The intention of our collaborations and projects is to invent new reference points and vocabularies for how people work together, while allowing for individual perspective. We think of our programs as laboratories for the development of new ways for people and communities to interact based on alignment rather than agreement.
Our organization is a virtual one, with a consortium of consultants, practitioners, and educators. This allows us to tailor our programs to best meet the needs of the client as well as reduce costs. Nearly 100% of our funding goes directly to programs.
Our core principles are the actions we take throughout all of our programs. We ask all of our participants to join us as we:
Mind The Gap
Inspired by the automated British voice that repeatedly urges train passengers in London to “mind the gap” between the platform and the train, we note that life is a function of
relationships. We exist in relation to ourselves, our thoughts, and the people, communities, organizations and institutions around us. The gap between is often a space of misunderstanding and assumption. By minding this gap we push beyond perceived limitations and tap into creative ways of thinking which often lie dormant in the gap. By minding the gap we free ourselves from being a prisoner of reaction.
This phrase also represents our core belief that by focusing on the space between where we stop out of fear and habit and new possibilities begin, we are able to transform how people interact with the world. Minding the gap also speaks to the place between individual people and whole communities where misperceptions about history and intentions limit interaction. By minding the gap between what we know and what we don’t know we are able to cultivate a vast landscape of possible interaction and collaboration.
All of our program participants find themselves involved with others. They will come into contact with divergent perspectives. They will discover, often for the first time, that their answers may not be the only answers. As BoldLeaders, we are looking for what works and what has not worked versus who and what is wrong. As a first step, we ask groups to consider that that the source of lack of collaboration in a group may be conflicting objectives rather than individuals who are in conflict with one other. We explore how to make choices and decisions in groups, as we become both students and teachers of this enigmatic skill.
Use Mindful Language
Life arises in language. Our thoughts, which occur in words, determine our actions. Interchangeable words often have very different meanings. Talk and speak. Circumstances and obstacles. Decide and choose. As BoldLeaders, we strive to replace the inherited, automatic language that cultivates fragmentation with mindful, careful language that promotes coordination, collaboration and integration between people and within communities.
Participation is a basic human resource. Human beings react. We participate in our world from the very beginning. Over time, participation subsides until we stop. Our programs are participatory. BoldLeaders don’t get to hide out.
Go One Step Beyond
We ask our participants to come to the place they always stop, whether in human interaction, physical activity, or in their own thoughts and their work. We ask them to stop — consider — and take one step beyond that usual stopping place. We ask our participants to say “I am worth it” as they consider that they are, indeed, worth a step beyond the usual. Many of our programs incorporate physical activities that demonstrate the value of going one step beyond.
These five platforms are based on the fundamentals of experiential education. They inform the way we design all of our programs. We think of them as rooms in a house — and creating each individual program is like building a house.
Availability & Permission
Most presenters assume that you are available and open to what they have to say. More often than not this is not the case. History and preconceptions block availability. We ask our participants to consider new attitudes and challenge current notions. At BoldLeaders, everything is up for grabs. We ask everyone to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable.
Permission is bedrock to availability. We ask permission to present new ideas. You are free to feel whatever you feel. Even anger. Once permission is granted, profound listening occurs and BoldLeaders become available to endless, new possibilities. Availability and permission are critical first steps. We do not move on until they are in play.
We make an impact where our participants historically shut down. Whether it is through art, mountain climbing, music, or skiing, we ask our participants to look at their own self concepts, exploring the thoughts that accompany “I am” and shatter self-imposed boundaries.
We introduce BoldLeaders to a wide array of inspiring people and organizations: Peace Jam, The National Renewable Energy Lab, Facing History are but a few of many examples. We expose them to social entrepreneurs, business leaders and government officials. They are able to ask questions and explore possibilities for their own communities.
We challenge all of our participants to integrate what they learn with BoldLeaders into their lives. We talk about what actions they will take, who will support them, how they can expand and advance ideas at home, and who they can talk to and collaborate with in their own communities.
We are very dedicated to following up with each and every one of our participants. in fact, we are in contact with over 85% of our program alumni. We connect participants with one another and with programs, organizations and schools all over the world. We work hard to cultivate and maintain ongoing contact with and between BoldLeaders through Facebook, our own social network, and Skype — and through follow-up programs and informal get-togethers. Our programs do not have an end nor do they have boundaries. This is an extremely important part of what we do.
We are always asking questions and monitoring our own effectiveness. By maintaining a focus on these questions we try to ensure that our participants are engaged and cultivate core competencies and valuable activities in their own communities.
- Are we communicating with people in terms that are understandable, meaningful and worthwhile?
- Do we ask each participant to engage fully and generate the program with his or her unique fingerprint on the process, rather than having him or her be a consumer of a controlled agenda that is heavy with theory?
