Board of Directors

BOARD CHAIRAlfonso Trujillo (web2)

Alfonso Trujillo joined the CLLARO Board in June 2015. He received his Master of Business Administration, and B.A./B.S. of Latin American Studies and Economics. Trujillo served on the Board of Directors for Road Runner Food Bank in New Mexico, Baila Baila Dance Company in New Mexico, and A Little Help in Colorado. Alfonso is currently the Vice President of Sales and General Administration for Coblaco Services, Inc., and current Board Chair of CLLARO. He is a proven visionary, innovative, and strategic executive focused on business strategies that optimize the customer experience while attaining financial goals. He also has over twenty years of healthcare experience with a comprehensive understanding of the economic and regulatory structures of Medicare, Medicaid, and Commercial health insurance. Trujillo’s vision for CLLARO is that it becomes the premier Latino Leadership Development organization in the country by developing a unique Capitol Fellowship experience and training program that provides Latinos with an opportunity to grow both professionally and personally so that they can serve their community and neighborhoods, influencing both people and policy.


Dr. Mike Cortés joined the CLLARO Board of Directors in March 2014. He was a member of the Board of Directors of CLLARO’s predecessor, the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA) from 1996-1998. Mike is a former member of the faculty at the University of Denver where he still teaches courses in Policy Development and Analysis and Social Policy Advocacy. He recently completed a two-year Colorado Latino Age Wave Fellowship during which he studied and assisted organizations addressing injustices against older Latinos. Mike has held faculty and administrative appointments at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of San Francisco, the University of Colorado Denver, and the University of Denver. He was the founding Vice-President for Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the nation’s largest advocacy and community development organization for Latino minorities, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) headquartered in Washington, D.C. He chaired the Board of Directors of the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest. Mike was Director of Planning, Finance, and Administration in the Corporate Community Affairs Department at Levi Strauss & Co. and the Levi Strauss Foundation. He has conducted research, testified before legislators, organized and consulted to nonprofit corporations and voluntary associations, and served on boards of directors, advisory committees, and government commissions in numerous communities and states across the nation. Mike earned the M.P.P. and Ph.D. degrees in public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and the M.S.W. with a specialty in community practice and social action at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.



Leslie Colwell serves as the Vice President of K-12 Education Initiatives, leading the Campaign’s work to improve education in the state of Colorado. Before joining the Children’s Campaign in August of 2014, Leslie worked to facilitate partnerships and produce policy agreements, especially in the area of education, as an Associate at The Keystone Center. Her professional experience includes working as Legislative Director for State Senator Mike Johnston, managing his education policy portfolio (including his office’s work on HB12-1238, Colorado’s READ Act, and SB13-033, ASSET) and directing a policy fellowship for educators for three summers. Leslie has also worked on Teach For America’s alumni team, and before that taught 6th grade Math and Earth Science as a TFA corps member at Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School in Los Angeles.


Chris Martinez has lived in Montbello for almost 40 years. He has always been involved in the community as an activist and involved in many political campaigns. He also has a long history of involvement with the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch schools. He is currently a member of several community and civic organizations. Over the years he has been involved in several community organizations, many times in a leadership role. Mr. Martinez currently is Director of Small Business Opportunity Division under the Office of Economic Development for the City of Denver. His professional career included Sales and Marketing for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Denver Branch where he retired from after 35 years. Mr. Martinez received his B.S. from Regis University. Chris Martinez and his wife Terry have two adult children and five grandchildren. They have been members of the Church of the Ascension, Montbello Catholic Parish for over 35 years.

Dr. Sharon Bailey is the Director of Policy Research for the Office of Denver’s City Auditor. She also currently acts as the Chair of the Colorado Black Roundtable and formerly served as a member of the former Denver Public Schools board. Dr. Bailey earned a PhD in Public Administration from the University of Colorado. On the DPS board she served as liaison to the Colorado legislature, a member of the City-Schools Coordinating Council, and as national co-chair of the Council of Great City Schools Task Force on Urban Education. She has worked as an administrator at Metropolitan State College and as a consultant to a number of agencies and organizations, including the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and as a member of the University of Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity. In the auditor’s office she chaired a collaborative effort to update the city’s fiscal rules and has led the move to stabilize the use of technology in its business processes.Bailey is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions and received the 2005 “Legacy of Service” award from Princeton, her alma mater.

