Congratulations to the 2023 Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce: 40 under 40 Business Leaders!
Angelica Segura is a PUMA sponsored trainer, lululemon legacy ambassador, and co-owner of The MELTprjct, a Boxing, Strength & Conditioning group fitness concept out of Boulder, Colorado. A hybrid professional to the core, finding the intersections between being an entrepreneur, generator, and activator helping transform people’s lives through mindful sweaty experiences. Angelica gives her time and energy to homeless service work through community organizing and engagement in Colorado via her Board Member position with Mother House Boulder.
Bex Paz is the founder of Spanish Learning Network and is celebrating 10 years in business and 20 years as a Spanish teacher this year. She has been awarded “Best Language School in Denver” two years in a row and was recently featured on the Wix.com podcast for being in the top .01% of sales among all Wix websites. She is committed to fighting xenophobia and racism through increasing linguistic diversity in our community. Spanish Learning Network employs 15 Spanish instructors and serves six public school districts and private schools in the Denver area in addition to providing 120+ Spanish learning experiences a month for adult learners, partnering with 10 local nonprofits who serve our Spanish speaking communities, and welcoming over 200 children to their Spanish summer camps every year. Bex was also featured on Channel 9 for her work to provide inclusive education opportunities for Spanish speaking families during the pandemic.
Of all her accomplishments, Bex is the proudest of her two niños, Billie (11) and Charlie (9,) who are the most authentic, goofy, empathetic creatures and make being a single mom worth every minute.
Bill is a passionate Colorado nonprofit leader. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Bill graduated from Creighton University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in 2005. After graduation, he moved to Boston where he worked at a family homeless shelter as a child advocate and mentor through the Boston Public School System. In 2010, Bill graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Master’s Degree in Social Work where he worked with the State of Illinois handling child abuse and neglect investigations. He would later return to Omaha and become an integral figure on the leadership team at Completely KIDS, which is a community organization that serves economically disadvantaged youth and families. Most recently, Bill has worked in the field of suicide prevention throughout the State of Colorado. He is passionate about serving Colorado’s LGBTQ+ youth and believes that mental healthcare is a basic need for all people. An avid Creighton Bluejays basketball fan, Bill loves to adventure and is most happy with his two pups, Millie and Phineas.
Brad (he/him/his) is a proud husband, father, and member of the Colorado LGBTQ+ community, and he is honored to have been included in the LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce’s 40 Under 40 Business Leaders List. A proud Colorado native, Brad graduated Colorado State University in Fort Collins and has since worked as a technical specialist, software developer, and architect within the healthcare industry. His career developed its roots at Pipeline RX, where he amassed a decade of experience in creating, maintaining, and improving functionality within the healthcare system. Brad now works as a Solutions Architect at Optum, where he works daily to improve and innovate vital social health services. He is deeply fulfilled by serving as a leader in an industry that is tasked with meeting the challenge of evolving one of the fastest changing enterprises in the world.
Brad’s adult life has been inspired by his passion for serving the community which has continued to serve, inspire, and support him. At CSU, he was an activist within the LGBT Pride Resource Office, where he worked to foster a safe space for young people like him. Since graduating, he has been heavily involved in LGBTQ outreach programs within his profession, such working with his LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group’s “Pride Parent” branch at UHG/Optum. He is also honored to be of service to the wonderful organization that helped him establish his family: Adoption Options. He has been a member of community-centered outdoors groups, like The Four Players, and is proud to support the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce at public events and within their community outreach initiatives.
The cornerstone of any society is a sense of community: without togetherness, we have nothingness. Guided by this principle, and supported by his loving husband and beautiful baby boy, Brad is honored to continue to serve his beautiful state and the community to which he is so proud to belong.
Brendan Wang is passionate about bringing affordable, accessible, behavioral aids for anyone, anywhere, anytime, to quit vaping or smoking. He became addicted to vaping as a high school freshman, then realized his cravings were behavioral for an oral fixation beyond just nicotine. Beginning his second year of college, he invented the CAPNOS Zero, a flavored pressurized air inhaler that mimics the throat hit of vaping using only natural extracts and puffs of air, with no heat, in a device that can last forever.
At 23 years old, he has built a team of 4 full-time employees with over 20 part-time members and contractors across 5 continents. In the first 15 months of launch, CAPNOS shipped over 30,000 products to over 25 countries on the journey to help one million people quit vaping or smoking by 2027.
Wang loves venturing into the unknown, testing hypothesis, learning results, and making decisions to solve root-cause issues while helping people live happier, healthier lives toward a cleaner, greener planet. He and the CAPNOS team are committed to contributing toward the research of behavioral, non-nicotine, no-smoke alternatives having the capacity to be just as, if not more effective than traditional quit solutions.
Brynna Wilson (she/they) is the CEO of Citrine & Gold Financial Services and founding board member of the Queer Business Alliance.
As a member of the LGTBQ+ community and female entrepreneur, Brynna understands the challenges that these marginalized communities have faced when it comes to financial wealth. By specializing in behavioral finance, she creates authentic connections with her clients to uncover the root reasons that we hold ourselves back from creating wealth. Through her lens of using logical strategies, paired with tools to overcome psychological and emotional blocks, Brynna empowers her clients to make transformational changes.
Brynna believes that by building wealth in communities that have generally been on the backburner of financial education, these communities will have more power in shaping the future. She “feels most empowered when people are able to make drastic changes and create the life of their dreams.”
I was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado, and currently live in Los Angeles, California. Mx. Clothing was founded in Aurora, Colorado, as I am passionate about working with and giving back to the community that heavily contributed to my personal development. I identify as a Black, queer, woman, and these three components of my identity have highly influenced the creation of Mx. Clothing. There is an evident dichotomy that comes with being a Black, queer woman. There is racism within the LGBTQIA+ community while there is homophobia within the Black community. The intersectionality of my identity can make it difficult to find spaces in which my identity is both welcomed and celebrated.
