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Leah Weiner, Ed.D., Founder and Director, Nonprofit Learning Lab
Founding Chapter Director
Leah Weiner is the founder of the Nonprofit Learning Lab. She has a passion for ensuring that individuals working in the nonprofit sector are armed with best practices, strategies, and a community of peers. Leah has long believed that having a strong network of support makes the day-to-day work of a nonprofit professional easier! Leah received a doctorate in organizational leadership and development from Pepperdine University. She is the Founder of the New Leaders Council Colorado Chapter and 2012 alum of NLC LA. Leah also serves on National Programs Committee for NLC and serve as a Commission Member for the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships.
Ian Harwick, Owner, Harwick Consulting
Deputy Director/Fundraising Chair
Ian Harwick was born in Ohio, but raised in Colorado; he moved here when he was six months old and has not looked back. He studied Business Management at Johnson & Wales University. Ian is an entrepreneur working to build companies that are socially responsible, innovative, adaptable, and community focused. These companies in their various phases include a consulting firm, a marijuana startup, and a bike crash prevention app. In addition to the previously mentioned companies, he is also the president of his neighborhood association, Athmar Park; as the president he has helped connect neighbors in new and meaningful ways, worked to maintain the funkiness of the place, and he is currently working to create a plan designed to make the streets safer, the places more walkable, and all neighbors better connected with each other and the city at large. In his free time, Ian loves spending time with his wife. Together they are raising a daughter that will be empowered, awesome, and ready for the challenges that lay ahead. He also is co-creator of the Denver Urbanist Meetups and Denver YIMBY, two groups dedicated to connecting like-minded individuals and also leading the charge on affordable living, connected communities, and finding ways to say “Yes”. He ran for city council in 2015 and though he lost, he has maintained his drive for improving Denver, the Democratic Party, and the nation as a whole.
Felipe Vieyra, Program Director, Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club
Alumni Engagement Chair
Felipe Vieyra is currently a Bilingual Community Organizer at Together Colorado in Denver, Colorado. His previous positions include working as a Program Director at the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club and as the Southwest Denver Community Organizer for Stand for Children. Mr. Vieyra completed a B.A. in Political Science, International Relations, and Spanish Literature and Language at the University of Denver. He has been working in community involvement and advocacy programs for the last 9 yrs in Denver. He was appointed to the Immigrant and Refugee Commission of Denver by Mayor Hancock and served on the commission for 4 yrs. He sits on several boards including the following: ACCESO Spanish Advisory Board for the Denver Clerk and Recorder, Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Young Latino Philanthropist Board, Denver Young Democrats Executive Board, New Leaders Council Denver Board of Directors. He is currently a Policy Fellow for the National Institute of Latino School Leaders through UnidosUS. He coaches soccer on his spare time and enjoys hanging out with his pup of 6 months. He is originally from Morelia, Michoacan Mexico.
Abby Kuranz, Digital Marketing Specialist, Western Resource Advocates
Gianina Horton, Project Manager, Office of the Independent Monitor's Youth Outreach Project
Institute and Curriculum Co-Chair
Gianina Horton is the Project Manager for the Office of the Independent Monitor’s (OIM) Youth Outreach Project, Bridging the Gap: Kids & Cops, a project that focuses on proactively improving the relationship between youth and law enforcement in Denver. Prior to joining OIM, Gianina worked for the Denver Scholarship Foundation as a Colorado College Fellow supporting students on college access and retention. Gianina serves as a Giving Project alumni on the Chinook Fund’s Program Committee, which supports grassroots organizations working on issues of social and economic justice. She is a graduate of Colorado College with a Bachelor’s in Political Science.
Elevate Alumni Engagement Chair
Abe Kaul, Chief Operating Officer, Center for Legal Inclusiveness
Abe Kaul is the COO for the Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI) a nonprofit that’s dedicated to creating inclusive workplaces for legal professionals. Prior to his time at CLI Abe worked on a number of political campaigns including being the Director of Communications for a CU Regent’s race in 2016. Abe is also involved with UNA-USA Denver as their Director of Volunteers and serves as the Assistant Secretary for the Democratic Party of Denver. He’s a graduate of Seattle University School of law where he received a J.D. and received his B.A. in Political Science from Linfield College.
