Employer Advisory Council

Employer Partners

Program Partners

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CWEE's Leadership Council

Leadership Council Statements

"Volunteering with the Leadership Council enables members to leverage their capabilities, network and resources to advance CWEE’s noble mission. Supporting their strategic planning initiatives, reviewing legal contracts or simply participating in their annual holiday activities, Leadership Council members help CWEE deliver even greater value to its clients."

- David Craig, Senior Director,

Global Corporate Finance at Arrow Electronics

I am involved with CWEE’s Leadership Council for several reasons. First, I have been involved with CWEE for the past eight years and have seen the impact that CWEE has on the lives of the participants. Secondly, the members of the Leadership Council represent a broad spectrum of the business community by age, gender, ethnic background and business experience. This gives us a diversified picture on how we can best help CWEE. I am most pleased when I have the opportunity to talk with participants and learn about them, their families, their struggles, and their goals. CWEE provides these participants with a way to enrich their lives and the lives around them. In return this helps to enrich my life.

- Ralph Barocas, Vice President,

Investments RBC Wealth Management

The Leadership Council meets four times a year and is comprised of a robust network of leaders with diverse expertise in multiple industries across the Denver Metro area; who will utilize their skills to support CWEE’s mission and staff in the following ways:
  • Providing leadership and expertise on various subject matters
  • Expanding CWEE’s network of supporters to increase revenue through sources that include: individuals, corporations, foundations, government support, and event sponsorships
  • Advocating CWEE’s mission and increasing awareness of our programs in the community
  • Assist in growing the Leadership Council with prominent community members
If you are interested in joining the Leadership Council, please contact our Director of Development, Baret Walker for more information.

Sam Bailey

Business Development Manager

CO Office of Economic Development & International Trade

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    Sam Bailey serves as the Senior Industry Development Manager for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) focusing on business recruitment, retention and expansion. Sam has lead and supported the recruitment and expansion of companies such as; Anheuser Busch, Arrow Electronics, Coyote Logistics, Five Stars, Intel, Micron Technologies, Niner Bikes, Osprey, Sympoz, and many more. In addition, Sam oversees the deployment and implementation of Colorado Insite, Colorado’s first statewide economic development asset map.


    Sam joined OEDIT in May of 2011, primarily focused on business recruitment and management a job-training incentive grant program. In that time, he also directed the Colorado Companies to Watch program, a community-driven, privately funded awards program that highlights fifty high-growth small businesses each year. Between 2011 and early 2014, Sam oversaw the program’s growth and transition into a non-profit entity, where it continues to recognize innovative 2nd stage companies.

    Outside of Sam’s work at OEDIT, Sam is a Board Director for Colorado Companies to Watch, serves on Colorado Lending Source’s 504 Loan Review Committee, is a member of the Colorado Thought Leaders Forum, an advisor to the Regis University Young Alumni Board and recent graduate of the Denver Leadership Foundation’s Impact Denver Class of 2014. Sam was also recognized in July 2014 by ColoradoBiz Magazine as one of Colorado’s Top 25 Most Influential Young Professionals.

    Sam graduated from Regis University and is a native of Chicago, Illinois.

Melissa Butler

Internal Auditor

OppenheimerFunds, Inc.

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    Melissa Butler is an Internal Auditor at OppenheimerFunds, Inc.  In addition, Melissa leads the local philanthropy branch of the organization’s Women’s Network.   She holds a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University Global Campus.


    Melissa has been volunteering with CWEE since 2015 and she received the Winter 2017 Volunteer Recognition Award for her recent work with CWEE.  Melissa is passionate about making a difference in the world through intentional action and also volunteers with Junior Achievement, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Toastmasters, and various school groups.  In her free time, she loves spending time hiking and traveling with her daughter.

Natriece Bryant

Consumer Education and Public Outreach Coordinator

State of Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies

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    Natriece Bryant is the Consumer Education and Public Outreach Coordinator for the Department of Regulatory Agencies, Divisions of Banking and Financial Services. Natriece joined the Division in September 2016 and brings legislative, communications, public relations and outreach experience. Previous to her role at the Department, Natriece worked for the Department of Revenue as the Communications Specialist for the Division of Motor Vehicles in Driver’s License Administration on multiple community issues specifically focusing on the under-served populations in Colorado. She also was the Communications Specialist for the Marijuana Enforcement Division where she worked on varying issues surrounding public safety and consumer education during the height of legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Prior to joining the State she served as a Victim Specialist for elder and domestic violence victims for the Denver City Attorney’s Office in 2007-2013, where she implemented several programs as the office lead the way for changes surrounding elder abuse laws and at risk populations in the City of Denver. Natriece has gained substantial experience in dealing with diverse populations, specifically seniors and children in Colorado. Natriece worked for the Denver Office of Drug Strategy where she helped implement a program that decreased binge drinking for Latino youth by 3% over the span of four years. She has worked endlessly in the community to help people of Colorado better their lives.