- Will our work substantially influence the participant’s communities through post program, on-the-ground action that makes a real difference? Will the participants follow up with action and effort?
- Will our programs serve them in their life by cultivating competencies of courage, compassion and creativity?
- Are we keeping our attention on real-world experience they will gain after the program?
- Does our program design include all the stages that we have learned are required and valuable?
The following results provide an overview of seven Bold Leader programs between 2007 and 2011 with participants from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kenya, Nigeria, Slovakia, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United States.
Comprehensive Short-term Results
Information regarding participants, background on the countries, areas, or populations, program goals, program specifics, partnerships, measures and short-term results are available by downloading the document.
In pre- and post-program surveys, participants consistently reported a perceived increase in their:
· awareness of different cultures, perspectives, and diversity;
· interpersonal skills;
· intrapersonal skills;
· desire and commitment to community engagement;
· project development skills; and
· knowledge surrounding civic engagement.
The following graph compares the overall percent increases between the participants’ before and after scores for the six dimensions across the six programs (seven groups).
Comprehensive Long-term Results
BoldLeaders who participated in programs from 2003 – 2011 participated in an extensive longitudinal survey in February of 2012. A sampling of results is included below and
Leadership and Community Involvement:
93% agreed or strongly agreed that BoldLeaders influenced their leadership styles
68% felt they have caused other BoldLeaders in the world
60%reported that they engaged in follow-on projects upon
returning to their home countries, including education, youth empowerment, and
environmental projects among others
Appreciation of Diversity
93% agreed or strongly agreed that BoldLeaders influenced their awareness and appreciation of different perspectives
89% agreed or strongly agreed that BoldLeaders influenced awareness
and appreciation of different ways of living
Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Skills
94% agreed or strongly agreed that BoldLeaders helped them to
improve their listening towards other people
92% agreed or strongly agreed that BoldLeaders helped them to build
friendships with people who are different from them
89% agreed or strongly agreed that BoldLeaders helped them to
become aware of their judgments and filters
89% agreed or strongly agreed that BoldLeaders helped them to use
their voices to share things that are important to them
Overall Endorsement of the Program
94% agreed or strongly agreed that they would recommend
BoldLeaders in general to others, and
90% agreed or strongly agreed that they would
recommend BoldLeaders as a leadership development program
The overwhelming majority of survey participants who had participated in other similar
programs recommended BoldLeaders programs over others
Michael Donahue, Co-Director
Twenty years of transformational program design and delivery, a background in classical and applied psychology, and specialization in group dynamics and dialogue makes Michael an expert resource for any learning initiative. Michael has spent the last decade working with thousands of teens and adults from around the world, including teachers, parents and coaches who impact young people. Michael often serves a motivational speaker for groups that have included the Institute for International Education and the Orbis Institute. For five years, Michael contracted with College Summit, helping establish that organization as a recognized change maker in education. From 1987–1996, Michael also led programs for one of the most recognized and successful adult education programs in the world.
Michael has designed and led programs in conflict resolution, leadership development, civic engagement, diversity & inclusion, organizational management, effective communication and project design and completion. His work spans anything from single and multi-day trainings with school districts, corporate groups and nonprofits to year- long projects with the U.S. Department of State. His passion for the transformational power of conflict has led him to work with marginalized people in the United States, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Western and Central Europe.
Michael’s work with teens and educators on the divided island of Cyprus over the last seven years is well established and recognized by the United Nations, the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia and several on-island NGOs. Michael’s skill at bridging the gap between transformational and informational learning has created a dynamic shift in youth leadership on the island and sustained participation from hundreds of past participants in BoldLeaders’ projects.
Brady Rhodes, Co-Director
Brady Rhodes is an educator, consultant, facilitator and program developer with over 20 years of experience in international education, wilderness travel, urban immersion, conflict management, classroom teaching, mentoring, and coaching. Brady has developed and managed 13 large-scale international exchange programs with the U.S. Department of State, AMIDEAST, Orbis-Slovakia and the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus. Focusing on leadership, conflict resolution and civic engagement programs with young people and adults who live in areas of conflict around the world, these programs have impacted hundreds of future leaders.
Brady has been a science, leadership and writing instructor at a Denver school, a Project Director and Lead Facilitator of an at-risk teen mentoring program. He also spent three years as Executive Director of the Children’s Diabetes Camp of Colorado. Brady has a Master’s degree in Experiential Education. He is a trained and experienced mediator, holds a license in Special Education and contracts with several youth agencies around the city as a facilitator and trainer.
Wendy Talley, Project Director
For over 23 years Wendy has worked as a Social Worker with vulnerable populations from people experiencing serious mental health issues, homeless families and at risk youth developing programs and policies. For the past three years she has initiated a consulting practice, which includes working in communities to address issues related to the social determinates of health (i.e. food access, employment, education, mental health, and housing).