As a child, I never liked wearing dresses and skirts. I felt more comfortable wearing my older brother’s baggy t-shirts and pants. As a young girl influenced by a gendered society, I felt confused as to why I preferred clothes that were not designed for me. Once I was able to independently shop for myself, I explored the boys’ and men’s departments at clothing stores. Although I preferred a more masculine style of clothing, the shopping experience itself was unpleasant. People would often look confused or ask about who the clothes were for, and it never felt “right” to walk into the women’s dressing room with men’s clothing. In addition to the discomfort I felt, the clothes were always too big or too small. Nothing seemed to compliment both my body and style. I wanted clothes that wouldn’t hug my curves yet were also complimentary of my physique.
After years of settling for clothes that weren’t quite me, I decided it was time to create my own clothing brand that caters to a diverse group of individuals, who also desire to dress outside the gender binary. As the founder of Mx. Clothing, I hope to provide an inclusive consumer experience, regardless of race, sexual orientation, and gender, for persons to authentically express all facets of their identity.
Coco Wham is the 29-year-old business owner and founder of the IV Den, a mobile IV therapy company that provides in-home IV services. Coco earned her master’s degree in biochemistry and has been a paramedic on the frontlines of Denver for almost a decade. She is an active member of the LQBTQ+ community and is also in her last year of medical school to earn her MD and embark on a career as a physician.
Working on the front lines of emergency medical services, Coco has gained invaluable experience responding to crises, providing critical care, and understanding the gaps in the healthcare system. Coco’s time as a paramedic instilled in her a deep appreciation for immediate and evidence-based medical interventions.
Coco’s entrepreneurial spirit, biochemistry background, and determination to innovate led her to explore new avenues. Recognizing the importance of intravenous therapy through the existing research and literature and the impact it may have on health and wellness, Coco envisioned a space where people could benefit from IV treatments in the comfort of their home.
Coco’s unique background as a paramedic and her extensive knowledge in biochemistry provided her with a deep understanding of the science behind IV therapy. This expertise allowed her to develop innovative treatment protocols and collaborate with leading medical professionals to ensure the highest standards of safety and efficacy.
Under a team of physicians, nurse practitioners, and pharmacist lead by Coco, the IV Den offers a wide range of services, including hydration therapy, nutrient infusions, and medications for conditions such as food poisoning, migraines, or seasonal allergies. The IV Den is often seen around town providing care to Denver’s professional athletes and musicians alike, including the Lumineers who use the IV Den year after year. Coco’s commitment to excellence is constantly reflected in the quality of service, the use of cutting-edge technology, and the meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of the customer experience.
Beyond her professional achievements, Coco remains committed to giving back to her community. She actively engages with local charities, volunteers at free medical clinics, and supports initiatives aimed at improving healthcare accessibility. She also has created scholarships for individuals wanting to enter or advance in the field of healthcare.
Coco’s unwavering determination, passion for science, and commitment to helping others has shaped her into an extraordinary individual. Coco’s journey as a biochemist, paramedic, and successful entrepreneur with the IV Den serves as an inspiration to aspiring healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs alike, reminding us all of the power of combining passion, knowledge, and innovation for the betterment of society.
Crosby has spent their career engaging with the generosity of their community. They joined the
philanthropy team at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado in 2022, having previously
worked in development at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, DIA Beacon, and Habitat for
Humanity of Metro Denver.
During their tenure at Habitat for Humanity, they created the affiliate’s inaugural Pride Build, an
opportunity for queer community members and allies to come together to build a house for a family.
That event is now in its third year, and while Crosby has passed the event over to others, they remain
grateful to have been able to offer an opportunity for neighbors to gather in support of each other.
Crosby has experienced deeply the strength and joy of queer community and offers their own
contribution to the spaces and people who have held them by keeping community fridges stocked,
working in mutual aid harm reduction and recovery, and as a patient escort. They also enjoy running
marathons, sharing meals with friends, and sewing and repairing clothes. They live with their partner
Alex, and share their home with their pup, Falcon, and cat, Marceline.
Crosby would like to acknowledge: “I was born on the ancestral, contemporary and unceded lands of
the Tiwa and Pueblo People (New Mexico). I have also lived on the ancestral, contemporary and
unceded lands of the Ramaytush and Muwekma People (San Francisco), the Wappinger and Mohican
People (New York), and on the land of the Kinh, Tay, and Khmer Krom People (Vietnam). I currently
reside on the ancestral, contemporary and unceded land of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱, hinono’eino’
biito’owu’, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ and Tséstho’e People (Thornton). I recognize that genocide and forced
occupation has occurred on these lands, and that policies and systems continue to oppress and erase
Indigenous peoples today. I commit to seeking out and taking actions that interrupt this continued
Dawn Turchin, 30, is a corporate Senior Multimedia Producer at DISH Network and the owner of Captured
by DT LLC. She is passionate about inspiring others and creating stories that engage, inspire, and compel
people to act.
Originally from Detroit Michigan, Dawn started her career freelancing for local businesses and the
community. This led her to many opportunities with clients such as Recording Artist and Actress Janelle
Monae, and a position with the NFL Detroit Lions as a producer.
Wanting to expand her career and name, she moved to Denver, CO at the beginning of 2022 for an
opportunity with DISH Network where she assists in leading a team of producers and is a part of the impact
During the past year, Dawn has spent her time contributing to the Mile High Queer Club; an organization
that is committed to cultivating a culture of equality, inclusion, diversity, and belonging to create a stronger
and more unified community.
Through her professional and personal life, Dawn is focused on making a difference in her community and
building a strong network.
Dr. Benjamin T. Finlayson, Ph.D., MFTC, is an Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Regis University. As faculty for Regis University, Benjamin was hired to teach specific diversity-related courses including Gender & Sexuality and The Effects of Systemic Power and Oppression on Family Functioning. Within his first year at Regis University, Benjamin introduced and chaired the committee for the Inaugural Lavender Graduation Ceremony, increased inclusion, and access to space on campus; and was awarded the Marsha P. Johnson Diversity Award. Dr. Finlayson uses his identity as a out-gay professional to ground his research and clinical work. Currently, Dr. Finlayson has three separate textbook chapters in press that address queer populations, mental health, and best practices for therapists. His research centers around sexual and gender identity, collaborative health care, and suicide prevention/intervention. His work has been published and presented in national and international spaces. Benjamin offered invited lectures to institutions across the country including Vanderbilt University, Bellevue University, Utah State University, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Dr. Finlayson provides part-time clinical support through Jefferson Center for Metal Health at their community partner site, Chanda Center for Health (an integrated health care center specializing in spinal cord injury and brain injury). He owns and operates his own practice, Benjamin Taylor Therapy, PLLC, specializing in family therapy for LGBTQIA+ families. He uses his practice to leverage voice though blogs and social media. In the community, he serves of the Board of Directors for PFLAG Denver as the Director of Support Services. A key objective of his work with PFLAG Denver is to create a grant-funded program that will provide families raising LGBTQIA+ children/adolescents with access to affirmative and affordable family therapy. Benjamin also offers workshops on affirmative mental health care to clinics across the Denver metro area. Dr. Finlayson enjoys time with his partner, Nolan Baker, talking to his cat, Ricky Meowtin, and building community – let’s connect!
Dr. Michelle Stauffer is a licensed Physical Therapist who has spent her career focusing on under-resourced communities. Raised in Arizona, Dr. Stauffer spent her time working on the Native American Tribal Lands aiding in people’s physical therapy and family health coaching. Later, Dr. Stauffer attended University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and upon completion, she began her journey of working with the queer community. Coast 2 Coast Wellness was founded in 2021 with the mission of providing an inclusive & safe atmosphere with affordable & quality care. Dr. Stauffer provides both fully mobile or virtual services geared towards the queer community, including physical therapy and health coaching. In addition, monthly pro bono physical therapy services are offered. Dr. Stauffer specializes in orthopedic and sports injuries and is certified in myofascial dry needling. She also holds a National Board Certified Health Wellness Coach Certification. Dr. Stauffer believes in a holistic treatment approach, and utilizes other inclusive providers to ensure her clients the best possible care. Dr. Stauffer is a member of the PT Proud Special Interest Group of the American Physical Therapy Association; a group whose purpose is to improve healthcare access for LGBTQIA+ individuals. She also is a sponsor and member of the Denver Gay and Lesbian Flag Football League. When not working, you can find Dr. Stauffer outdoors hiking or camping with her dog, or tending to her flower and veggie gardens in her backyard. Dr. Stauffer thanks her family, friends, and all of her clients who continue to motivate her in this work.
Edie is a Marketing Senior Coordinator at Olsson, an employee-owned engineering and design firm with nearly 2,000 employees. She has served in a leadership role for several years on Olsson’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, where she has led and supported transformative efforts to incorporate DEI into internal and external practices, from reworking Olsson’s core tenets to facilitating numerous firmwide group discussions on DEI topics to promote thoughtful approaches to inclusivity and kindness. She has presented on DEI and LGBTQIA+ topics many times internally at her firm, and she recently moderated a panel in implementing DEI practices at ACEC Colorado’s annual conference.
Edie also helped create the framework for the company’s Employee Resource Groups and founded Prism, Olsson’s LGBTQIA+ ERG, where she currently serves as president, directs educational events and discussion topics, and builds community among queer staff. She spearheaded the implementation of pronoun options in her firm’s pre-formulated email signatures, something not yet commonly seen in the Architecture/Engineering/Construction industry.
Edie has been creating safe queer spaces since high school, when she served on her school’s GSA and was vocally “out” to encourage conversations with peers and show up as a resource to those that weren’t able to be open. She continues to do this both personally and professionally, opening hearts and changing minds with compassionate education.
On a more personal level, Edie loves cats, video games, reading with her partner, and doodling.
Hi! My name is Emile Bishaw, and I am a Realtor located here in Denver, Colorado. It is my goal to provide exceptional service while creating a deeper understanding of the home buying and selling process. My specialty lies in residential home sales. Some of the areas I can assist in include, Buyer strategy, Seller strategy, Negotiations, Professional photography and staging, as well as, Comprehensive marketing plans and resources. In my free time I enjoy watching movies and walking my dog. I am an avid reader and love hosting my friends and family for dinner and game nights.
Ev (they/them) is a white, Jewish, trans person, originally from Lincoln, NE, with a decade stop in Boston, MA. Ev is the owner and director of MaeBright Group, LLC, formed in 2014. MaeBright supports non-profits, government agencies, and businesses in reaching their DEIJ goals, with a focus on LGBQ+ and trans/non-binary topics, trauma inclusivity, and race equity. Having worked with clients like Massachusetts General Brigham and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, MaeBright has an extensive history of supporting organizations move toward inclusivity and justice.
As an experienced facilitator, Ev believes that honest conversations about how we are both different and similar can lead to deep and needed connection and understanding. Ev thinks that our differences are our superpowers and dreams of a world where difference is celebrated and not subjugated. They hold an MPP and MBA from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis and a BA from Wesleyan University.
Ev is as grateful to have been made a Jew as they are grateful that they were made trans. Ev has worked in Jewish communities as a High Holiday Chazzan (prayer leader), Hebrew School teacher, and as an adult educator with classes like, Doing Gender Wrong: Homophobia and Anti-Semitism. Ev is also a group leader for a Jewish Youth Group for trans teens run through the Jewish Community Center. They are a matriculated cantorial student in the ALEPH Ordination Program.
Lastly, Ev is deeply passionate about mental wellness and access to mental health care. They often say that one of the reasons they are a relatively-okay trans adult is because they had access to trans-affirming mental health care from the age of ten (in 1997). Ev is working toward a world where mental health care values people as our whole, complex selves and provides care that makes moving toward healing possible. Ev lives in Denver, CO with their partner Lee, and two scruffy dogs, Max and Ziggy.
Garrett Chappell (he/him) is an environmental advocate and community builder, living in Longmont, and working across the whole Front Range to improve the lives of all residents of Colorado and mitigate the damages being done by the climate crisis.