    She holds three Master's degrees in Business Administration from Regis University, Sociology and Criminal Justice both obtained from the University of Colorado. Her passion has always been to assist populations that are under-represented or need assistance in the community whether it be at the government level or through non-profits. Natriece also holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Colorado. Natriece is a published author in which she wrote a book in 2009 about the disparity and stereotypes of African Americans through sitcom media and how those stereotypes can play role in rhetoric and stigma in the community. Natriece continues to do outreach work and education in the community as she also serves as a professor for Regis University in the Criminology department and at Metropolitan State University where she is a professor in the Sociology department.

“I have always loved that old Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!”ᅠ One of the many reasons for CWEE’s track record of success, year after year, is because of the vision and “can do” leadership exemplified by Laurie Harvey, CWEE’s Executive Director. Combine Laurie’s leadership and expertise with the many caring hearts and work ethic of CWEE’s staff and you end up with a premier organization that is devoted to changing lives daily. These wonderful people make our community a better place to live, work and play. My hat is off to them and to the courageous participants who pass through their doors to a better life ahead! It is such an honor to serve on the Leadership Council of CWEE and to be an ambassador for this great community resource.”

- Barbara Wilcox,

First National Denver


Mitch Carter

Vice President, Relationship Manager

Centennial Bank

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    With over 30 years of extensive banking experience, Mitch enjoys providing new and existing clients with quality customer service and works to help them reach their financial goals.  As a commercial lender he believes building relationships and treating his clients fairly is crucial in understanding and attaining their individual needs.  He has experience in all areas of lending including commercial, real estate, residential and commercial construction, and consumer lending.  He also participates in various community outreach programs for the Men's Ministries group of St. Andrews United Methodist Church.  Mitch has a BS in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Elizabeth Diagle

Associate Broker & Affiliated Realtor for Homes for Heroes Keller Williams

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    Bio coming soon.

Katie Dix Elsner

Legal Counsel

Hitachi Data Systems

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    Katie is a Senior Legal Counsel with Hitachi Data Systems Corporation and acts as the company's lead privacy and employment law attorney.  Prior to working at HDS, Katie worked as an associate at Littler Mendelson, PC and a law clerk to the Honorable Justice Alex J. Martinez at the Colorado Supreme Court.  Katie received her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law and a bachelors from Johns Hopkins University.


    A Colorado native, Katie resides in Denver with her husband and three daughters.  Katie acts as a mentor the Colorado Attorney Mentorship Program and is a member of the Colorado and Colorado Women’s Bar Associations.

Vince Gilmore

Director of Business Development

Gilmore Construction

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    Bio coming soon.

Shannon Gray

Assistant Director

Center for Professional Development at the University of Denver

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    Shannon is the Assistant Director at the University of Denver’s Center for Professional Development. In her role, Shannon serves as the Center’s lead for all marketing and communication, responsible for digital marketing, brand strategy and office infrastructure for the Center’s programs, courses and conferences.


    Shannon also teaches the capstone course for undergrad strategic communication majors in DU’s Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies. Personally, Shannon is passionate about championing the causes she believes in, including education, animal advocacy and providing opportunities for low-income families to achieve financial independence through employment.


    Shannon has an MS in Strategic Communication from the University of Denver and a BA in History and Journalism from Wake Forest University. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, reading, cooking, traveling and hiking with her husband Ryan and their rescue black lab, Avery.

Nina Holmes

Chief Marketing Officer


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    Nina Holmes is the chief marketing officer at Inspirer where she drives strategy and execution for their socialᅠmedia roadmap and community building, email campaigns, branding, PR, content amplification, and events. Inspirer helps professionals discover, develop, and distribute their personal brands and Nina has created a sister company called Sheify where she inspires young women to develop their personal brands at an earlier age. To follow through on her message of “leading byᅠexample,” Nina shares her free time as a mentor and works with CWEE to strengthen Denver's community and economy.