Wendy’s passion is to create an environment where the state health and integrated wellness prevails, where the community spirit is fed by civic engagement, the body is nurtured with live food, and the minds of the adults and young people are stimulated by the power of creation. She enjoys reading, nature, laughter and family.
Andrea Godshalk, Project Manager and Facilitator
Andrea has been working with BoldLeaders since 2006. She is committed to young people, large-scale community art, and sustainable food systems and urban design.
Jennifer Ruskey, Home Stay Coordinator and Facilitator
Jennifer Ruskey is a creative facilitator, organizer, educator, mother, woodworker, and artist with more than 25 years experience creating community events, original curriculums, youth trips, and fine art. Jennifer's accomplishments include: decorating the Salt Palace Convention Center, Grand Openings, Art Shows as well as many local community events. She has received grants from the U.S. Embassy and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Jennifer has organized national and international youth programs. She has a BA in Fine Arts, an MA in Secondary Education with endorsements in TESL and Curriculum Development. Jennifer has been one of the core staff members of BoldLeaders since 2001. She organized and facilitated two eight-week exchange programs between young people from Denver, Colorado and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Jennifer is a facilitator, coordinator, coach and one of the “do-it-all” members of our team.
Corinne Domahidy, Project Manager and Facilitator
Corinne is a self-described builder. She has extensive international experience and has been creating community-based projects from the ground up for the past ten years. As a nonprofit leader, Corinne’s mission has always been to create opportunity for all that are willing to do the work. She is an accomplished and certified personal and professional development coach. She is also a very powerful fundraiser and organizer and has successfully chaired several high profile events.
Corinne is the proud mother of two boys and an active participant in her children’s school. In her spare time, Corinne can be found rock-climbing, mountain biking with her husband, Steve, hiking up or skiing down mountains with her family or curled up with a great book.
Corinne's multiple efforts have included initiatives to benefit the orphans of Malawi, leadership training with emerging African leaders, and programs to provide free fitness classes to the single mothers of Colfax Elementary School in Denver, Colorado. In her early 20’s Corinne was fortunate to travel the world as a participant in an international study program in Russia, China and Nepal. She lived in London for almost three years where she studied and worked as a nutritional counselor. Corinne also spent six months traveling through Central America. She taught English to local women in Nicaragua where she also helped create an education and training program for street children. Corinne recently returned from Cambodia where she identified an orphanage to assist. On her return, she created a partnership between that orphanage and a Denver based school. Corinne truly lives a life she loves and lives it powerfully.
Ashara Ekundayo, Project Manager and Facilitator
Called a “Cultural Jedi” by her peers, Ashara Ekundayo is a communicator, visionary educator, eco-community activist, and a social entrepreneur. Through her consulting firm, BluBlak Media, she works to cultivate and market creative, strategic and sustainable partnerships that manifest their professional goals while addressing love, humanity, and justice.
In 1998 Ekundayo founded the Pan African Arts Society which utilizes African and African Diasporic art forms and concepts to celebrate “Blackness”, increase public engagement and confront social issues and health disparities. The Society also encourages social liberation through lectures, performances, exhibitions, and publications. Sponsored events have included the Denver Pan African Film Festival, the “Café Nuba” spoken-word & music showcase, and the “Soul’d Roots: Food & Media Justice Institute.”
Ashara has worked with creative luminaries such as Dr. Maya Angelou, Dr. Vincent Harding, Abiodun Omowale of The Last Poets, Dead Prez, and Gil Scott Heron to explore and expand the legacy and contributions of people of African descent and to inspire and empower the “now-generation” to tap into their divine capacity. She is a powerful speaker and can be heard on Colorado Public Radio stations and FreespeechTV. Ashara has served as a Fellow with Oakland-based Green For All and is currently writing a guidebook to help redefine and extend the conversation on “going green” in communities of color.
Ashara is the Strategic Partnerships/Eco-Equity consultant and the GetFRESH curriculum administrator at The GrowHaus, an indoor, interactive farm and community space in Northeast Denver. GrowHaus grows food, addressing healing, and develops green jobs. She is also the Manager of Eco-Arts through the Lyrical Minded Project in the San Francisco Unified School District. Ashara works daily to remember, reclaim and reintroduce ancestral lessons for future generations in honor of her community and the planet.
Marla Rodriguez, Project Director
Marla Rodriguez is the manager of public relations and marketing at one of Denver’s oldest educational institutions, the Emily Griffith Opportunity School. In this role, she also oversees the school’s PR, brand management, market research, and community relations efforts. Prior to entering the education arena, Rodriguez worked as an executive in sports PR, most recently at the University of Denver (2000 – 05).
An active community member, Rodriguez volunteers with Colorado Youth at Risk, a drop-out prevention program. She also participates on the diversity committee for Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics. Born in Colorado Springs, Colo., Rodriguez is a 1988 graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism. She also holds a Master’s degree in sports administration from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. A former collegiate swimmer, Rodriguez participates in triathlons and ran the Portland marathon in 2006.
Brenna O’Rourke, Project Director
Brenda works as an Information and Reporting Officer for the IRC in Chad, Africa. She has a Master’s degree in Sustainable International Development and Coexistence and Conflict from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations: Peace and Justice Studies from Tufts University. Brenna has lived in Africa for the last two years. Before moving to Chad, lived in Rwanda as part of the national Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), working in the field of Civic Education. Before joining BoldLeaders, Brenna worked in South Africa as an educational consultant to an “at risk” youth organization, Conquest for Life.
Charlie Smith, Project Director
Charlie Smith is a true champion of youth discovering their power and expressing their potential without abandon. He has served in a number of capacities to empower people to own their own experiences in life. He has served as an AmeriCorps NCCC member, a Habitat For Humanity construction supervisor, and a Mile High Youth Corps Crew Leader. Most recently he has worked in rebuilding an inner city high school as a 9th grade Social Studies teacher and coaching policy debate with the Denver Urban Debate League. Charlie also serves as a mentor with Colorado Youth at Risk and is currently working towards his facilitator certification.
A true believer in the power of critical dialogue, Charlie has facilitated Socratic seminar sessions at Manual High School and at Metro State College of Denver where he achieved his bachelors degree in History. He has also developed another creative forum for dialogue and expression with Tbolt Cafe which is an open mic for youth and local artists at Manual High School. He is passionate about learning different perspectives and loves to share his own perspective through his music and photography.
Michelle Saab, Program Manager
Michelle Saab received a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder and an M.A. in Nonprofit Management from Regis University and is currently working as a Parent and Community Engagement Specialist for the Denver Public Schools. A strong advocate for educational equity she works with students, families, staff and community to create and foster relationships that promote student academic and social achievement. Her professional interests focus on diversity and anti-bias education, conflict resolution, and academic coaching with students and families, and community engagement. She has earned certifications in: Conflict Resolution with the Denver Bar Association, Academic Life Coaching with LifeBound, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in Guadalajara, Mexico and is also a certified yoga instructor. She has spent years volunteering, teaching and studying abroad on several different continents and believes that travel and exploration is essential to her work as it promotes a commitment to looking at the world from multiple perspectives.
Diana Solis, Program Manager
A high school English teacher for the past 17 years, Diana cites young people as her major inspiration in all she does. As a teacher at Littleton High School, she worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for students from at-risk circumstances, and her goal is to empower all young people to use their unique talents and voices to impact the world around them. She believes, first and foremost, in the power of love and compassion to heal all conflicts, and never misses an opportunity to offer her own love to others.
Diana is also an educational consultant and experienced facilitator. She is the creator and facilitator of the Life 101 program — a seminar for second-semester seniors at Littleton High School. She is the soon-to-be published author of two books: The Other Side of Tuesday: Lessons from Cancer Captured in Midair
and Life 101: A Guide for Teens Who Want to Thrive, Not Just Survive
As a breast-cancer survivor, Diana lives life with zest and, generally, with a huge smile on her face — happy to be alive!
Patti Bennet, Program Manager, Nebraska
Patti worked for the last 20 years with a non-profit agency in Denver that she co-founded called Colorado Youth at Risk. During that time Patti was the Program Director for 15 years and Executive Director for the last 5 years. During her time at CYAR she worked with over 1,000 teens at-risk of dropping out of high school. She has experience in program development, volunteer management and fundraising. Patti received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social work in 2006. She received her undergraduate from Colorado State University. She is the mom of two boys—a senior at Colorado State University majoring in bio-chemical engineering and a 7th grader at Horizon Middle School.
Patti moved to Kearney, NE in 2012 when her husband accepted a position at the University of Nebraska Kearney as the Director of Student Success.
Tamera Drozd, Washington D.C. Coordinator
Tamera delights in her role as “mom” — not only to her son but also to the numerous international teens she has worked with who call her their “American mum”. Tamera has more than 10 years experience in international youth development focusing on youth in conflict areas of the world. She is the founder of Young Adults Supporting Peace (YASP) International which brings young adults from conflict areas of the world together to support one another as they support peace. A resident of the Washington D.C. area, Tamera is a coordinator for BoldLeaders projects during their time in D.C.
Tamera has led all-volunteer international teams working with international youth on peace, reconciliation and leadership skills in Northern Ireland and Cyprus. One of her most rewarding roles was that of Executive Director for the Cyprus Friendship Program during its successful inaugural year in 2009.
Prior to her work in the field of youth development, Tamera spent 15 years in the aerospace industry. She has a MS in Mathematics and is passionate about tutoring high school math students for local schools.
Jenna Hanchey, Team Leader/Facilitator
Jenna is currently a Masters candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she studies Communication. She is especially interested in the intersectionality of culture, gender, race and class. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania for two years, where she worked extensively with local teenagers, teaching math, physics, English, and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. Partnering with Tanzanian teachers and American volunteers, Jenna secured funding for and facilitated five week-long Life Skills Seminars for Tanzanian secondary school students. She also co-organized and led a trip that brought students from the village to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Jenna is passionate about teenagers: putting them back in touch with their basic human resources, encouraging them, and watching them change our world. Fluent in Swahili, she works at CMLE in translation and language training, as well as facilitation.
Hannah Ricks, Washington D.C. Support
and Alumni Coordinator
Hannah Ricks received her BA in International Affairs from the University of Colorado as well as a certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies. She spent much of 2011 in Kigali, Rwanda, working for the As We Forgive, Rwanda Initiative
, and participated in the creation of the documentary film in July and August of 2011. Hannah’s tasks include managing the new Monitoring and Evaluation program and overseeing communications such as newsletters and blog posts. She is the volunteer ed for the LCJP Restorative Justice program, and has participated in several different conferences to facilitate an agreement for the perpetrator of a crime that addresses the harm caused by his/her actions and make it right according to the needs of the victim.
Hannah loves to travel and has lived in Egypt for three months where she learned to speak Arabic and then traveled to Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Israel where she studied (through experience) the political and religious conflicts of the area. As a part the “Middle East Studies Program” through Best Semester in Washington D.C., Hannah currently lives in D.C. and supports BoldLeaders projects there as well as facilitates BoldLeaders Alumni activities.
Sara Noel, MA, Outreach Director, Amizade Global Service Learning
Sara Noel recently earned dual Master’s degrees in International Studies and Conflict Resolution. Sara, who grew up in Denver, has extensive travel, work and study abroad experience that began with in high school when she participated in an exchange program in Chile. Since then Sara has traveled all over the world including a year spent teaching English in Hungary and, most recently, working as a State Department Intern at the United States Mission to the OSCE in Vienna.
Shaye Worthman, Intern
Shaye is a Master’s candidate in International Development with a concentration in International Education at the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies. She has worked on educational development projects in Guatemala and has taught high school and college-level English in Mexico. Shaye has also collaborated on a number of research projects resulting in four professional publications and various professional presentations. Shaye was recently named a Fulbright Scholar to study for a PhD in Mexico.
Ryan Dolan, Intern
Ryan Dolan is a graduate of Regis University where he majored in International Business and Finance and minored in Leadership Studies. Ryan has a commitment to providing kids around the world with the tools they need to deal with the adversity in their life so they can courageously impact the people and things they truly care about. In his future, Ryan sees himself playing a pivotal role in the training and development of the next generation of global leaders. He is excited about working with BoldLeaders because he visited Kenya while he was in the fifth grade. Since then he has had passion to give back to the people and the country. Ryan wakes up everyday grateful for his family, his good friends, and the people that have mentored him because he knows without guidance and support he would not be where he is today.
Brooke Retherford, Intern
Brooke Retherford is a Colorado native and will be graduating from the University of Denver, Korbel School of International Studies as a Master of Conflict Resolution. Before moving back to Colorado, Brooke has worked as logistic coordinator as well as led sea kayaking, hiking, and canoe expeditions in Alaska, Mexico, Patagonia, the Amazon and the Rocky Mountains for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Through her experiences, Brooke has been able to coach leadership, communication, and conflict resolution skill development as well as technical skills to both teenagers and adults. She has explored remote places by canoe, kayak, and foot, driven by her desire to learn, explore, and find adventure in beautiful places. Brooke is a passionate educator who believes that experiential education, cross-cultural experiences, and programs like BoldLeaders are the key to understanding the world in which we live, broaden our perspectives, and find common ground. Brooke has wilderness medicine training since 2004 and is a trained facilitative mediator.
Michael is a business trainer and consultant. He supports executives, managers and operations teams as they strive to make their organizations more successful. His began his career as an electrical engineer, shifting into engineering and project management. As his career evolved, he began to train business personnel for high performance and business system profitability. He has worked in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Thailand, India, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Italy, France, England, Germany, Austria, Portugal, and Wales. Garramone has participated and contributed in our Cyprus-focused workshops on six occasions over the past four years and in the Kenya BoldLeaders Project. He is the Co-Founder of BoldLeaders and the Director of the Valuable Work Consortium.
Haynes is a Special Assistant to the Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, leading the district’s efforts to build and maintain meaningful community partnerships that advance student achievement and reduce the truancy and dropout rates. Happy joined the staff of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in July 2003 as his City Council liaison, a job for which she was uniquely prepared, having just completed 13 years as a member of the Denver City Council. Haynes was first elected to the Council in 1990. She served for three terms and as its President from 1998 to 2000. Haynes has been a leader in guiding city policies that support children and families. She has been actively involved in welfare to work, education reform and workforce development issues.
Before she was elected to the City Council, Ms. Haynes worked as an Administrative Aide to the former Mayor of Denver, Federico Peña. She has also worked as a professional facilitator, assisting communities across the county with strategic planning and collaboration, leadership development and diversity training. She serves on the board of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, is a founding board member of the Mile High Youth Corps, sits on the board of the Foundation for Educational Excellence, and is a Trustee of the Colorado Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
An advocate of life-long learning, Haynes completed two years of law school and received a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the University of Colorado Denver in August 2002. She also is a graduate of Leadership Denver, the Denver Community Leadership Forum, the Rocky Mountain Project and the State and Local Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Dr. Robert Hazan
Dr. Hazan is Chair and Professor of Political Science at The Metropolitan State College of Denver. He has been an associate at the Institute for the Study of Israel in the Middle East since Fall, 2001. He is a founding member of the Middle East Study Group of the ADL and is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Mizel Museum where he sits on the Education Committee.
Dr. Hazan grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and was educated in France and the United States. He received his doctorate from the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. His research and teaching concentrate on political theory, political economy, international affairs, and the politics of the Middle East. In conjunction with his ongoing research in political science and international studies, Dr. Hazan has participated in academic conferences in Cuba, Germany, England, Israel, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Turkey.
Leslie Matthews, RN, JD
Leslie is currently the Managing Partner for the law firm, Matthews & Matthews. She has been licensed to practice law since 1986 and has practiced in both state and federal courts in Texas and Colorado. Leslie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and, before entering law school, she worked as a trauma intensive care RN. Leslie graduated from the the University of Houston Law School where she was in the top ten percent of her class.
Ms. Matthews has held a significant number of leadership positions in multiple fields. She serves as Litigation Counsel for Lyondell Petrochemical Company in the 1980’s where she handled the entire litigation docket and a multi-million dollar litigation budget. After a number of years of leadership training, Leslie worked as a consultant to multiple fortune 500 companies and produced breakthrough results in operations and profitability for companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Leslie went on to serve as Vice President of Matrix Operations for Sirna Therapeutics, a biotech company headquartered in Boulder Colorado. She was responsible for major improvements in the efficiency and performance of all research operations. Sima was purchased by a major pharmaceutical company, in part as a result of her success in working with the research teams. Leslie also took on an interim position as City Manager for the City of Northglenn, Colorado when they needed to transform the way the City did business in order to deal with a financial crisis.
Leslie believes that inspirational leadership can produce unexpected and significant shifts in the results that people can produce. She has a history of causing unprecedented results and well as training others to do so.
Glenna recently became the president and chief executive officer of Denver Kids Incorporated. Prior to this, Glenna served as a Special Assistant to the Superintendent of Denver Public Michael Bennet, now a United States Senator representing Colorado. Glenna was instrumental in developing school/ community partnerships for the District including such initiatives as the City/DPS Collaborative Partnership, the Youth Mentoring Collaborative and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Partnership.
Glenna has a long history of service to the community and is the past executive director of Colorado Youth at Risk. She has also worked in the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships. She is a member of the Denver Public Schools Mill Levy Bond Oversight Committee and has served on the State’s Rocky Flats Environmental Monitoring Council.
Tony Shawcross is the founder and executive director of Deproduction. After graduating magna cum laude with a degree in Marketing and Business Administration from the University of Colorado, Tony worked briefly in marketing and advertising in the IT industry before leaving to focus on socially relevant film and video production. Tony has worked for Little Voice Productions, the Colorado State House of Representatives, the Pan African Arts Society, and Free Speech TV. He has been a presenter in over 100 media education courses with the Rocky Mountain Independent Media Center, Denver Community Television, the Alliance for Community Media, and various local schools and universities. Tony is an experienced video producer with hundreds of films and videos produced for local and national television, film festivals, and community screenings.
Chad is an accomplished computer engineer with 9 U.S. Patents, a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. He is president and founder of a boutique software consulting firm. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies on both technical and leadership issues and has designed and implemented software and websites for Microsoft, Sun, Qwest, EchoStar, Frontier Airlines, the State of Wyoming, the State of Colorado, and many other clients. He has served as a board member, mentor, coach, and facilitator for numerous youth organizations. As a volunteer, he helped launch BoldLeaders programs in Colorado, Northern Ireland and Cambodia.
He recently published a transformational book “”. The book is a guide that helps people to distinguish their values from their valuables and then empower themselves and others.
Dr. Tamra Pearson d’Estree
During his secondary education, in 2005, Tahsin attended the Cyprus BoldLeaders Program, and was selected as a Peer Leader for the 2006 Cyprus BoldLeaders Program. He was then awarded the Cyprus Fulbright Scholarship (CASP Award) and was accepted by American University in Washington, D.C. to obtain his undergraduate degree. He maintained strong relationships with the Embassy of Turkey and the representative office of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. Mr. Gur graduated in 2012 with a dual degree in Mathematics and Finance and a minor in Economics. He is currently an MBA student at Koc University, Istanbul and continuing to develop his relations with the Turkish professional community.
Tahsin established and served as the Founder President of Genc Vizyon Genclik Merkezleri (Youth Vision Youth Centers) from 2008 – 2011. Genc Vizyon is located in Kyrenia — Cyprus and in Ankara — Turkey, with a total of 3,000 members. During the 2011 – 2012 academic year he was the President of the Turkish American Student Association at American. This organization represents Turkish students studying at American University and voices the issues that Turkey faces, as well as the historical and cultural roots of the country to the students' American peers and other members of the community.
Tahsin’s professional career includes working as an Operations Manager at Haval Gida, a local supermarket, as well as a Human Resources and Public Relations Department Head at Mediaworks Broadcasting Group, one of the biggest media firms in North Cyprus. Tahsin also participated in three internships in various business fields such as accounting, banking, and finance.
Mark is a Colorado native, and has created a full life in Denver with his wife of over 20 years, Laura Barr, and his 4 children. In addition to his life as a husband and father, Mark also enjoys spending time skiing, singing, volunteering, and nearly anything that relates to rugby. Over the course of the last 25 years Mark has enjoyed a dynamic professional life. From 1988 – 2008 Mark worked for his family business. From 2000 – 2007 he served as the CEO, which proved to be foundational to his growth as an organizational leader and fostered an insatiable thirst for learning as much as possible about leadership. Since leaving his family business Mark has spent his work life as an executive business development coach, a strategic planning facilitator, a productivity consultant, and as a trusted business advisor to leaders across a wide range of organizations.
Mark is most commonly known for his “glass is half-full” approach to life and business. Mark loves to serve organizations and individuals that clearly articulate a core set of values that reflect his belief in the human spirit, and who seek to “make a difference”, not just a living, in the world.
Passionate about kids, education and community, Elizabeth is committed to helping Colorado teens align their unique interests, skills and talents with a world of professional and personal opportunities.
For nearly 15 years, she has been an active volunteer in her own children’s schools. She has served as a PTA president and volunteer coordinator. She has organized school tours and launched a schoolwide adopt-a-family program. In addition to being on the Board of BoldLeaders, Elizabeth currently serves as:
a mentor of students in Denver’s East High School’s A+ Angels program, whose mission is to help students graduate and attend college; and co-president of the Denver Teachers’ Awards Board, an organization that for nearly 60 years has honored Denver Public Schools teachers for professional excellence.
Elizabeth’s legal background has equipped her with the investigative and analytical skills vital to well-informed and on-target decision-making. She has served as a prosecuting attorney for the federal government, in-house counsel for a privacy technology company, a legislative attorney for a major trade association and as a U.S. Senate “staffer” for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.
She is a graduate of Duke University and George Washington University National Law Center.
Melissa grew up in the Phoenix area but now calls Colorado home. She has been married to Jim for 29 years and they have two daughters. She got involved with BoldLeaders after her daughter’s friend, Alex Wood, returned from her BoldLeaders trip to Eastern Europe. A mutual family friend then called and suggested a hosting opportunity for a BoldLeaders group of Africans coming to Denver. Her family hosted an amazing and inspiring teacher from South Africa and has been hooked since.
Melissa is a senior marketing manager for a large publishing and advertising company. She has been involved with other noards previously — a local Pre-6th grade Montessori school and as President of the noard of a small ballet school and company where she and another board member were successful in acquiring Science and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) funding. Melissa is a two-time breast cancer survivor and has been active with Komen for the Cure since its first Denver Race for the Cure in 1993. She is consistently one of their top Denver Race fundraisers and in years past served in different volunteer capacities, including head of some Race sub-committees and helping to promote the Race through telling of her story.
Melissa is a graduate of the University Of Denver and DU’s Daniel’s Graduate School of Business.
Besides her family, Melissa’s passions include learning about and exploring new places and cultures, the arts, enjoying the beauty of Colorado, and photography.
