2016 Capitol Fellowship Alumnus
Alexandra was born in Florida and grew up in Colorado. She is passionate about advocating for the Latino community, equitable education, and mental health awareness. Alexandra studied Spanish Literature with a minor in Leadership Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. During her time in Boulder she was also a scholar in the Presidents Leadership Class. Before joining the CLLARO team, Alexandra worked as the Internship Coordinator at The Denver Post. As a CLLARO Capitol Fellow, she spent 2016 the legislative session at the Colorado Department of Higher Education working efforts to close student opportunity and attainment gaps. She then became CLLARO’s Program Manager, focusing on equity in education for the Latino community, specifically around the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in Colorado. Today, Alexandra is CLLARO’s youngest Executive Director and is a participant in the Denver Foundation’s Executive Director’s of Color Institute. Music and dancing are an integral part of Alexandra’s life. In her spare time, you can usually find her singing karaoke with her husband, spending time with family or dancing at a Zumba studio.
303-722-5150 ext. 103
Todd is a third generation Coloradan who received his B.A. from the University of Northern Colorado in Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising and Public Relations and a minor in Political Science. After achieving success as an account manager with a Denver-based direct marketing firm and leading the fundraising and membership campaigns for nonprofit organizations such as Laradon Hall, American Red Cross and the Denver Art Museum, he knew his calling was to help people through fundraising with a nonprofit organization that reflects his values and concern for others. For nearly 10 years, Todd directed Colorado Physician Health Program’s annual campaign to new levels of funding. As a development officer with the American Water Works Association, he helped build onto the success of their philanthropic program aimed at replenishing the water workforce in North America.
Forging strong donor relationships to raise crucial sustainable funds is at the center of Todd’s development career. He is ardent about evolving a voice for Latinos in Colorado. He is highly enthusiastic about raising crucial funds for Latino Students emerging to become community leaders through CLLARO’s signature program, the Capital Fellowship Program. Todd was selected by the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Committee to teach a course at the 2015 Fall Conference, is an active development committee member of the Colorado Planned Giving Roundtable (CPGR), and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). A guiding axiom during the evolution of Weiss’ marketing and development career centers on the importance of teamwork: “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses or the problems of modern society” (Vince Lombardi).
303-722-5150 ext. 104
Alejandra Colmenero studied Hospitality, Tourism, and Events at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. She proceeded to work in the hotel industry; a fast, upscale, and professional environment, ensuring guests received superb service and an exceptional experience. Throughout her college career, Alejandra became part of UNICEF USA after learning about the atrocities and human rights violations of human trafficking. Driven to support UNICEF’s global work to prevent human trafficking and ensure the well-being and rights of children, Alejandra launched the first UNICEF College chapter in Denver. Partnering with student and community organizations to implement UNICEF campaigns and events, she educated the community on global issues affecting children such as hunger, education inequalities, conflict, emergencies, and, of course, human trafficking. Upon graduation, Alejandra launched the UNICEF Denver Congressional Action Team to further advocate for children’s rights and mobilize her community to engage with Members of Congress on behalf of UNICEF. Her commitment to human rights and making the world a better place for all, led Alejandra to join CLLARO and join their efforts to empower the Latino community in Colorado through leadership development, advocacy, and research.
“Mi nombre es Gladys Soto and I am the new American reality. I am bilingual, I speak Spanish and English y aveces, I speak both.” Gladys is a mother and wife and has worked with bilingual students for many years. She has been a teacher for 8 years in Denver Schools and has been a CABE- (Colorado Association for Bilingual Education) board member for the past 3 years. Gladys received her Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) along with her teaching degree and also has a Masters in Linguistically Diverse Education from the BUENO Center at CU-Boulder. Her dedication to bilingual advocacy has become her priority as well as making sure that people don’t stay stuck with a single story of culturally and linguistically diverse students and families. Gladys believes that, “We are families with rich cultures, passions, and traditions. We are families of hard work, dedication, success and education.”
Gladys believes that “Our stories matter and our triumphant stories can also be used to empower and repair the dignity of students who come from many backgrounds.” She wants people to “see us, speak our language, and know our culture.” She is a lifelong learner and will always be working on improving herself, her skills and growing in her knowledge. She is mindful of the struggles that people go through in their daily lives as bilingual people and people of color. She is deeply committed to continue to promote bicultural and biliterate education for all students and equity in our communities. She states that she is honored to be on the CABE Board of Directors as Vice President and help fulfill its mission to celebrate biliteracy and provide educators with strategies and structures to improve the biliteracy potential of Spanish-speaking children. She is also proud and honored to now be on the working staff of CLLARO. She continues her advocacy passion by working on nonprofit organizations around Colorado to bring change and empowerment into communities.
Diversity Director, High School Democrats of America
Karen was born in Colorado but raised in Nebraska, she returned to Colorado for her senior year of high school. Karen is very passionate about politics and social justice. She currently serves as the Diversity Director for the High School Democrats of America. She also serves as the Vice-Chair for the Colorado High School Democrats. Karen is involved with the Youth Caucus of America, political campaigns, and various service activities. Karen loves to help minorities and young people find a voice in politics. She hopes to major in Political Science and minor in race, ethnicity, and migration studies. Karen would then love to go to law school to become a civil rights attorney. Karen is confident that her experience with CLLARO will help her become a better leader and will give her the tools to better her community.
Roder Acevedo Astorga
Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science
Roder was born in Rancagua, Chile. She graduated in Political Science and International Relations from the University Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile in 2016. Before beginning her most recent job -working at the University of Aconcagua as the night school Coordinator and an Academic Abilities teacher for Health Science students- she was a part of the Governmental International Matters Unit of the O’Higgins Region, where she tackled investigation topics such as international cooperation and economic ties and different projects at the local level. After this she began to write for the official newspaper of her region articles over international politics and immigration.
Being driven by her passion for learning, she has taken up temporary residence in the United States, to Denver, where she is presently enrolled in English classes and is involved with CLLARO, an institution with which she shares its desire to construct a society where Latin Americans can count on opportunities and defensive tools in the contemporary world of which we are a part of today.