Barbara Nett

Owner and Principal Consultant

Savina Consulting

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    Barbara Nett is co-owner and principal consultant of Savina Consulting, which provides expert witness testimony in employment discrimination lawsuits involving allegations of age, race, and gender discrimination.  Additionally, Savina conducts job analysis and test development for organizations that is intended to reduce adverse impact and enhance legal defensibility.  Barbara has a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver.  She hopes to explore ways to apply her training and unique background in HR and employment litigation consulting to benefit CWEE and its clients.

Rosita Padilla

Legal Assistant


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    Rosita Padilla is a Legal Assistant IV in the Legal Department at CenturyLink, where she has been employed for the past 17 years.  CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States and is recognized as a leader in the network services market by technology industry analyst firms.  Prior to CenturyLink, Rosita worked for IKON Office Solutions.


    Rosita is a 1995 CWEE graduate and received one of the three Alumni Awards in 2012 (30th Anniversary Award).  She is passionate about CWEE and has shared her story and success with numerous CWEE participants.  Rosita hopes to positively impact the community by serving on the CWEE Leadership Council.  Rosita’s motivation and inspiration is to bring value to the CWEE Council from a former participant perspective.


    Originally from Taos, New Mexico, Rosita lives in Denver.  She has three grown children and four grandchildren.  In her spare time she enjoys being with her family and finds joy in volunteering and giving back to the community through a variety of organizations and outreach programs.

Kate Smiles

Director of Research and Evaluation

Reading Partners

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    Kate France Smiles has over ten years of experience as a professional researcher and evaluator. She currently serves as the Director of Research and Evaluation at Reading Partners, a national nonprofit literacy organization.


    Prior to joining Reading Partners, Kate worked as a researcher at the OMNI Institute, a Denver-based non-profit organization that provides research, evaluation and technical assistance services to nonprofit and public sector agencies.


    While at OMNI, Kate led projects in a range of content areas, with particular emphasis on P-12 education, family self-sufficiency and systems integration. She also served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA working to implement service-learning after-school programs in Title I middle schools in the San Francisco Unified School District. Kate holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a Master's of Public Policy from The George Washington University.   In her spare time, Kate enjoys reading, camping, hiking, and general adventuring with her husband and two young sons.

Jacquelyn Starks

Manager, Project Manager Office


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    Jacquelyn Starks is the Manager for the Project Management Office at Mortgage Cadence, LLC an Accenture Company.  She currently leads a team of dynamic project managers who are responsible for implementation of their SaaS Loan Origination Software, Business Operations Initiatives, Information Technology and various internal projects.


    Her 20+ years of experience in project management consists of managing projects varying in scope and technical complexity including but not limited to SDLC using AGILE and Waterfall methodologies, Mobile Platforms, Unified Messaging, Advanced Infrastructure, Enterprise Application Integration and Enterprise Information Management.  She is focused on providing leadership, career development, delivering high quality projects and ensuring the needs of their clients are met.

    Jacquelyn earned a Bachelor Degree in Technical Management from DeVry University and MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management.


    Originally from Landsthul, Germany, Jacquelyn lives in Lone Tree, CO.  She is married, has three children and one grandchild.  She enjoys spending time with her family and is passionate about growing an ethnically diverse workforce.

Anne Stoffel

Non-Op and Subsequent Ops Oil & Gas Landman for the Denver Julesburg Basin

SRC Energy

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    Anne Stoffel joined SRC Energy in 2015 as the Non-Op and Subsequent Ops Oil & Gas Landman for the Denver Julesburg Basin. Her 36-year career has been evenly split working in the oil and gas industry and as a business litigation paralegal working  in Denver, Dallas, and Orange County California. Stoffel earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in Business from the University of Colorado in Boulder and her Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Irvine.


    When her daughter attended St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Denver, Anne was an active parent volunteer.  She is an alumna of Kappa Kappa Gamma and volunteers for her chapter in Boulder and her daughter’s chapter at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California.  She has been an active community outreach volunteer for the Rose Andom Center and has recently turned her volunteer energy to helping the low-income women at CWEE.


    Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Anne’s family moved to Colorado when Johns-Manville, where her father worked, relocated its corporate world headquarters to Denver.  A graduate of Cherry Creek High School, she still connects with many of high school friends. In her spare time, Anne enjoys her family, her golden retriever, and her garden.

Alison Zinn


Lindquist & Vennum LLP

  • Read Bio

    Bio coming soon.