Heidi Cies is the principal of a Denver-based design studio with a mission to deliver strategic and sustainable visual communications solutions for a balance of for-profit and not-for-profit clients. She has been a graphic designer in the Denver area since graduating from The Colorado Institute of Art (now The Art Institute of Colorado), in 1985.
Notable creative work includes projects for BoldLeaders, Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA), Grow Denver Initiative for the Office of Economic Development, The Gathering Place, The Delores Project, Junior League of Denver Foundation, American Water Works Association, The Children's Hospital, Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Caring for Colorado and Downtown Denver Partnership.
Throughout her career, Heidi has developed a philosophy that includes perpetuating the value of design beyond the realm of consumerism. She believes the introduction of these concepts as part of the visual communications curriculum, offering students opportunities to utilize their skills to address and solve social issues through design, is of incredible value to the students and the communities in which they live.
To advance these goals, Heidi received her Master’s of Design degree from Syracuse University in 2008. She now teaches part time at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Michael is founder and Managing Partner of the Valuable Work Consortium, a business performance training firm. His specialty is supporting work groups to develop better success strategies, better accomplishment structures, and upgraded group dynamics and attitudes to ensure improved results.
Over the course of 20 years, Michael has designed and implemented several hundred in-field coaching projects to guide business leaders and their teams to build and clarify their purpose, goals, and plans, resolve relationship and communication breakdowns, correct performance problems, and rebuild decision-making approaches for improved productivity.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University and his early career includes 10 years as an engineering manager in manufacturing, construction, and security environments.
Michael’s clients include Ball Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Telstra, DHL, Hewlett Packard, Coca-Cola, Ford, Coors, Chrysler, Reliant Energy, Boise Cascade, Medco, Hartford Insurance, Hunter Douglas, U.S. Dept. of Labor, Fiserv, General Motors, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, ISI, and Core Power, as well as many smaller organizations sharing similar daily performance challenges and aspirations.
Alex Wood was a participant in the 2009 Emerging Youth Leaders project to Central Europe. After one month of intense BoldLeaders curriculum, she felt more challenged and inspired than ever before. BoldLeaders quickly became a large part of her life. Between hosting students, helping with fundraisers, and serving as a member on the board of directors, Alex hopes to provide other teenagers and adults with similar life-changing experiences. Currently studying abroad in Paris and getting a degree at Reed College, Alex is very interested in how cultures interact, how privilege works, and how we can provide equal opportunities to everyone — especially youth.
Tim was born and raised in Manhattan, Kansas, to a Canadian father and a New Zealander mother who met and married in Denmark and then moved to the middle of Kansas. They instilled a love of travel, culture, and adventure into the family. Tim has called Colorado home for 15 years, and is passionate about life with his wife Jodi, their two daughters, and their soon-to-be son. Tim is inspired by the work of BoldLeaders and the impact that it has had on youth and adults around the globe.
Tim is a partner at the international law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP where he practices large-scale commercial litigation. His practice ranges from representing the Hopi Indian Tribe on matters of religious exercise to representing a decommissioned nuclear power plant with respect to the federal government’s failure to dispose of nuclear waste. He has committed significant portions of his career to pro bono work. Tim is one of the founders of the Legal Night at Mi Casa Resource Center for Woman and the Legal Night at Centro San Juan Diego, which have served more than 14,000 families or individuals since their founding in 2006 and 2007. Tim serves on the board and executive committee of the Colorado Lawyers Committee (CLC), the Invest in Kids, and Project Exposure. Tim also has been active with and/or served on the board of Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Civil Rights Now, the Homeless ID Task Force, and Project Homeless Connect.
Teig is a Colorado native who has had the good fortune to work and travel globally while making his permanent home near Denver for most of his life. He is married to his wife of 12 years, and they have two young children (yep, all Colorado natives, too).
Teig grew up splitting time between school and working as an entertainer since the age of 7, first in Denver, and then in Los Angeles and New York. After obtaining a degree in Cinema and Television Production from the University of Southern California, and a stint as a producer/director in Hollywood, he pursued his MBA in International Business at the Simon School in New York followed by a career in finance. He currently works independently as a Certified Financial Planner and Benefits Consultant.
Teig’s most dominant lifetime interests have been his family and the opening of opportunities for people world wide to live up to their potential. He has designed curriculum and led courses in religious diversity, individual leadership skills, and financial responsibility for local organizations in the U.S. as well as for businesses and communities abroad; mainly in Japan. He speaks enough Russian, Japanese, and Spanish to make most people laugh.
When he met Brady Rhodes and Michael Donahue a few years ago, Teig could not resist following the progress of BoldLeaders; and today he is very proud to have the privilege of involvement on the board, where he currently serves as Treasurer. While he is relatively new to the program, Teig looks forward to being a powerful and positive resource to our participants and all whom they touch.
BoldLeaders board member