Doreen Falcon joined the CLLARO Board in February 2017. She has a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management and Administration from Colorado State University. She is on the Communications Team for Extreme Community Makeover, is a Co-Chair of SERG at Red Rocks Community College, and is a consultant for the Female Veteran Hiring Initiative at Metropolitan State University Denver. Falcon also works in Human Resources at FirstBank. Although Falcon is relatively new to nonprofit work, her hope for CLLARO is to increase their presence in the community.



Carolyn Gery joined the CLLARO board in March of 2017. She received her Ed.D. in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University, a M.A. from Goddard College in Curriculum Development and a B.A. in Spanish Literature from the University of California at San Diego. Her primary experience working in the non-profit sector is in the field of education. Gery founded two public charter schools in Colorado Springs and established the operating guidelines, governance structure, and funding plan for both of the non-profit entities. Currently, her work is focused on addressing the crisis of disconnected youth in Colorado. Her role in a statewide alternative high school is directly connected to this focus with a goal of recapturing students who are disengaged with multiple systems, including education. Gery is immersed in the collaborative endeavor of developing a learning system integrating cognitive and non-cognitive domains with the objective of utilizing predictive analytics to create highly personalized learning pathways. Previously, she served as a fellow with UNIDOS US (formerly NCLR) as part of a national cohort of school leaders. Gery hopes to be an active participant in working with CLLARO to increase their visibility across Colorado as a trusted voice and resource for the Latino Community.





Derek Okubo joined the CLLARO board in January 2015. He is a Colorado native and attended the University of Northern Colorado where he graduated with a degree in Psychology and double minors in Communications and Sociology. He was hired by Big Brothers of Metropolitan Denver as the services coordinator for Denver County and created the High School volunteer program where he utilized high school students as mentors and tutors to the 500 children on the waiting list. Okubo was appointed Governor Roy Romer’s staff as a community liaison to northeast Colorado. A few years later he was hired by the National Civic League (NCL, the nation’s oldest “good government” organization) as the Assistant Director of Community Services and eventually became the organization’s Senior Vice President where he oversaw NCL’s projects and programs. In July 2011, Okubo was appointed Executive Director of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships by Mayor Michael B. Hancock. In this role, he oversees nine offices and 10 mayoral appointed commissions. He feels CLLARO is on the verge of becoming the statewide source of new leaders, credible research and action with the Latino community.



Ana Rojas-Artica joined the CLLARO Board in January of 2017. She was born in Peru, South America, and raised in Leadville, Colorado.  She received her degree in International Affairs at CU Boulder. She has traveled through Europe, Africa, Mexico, Central America, South America, Canada and the United States.  Rojas is passionate about dance and music; she founded Baila Conmigo International Dance, participated in the CU Marching Band, and theJefferson County Community Band.  She also is a proud grandmother of five, and in the past has worked as the board treasurer for CU Boulder Latino Alumni Association. She currently works with Solera National Bank as a community relations officer. Rojas’ hope for CLLARO’s future is that it becomes a strong and reliable statewide source for the Latino Community through research, education, advocacy and pride.  She would like to see the Capitol Fellowship program grow and harvest more Latino political figures.



Kirsten Vermulen is Program Director for the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation where she oversees issues-based leadership development programs for business and civic leaders and partnership initiatives. She began her nonprofit career managing donor development initiatives at the historic Colorado Chautauqua Association in Boulder, Colorado. Kirsten is a graduate of Ohio University (B.A. in English and Theater) and Northpark University (Master of Nonprofit Administration). She currently serves on the CLLARO and B:Civic boards of directors and as chair of the Colorado Civic Health Network. Her past service includes: Director of Education and Member Programs for Housing Colorado; the Human Services Network of Colorado board; Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver associate board; National Philanthropy Day in Colorado steering committee; Daniels Fund scholar selection; Mile High United Way literacy partner. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, Scott. In their spare time, Kirsten and her husband lead an award-winning, 40-member performance troupe.