About Us

IT'S NOT JUST OUR NAME,

IT'S OUR PROMISE

Our primary focus in all actions taken, policies made, and lessons planned is the welfare of the YESS students, because we envision all our students becoming caring and productive members in their communities.

The YESS curriculum provides a method to teach emotional intelligence, social emotional learning, and mindfulness. These concepts are the foundation to inner peace, and connection to one’s purpose in life. YESS works from the perspective that everyone has a gift, a contribution to make to the community, and the world; and emotional intelligence helps us to connect to that purpose. We call it finding your Road to Success.

OUR VALUES

COMMUNITY BUILDING

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

EQUITY & INCLUSIVENESS

INNOVATION

INTEGRITY

PEER LEADERSHIP

YESS LEADERSHIP MODEL

THE FOUR I's

INTROSPECTION

The core of leadership and role modeling. To influence society, we believe it has to start from within: clear values, beliefs and motivators.

INTEGRATION

The ability to monitor, control and manage behavior. It allows us to better our relationships with others through exemplary role modeling.

INSPIRATION

Behaviors that inspire others to be and do their best. It brings out the best in others, from one-on-one relationships to group dynamics.

INFLUENCE

It replicates and emulates, and shapes healthy communities. It creates a ripple effect, inspiring good behavior that’s contagious.

OUR MENTOR LEADERS

Mentor Leaders are at North, West Leadership Academy, Lincoln, Adams City, and Westminster High Schools

YESS Mentor Leaders support our classrooms by coordinating and managing the students involved in the program.  A Mentor Leader embodies the YESS Mentoring philosophy within the school and helps engage students in the curriculum. They are responsible for supporting the Program Manager each week to build momentum and structure within the group. They use their leadership skills to hold all of the mentors accountable, and provide stability in the community.

Stay tuned as the 2018-2019 YESS Program Managers are getting to know the students, Mentor leaders will be voted on soon!

YESS THROUGH THE AGES

OUR HISTORY

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In 1992-93, Carlo Kriekels and his friend Ronald ride 35,000 miles from California to Chile on a motorbike.  The 18-month long trip started out as a great adventure to discover the authentic Latin America. It ended with a shift in life priorities. Social justice motivated Carlo to study law. The motorbike trip gave him a “compass for caring”: to improve the lives of children.

YESS co-founders, Susan Greer and Carlo, met in 1995 in England. Carlo enrolls in personal development, emotional intelligence and leadership courses held by Susan’s company Perceptions Training International.

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Susan and Carlo co-facilitated leadership workshops and intensive personal development programs for primarily international business leaders in Brussels, Netherlands, UK and the United States.

Carlo moves to Denver in 1999.

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In 2001, Carlo and Susan made the leap to co-found the YESS Institute as both felt deeply about providing these valuable emotional intelligence concepts to at-risk youth and role models. Initially, YESS focused on training mentors and mentoring agencies in its emotional intelligence concepts. Since 2001, YESS has trained close to 5,000 role models through workshops, speaking engagements, conferences and keynotes.

YESS co-founds the Mentoring Forum in 2002 with Carsten Baumann and Ge Thao to address mentoring agencies’ need for support. The Mentoring Forum was the forerunner to the Youth Mentoring Collaborative in 2005 and Mentor Colorado in 2014.

In 2003, based upon the ideas and leadership by Mountain Vista high school juniors Jacob Malson and Annalise Smith, YESS piloted its first peer mentoring program at Denver’s Morey Middle School

Between 2003 – 2006, YESS facilitates its high to middle school peer mentoring program at Douglas County , Jefferson County – Jefferson High School and Wheatridge Middle School – and Denver Public Schools – Henry Middle School, Denver Center for International Studies

Susan Greer left the YESS Institute in 2005. She moved with her family to New Mexico. Susan left a legacy as she was instrumental in laying a strong foundation as a co-founder and visionary.

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In 2006,the YESS Institute is one of nine Denver mentoring agencies joining the Youth Mentoring Collaborative’s three year contract with the Denver Department of Human Services. We recruited first-generation college students to be mentors to Greenlee and Kepner Middle School students at Denver Public Schools. The program ran successfully for three years.

In the 2006 – 07 school year, YESS piloted its high school peer mentoring program – YESS Mentoring –  between juniors/seniors and freshmen at Abraham Lincoln High School at Denver Public Schools.