Fundraising Committee Member
Peter Sargent, Founder, Wild Climate
Fundraising Rise Up Chair
Peter grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and later moved to a ranch in Wyoming where his family still raises black angus cows. His environmental ethics were forged through agriculture, hunting, and fishing. After studying environmental policy at Johns Hopkins University, he worked as an environmental organizer with groups including Environment America, Green Corps, the Sierra Club, and The Climate Reality Project and has run more than 75 campaigns from the local to international scale. He currently works to empower rural communities to speak out and act on climate change as the Co-Founder of Wild Climate.
Topher Williams, Freelance Communications and Political Consultant
Topher Williams is a Colorado Native who recently made the move back to Boulder from Missoula, Montana where he lived for just shy of a decade. Prior to returning, Topher served as the Director of NLC Montana after completing the NLC Fellowship program in 2014. He brings four years of state chapter experience to the NLC-Colorado board. Topher helped manage several ballot initiatives in Montana and has been recognized as one of Montana's "25 Under 25."
In addition to his electoral work, Topher has previously been employed by Montana Conservation Voters as an Organizer before joining the Missoula Urban Transportation District as the Chief Communications Officer. Topher has also served as the Development Director for Forward Montana, which is the Montana affiliate of New Era Colorado. He also helped promote small businesses while working as the Membership and Events Director at the Downtown Missoula Partnership. Educated at the University of Montana where he earned a B.A. in Communication; Topher also loves to bike, hike, camp and enjoy all the outdoor activities associated with living in the Rocky Mountain West.
Rachel Rose, Research and Evaluation Specialist, iDE
Rachel is the Research and Evaluation Specialist for iDE, an international development non-profit that supports the rural poor through market-based approaches. Before joining iDE, she was a research consultant for Causal Design and the Urban Institute. Rachel started her international development career serving in the Obama Administration at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) after working on the 2008 Obama campaign. She earned a B.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her M.A. in International Economics and Development from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
Tera Jones, Operations Manager, Denver Public Schools
Recruitment Rise Up Chair
Tera Jones is a Denver, Colorado native and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Pomona College in Claremont, CA. Tera is deeply committed to the pursuit of justice for all people through educational equity. Because of this passion, Tera currently works as the Operations Manager for Denver Public Schools. Prior to serving as Operations Manager, Tera worked as the Lead Talent Acquisition Specials for the Denver Public School system. Tera also previously worked as the STEM Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Education, where she led the development of STEM program implementation resources with stakeholders throughout Colorado. Additionally, Tera taught 10th-grade chemistry at DSST Public Schools as a Teach for America Colorado Corps Member. She continues to be engaged with TFA as a Corps Member support team member. In her free time, Tera is a founding member of Leadership for Educational Equity’s Colorado Regional Organizing team that will be working to organize teachers, students, and families around education policy issues. In her free time, Tera also loves Denver Broncos Football, playing with her dog Zeke, baking, and eating great food.
Julie Kennedy, Clinical Nurse II, Children's Hospital Colorado
Recruitment Committee Member
A native of St. Louis, MO, Julie Kennedy moved to Denver in August of 2016 to combine a passion for healthcare with a love for the outdoors. Julie graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in International Studies and minors in Public Health and Spanish. She spent 2 years living and working in Brazil and Malawi where she learned about the world of nonprofits and furthered her desire to find affordable and equitable healthcare solutions. While in Malawi, she managed 5 nurses who opened her eyes to the immense education and advocacy opportunities available in the world of nursing. Julie then returned to the US where she completed a second Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. In August of 2016, Julie accepted a position in the New Graduate Nurse Residency program at Children’s Hospital Colorado on the Hematology/Oncology Unit. Here, Julie is able to use relationship-driven therapy and cutting edge research protocols to provide holistic care to pediatric patients. Julie has a deep passion for the power of connection and believes children, from all places around the world, are some of life’s greatest teachers. International adventures are always on the horizon and Julie hopes to use the skills she is learning in the US to make connections around the world. For now, she spends her free time traveling, in the mountains, and delving into good books.
Antonio Mendez, Executive Director of Serve Colorado, State of Colorado
Antonio has worked in government and education for almost a decade and has worked in the Hickenlooper administration for the past three years, first as Deputy Chief of Staff to Lieutenant Governor Joseph Garcia and then Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne. Recently, Antonio was promoted to Executive Director of Serve Colorado- the Governor's Commission on Community Service.
Antonio was the fortunate recipient of a Posse Scholarship and graduated from Colby College with a B.A. in American Studies. After Colby, Antonio dedicated himself to public service. He worked as Teach for America Corps member, a Senior Trainer at the Posse Foundation, a Colorado Legislative Fellow, and an intern in the Obama Administration. In 2014, Antonio graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law with a Juris Doctor and a certificate in International Law.
Antonio and his wife, Caitlin, live in the Capitol Hill neighborhood with Duke, their poodle- schnauzer mix.
Shira Weiner, Director of HR, Gamma Phi Beta
Shira’s passion is connecting great people with jobs that build stronger communities. Shira is the Director of HR for Gamma Phi Beta, an international sorority based in Colorado. Previously she was the manager of executive recruitment for Hillel International and Regional Admissions Director for City Year. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelors in Human Resources and a masters from Teachers College at Columbia University. She loves hosting dinner parties (you're invited) and is helping to build Denver Makes! an organization that sparks creativity and community by bringing folks together to make cool thing
Laura Harney, Manager of Enrollment, Rocky Mountain Prep
Selections Committee Member
A native of Rochester, MN, Laura Harney combines her love of policy and education as the Manager of Enrollment at Rocky Mountain Prep. Previously, in policy, Laura worked as a program director for Senator Mike Johnston (2016) and as a fellow in Indianapolis (2015) for the Urban Leaders Fellowship. Prior to this policy work, Laura worked in the classroom at a project-based, staff-led school in Minnesota and as a 9th grade biology teacher and founding educator at Girls Athletic Leadership School in Denver. Laura has a deep passion for global citizenship and has fostered that by going on a five-month, solo backpacking journey through SE Asia to learn about the intersection of culture, education, and sustainability as well as by being a 2013 Fulbright Fellow in Ecuador. Laura attended Luther College in Decorah, IA graduating magna cum laude with majors in biology and Spanish and a minor in Secondary Education (2013). She was named “Outstanding Student Leader of the Year, 2013.” In her free time, Laura loves climbing mountains, drinking tea and coffee, and reading in her hammock.
Tony Lucero, Manager of Talent Acquisition, DSST Public Schools
Selections Rise Up Chair
Tony Lucero is the Talent Acquisition Manager at DSST Public Schools, where he and his team oversee hiring strategy and implementation for a high-achieving charter school network with 13 schools. Nearly all of Tony's career has been in education, beginning as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Greater Philadelphia, where he provided attendance, behavior and academic intervention support for students in a 6th grade classroom in North Philadelphia. In addition, he created a nonviolence and service learning after-school program for students as well as served as a council member for AmeriCorps members. He also worked at an elementary school as the After-School/Summer Coordinator in the Kensington neighborhood before rejoining City Year as an Impact Manager at City Year Denver. There, he lead 35 AmeriCorps members within 5 years to implement City Year's "Whole School, Whole Child" model to achieve attendance, behavior and course performance goals for students in elementary and middle schools in West Denver. As a manager, Tony became inspired to shift his focus toward Human Resources in order to help create more positive and engaging workplace cultures for nonprofits and employees who undertake challenging work. Tony was born and raised in Denver and is currently an MBA candidate at Regis University.
Curriculum Rise Up Chair
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