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 1-year-old 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.


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

Brian Cook

Brian is the Director of the Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth for Gary Community Ventures where he leads a social venture fund aimed at building wealth in Denver’s Black community.  Brian is also a Founder and principal consultant at Groundswell Change LLC, an organizational development and leadership consultancy. Prior to launching the consultancy, Brian worked for Colgate-Palmolive as a global brand manager and head of personal care product innovation for Tom’s of Maine. Before transitioning to the private sector, Brian spent years working in the education nonprofit sector – first as a middle school classroom educator and eventually as a national director of recruitment strategy for Teach For America. Brian relocated to Denver in May 2020 from the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire with his wife and daughter. Brian holds an AB in English and Sociology from Georgetown University and an MBA from Dartmouth College.  LinkedIn Profile

Community Participation:

  • Leadership Denver Class of 2021, Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation

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

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

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

Linda Peotter

Linda has been an entrepreneur and business leader for more than 30 years. She served as president of Metal Trading Corporation, a privately held nonferrous scrap metal trading company, which she co-founded in 1995. Her prior experience includes positions at ACX Technologies, AT&T and Eldorado Building Company. Linda’s philanthropic pursuits include fulfilling board of director positions at Social Venture Partners and CU Leeds Business School. She is co-chair of the board at  Colorado Succeeds. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign. LinkedIn Profile

Community Participation:

  • Board Co-Chair, Colorado Succeeds
  • Board member and mentor, CU Leeds School of Business
  • Volunteer, A Little Help

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