In 2008 the YESS school engagement model at Abraham Lincoln receives award as “most innovative school engagement leadership program” by the Mayor’s Office for Education and Children of the City and County of Denver.

In 2009 Denver Public Schools contracted with the YESS Institute to expand the Lincoln model to North and West High Schools.

Jonnathan Smith chooses the YESS Lincoln model as the subject for his dissertation: “A Look into the Cross-Age Peer Mentoring Process and its Effects on the Individual” at the School of Education of the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009.

In 2010, Denver Public Schools awards YESS ARRA funding (stimulus monies) to expand the Lincoln model to be piloted at North and West High Schools at Denver Public Schools.

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During this 2011 – 2012 school year, YESS serves 150 students at North, West and Lincoln High Schools as it receives Tony Grampsas Youth Services monies to sustain its pilot models. YESS is now an integrated credited, daily, during the day class. This is the first year implementing the current School Engagement Model.

Co-founder Kriekels received the 2011 “Heavy Lifting Award” by the Denver Mayor’s Office for Education and Children in recognition of his efforts to improve the lives of children and youth in Denver.

In 2011 Richard Male and Associates and the YESS Leadership developed a three-year strategic business plan. The plan provides a road map to fulfilling the YESS vision of developing a best practice that can be implemented nationwide through product development.

In 2012 YESS applies for and receives the prestigious national Service to Science grant from SAMSHA. This technical assistance grant provides the evaluative support to lift our innovative model to an evidence-based practice.

Carlo Kriekels records YESS Institute’s first product “The 9 Key Components of Peer Mentoring” in 2013. An audio course addressing every aspect to successfully implement a peer mentoring program in different settings.

In 2013 YESS makes the strategic decision to work alongside with the Adams County Youth Initiative to focus on Adams County due to migration of low-income families from Denver to Adams.

In 2014 YESS is one of the founding agencies of Mentor Colorado – a statewide mentoring partnership agency under the umbrella of MENTOR to advocate for mentoring and enhance partnerships and sharing among agencies statewide.

In the 2014 – 2015 school year, YESS expands its intensive, integrated YESS Mentoring model to Westminster Adams 50 school district to serve three middle schools – Scott Carpenter, Ranum and Shaw Heights serving 300 students daily.

2015: YESS develops curriculum for the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor’s initiative Bridging the Gap – Cops and Kids Forums.

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Due to gentrification in Denver City and County, many low income families are moving to Adams County, north of Denver. To serve the community where needed, YESS expands its services to the Westminster School District in Adams County. YESS becomes an integrated, credited, daily class for 300 students at Shaw Heights, Ranum and Scott Carpenter Middle Schools.

Washington DC National Mentoring Summit in January 2015 features YESS Institute’s “Peer Mentoring: The Next Generation” workshop

Board of Directors institutes YESS Road to Success Scholarship for most deserving YESS mentors.

YESS Mentoring expands its curriculum to a middle school model with all YESS lesson plans linked to the learning targets of the school district and the State of Colorado.

In 2015 YESS develops curriculum for the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor’s initiative Bridging the Gap – Cops and Kids Forums.

In 2015 Rocky Mountain PBS invites YESS as a community partner in its documentary series: Standing in the Gap: Race & Denver Schools”

In 2016 YESS receives the MBK25 – My Brother’s Keeper – Award from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock for its work with boys and young men of color.

In 2016 YESS strengthens internal processes and support system by hiring first Development Director; Program Director without direct service requirements; part-time Office Manager.

In the 2016 – 2017 School Year YESS expands its footprint as Adams 14 School District adopts YESS Institute’s model at Adams City High School; DPS Lake International MS integrates YESS middle school model allocating full-time in-school teacher

YESS receives funding from Department of Higher Education to expand post-secondary readiness support for YESS students during and after high school in two ways:
1) YESS students receive support per College Challenge counselors on college campuses
2) YESS institutes full-time position: College Navigator

In the 2017 – 2018 School Year, YESS partners with Aurora Mental Health, Goodwill, Denver Urban Scholars, Aurora Youth Options and Aurora Research Institute regarding increasing support for students with learning disabilities through a partnership grant by OJJDP. As a result YESS starts serving Westminster High School in Westminster Public Schools.

YESS completes Road to Success Curriculum – a comprehensive curriculum to provide students the toolto nurture healthy relationships with themselves and others, and to educate, inspire, and motivate others to stand up for a social justice issue they are most passionate about. As well, students will learn how to make healthy, informed choices when confronted with marijuana, unhealthy peer influences, and their finances.

