Chrissy Deal is a Program Associate at WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) whose mission is to strengthen the financial, organizational, and policy infrastructure of the arts in the western United States. Her primary responsibilities include promoting multicultural leadership in the arts through professional development and networking, as well as engaging state arts agencies and cultural policy leaders in efforts that promote diversity, inclusion and equity.
With over 15 years of nonprofit, education and philanthropic experience, she has worked in education and curatorial departments of the Denver Art Museum, served as a program officer for the Scholarship program at the Daniels Fund and as Education Director at the contemporary/community art space, RedLine.
A long-time community volunteer and alumna of Denver’s Circle of Latina Leadership, Chrissy’s involvement with the Denver Foundation includes serving as chair of the Inclusiveness Project and as a member of the Nonprofit Internship Program committee. A former Vice Chair of the Denver County Cultural Council which allocates Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) tax dollars to cultural organizations, she volunteers with the arts-based youth development nonprofit, PlatteForum, is a member of the Denver Art Museum’s Latino Outreach committee and is a founding member of Denver’s Latina women’s giving circle, Latinas Give.
Chrissy holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Northwestern University and a Masters of Nonprofit Management from Regis University. She is a Colorado native and is proud to call Denver home along with her husband, son and shiba inu, Kenji.
Harold was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Civil Engineering. The first black student at OSU to serve in student government as the Engineering Senator, he also served as the National Youth President of the National Baptist Convention.
Harold came to Denver to work as a systems engineer for IBM. After 13 years at IBM, Harold worked at the original Frontier Airlines as the Project Director for Flight Operations, Engineering, and Maintenance. He then went to United Airlines and its subsidiaries for the next 16 years.
His community activities are a very important part of his life. He was a founder of Multi-Racial Families of Colorado, which grew to approximately 200 participating families. He is the facilitator for the monthly citywide racial dialogue in Denver that has been sponsored by the Tattered Cover bookstore for 12 years, as well as directing similar discussions at several churches in the metro area. Since 2001, he has been an active participant with a documetary about the triangle slave trade and the nation's most prominent slave trading family, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North.
Harold sings with the Spirituals Project Choir, and is a music librarian for this 80-voice group. He has been a diversity consultant for the Colorado Psychological Association and numerous colleges. And he serves on the board of The Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery, Inc., the national initiative Coming to the Table. Past board service includes The Conflict Center and Denver Victim Offender Reconciliation Program both restorative justice organizations.
Harold has worked and taught in Hawaii, Canada, England,Spain, Switzerland, France, Holland, Kenya, and India.
Susan Jenson, has a Master of Arts degree and 30 years of experience in arts management including fifteen years with DAVA (Downtown Aurora Visual Arts) working in community based arts education with a focus on youth. Under her leadership, DAVA has actively involved hundreds of young people in free arts programming, resulting in a series of state and national awards from 2006 through 2010. Susan brings an extensive background in arts and education, along with strong commitment to urban youth. In 2008, she applied for and received funding to complete an outside evaluation on DAVA middle school programs, resulting in new research on the benefits on sustained, quality, consistent arts programming during the out of school time hours. While continuing her work as the executive director of DAVA, Susan returned to the University of Denver in 2009-2010 to teach Best Practices in Cultural Arts Institutions. She currently sits on the Education Advisory Committee for the Denver Foundation and was formerly a member of the Arts Advisory board for TDF.
Mike is Executive Director for Project PAVE. The mission of Project PAVE is to empower youth to end the cycle of violence.
Mike grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota where he went to school and college. His first job out of school was at Northwestern Bell. His job took him to New Jersey in 1982 working for AT&T and then in 1984 he and his family moved to Omaha, Nebraska to work for the newly formed US West. In 1990 Mike and his family moved to Denver where he worked for US West, AT&T and Fujitsu Consulting. During that time Mike became very interested in the work of nonprofits and served on the Board for Colorado Aids Project. He spent some time working with the staff at Project PAVE on a pro-Bono basis doing strategic planning work. He joined the Board of Project PAVE in 2005 and became the Executive Director June, 2006.
On December 28, 2006, Governor Bill Ritter appointed Don Mares to his cabinet as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The Department of Labor and Employment provides job seekers with employment and training opportunities, monitors the state's economy, oversees Colorado's labor laws and administers the Unemployment Insurance program and the Workers' Compensation Act. As executive director of the 1100-person agency, Mares oversees the divisions of Labor, Employment & Training, Workers' Compensation and Oil & Public Safety.
Prior to his appointment to Governor Ritter's cabinet, from 2003 to 2006 Mares served as special counsel with Fleishman & Shapiro, P.C. In this role, Mares concentrated on business law, government relations and litigation. He provided general legal guidance, representation and counsel to small and large businesses, including general management and operations advice.
With nearly 15 years of experience in elected office, Mares has taken the reigns in issues of education, health care, disability rights, employment and workforce development.
His elected office positions include two terms as Denver Auditor from 1995 to 2003 and Colorado State Senator and Representative from 1989 to 1995.
During his tenure as Denver Auditor - the second highest elected position in the City and County of Denver - Mares made significant technological advancements which included implementation of a citywide accounting and financial reporting system, the creation of the City's first Internet homepage and electronic family support wage garnishment.
Mr. Mares currently serves on the leadership council for Escuela de Guadalupe, the board of the Latin American Educational Foundation, the Wells Center Board of Directors, the State's Government Efficiency Management Executive Committee and the SafeHouse Denver Board of Directors.
In 2005, he was named one of 20 Champions for Children by the Colorado Children's Campaign during the group's 20th Anniversary celebration and in 2008, he was honored by Jobs for America's Graduates for his extraordinary commitment to helping high-risk young people succeed in school. He formerly served as an elected member of the Colorado Personnel Board.
Mares has received numerous awards for his work as an elected leader, including the Junior League Legislative Champion for Children award (1996), Labor's Community Agency's Community Service Award (1999), the Mental Health Corporation of Denver Outstanding Political Figure award (1995), and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Government Advocate of the Year award (2000).
Mares earned his bachelor's degree in psychology, with honors, from Stanford University in 1979 and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982.
A Denver native, Mares and his wife Ruth live on the north side of Sloan Lake with their three children, Melissa, D.J. and Emily.
Tara Rajuis the Education Project Director at the Mountain States Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League. Her first connection with ADL came in 1995, as an ADL Facilitator and has been on staff since 2005.
Tara has over 15 years’ experience working with schools in K-12 settings and higher education in a variety of cities including, Philadelphia, Chicago, Portland, OR and the metro Denver area. Prior to ADL, Tara worked with Communities In Schools (CIS), as the director of operations in Chicago, then as a national CIS trainer. She worked with Chicago Public Schools to create systemic change and a comprehensive approach to better serve schools and communities through collaboration and partnerships. She also worked with young adults at Reed College and the University of Pennsylvania, using traditional and experiential learning to teach leadership, diversity, skills for activism and social responsibility.
Currently, she leads ADL’s Education department which mainly focuses on anti-bias education, including the successful No Place for Hate® Initiative and A World of Difference® Institute. Other areas in ADL’s education department include Holocaust education , using Echoes & Reflections – ADL’s Holocaust education resource guide, A Tribute to Moral Courage student essay contest and the Gerald M. Quiat Delegates to the National Youth Leadership Mission to Washington, D.C.
Tara was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Topeka, KS. She has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in African and Afro-American Studies and Political Science from Washington University, St. Louis.
Suzy Shimasaki is the Co-Director for the Equality in Health (EIH) Initiative at The Partnership for Families & Children. Through EIH, she provides trainings and technical assistance in the areas of cultural competency, health disparities, and evaluation to 26 health service organizations across the state of Colorado. Suzy is also involed in various community organizations, serving as the President for the Mile Hi Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League as well as a member of the Board of Directors for the Asian Pacific Development Center.
Suzy was born in Okayama, Japan and grew up in San Diego, California before attending the University of California, Davis where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and the University of California, Los Angeles where she earned her Master of Public Health in Health Services Policy and Management. Prior to her work at The Partnership, Suzy worked at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center providing cancer education and outreach services to the Deaf community as well as the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities of San Diego through the Minority Training Program in Cancer Control Research.
Kai is one of the newest members of the Inclusiveness Project Committee. He was born in China and immigrated to the United States at the age of five. He grew up in Denver's Westwood area neighborhoods, and at a young age, became deeply involved with nonpforit organizations. After completing high school, he earned a Daniels Fund scholarship, an achievement he is deeply proud of. Now, a recent business graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Kai is an accountant at the United States Department of Interior. Currently, Kai serves on the University of Denver's Bridge Project, an organization seeking to improve the lives of underserved inner-city project youth.