Born an artist, Garrett worked as a Graphic Designer after moving to Colorado from the Black Hills of South Dakota in 2015. While working for Circle Graphics, one of the largest billboard printing companies in the US, he created the company’s first-ever full-time Sustainability Program and transitioned careers to focus exclusively on Sustainability.
After five years at Circle Graphics, working to increase the diversion rate of their waste, save money on operational costs, and training a bilingual staff on up-to-date sustainability practices, he moved on to a new opportunity with Premier Members Credit Union as their full-time Sustainability Coordinator. In this role, Garrett is working to connect with the communities of the Credit Union’s member base and bring the ethos of the Credit Union to life: People Helping People.
Since starting with Premier Members, Garrett has worked with the Credit Union’s members to collect over 18,000 lbs of electronics and household hazardous waste at no cost to the public, establish a scholarship fund for Lincoln Hills Cares to bridge the equity gap within environmental education, and donated over $45,000 to Front Range organizations focusing on environmental justice, environmental sustainability, and the overall wellbeing of our communities. In that time, he also earned the Credit Union the distinction of being a certified Lactation Friendly Workplace through the Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition, a major win under the umbrella of the social side of sustainability.
Outside of work, Garrett is a founding member of the City of Longmont’s Equitable Climate Action Team (ECAT), a member of Sustainable Resilient Longmont (SRL), and a member of the Board of Directors of Eco-Cycle. Garrett has the additional honor of being the youngest board member elected within Eco-Cycle’s groundbreaking 45 year history. He enjoys spending time in the serene beauty of the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado, time with friends in various film and book clubs, and traveling around the country to visit family and friends.
Gene Duran is a Transmission Planning Engineer with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Electrical Specialty) from the Colorado School of Mines. Prior to working at Xcel Energy, she was previously employed as an Operations Planning Engineer for the western interconnection reliability coordinator, Peak Reliability in Loveland, Colorado. Her work with that company entailed maintaining day-to-day reliability for transmission power lines in the western United States. Now, as a member of the Integrated System Planning organization within Xcel Energy, her work involves the technical execution of the Open Access Transmission Tariff for new generator interconnections. This involves project inception for all new solar and wind generator interconnection projects plugging into the Xcel Energy transmission system, which directly contribute to meeting Colorado’s energy goals of a 100% renewable energy power grid by 2040 and Xcel Energy’s goals of 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. She is the treasurer for Xcel Energy’s 2SLGBTQIA+ business resource group, Pride Alliance. She promotes diversity and inclusion for other transgender people in the workplace through her interactions with leadership and transitioning employees at Xcel Energy. In her free time she works on her tailoring skills, sings karaoke, and swims competitively. She is an avid cosplayer at anime conventions, but also wears costumes to work for Halloween and other occasions. By living as openly as possible, she hopes to foster an inclusive workplace where everyone can live and work with confidence.
Hannah Winkler is a trailblazing leader who has significantly impacted organizational culture and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives across various industries. From her humble beginnings in the food industry to her eventual transition into the cable industry, Hannah’s journey has been marked by her unwavering commitment to creating transformational change and fostering psychological safety, empathy, and employee respect.
Hannah’s professional journey began in the food industry, gaining valuable experience and developing a strong work ethic. However, during this time, Hannah also began to grapple with her gender identity and the challenges associated with being transgender in a predominantly cisgender workforce. Hannah’s personal experiences inspired her to advocate for transgender rights and inclusion in the workplace, and she courageously decided to share her story to raise awareness and promote acceptance.
Motivated by her outing in several trades and her gender transition within the blue-collar workforce, Hannah recognized the need for organizations to create an environment that embraces and supports individuals who come out as LGBTQ+. She understood the importance of psychological safety, empathy, and respect in facilitating such a cultural shift. Drawing on her unique perspective and experiences, Hannah embarked on a mission to effect change within her organization.
Hannah’s efforts did not go unnoticed. Her ability to lead with compassion and understanding helped her spearhead a comprehensive organizational change initiative centered around DEI principles. She championed policies that protected the rights and well-being of LGBTQ+ employees, ensuring that they felt valued and supported throughout their journey of self-discovery and authenticity. Under Hannah’s leadership, the company implemented training programs, resource groups, and inclusive policies that became a template for other large companies seeking to foster an inclusive work environment.
Recognized for her expertise and impact, Hannah began to serve and consult on national DEI councils and employee resource groups (ERGs). She leveraged her knowledge and experiences to provide valuable insights, resources, and processes to organizations seeking to enhance their diversity and inclusion efforts. Hannah’s ability to bridge the gap between personal experiences and corporate strategy made her a sought-after thought leader in the DEI space.
Through her advocacy work, Hannah has become an inspiration to countless individuals who are navigating similar journeys. Her courage to share her transgender experience and dedication to driving change has made her a beacon of hope for those facing adversity in the workplace due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. By amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups, Hannah has contributed to creating more inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplaces nationwide.
Hannah has received numerous accolades, including industry awards and honors for her outstanding contributions. However, her true reward lies in her positive impact on the lives of individuals and the broader community. Her unwavering commitment to promoting psychological safety, empathy, and respect within organizations continues to transform workplaces and inspire future generations of leaders to prioritize inclusivity and equality.
Hannah Winkler’s journey from the food industry to the cable industry and onto the next industry exemplifies the power of personal experiences in driving meaningful change. Through her leadership, advocacy, and dedication, Hannah has become a catalyst for organizational transformation and a voice for marginalized communities, leaving an indelible mark on the world of DEI.
Jacob Adkison is the Head of Human Resources at Sunward Steel Buildings, a leading metal building manufacturer. He is also the Founder and CEO of ENDVR Consulting, a company that specializes in providing human resources guidance and services to small and medium-sized organizations, including those without dedicated HR departments.
With a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Organizational Development with a focus on Leadership from The University of Texas at Tyler, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Communications from the University of Texas at Arlington, and an Associate’s degree in Commercial Photography from Kilgore College, Jacob brings a diverse skill set and extensive knowledge to his HR roles.
In addition to his professional endeavors, Jacob is actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community. Since 2020, he has served as an Executive Board Member and currently holds the position of Vice-President at 4-Players of Colorado, an LGBTQ+ off-road club. Originally formed in 1986 as a social organization for gay men during the height of the AIDS crisis. In recent years the club has evolved to welcome all LGBTQ+ community members and remains one of the longest-running LGBTQ+ organizations in Colorado.
In 2022, Jacob joined the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce as a Board Member to advocate for policies and laws that support and protect the LGBTQ+ business community. Through his personal journey and experiences, Jacob aims to inspire others to embrace their identities, challenge societal norms, and contribute to a more inclusive world, where everyone can live authentically without fear of discrimination.
Originally from Texas, Jacob and his husband Taylor relocated to the Denver metro area in 2019 after falling in love with Colorado during a visit. In his leisure time, Jacob enjoys exploring all that Colorado has to offer, including skiing, hiking, off-roading, attending concerts at Red Rocks, and much more.
Jake Kanyusik is an accomplished corporate immigration attorney, who provides expert guidance to companies and individuals on immigration law and policy issues. As an attorney at the Denver office of Ogletree Deakins, Jake has built a reputation for his comprehensive knowledge and strategic approach in navigating the complexities of immigration law. His practice encompasses employment-based immigration with a pro bono focus on asylum and refugee law, human trafficking issues, and immigration issues facing the LGBTQ+ community.
Jake oversees the local Ogletree pro bono group, which is dedicated to providing access to immigration legal services to underserved communities in the Denver area. In 2022, Jake assisted in the coordination of a large service project, combining the forces of his firm with local nonprofit legal services organizations and volunteers to prepare and file over 600 asylum applications for Afghan refugees.
Jake strives to increase LGBTQ+ visibility in the legal field. He provides mentorship to LGBTQ+ junior attorneys and paralegals as well as serves on his firm’s resource group supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
Jake’s career as an immigration attorney is defined by his passion for helping individuals and businesses overcome immigration challenges. With his extensive experience, strategic counsel, and deep understanding of immigration law, Jake continues to make a significant impact in the lives of his clients by facilitating their success and enabling them to thrive in the United States.
Outside of work, Jake spends quality time with his husband at their home, raising two dogs, six chickens, a small pond full of goldfish, and several thousand backyard bees.
Originally born in Ithaca, NY, I moved to Boulder, CO in 2013 for my undergraduate program at Naropa University. It was around that time I first came out to my loving and accepting family. I started exploring the gay community after college. I knew that I belonged with the Bear subculture. My interests include painting, rapping, dancing, paleontology, psychology, nature, swimming, and cooking.
Now, I am a solo Massage therapist and Small Business Owner. I offer therapeutic and relaxation massages for a variety of clients. My attitude is that all people are already wonderful and complete! It is my perspective that everyone can receive the benefits of massage and a professional relationship with a skilled practitioner. I take a body positive approach as a reminder of every-bodys worth. You don’t have to be in any specific condition or with any particular fitness goal to see a massage therapist, its my model not to judge. Too many products and advertisements out there focus on images and standards that are unrealistic and discouraging. Everyone deserves to be supported and accepted for who they are, and I want every client to feel fully welcomed. It’s my interest to serve your best interest.
I graduated from Boulder, CO’s Naropa University’s Traditional Eastern Arts BA, Concentration in Tai Chi Chuan, with a minor in Contemplative Psychology in 2017. It is my aim as a practitioner to integrate the relaxing yet powerful principles of Tai Chi with massage therapy. I am Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork by the NCBTMB. I learned massage therapy at the Denver Integrative Massage School, after compleing school, in 2022, I opened Bear Pawz Massage Therapy LLC in order practice my passion for bodywork, empower others to love and heal themselves, to participate in activism and charitable causes, and educate the public on massage therapy and manual therapy techniques. I enjoy being a provider for plus-size individuals, LGBTQ+ individuals, veterans, senior citizens, and many others. It is my goal to offer you the best client centered care and attention as a patron of Bear Pawz Massage Therapy. To host a non-discriminating, non-judgmental space for people of all body types, to receive professional therapeutic or relaxation massages.
I adopted Alex, the Grizzly Bear at Colorado’s Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO, and am a founder of the Wild Animal Refuge in Springfield, CO. I have also worked with the Colorado LGBTQ+ publication Out Front Magazine practicing chair massage at numerous events, and hope to continue doing so.
Jay is a photographer, writer, and beekeeper, entwining all three to celebrate queer excellence, always. He lives in Littleton with his husband, their two dogs, four chickens, and about 100,000 honeybees.
He’s available for portrait photography via: www.jaycupcake.com @jay_cupcake
And check out local Colorado wildflower honey producers at www.bigbeeenergy.com @bigbeeenergy_honey
Jeremy Lovelady has been an employee of Xcel Energy for over 15 years and has been an active member of the Company’s Pride Alliance Business Resource Group (BRG) for the last six years. Jeremy currently serves the BRG as Co-Chairman and Colorado Chapter lead where he organizes and leads volunteer events in Colorado that support LGBTQ+ non-profits and provides resources and support to other employees across the company who are coming out or transitioning in the workplace. Jeremy and his BRG leadership team champion the completion of Xcel Energy’s Corporate Equality Index survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign and they work with internal human resources leadership to make equitable changes to policies, procedures, and other metrics that align with industry standards on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives.
A proud alumna of Tulane University, Kara’s background in sociology and psychology has helped her hone her ability to understand complex social dynamics and apply them to the business world.
Her expertise in sales, coupled with her deep understanding of human behavior, allows her to foster authentic connections and build lasting relationships.
At JumpCloud, Kara is a key player on the Sales Enablement team, where she spearheads initiatives to enhance sales effectiveness and enable the success of the entire sales organization. With her exceptional leadership skills, she has played a pivotal role in developing comprehensive training programs that empower the sales team to achieve remarkable results.
Kara’s passion for fostering inclusivity extends beyond her professional responsibilities. As a member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEI&B) and Cloud Pride steering committees at JumpCloud, she works tirelessly to ensure that every employee feels valued and supported. Recently, Kara led an inspiring employee email campaign to celebrate Pride month, promoting a culture of acceptance and celebrating the contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Committed to making a difference in her community, Kara actively volunteers with an animal rescue organization, channeling her compassion for animals into meaningful action. Additionally, she dedicates her time and energy to Canine Companions for Independence, where she helps raise and train future service dogs.
Kara is a proud member of the queer community. She lives in Castle Rock with her partner, Cassie, and their dogs, Stavros, Jack, and Chad.
Kathryn Bennett, MPH, is a dynamic sales professional with a diverse background in social and behavioral health, process improvement, and technology. As a co-founder of Proposal Industry Experts (PIE), Kathryn is committed to making the world of proposals more accessible, innovative, and inclusive.
Through PIE, Kathryn fearlessly tackles difficult conversations and provides valuable insights to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background or experience, has equal opportunities in the proposal management space. They firmly believe in breaking down barriers and empowering professionals to succeed. With a forward-thinking approach, Kathryn embraces the potential of AI and tech in proposals, leveraging capabilities to streamline the writing process and foster creativity.
Kathryn’s irreverent and innovative mindset extends beyond proposals. They are a world-record-holding strongman competitor, a celebrated TEDx and Ignite speaker, and the author of “Productive Pain,” a memoir and inspirational guide.
Drawing from their personal experiences, Kathryn is passionate about helping others develop mental toughness and resilience. They have overcome burnout and advanced their career from an entry-level process improvement role to a director position. Their goal is to empower individuals to thrive in the face of adversity while promoting new ideas from traditionally underrepresented groups.
Kevin Maza-Amador is an LGBTQ+ Mexican migrant living in the city of Denver, Colorado. Having relocated to the United States at an early age, Kevin is considered a DREAMer. Benefitting from the DACA policy (2012), Kevin found their passion in banking through FirstBank in 2013. Having worked through FirstBank’s branch operations for most of their banking career, Kevin currently manages FirstBank’s Multicultural Banking Center. Their ultimate goal is to serve minority communities by educating minority groups on banking solutions. Kevin’s story is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the power of perseverance. As an LGBTQ+ migrant and DREAMer, they have defied societal expectations, shattered stereotypes, and become a beacon of hope for those who have faced similar struggles. Kevin’s dedication to social justice and their unwavering commitment to advocating for marginalized communities have earned them a place of admiration and respect within the LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights movements. With their determination, compassion, and unyielding belief in the power of change, Kevin continues to inspire and pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable future.
Born in Roswell, New Mexico and raised in Northern Colorado, Kevin has spent most of his life finding ways to make a significant impact in the world. As a former foster child, a child of a failed adoption, and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, Kevin draws from the experiences in his life to help propel those around him. Kevin has spent years volunteering for organizations that fight for equality and focus on lifting up or offering services to the underserved. Kevin received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design and is CEO of BKN Creative, a Creative + Marketing Ad agency based in Seminole Heights, Tampa, Florida and Denver, Colorado with plans to expand into NYC and London. Kevin has had an extensive career in both Accounting and Marketing living and working in some of the world’s largest advertising markets, New York City and Miami. Kevin has also become a profound speaker recently traveling to London to speak on DEI in Business and Advertising and has joined USF (University of South Florida), speaking to students on DEI in Advertising in the Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communication. Recently awarded the 2020 Tampa Bay Business Journal Business of Pride award, Top 10 Under 40 for Tampa Magazine and a 2021 Stevie Award for Marketing Entrepreneur of the Year, it is Kevin’s goal to bring diversity and inclusion into every organization in the areas he serves.
BKN Creative is a full-service boutique (Certified LGBTBE) creative and marketing agency that helps brands large and small develop and create their own visual story. Using tactics from various innovative capabilities, we design and produce authentic brand experiences that inspire, engage, and entice the viewer. BKN Creative is a Creative & Marketing Agency specializing in Graphic Design, Photography, Social Media Management, Video Production, Copywriting Services, Website Design, and more. Like the LGBT Chamber, we are conceptual, creative, passionate, collaborative, dedicated, fun, fresh, and friendly. We are passionate about what we do and love working with like-minded individuals. We thrive on inclusion, open-mindedness, full transparency, open communication, and acceptance and are proud to be a certified minority business through the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
My wife Stacey and I only recently started our business in October 2022 as an online store. We felt that our small town of Estes Park needed an herbal wellness-based practice. We took the jump in January to find a brick-and-mortar location so we could grow our services and start providing products and classes, and collaborating with other local people and organizations to build a Holistic Health community that is geared toward equality and empowerment. We hand make all our products and make every attempt to be as sustainable as we possibly can. My personal passion is Holistic Health, and I have been in continued education on all topics within this field for the last 6 years. Through our apothecary, I am building a Holistic Health service specializing in Women and LGBTQ+ wellness care. We are both extremely passionate about education and natural wellness, and our goal is to make herbal and natural products, knowledge, and practices accessible to everyone.
As an LGBTQ+ couple, we feel it is important to be able to provide a safe space for other members of our community and have gone through the training with the Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County to be Trusted Adults and help prevent LGBTQ+ youth suicide. We provide many different resources in our store to direct curious folks to more information on being a safe ally, understanding the differences within our community, and where to find assistance. Through our business we have also implemented a “Round Up” program that helps us to give back to our community, and we try to donate proceeds to different local organizations and nonprofits that help the LGBTQ+ community, women’s networks, outdoor programs, and mental health programs.
Born and raised in Denver, Lindsey Vigoda is intricately familiar with the needs and challenges of local communities in Colorado. As Small Business Majority’s Colorado Director, she leads the organization’s policy, advocacy, outreach and fundraising efforts in the state and serves as the national expert on childcare and paid family and medical leave policy issues.
Using her social work skills, Lindsey builds and maintains strong relationships with small business communities throughout the state, focusing on key policy issues such as access to affordable healthcare, removal of barriers to entrepreneurship for undocumented Coloradans and the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI), among others. Lindsey serves as a member of Small Business Majority’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. Previously, she worked as the organization’s Colorado Outreach Manager, where she coordinated the organization’s education and small business outreach across the state.
Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Lindsey worked on Colorado’s successful Proposition 111 campaign, which capped the interest rates of predatory payday loans in the state. While working toward her Master of Social Work at the University of Denver, Lindsey conducted policy research for a statewide policy think tank that focused on economic justice.
Lindsey also is on the board of Connect Us, a Denver nonprofit organization dedicated to the social and emotional well-being of children where she’s served since 2018, a cause close to her heart.
Matt Gorenc (he/him) is Government Affairs Manager for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. In this role, he works with elected officials, a lobby team, stakeholders, and Chamber members to advocate for better business policy in the state. The primary focus of Matt’s policy portfolio is workforce housing. In this capacity, he advocates for construction defects litigation reform, streamlining zoning codes, incentivizing affordable development, and cutting red tape to make building equitable and affordable communities along the Front Range easier. Matt is laser focused on developing a business community that embraces LGBTQIA+ people, and approaches everything he does through a lens of equity and justice.
Prior to his role at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Matt was Constituent Services Liaison at Adams County Government, where he worked with residents of his native County to ensure services work for them on behalf of the elected Board of County Commissioners and the County Manager. He also served on the Adams County Pride committee and helped launch the first-ever Pride festival in the County’s history.
Additionally, Matt is a licensed REALTOR® and Associate Broker at Denver Boulder Real Estate, a high-producing boutique agency, and has the pleasure of working at a brokerage firm where every agent is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. His time in real estate has informed his understanding of affordable housing policy and has further reinforced his work in ensuring equity and justice, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community.
A Colorado native, he holds a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Colorado State University and a Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and is fluent in both Spanish and Slovenian.
Patrick Walton brings thirteen years of experience spanning the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to the City and County of Denver as the Manager of Strategic Projects and Policy with Denver Economic Development & Opportunity. Sitting on the External Affairs team, he leads multiple strategic projects, policy, and legislative affairs for the agency.
Previously, Patrick worked with Mile High United Way in various roles focused on the economic mobility of families in Colorado including most recently as the Director of Tax Help Colorado where he led a statewide program that working to help families and individuals connect with valuable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, as well as free tax preparation services. As the Director of Volunteer Engagement, he led a community engagement strategy that included partnership cultivation, emergency activation and response, volunteer recruitment, oversight of volunteer engagements, and signature events.
Finally, as the Sr. Manager of Economic Opportunity and Education Integration with Mile High United Way, Patrick worked in partnership with leaders and community organizations to plan and implement Mile High United Way’s economic mobility efforts to achieve systems changes and positive outcomes for individuals and families in the community.
Prior to joining Mile High United Way, he managed the guest services team at the Oxford Hotel in Downtown Denver as the Front Office Manager. During his time at the Oxford Hotel, it was designated by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the top 50 luxury hotels in the United States. Patrick’s experience also includes working on several political campaigns, as well as project management for the Katalysis Network, a MicroFinance organization based in Central America.
He is currently serving on the Asian Chamber of Commerce Colorado Board and serves as the Board Chair of Environmental Learning for Kids. In 2017 he was appointed by Mayor Michael Hancock to the Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission and currently serves on the Denver’s LGBTQ Commission’s Executive Committee.
Patrick was born and raised in Lodi, California, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado, Denver. He is an avid traveler, and you can often find him hitting the slopes during the winter.
Ronald Robbins is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Clicta Digital Agency – a growth-driven digital marketing agency headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Establishing the company in 2017, Ron is a certified LGBT Business Enterprise and 1% for the Planet Business Member dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. He’s also a firm believer in fighting for environmental causes while giving back to tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental issues.
You’ll find Ron does business a little differently. At the core, he plans every growth marketing campaign with a tailored strategy designed for each of his clients. He believes in honesty, transparency, and data-driven results in his daily practices. This data-driven approach to marketing, combined with analyzing search trends, evaluating audience needs, and refining strategies, has produced optimal results that drive engagement and revenue.
Prior to starting the marketing agency, Ron was Editor in Chief of a successful travel website working alongside international brands and tourism boards. Doing so allowed him to travel to 40+ countries around the world and experience many cultures and societies. Today, you can find Ron either rolling up his sleeves to work alongside his colleagues, traveling with his life partner, or spending quality time with his two dogs exploring the mountains of Colorado.
Sarah Plastino (she/her/hers) is an immigrant defense attorney and professional independent consultant. Sarah has worked for over 15 years defending the rights of immigrants and refugees across the US and abroad. She began her career working at the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project in Florence, Arizona, defending immigrants and refugees detained at the Eloy Detention Center. Since, she has worked on the LGBT Immigrant Rights Project of the National Immigrant Justice Center, managed the Newark, New Jersey office of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), acted as an immigration public defender at the Brooklyn Defender Services, and worked for 4 years on the Detention Program of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), in Westminster, Colorado. In 2021, she founded Sarah Plastino Consulting LLC, where she supports non-profit organizations advancing immigrant and refugee rights.
Sarah is a local and nationally recognized immigrant advocate, who has appeared before the Colorado House of Representatives, Colorado Senate, and the Denver and Ft. Collins City Councils. She has appeared in local and national media, including National Public Radio All Things Considered, Colorado Public Radio, the Denver Post, and more. Sarah co-founded and co-taught the Asylum Law and Advocacy Practicum at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and was an instrumental leader in the effort to pass the Colorado Immigrant Legal Defense Fund.
Sarah is also the Treasurer of the Board of Directors of CIRC Action Committee, the 501(c)(4) arm of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, and a 2022-2023 CiviCO Colorado Governor’s Fellow. She is a proud member of the LGBTQ community, and lives in Denver with her spouse and toddler. She is originally from Philadelphia.
Sheena Anne Kadi, MBA, has worked on LGBTQ issues and progressive campaigns for over 20 years, beginning with founding PRISM, the first LGBTQ student organization at a Catholic University in the state of Ohio. That led to her working on her first campaign in 2004 with Ohioans for Fairness to attempt to stop Amendment 1, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman in the state’s constitution.
