Calendar of Events


Colleen Kazemi

Colleen Kazemi

Executive Director


Having been in Denver since third grade, and a Denver East High School and CU Boulder graduate, Colleen feels the urgency to quickly find additional ways for our SVP community to partner with other like-minded organizations and individuals to find innovative ways to have an impact.

Her additional professional background includes being the co-founder of Pure Cultures, a probiotics animal health product innovator. She’s deeply rooted and actively engaged in the Denver/Boulder investor and entrepreneurial startup community. She is an investor in MergeLane, a fund that discovers, accelerates and invests in high-potential, women-led startups. She is an adjunct faculty member at Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the CU Leeds School of Business, and is passionate about supporting public education and have served as co-chair of the Denver Public School (DPS) Bond Oversight committee, DPS Tech Advisory Committee, and East High Collaborative School Committee.

Dave Koken

Dave Koken

Director of Partner Engagement


Dave is a Colorado native who has been working to grow innovative nonprofits and social enterprises for the past 10+ years. He co-founded multiple impact startups, including Lokal (a global marketplace for community-based ecotourism) and Rise Community Solar (a Denver-based company making clean energy accessible to nonprofits and low-income residents).

Previously, he worked at the financial inclusion nonprofit where he helped build the Global Fellows Program and served as the Portfolio Manager for Asia-Pacific region. He’s passionate about building a more just, empathetic world and loves working with local leaders to help them get the resources they need to better serve their communities.

After many years away, he moved back to Denver in 2020 with his wife and son. He’s excited to be back in the Rocky Mountains and looking forward to working with the SVP Denver community to make this a city where everyone can thrive.

Karen Mortimer

Karen Mortimer

Relationship Coordinator


Karen is an Illinois native who joined the ranks of Coloradans in 1997.  Karen has mostly worked (Facing History and Ourselves & the Donnell-Kay Foundation), and volunteered (Together Colorado & Denver Public Schools), within the education space where she primarily focused on efforts to amplify parent voice, especially within marginalized communities, and to promote transparency and equity. Karen presently serves as the Chair of the District Accountability Committee, a group of community volunteers who are appointed by the Board to provide advice to Denver Public Schools. 

Her family is also deeply involved in supporting the undocumented and asylum seekers and helped to launch the Colorado Immigrant Justice Fund which seeks to raise funds to cover the legal fees for immigrants in detention.

Her husband, Greg (a Colorado native), is in IT management for the Adams 12 School District, and their son and daughter are in high school in DPS.


Sara Bayless

Board Chair

Sara is a Director at the OMNI Institute, a non-profit social science consulting firm in Denver. Sara is passionate about making data meaningful and actionable. At OMNI, she uses research and evaluation methods to help organizations and initiatives understand and improve the impact their programs have on their communities. Prior to OMNI, Sara was a postdoctoral research fellow at Arizona State University. She holds a BA in Psychology from Tufts University, and an MA and PhD in Applied Developmental Psychology from Fordham University.  LinkedIn Profile

Community Participation:

  • Founding Team, Left Behind Workers Fund
  • Spirit of Service Award Winner, Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking
  • Tufts University 10th Reunion Committee

Jim Goebelbecker


Jim is an entrepreneur, executive, and Certified Presence-Based executive coach who actively collaborates to build relationships with key stakeholders to help meet organization objectives and improve individual leadership skills. Jim has experience practicing the skill and art of leadership as an entrepreneur and in the non-profit sector most recently as the CEO of Denver Kids. Jim earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management from St. Bonaventure University, an MBA from Seattle Pacific University, and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. degree in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University. LinkedIn Profile

Community Participation:

  • Denver Kids
  • Rotary Club of Denver
  • Co-Chair, SVP DEI Committee

Amy Aldridge

Amy Aldridge is a partner at Tributary Real Estate with more than 14 years of experience in commercial real estate. Her primary focus is advising scaling companies on office space strategies to accommodate their immediate needs, while also planning for growth.  Amy has been recognized as a Denver Business Journal 2021 40 Under 40 award winner, a Top 25 GenXYZ finalist by ColoradoBiz Magazine, a Heavy Hitter finalist (Young Broker of Denver) by the Denver Metro Commercial Association of REALTORS, and as a Breakout Broker of the Year by JLL. Amy graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University in business administration, with a double concentration in commercial real estate and real estate finance.  LinkedIn Profile

Community Participation:

  • Board of Governors of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation
  • Advisory Board for the Colorado State University’s Everitt Real Estate Center
  • Member of the Green and Gold Foundation
  • Center City Leadership Council of the Downtown Denver Partnership
  • Former President of the Rocky Mountain Alliance Children’s Foundation
  • Chair, SVP Development Committee

Elycia Cook

Elycia is the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Colorado. As she assumed this role in March of 2021, she became the first African-American CEO of this 104-year-old institution.  This comes at a time when BBBSC has made a renewed commitment to the intersectionality of mentoring, equity and social justice.  Prior to BBBSC, Elycia spent 12 years at another mentoring nonprofit, FRIENDS FIRST. She served as Project Director and later as CEO. She has fifteen years of experience working with positive youth development programs. In 1989, she received a scholarship to the Japan Center for Michigan Universities studying Japanese language, culture, and business. She has lived and worked in Japan for more than eight years, is fluent in the language and has spent time in 12 countries for business and leisure. Elycia received her BA (cum laude) in business administration and marketing from Wayne State University. LinkedIn Profile