YESS partners with the the Denver Office for Children’s Affairs in developing a balanced, educational, and interactive marijuana curriculum – Healthy Lifestyles – to engage middle school students in an after-school setting

In 2018 – 2019 School Year YESS hires its second post-secondary success Navigator to support YESS juniors and seniors in all five YESS high schools, in addition to continue to support YESS students in their post-secondary career.

YESS initiates the Board of Trustees – a philanthropic advisory board – to increase individual donations, increase community connections and strengthen revenue diversification.

THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE CURTAIN

MEET THE YESS STAFF

Carlo Kriekels

Co-founder and Executive Director, JD, LL.M.
Read Carlo's Bio
Carlo was born in Belgium and is a first-generation American Citizen. He holds two law degrees (a J.D. from Belgium and a LL.M from Germany) and is proficient in six languages. After completing an intensive four-year training program in emotional intelligence coaching, Carlo taught leadership and emotional intelligence skills to business leaders in Europe and the United States.  In 2001 he co-founded the Denver based educational nonprofit YESS Institute in order to bring the benefits of emotional intelligence skills to at-risk youth, role models and the agencies that serve youth. He is one of the key leaders in the creation of the Mentor Colorado and serves on their Advisory Board.  Carlo served on both The Denver Foundation’s Inclusiveness Committee (2009-2015) and The Denver Foundation’s Education Committee (2012-2014). In partnership with the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor, Carlo is one of lead curriculum developers of the Forums: “Youth Outreach Project – Bridging the Gap: Cops and Kids”. He received the 2011 “Heavy Lifting Award” from the Denver Mayor’s Office for Education and Children for his efforts to improve the lives of youth in Denver. In addition, Carlo accepted the 2016 My Brother’s Keeper Award – MBK25 – from Mayor Michael Hancock and the City and County of Denver for work with young men of color on behalf of the YESS Institute. Carlo lives in Denver with his wife, two sons and their Wheaten Terrier. In his free time he enjoys cycling over and across the Colorado Rockies.

Sara Sankovich

Operations and Programs Director
Read Sara's Bio
Sara has been with YESS since 2014; first as the Program Manager of Scott Carpenter Middle School, and now as the guide for all of our programs. She seeks to implement best education practices, intersectional-multiculturalism, and foster the YESS community

Jamie Miller

Office Manager
Read Jamie's Bio
Jamie has worn many hats at YESS since becoming office manager in 2016. She is currently working towards a LMFT license, and strives to incorporate the best mental health practices into YESS.

Emily Webster

Post-Secondary Success Director
Read Emily's Bio
Emily studied Sociology at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Her coursework regarding social stratification and justice/injustice along with internship opportunities encouraged her to pursue work with adjudicated youth and their families. In 2011, a serendipitous vacation in Denver led her to working with the awesome young people at West High School where she served as Program Manager, and then in 2015 as a Navigator for students to cross the bridge from secondary school to Success.

Hannah Reed

Development Coordinator
Read Hannah's Bio
Originally from Wisconsin, Hannah moved to Colorado in 2017 and joined YESS as the Development Coordinator in 2019. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire with a Bachelor’s in English and Sociology, a degree inspired by her work promoting child literacy with Crow and Lakota Sioux Native American communities. After moving to Denver, she began volunteering with the organization HeadCount to encourage youth voice in politics. On the weekend you can catch her hiking some of her favorite local spots at Mt. Falcon or Eldorado Springs!

Breanne Goldman

Curriculum Designer
Read Breanne's Bio
A professional educator since 2002, Breanne has taught in underserved communities, high performing suburbs, private tutoring centers, and was an editor of the National Geographic Edge literacy workbook. Throughout her teaching career, Breanne earned numerous research and teaching awards, including a Fulbright Scholarship to Russia, and has served on multiple curriculum and instructional leadership teams. She was a founding teacher of the Denver Center for International Studies at Montbello, where she co-designed the curriculum and taught anthropology, geography, literacy, and life skills. Breanne holds technical certificates in Fashion Design and Business, a BA in History, Russian Minor and a Master’s in Secondary Education with endorsements in History, English, Health, and Family/Consumer Sciences.

Austin Miller

Data Evaluations Manager
Read Austin's Bio
Austin is the Data and Evaluation Manager for the YESS Institute. He’s forever curious about how people think and what drives perceptions and behaviors. He’s passionate about leveraging data to effectively reach more desirable, equitable outcomes and crafting compelling stories using data. Austin has five years of corporate experience in market research and non-profit experience in community engagement and program evaluation. He studied linguistics and communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder and for the last 20 years, he has been enjoying skiing the Rockies, road biking along the Front Range, and exploring all the experiences Denver and Colorado have to offer.

Vince Trujillo

Program Manager of North High School
Read Vince's Bio
Vince is a Colorado native and grew up in North Denver. Before joining YESS in 2017, Vince spent over nine years teaching and mentoring youth in DPS in character, life skills, and leadership at Colorado UpLift, and four years working as a special education paraprofessional in DPS before that. He also has a background in helping people find jobs, food service, summer camps, and case managing.

Erica Castro

Program Manager of Adams City High School
Read Erica's Bio
Erica Castro grew up and attended college in Texas. She graduated with her Bachelors degree in Art Education, and completed University of North Texas’ secondary education program as well as student teaching. After graduating, she traveled with her dad to 12 countries where her love for different cultures and nature grew; and was inspired by her experiences abroad to move to Colorado. Before joining YESS, Erica was an Americorps member with Colorado Youth for a Change, where she did dropout prevention and student advocacy work at Adams City High School.

Garcelle Franklin

Program Manager of Westminster High School
Read Garcelle's Bio
As a child in SC, Garcelle noticed the affect that teachers of color had in the classroom and was encouraged to pursue her passion of working with children. She obtained her Bachelors of Arts in History with a minor in African American Studies and studies in Social Science. During her time in college, she continued to work with children in local communities serving as the Education Chair for Winthrop’s NAACP and founding an organization to provide free child care in underserved communities. In Denver, she has served as a Truancy Counselor with AmeriCorps and a legislative aide with the Colorado State Senate. She hopes to earn her Juris Doctorate in Human Rights and create a non-profit to focus on education and mental health in communities of color.

Carlos Villagrana

Program Manager of West Leadership Academy
Read Carlos' Bio
Carlos Villagrana-Juarez was born and raised in Denver’s Westside. He is an alumni of West High School and a 1st generation Mexican-American graduate of the University of Denver and is also a product of the YESS Institute. His undergraduate degree was in Political Science and Gender and Women Studies. Carlos’s undergraduate career revolved around college access for DPS seniors who were getting ready to move on to the next chapter of their lives. The scholarship program called the Volunteers in Partnership program (VIP) and many other pre-collegiate programs through DU is the reason why Carlos has found a passion in educating the next generation of leaders in his Denver community. Through this program, he was able to reach students in ways that impacted and empowered youth in DPS. The goal has been and always will be to empower youth and to encourage them to be the best version of themselves in whatever they do. Carlos was able to teach at his former high school and coaching his former team, the West High Cowboys Football team. He enjoys walking his dog/son, Gordo and spending time with his family. He’s excited to make the full circle by returning to YESS as a Program Manager in his alma mater.

Alex Rodriguez

Program Manager of Scott Carpenter Middle School
Read Alex's Bio
Alex graduated with a degree in Urban Sociology & Community Studies in California. For the past ten years, she has worked for various youth development organizations, school districts, and educational programs. She spent the last four years with the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club working as an Art Director. Alex believes to her core that adversity builds character and has developed a toolbox of skills to help youth find ways to thrive, be creative, and build empowering communities. She creates a safe space for her students by creating a place to explore their own story, share their successes and form new bonds. To further build strong relationships, she strives to be open to tough communication, restorative practices, and conflict resolution.

Dan Medina

Program Manager of Abraham Lincoln High School - Contracted
Read Dan's Bio
Daniel dropped out of Lincoln High School as a freshman, became gang-involved and ran away from home. He was married by age 18 and by 30 he had six children. He eventually turned his life around, completed his GED, started his own construction company and volunteered as a sports coach. In 1999, Lincoln High School, struggling to reduce gang activity, asked him become the school’s community / attendance liaison and a coach. Daniel searched the streets to bring the non-attending kids back to school, placed negative peer leaders in small alternative schools and increased parent involvement. His hands-on model combined with the street-credibility earned as a result of his background has helped him connect with and help turn around many “lost kids”. In 2006, the YESS Institute piloted its peer-mentoring model at Lincoln HS with Dan Medina serving as the School Liaison for the program.