As a queer, Arab millennial woman, Sheena started her career working to elect those who identify as LGBTQ, their allies, and to successfully pass proactive LGBTQ policies and legislation. This included working with several municipalities in Ohio to pass anti-discrimination ordinances covering sexual orientation and gender identity, building domestic partnership registries, including transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits for city employees, instituting anti-bullying policies in schools, passing protections for HIV and AIDS patients, and establishing LGBTQ liaisons within police departments – way before it was hip to do.
In 2012, Sheena was appointed as the first LGBTQ Liaison to the city of Toledo under Mayor Mike Bell, and she continued to serve in the role during three different administrations. During this time, Sheena increased the HRC Municipal Equality Index from a low of 58 to the city’s first ever 100% ranking, served on the Steering Committee for the 2014 Gay Games 9, served as chair of the City’s Board of Community Relations, and joined the Democratic National Committee’s National LGBTQ Advisory Board.
In 2013, Sheena led the field and political team that successfully stopped HJR3-HJR6 under Governor Mike Pence’s administration in Indiana, garnering support from a coalition of bi-partisan elected officials, faith leaders, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies.
Ten years after the devastating passing of Amendment 1, Sheena’s work in Ohio came full circle with Why Marriage Matters Ohio and the Obergefell v. Hodges plaintiffs in bringing marriage equality to Ohio and the remaining thirteen states that did not have the freedom to marry in 2015 through the Supreme Court of the United States. Her coalition work with small businesses was vital to bipartisan support across Ohio.
Serving as Deputy Director at One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBTQ advocacy organization, she built and launched Colorado Open To All, a coalition of more than 1,000 businesses, small and large, in all corners of the state. She led the organization to finally banning conversion therapy, a dangerous and discredited practice that she herself is a survivor of, and for passing Jude’s Law, allowing Coloradans to be able to update either gender on their birth certificates. As one of her last achievements at One Colorado, she successfully executed a persuasion campaign around Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch, with him authoring the landmark LGBTQ job discrimination case.
Sheena recently served as a Senior Advisor to congressional candidate Rep. Dr. Yadira Caraveo, and currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Communications Director for the Colorado Department of the Treasury.
Sorin L. Thomas (they/them) is the Founding and Executive Director of Queer Asterisk Therapeutic Services. Queer Asterisk is a Colorado nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower and nurture the diverse ways of being that queer people embody, by providing counseling services, educational training, and community programs that uplift queer, trans, and gender expansive lives.
Sorin identifies as a queer and nonbinary transgender person, a third culture kid, a US citizen raised in Europe, and a bridge person, spanning multiple cultures and consciously seeking to facilitate an exchange between them. Along with their colleague FreedaBe, Sorin founded Queer Asterisk in Boulder in 2016. Since then, Queer Asterisk has grown to become a foundational community resource; with a team of 35 queer and transgender mental health counselors providing ongoing affordable counseling to 1,000 LGBTQ+ individuals and families in Colorado each year.
Sorin was inspired to start Queer Asterisk after having a negative experience as a transgender person seeking gender-affirming care. Their idea was to provide a safe space within the mental health care system for other queer & trans individuals to receive care from providers who have explicitly shared values and lived experiences.
Sorin is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Addictions Counselor, Approved Clinical Supervisor, and Certified Group Psychotherapist with a Master of Arts degree in Somatic Counseling Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. As Executive Director, Sorin supports and resources the Queer Asterisk leadership team, encouraging everyone to bring their unique gifts to their work.
Since they were 18 years old, Sorin has been passionate about serving others. They have worked in a wide variety of settings throughout their career, including substance use prevention and early intervention, wilderness therapy and rites of passage work, equine assisted psychotherapy, emergency psychiatric services, inpatient and residential treatment, and outpatient and community-based services. In the last decade, Sorin’s primary focus has been on providing direct mental health care to queer and transgender individuals and their families.
In addition to providing queer-affirming counseling and clinical supervision, Sorin also offers professional development, executive consultation, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging trainings at Queer Asterisk through a therapeutic lens. Since 2016, Sorin has provided hundreds of sought-after educational trainings to staff and leadership at hospitals, schools, addiction recovery centers, and social service agencies – both locally and nationally.
Sorin was awarded the 2019 Visionary Leader Award at Four Corners Group Psychotherapy Society and the 2018 Windhorse Award for Community Service by Naropa University. They are adjunct faculty at Naropa University, a 2023 Boulder County Leadership Fellow, a member of the Boulder County Mounted Search and Rescue team, and serve on the Board of Directors at Medicine Horse Program.
Tammy was born in Puerto Rico and shortly after moved to Long Island, New York where she would live her life for most of her child and adulthood. There she was a teacher and influenced lots of young lives for many years. She moved to Colorado in 2019 and continued teaching in the Special Needs field where she was able to have that one-on-one influence with students and watched them thrive, which is what allowed her to do what she does best.
During a time where most people found themselves working two jobs, Tammy became a huge part of the Denver Hamburger Mary’s family. Soon after, she left the teaching field and went full time as a restaurant lead. She’s been deemed the “Mama of Mary’s” in her two years of working there. The employees, guests and community love seeing her and knows when she’s working, all is right. She’s the hub of support and accountability for drag entertainers of all kinds, Queens to Kings and everyone in between. You can even catch her twirling at the occasional “Turnabout” shows.
In 2023 she was named one of the top 5 nominees for the Denver DIVAS awards in the Community Member category. If you’ve come to Hamburger Mary’s you most definitely have seen her and probably know who she is, after all she’s tiny but mighty. Also in 2023, Tammy was promoted to the Assistant General Manager of Hamburger Marys. Nothing can stop this girl from thriving and discovering herself from within.
She is honored to be a part of the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce 40 under 40 leaders and can’t wait to be involved in the community in more ways.
I chose a life of no alcohol in August 2018. I quickly realized the lack of good quality, fresh, nonalcoholic drink choices. