2017 Colorado FELLOWS

Meet the 2017 class of Aspen Institute Ascend Fellows.

Phyllis Albritton

P-Cubed Partners

Bio

Phyllis Albritton is a principal with P-Cubed Partners. She is the former director of the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Economic Security.
Anthony Barrows

Erin Brown

Colorado Health Foundation

Bio

Erin Brown is the Vice President for community investment and impact at the Colorado Health Foundation, where she leads a team of nearly two dozen professionals to bring health in reach for all Coloradans. Previously, Brown served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Michael B. Hancock in Denver and as the city’s first chief equity officer. As an appointed official for three consecutive administrations under Mayor Hancock, Brown provided provided bold and forward-thinking leadership, and has been instrumental in building a system of collaboration among community members and organizations, local businesses and city agencies. Brown previously led the Office of Children’s Affairs, accomplishing Mayor Hancock’s goals for children and youth as they relate to early childhood experiences, grade level reading, re-engaging disconnected youth, completing post-secondary pathways that lead to employment and decreasing childhood obesity.

Kristin Bernhard

Matthew Dodson

Archuleta County Department of Human Services

Bio

Matthew Dodson is the Director of Archuleta County Department of Human Services. The Department’s assistance programs are provided to eligible residents in financial need and include federal food, cash, and medical benefits, as well as child care, child support, energy assistance, child welfare, and adult protection, prevention, and intervention services, so children and adults have a future that is bright, full of hope, opportunity, and security.

Verónica Figoli

 

Accion Opportunity Fund

Bio

Verónica Figoli is the vice president for institutional partnership at Accion Opportunity Fund, which envisions an inclusive world in which all entrepreneurs have the opportunity to make their dreams come true. Previously, Figoli served as president and CEO of the Denver Public Schools Foundation, overseeing the strategy, operations, and fundraising and managing a $15 million annual budget. She has also worked in Denver Public Schools and at the Piton Foundation.

Tony Gherardini

Anthony Gherardini

Office of the Governor

Bio

Anthony Gherardini is executive director of the Department of Personnel and Administration for Governor Polis. Most recently Mr. Gherardini served as the deputy director of the Office of Behavioral Health at the Colorado Department of Human Services. Previously, he served as deputy director for operations at the Colorado Department of Human Services, where he was responsible for the oversight of a $2 billion annual budget, and the daily operations of the department’s 5,000 employees.

Kristin Bernhard

Dr. Tista Ghosh

Edwards Lifesciences

Bio

Tista Ghosh is the vice president for employee health at Edwards Lifesciences. A CDC-trained epidemiologist, Ghosh previously served as the medical director for Grand Rounds. Prior to that, she was the chief medical officer for the state of Colorado and a member of the US Community Preventive Services Task Force.

Gretchen Hammer

Public Leadership Consulting Group

Bio

Gretchen Hammer is the founder of the Public Leadership Consulting Group, which works with all sectors of civic life, supporting the public, private and philanthropic sectors to make an impact. Hammer previously served as Colorado’s Medicaid director.
Tony Gherardini

Nikki Hatch

Administration for Children and Families, Region 8

Bio

Nikki Hatch is the Regional Administrator for the Administration for Children and Families, Region 8, which serves Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. In this capacity, Hatch partners with state, local, community-based organizations, and tribes to promote the economic and social well-being of children, families, individuals, and communities in the region.
Kristin Bernhard

William Jaeger

Colorado Children’s Campaign

Bio

Bill Jaeger serves as the vice president of early childhood and policy initiatives at the Colorado Children’s Campaign, leading efforts to advance child care, early learning, and mental health policy efforts to support Colorado’s youngest children. The Campaign is a non-profit, non-partisan research, policy, and advocacy organization committed to ensuring every chance for every child.

Deidre Johnson

The Center for African-American Health

Bio

Deidre Johnson is the CEO and executive director of The Center for African-American Health. The Center works toward health equity for the underserved African American community by offering culturally competent health education and outreach that empowers community members to overcome the root causes of health problems, maximize their own individual health, and access health and support services.
Tony Gherardini

Liane Jollon

San Juan Basin Public Health

Bio

Liane Jollon is the executive director of San Juan Basin Public Health, which serves all residents of Archuleta and La Plata counties. Their mission is to protect human and environmental health and inspire well-being in their communities.
Kristin Bernhard

Mark Kling

Family Resource Center Association

Bio

Mark A. Kling is executive director of the Family Resource Center Association, an association of 30 urban, rural, and resort community Family Resource Centers located across Colorado.  Family Resource Centers promote the well-being of children and families through the provision of collaborative, coordinated, and effective community-based services.

Jeff Kuhr

Mesa County Public Health

Bio

Jeff Kuhr is the director of public health for Mesa County, Colorado. Based out of Grand Junction, his agency serves 148,000 residents on Colorado’s western slope, providing a wide range of public and environmental health services.  Mesa County Public Health plays a key leadership role toward the integration of resources among local health care, social services, and public health agencies.
Tony Gherardini

Don Mares

The Colorado Trust

Bio

Don Mares serves as the interim president and chief executive officer of The Colorado Trust, a health foundation dedicated to achieving health equity. Previously, Mares served as the executive director of Denver Department of Human Services, which provides assistance benefits and protection and prevention services to one in three Denver residents, including including food, cash and medical benefits, child care, and child support.

Kristin Bernhard

Michael Niyompong

Mental Health Center of Denver

Bio

Michael Niyompong is the vice president of strategic community partnerships for Mental Health Center of Denver and is responsible for working with community partners and businesses to meet the mental health and well-being needs of the community. Previously, he served as chief operating officer at Clayton Early Learning, Colorado’s leading catalyst in providing access to high-quality early care and education.

Stephanie Seng

Colorado State University

Bio

Stephanie Seng currently serves as the director of the Center for Marriage and Family Therapy at Colorado State University, where she manages their community-based therapy center. She is also the director and one of the founders of the University’s Child Trauma and Resilience Assessment Center, which provides extensive assessments and recommendations for children across the state who have experienced complex trauma.
Tony Gherardini

Mary Anne Snyder

formerly Colorado Department of Human Services

Bio

Mary Anne Snyder served as the inaugural director of the Office of Early Childhood at the Colorado Department of Human Services from 2012-2020. The Office, which brought together the Division of Early Care and Learning with the new Division of Community and Family Support, provides child care licensing, subsidy, and quality initiatives, and houses early intervention, early childhood councils, Children’s Trust Fund, home visitation programs, infant and toddler mental health programs, and child maltreatment prevention.

Kristin Bernhard

Cheryl Ternes

Arapahoe County Department of Human Services

Bio

Cheryl Ternes is the director of the Department of Human Services in Arapahoe County, Colorado, the state’s third largest county, with a population of approximately 643,000. The Department provides child protection, foster care, adoption, adult protection, child support, and public assistance services.

Stephanie Villafuerte

Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman

Bio

Stephanie Villafuerte serves as Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman. This state agency is an independent and neutral organization that serves as a resource and systems navigator for stakeholders and the general public, reviews complaints about the child protection system, and makes recommendations to the legislature and state government for system improvements.
Tony Gherardini

Scott Wasserman

The Bell Policy Center

Bio

Scott Wasserman is the president of the Bell Policy Center and the Bell Action Network. The Center leads the debate on family economic security and drives public policy solutions that help Coloradans get ahead and stay ahead.