Rose Leaven

Program Manager of Shaw Heights Middle School
Read Rose's Bio
Rose was born, raised, and attended college in Iowa. She earned her BA in Spanish and Global Studies with an emphasis in peace, conflict, and Human Rights/ Latin America, and a minor in religious studies at the University of Northern Iowa. After college, she started working at a non profit that provides mobile health clinics for migrant farm workers. She then moved to Colorado where she worked for a sexual health clinic in Boulder for 4.5 years. Here, she ran the youth services department, where she taught sexual health in schools and mentored a peer education group. It was in this position she found a passion for working with and being a trusted adult to young people. In her free time she enjoys hiking, spending time with her friends, cooking, doing trivia and petting all the dogs she can.

Dean Abyeta

Family Advocate
Read Family Advocate's Bio
The YESS Family Advocate serves the communities of West Leadership Academy and North High School. Their goals is to find and connect families to resources, and to increase parent engagement.

Angelica Lopez-Rodriguez

Post-Secondary Navigator
Read Angelica's Bio
Angie is a first-generation student currently pursuing a Masters in Counseling: Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Colorado Denver. She graduated with a Bachelors in Human Services: High Risk Youth from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Angie is passionate about college access and is thrilled to be serving her alma mater Westminster High School as well as North High School. Her passion comes from personal experience of not having many college access resources like a Future Center at her high school. In turn, she wants to make sure all students know their post-secondary options to open up more opportunities and create an individualized road to success for each student.

Portia White

Program Manager of Adams City Middle School
Read Portia's Bio
Portia White has lived and worked in the Denver area since 2010. She initially came to Denver to intern at The Gathering Place, a day time homeless shelter that provides services to women and children. She came to YESS after having worked as an educator for Florence Crittenton services for over three years. Portia worked with teen mothers and their children.  She has over five years of classroom experience. She is excited to take all the knowledge that she has acquired over the years and apply it to the YESS program.

Michael Norris-Saucedo

Program Manager of Kearney Middle School
Read Michael's Bio
Michael Norris-Saucedo is a lifelong educator. Wherever he worked, he always found himself teaching, whether that was teaching floral craft and knitting at Michael’s Crafts or teaching wilderness and survival skills to middle and high school students at a backpacking camp. He’s been involved in peer mentoring since he was in AVID as a student and, later, as a mentor. He’s got a powerful passion for education and carries that with him into every day.

Melissa Raines

Program Manager of Ranum Middle School
Read Melissa's Bio
Melissa joined the YESS team in 2019. Prior to working as a Middle School Program Manager, Melissa graduated as a first-generation student from the University of Georgia in 2015 with a B.S.Ed. and B.A. Melissa has worked for two non-profits focused on education and wholistic development, including a year in Omaha, Nebraska for AmeriCorps’ College Possible program. Melissa received her M.Ed. from Clemson University in 2019. Melissa is passionate about equity in education and inclusivity.

Our Board of Directors

Rebecca Holmes

Board Chair
Read Rebecca's Bio
Director of Human Resources for the Dumb Friends League. She is recognized as a trusted HR advisor and strategist with demonstrated success developing creative programs to deliver  exceptional organizational performance. Rebecca holds a B.A. Liberal Arts and an M.B.A. from Colorado State University, is a Certified StrengthsFinder Coach (Gallup), and held SPHR certification.

Michael Behrendsen

Treasurer
Read Mike's Bio
Mike Behrendsen is Vice President with FirstBank’s Treasury Management Department. His career started in 2013 in Arizona’s East Valley market where he focused largely on commercial lending and business development. Looking for an opportunity to expand his commercial knowledge, he moved to Colorado in 2016 to the Business Banking division where he specializes in business development through treasury management offerings. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business, with concentrations in Communications and International Business, from Arizona State University, he also earned his Certified Treasury Professional designation in 2017.

Peter Grady

Board Member
Read Peter's Bio
Peter is married to Eveline Grady, and they have three children together. Their daughter is a Senior and our two boys are a Freshman and 6th grader. Peter works as a Commodity Analyst for Summit Advisory, LLC Arches.

Colleen Stanley

Board Member
Read Colleen's Bio
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, a sales development firm. Her company provides emotional intelligence, sales and sales leadership training.  She is the author of the bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success.  Colleen is married to Jim and they enjoy hiking, time with friends and learning new “things.”

Clinton Brown Jr

Board Member
Read Clint's Bio
Clinton has been a Denver native practically his entire life. After moving to Denver from the southern Colorado city of Pueblo he decided to attend Denver North High school. At North Clinton played multiple sports and was a standout varsity basketball athlete. During his junior year he decided to join the YESS program as a mentor. He realized this was something he truly cared about and pursued the role as a mentor leader. Being a mentor leader allowed for Clinton to truly realize the impact YESS could have on at-risk youth, in the betterment of their lives. YESS was one of the staples in Clinton’s life that allowed him to earn a Daniels Fund Scholarship and attend the University of Denver on a full-ride. After graduating in 4 years with a degree in Behavioral Psychology, Clinton decided to return to YESS and become one of the youngest board members for the YESS Institute.

Khadyja Johnson

Board Member
Read Khadyja's Bio
Khadyja is a Senior IT Manager with Grant Thornton LLP. As a consultant, she specializes in helping companies establish controls and processes to achieve compliance with regulations and /or verify that companies are compliant with regulations. Khadyja has experience in internal and external auditing for public and private companies. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Colorado State University and a Master of Business Administration from St. Cloud State University. Khadyja spends time volunteering with youth organizations through her work and enjoys traveling and hiking Colorado trails.

Eli Santos

Board Member
Read Eli's Bio
Eli is a Senior Business Relationship Manager and Vice President with SunflowerBank. He has worked in the banking industry for 14 years as a Business Relationship Manager, and assists companies enhance business operations by providing best-in-class banking solutions and providing a relationship based on earned trust. He has specialized expertise working with non-profit, international, contractor, and industrial focused companies. Eli has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with concentrations in International Studies from Centre, College of Kentucky. Eli was previously a collegiate level football and track coach at Wabash College before venturing into banking and still volunteers as a coach to for the various sports his two boys are involved in. He and his family moved to Colorado in 2015 and stay active as a family with sports and volunteering. Eli recently served as the Fundraising Chair for the WOW! Children’s Museum in Lafayette where he assisted with the strategic vision and growth of the museum as well as enhancing the connection between the organization and the business community.

Olivia Barry

Board Member
Read Olivia's Bio
Olivia works in branding and event execution within the financial sector, and is currently based in Boulder, Colorado. She previously worked for the Aspen Institute in their Office of Advancement and Society of Fellows office. There Olivia helped with event execution and member services, working with the Board of Trustees and other VIP guests. She also interned at the Smithsonian Institute with their James Smithson Society in Washington, D.C. Olivia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History, and a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages and Literatures : French from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.

Robert Loeb Jr

Board Member
Read Rob's Bio
Practicing attorney in Denver, Colorado for 46+ years. Concentrated primarily in the areas of entrepreneurs and closely held businesses. My wife and I have three daughters and four grandchildren, all of whom have been educated in the Denver Public Schools system. Volunteer experience directed toward youth with the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation.

Brian Russell

Board Member
Read Brian's Bio
Brian, a Colorado Native, works as a Commercial Banker for BOK Financial. He enjoys building personal relationships, and helping companies achieve their goals by providing unique solutions to complex problems. He attended Baylor University where he studied Finance and Economics. His wife Megan, also a Colorado Native, is a First Grade Teacher in Aurora. He and his wife are active in giving back to the community. They enjoy the great outdoor activities Colorado has to offer, including skiing and hiking, as well as spending time with family and friends.

Colleen Covell

Board Member
Read Colleen's Bio
Colleen is a real estate agent and investor, as well as an interior designer. Prior to starting her second career, she practiced law, both in law firms and as a federal prosecutor. In her decades of prosecuting violent offenders, she witnessed first hand the ramifications of at-risk kids dropping out of high school and ending up in the criminal justice system. Colleen lives in Denver, with her husband, two sons and three Labrador retrievers, and spends weekends at her mountain home in Salida. She graduated from the University of Virginia and Boston College Law School, where she was an editor of the Law Review.

Jay Custard

Board Member
Read Jay's Bio
Jay is a Chief Digital Advisor who works with companies to harness the power of digital technologies to drive meaningful customer experiences. An experienced digital marketing and ecommerce executive, he has worked across multiple disciplines with both large and small companies to enable successful integrated commerce experiences on a global scale. Over the past 15 years, he has been fortunate to serve the customers of Crocs, New Balance, FinishLine, Southeastern Grocers, SimpleEnergy, Mircrosoft, American Expressand Cabela’s with a focus on strategy, user experience, analytics, marketing, merchandising and technology.