supervises a team of almost 30 individuals. She is charged with providing leadership for the organization and overseeing the strategic planning, development, communications, personnel management, financial management and volunteer coordination.

She could be described as dedicated, diligent, creative, and resourceful. She is also a strong proponent of self-care so that burnout, a common occurrence in the nonprofit industry, does not occur for herself or her team.

Despite the pandemic, and the massive negative toll it has taken on the performing arts, Canyon Concert Ballet has survived and thrived.

“With creative problem solving, grit, and determination, I have kept our doors safely open since June 2020, helped our faculty keep their jobs, gave more than 250 dancers an outlet and sense of normalcy, and kept our organization alive,” she said. “My entire career and life’s purpose is dedicated to nonprofit organizations, which includes weekly community service and regular charitable giving. I pursued my masters in nonprofit management when I witnessed an amazing charity being run by passionate individuals who knew how to run their programming amazingly, but did not know how to run a business. My degree has empowered me to help nonprofits be successful and give those experts in programming the empowerment they need to achieve their mission.”

She volunteers weekly and sits on the board of Animal Friends Alliance, she’s a member of the Fort Collins Kiwanis Club, and sings with the Larimer Chorale as an alto, also volunteering for that organization when assistance is needed.


Laura Sheinbaum
Boulder Housing Partners
Director of real estate development
Years in industry: 25
College, university: Kenyon College, New York School of Interior Design, University of Colorado Denver

For the past 15 years, Laura Sheinbaum has worked to overcome one of the most prominent issues facing the city of Boulder: affordable housing. As director of real estate development for Boulder Housing Partners (The Housing Authority for Boulder), Sheinbaum has sought out creative ways to increase the number of units and improve affordable housing within city limits.

Boulder Housing Partners owns and manages about 33% of the affordable housing stock in Boulder, so it is integral to ensuring that all have access to safe, reliable housing in one of the most expensive cities in the nation. Under Sheinbaum’s leadership in the last seven years, BHP has completed seven development projects, constructing 234 new units and renovating 463 units, in addition to acquiring 261 units to be permanently preserved as affordable housing, making a massive dent in Boulder’s initiative to designate 15% of its housing affordable by 2035.

In each project, Sheinbaum and her team find ways to add beautiful and sophisticated design to what must be functional, durable, and efficient, so that it is nearly impossible to differentiate BHP’s “affordable housing” from market rate units. Laura’s work reaches beyond buildings, as housing becomes the connection to services and community that provide upward financial mobility. Laura is a shining star in the male dominated development community in Boulder, channeling her passion and determination to improve the lives of low to moderate income individuals throughout our city.


Sydney Smith
Open Stage Theater and Company
Producing artistic director
Years in industry: 23
College, university: HBStudio, New York

“As a board member of OpenStage Theater and Company, I would like to nominate our producing artistic director, Sydney Smith. Sydney took over as the producing artistic director full time at the beginning of our 2019-2020 season and immediately was confronted with extraordinary challenges. In March of 2020, all of OpenStage’s productions were cancelled as a result of the pandemic and income opportunities were reduced to fundraising efforts,” said board member Jessica Crow.

“Additionally, in July of 2020 due to financial restraints brought on by the pandemic, the theater had to eliminate the managing director position and hand those duties over to Sydney. Neither of these challenges held her or the theater company back, however, due to her extraordinary leadership. She took ownership of the company’s finances learning new skills along the way and created an unprecedented giving campaign. In December, on giving Tuesday, OpenStage surpassed all goals as a result the campaign, and the theater company has been able to survive the pandemic with flying colors and started performing again this Spring,” Crow said.

While shuttered by the pandemic, and in addition to fundraising, Smith also worked to ensure that OpenStage continued to leave a positive mark on the community. The theater produced an online show this Spring focused on spousal abuse. Smith partnered with Crossroads Safehouse to provide support and education to the community and also directed part of the proceeds to Crossroads, which amounted to almost $5,000 in donations for the organization.

“Her unique leadership style, her passion for the community and for the company continues to impress us on the board. Her commitment to bettering the organization as well as lifting up other non-profits make her a deserving nominee.”


Laura Soto
Philanthropiece Foundation, Longmont
Operations manager
Years in industry: 20
College, university: Linn-Benton Community College, Albany, Oregon

“Laura [Soto] lights up a room with her fierce spirit and passion to bridge between communities. She is a courageous force for anti-oppression, a powerful voice, uplifting members of our community, and a champion for grassroots impact. Every project she touches is better by her strong organizing skills, and way of mobilizing people and organizations toward positive social change,” said nominator and associate Pamela Malzbender.

A DACA recipient, she has worked to elevate contributions of the immigrant community, and for more than 20 years, she has made it her mission to bring people of color to the table to build a more equitable community, Malzbender said.

Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and raised in the U.S., she has worked as an immigration paralegal, professional translator/interpreter, community organizer, resource navigator and adviser for people with disabilities. She is operations manager at the Philanthropiece Foundation and co-founder of Voces Unidas, where she created the BoCo SUMA Community Resource Guide, the COVID-19 Undocu-Relief Fund and the Left Behind Workers Fund. She is a member of The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, where she facilitates dialog with Colorado state, county and city representatives defending equal protections for undocumented immigrants under Colorado law.

She is a member of the Latinx Advisory Committee to U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse and a member of Parents Involved in Education, a task-force of Latinx leaders bridging the opportunity gap for St. Vrain Valley School Latinx families.

“Her work as a cultural broker and activist has made her a powerful voice for the undocumented community. She serves Spanish-speaking communities as a bilingual/bicultural translator, interpreter, facilitator, and speaker. Laura is also an artist who shares her activism via performance, spoken-word and poetry. She has performed for Motus Theater, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, city of Longmont, city of Lafayette, Migrant Youth Leadership Institute, Noche de Peña and Tonos Latinos,” Malzbender said.


Christina Taylor
Early Childhood Council of Larimer County
CEO
Years in industry: 3
College, university: University of Maryland, Colorado School of Public Health

Christina Taylor is the CEO of the Early Childhood Council of Larimer County, an independent nonprofit organization that rallies support, resources, and awareness to ensure young children have quality early childhood experiences so they thrive from day one.

Taylor has more than 15 years of experience in management, public health, evaluation, nonprofit, and community outreach. “During her tenure, she has provided exceptional leadership to assure that ECCLC is the ‘go to’ organization for early care and education. ECCLC is recognized as a leading Early Childhood Council in Colorado as leaders regularly turn to Christina and her staff for ideas and expertise,” said colleague Julie Grawe.

As noted by her nominators, Taylor’s accomplishments include:
• Expanding collaborations with county offices, city agencies, Larimer County’s three school districts, and other key nonprofits.
• Leading the creation of multiple initiatives including Larimer Thrive by Five, ECE Recovery Task Force, Larimer Child Care Connect, and EAP for providers.
• Keeping ECE and child care at the forefront of COVID-19 response and recovery and implementing COVID-19 emergency services, such as a FEMA distribution site for baby supplies, coordinating distribution of cleaning and PPE supplies to ECE programs, and securing sustainability grant funding to keep ECE programs open.

“Christina leads by example and inspires the best of her staff by creating a supportive, strengths-based environment filled with humor, passion, and humility. She fosters collaboration and has boosted employee morale and benefits while promoting flexibility and community involvement. Christina is a visionary leader,” Grawe said.


Jeannine Truswell
United Way of Weld County
CEO and president
Years in industry: 42
College, university: University of New York at Geneseo

The Grande Dame of the nonprofit world in Northern Colorado is embodied in none other than Jeaninne Truswell, the CEO and president of the United Way of Weld County, whose contact list might as well be the Weld County phone book (if such a thing is still published.)

For the past 35 years, she’s headed the United Way, leading it through Colorado’s booms and busts, good times and bad.

“It’s very difficult to explain the United Way in an elevator speech,” Truswell once told BizWest. “Some nonprofits may have one special focus, service or client concentration,” she said. But the United Way has a broad spectrum. Its areas of interest are education, income, health and helping people meet their basic needs.

Truswell likes the broad spectrum, although youth and children are a special interest. She worked as executive director of Partners Mentoring Youth for seven years before joining the United Way. And among her volunteer activities, she serves on the board of the Colorado Children’s Campaign.

As leader of Weld County’s United Way, Truswell is responsible for overall supervision including resource development, resource investment, financial management, volunteer management, marketing and communications, program development and community building.

She likes that money raised locally stays local when contributed to the United Way.

She’s quick to say that it takes more than one person to make things happen – it takes multiple services to move people to become self-sustaining.

“And that’s who I am and what I believe in, too,” she said. “My values play through the United Way.

“It’s not always that a person’s passion can be coupled with their livelihood,” she told BizWest in an interview several years ago. “I realized I’m blessed. It’s not really a job. It’s my life, and I know that not everyone gets to do that.”


Julie Van Domelen
Emergency Family Assistance Association, Boulder County
Executive director
Years in industry: 38
College, university: Colgate University, Princeton University

The former mayor of Lyons, now executive director of EFAA, brings a deep background and understanding of issues of poverty and social protection to her role.

Julie Van Domelen worked for 17 years on the international stage as a senior economist and social protection specialist with The World Bank, where she managed multi-million dollars of funding to governments and community-based organizations in Latin America and Africa.

She also worked in the past as an international consultant and a researcher with the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Van Domelen has a significant educational background, too, with a bachelors degree from Colgate University and a masters in public administration, development economics and international development from Princeton University.

She now heads an agency that has roots extending to 1918. EFAA is a locally operated community safety net for families in times of need. From mining booms and busts, the Great Depression to today’s issues with housing and homelessness, the agency works to extend programs to those in most need in Boulder County.

Van Domelen is an expert — through her work experience and educational background — in the disciplines of poverty reduction and social protection.


Ana Yelen
Healing Warriors Program, Fort Collins
Executive director
Years in industry: 25

Ana Yelen spent more than 15 years in the high tech corporate sector before she left and became co-founder of Healing Warriors Program, a Colorado non-profit dedicated to providing service members and their families non-narcotic care. The Healing Warriors Program works closely with local partners like the Veterans Administration to help veterans and active duty service members achieve support and care for chronic pain, sleep deprivation and more.

“Through her leadership and direction, she established a long-standing clinic headquartered in Fort Collins, as well as numerous regular pop up clinic events in Denver, Longmont and Colorado Springs,” said her daughter, Natalie Fauble, who is also a volunteer with the program. “As a Cuban immigrant, Ana cares deeply for the health and wellbeing of our service members who helped her family so long ago. After coming to the United States as a young child with her parents, her successes were not without tremendous hard work. Ana exemplifies what we so often prescribe as the ‘American Dream,’ and in helping to establish the Healing Warriors Program it is her way to give back to so many who fight for the freedom and wellbeing of people. Ana Yelen is more than deserving of this special recognition, and is a recognized leader in her local community.”


Cheryl Zimlich
Bohemian Foundation
Executive director
Years in industry: 20
College, university: Colorado State University

Cheryl Zimlich had a successful career in private industry before moving into the nonprofit realm. She worked for 15 or more years in accounting and finance for the likes of Coopers & Lybrand and Sample & Bailey PC, where she conducted audits and served as a business adviser to businesses and others.

Then in 2001, she became a strategy consultant for the Bohemian Foundation, one of the primary foundations in Northern Colorado and especially in Fort Collins. She rose through the ranks and in 2014 was appointed executive director.

The Bohemian Foundation has a wide-ranging mission, and Zimlich is responsible for overseeing it. It works to empower citizens and supports youth, economic stability and vibrancy in the community. Its music programs are well known throughout the region. It also works to strengthen democracy.

Zimlich has been responsible for development of one of the foundation’s key program areas: Global Programs. In that, the foundation tries to identify and support organizations that address global challenges such as public health, poverty and the environment.

On the side, Zimlich has volunteered in board positions for the Book Trust, Little Kids Rock, Take Note Colorado and UniverCity Connections.

She’s a distinguished alumnus of Colorado State University and also received the Outstanding Community Education Advocate Award.