Community Participation:

  • Leadership Denver Class of 2019, Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation
  • Jack and Jill, Inc., South Suburban Denver Chapter
  • Community First Foundation Board of Directors
  • My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, City and County of Denver
  • City Year Women’s Leadership Program
  • Mentor Colorado
  • Colorado Christian Fellowship Children’s Ministry
  • Founder, Cherry Creek STARS Mentoring Program
  • Co-Chair, SVP DEI Committee

Paul Collier

Paul Collier is the founder of Coeffect, a nonprofit consulting firm that has worked with over four dozen for-impact clients across Colorado, California, and Washington D.C. In addition to his pro bono work with Social Venture Partners Denver, Paul has also led trainings around impact measurement strategy for hundreds of nonprofit professionals through the Colorado Nonprofit Association, Nonprofit Learning Lab, and at several social sector conferences. Prior to Coeffect, Paul served as the Data and Evaluation Manager at Safe & Sound, a leading family resource center developing a data-informed model to help families raise thriving kids. Paul received bachelor’s degrees in Business Management and Arts Administration from Arizona State University, and has completed additional graduate-level coursework in data science and data analytics. Linkedin Profile.
Community Participation:
  • Lead organizer, Denver Data Storytellers
  • Metro Caring Data & Evaluation Committee Member
  • Member of the Colorado Evaluation Network

Justin Folkestad

Justin Folkestad is the head of ABS consulting which focuses on helping small-to-medium businesses and nonprofits work through rapid growth and come out stronger on the other side. Through his work in varying fields from aerospace, to 3D printing, to corporate finance, Justin has developed a diverse skillset and the ability to holistically analyze business performance. Justin is a Colorado native that holds a B.S. in Manufacturing Technology Management from Colorado State University and an MBA in Entrepreneurial Finance from the University of Colorado. LinkedIn Profile

Community Participation:

  • Hands of the Carpenter Board of Directors

Su Hawk

Su Hawk is an association and nonprofit leader with more than 35 years of experience focused in the Denver metro area.  She currently has her own company, Colorado BlueOcean Consulting, which is focused on association governance, transformation and strategy; and is a Senior Consultant for .orgSource, a Chicago-based company focused on national association transformation and technology integration.  For 15 years, she was the president/CEO of Colorado Technology Association, the Denver/Boulder BBB and B:CIVIC, leading a number of initiatives to grow the software and technology industries, ethical business practices and corporate social responsibility. Previous roles include being the VP at Denver Metro Chamber and SVP at Southeast Business Partnership. LinkedIn Profile

Community Participation:

  • Former Board Chair and Director of Family Tree and PRSA
  • Former Board member for the Blind Institute of Technology, Mentor Colorado, Colorado Enterprise Fund, Girls Count, YWCA, Colorado MESA, and Open World Learning
  • Youth Outreach Chair, National Philanthropy Day Colorado and BIT Advisory Council
  • Co-Chair, Governor-Elect Hickenlooper’s IT Transition Committee
  • Member, Governor-Elect Ritter’s IT Transition Committee
  • Member and Board Member, Technology Councils of America (TECNA)
  • Graduate, Leadership Denver program

Mark Newhouse

Mark has built his highly successful career delivering breakthrough products and businesses that have generated more than $2 billion in revenue in the telecommunications, consumer electronics, and cleantech markets. Mark came to Denver from Shanghai where he was a senior vice president of Corning Incorporated. In 2017 he was named a General Partner of the Innosphere Fund. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of SWIR Visions Systems, Epic River, and Boulder AI.  Mark has also invested much of his time in exploring new models of philanthropy. He was an investor in NPX’s first private-pay-for-success transaction and has helped NPX bring this new model of philanthropy to Colorado in the form of NPX’s Colorado Donor Impact Fund. At the onset of the pandemic, Mark co-founded the Left Behind Workers Fund (LBWF), which is providing assistance to recently unemployed workers without documentation. LinkedIn Profile

Community Participation:

  • Founding Circle Sponsor, Colorado Impact Days
  • Founder, SIIG (Social Venture Partners Impact Investing Group)
  • Co-Founder, Left Behind Workers Fund
  • Impact Charitable Board of Directors
  • The Denver Foundation Board of Trustees

Merrill Stillwell

Merrill is a managing partner at Blue Mountain Investments, a boutique real-estate investment and development firm with operations in the Vail Valley and Denver.  Prior to that role, he was a financial analyst with Denver Investments. He joined SVP Denver in 2015 and has served on the Board ever since. He attended Claremont McKenna College where he majored in government and economics and has a CFA charter. Fluent in Spanish, he has served as a coach for Argentina’s national lacrosse team since July 2010. LinkedIn Profile

Community Participation:

  • Denver Active 20-30 Children’s Foundation, Director & Grant Review Committee Member
  • Five Points Business Improvement District Design Review Committee, Member
  • CFA Institute & CFA Society of Colorado, Member
  • Impact Denver Class of 2015, Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation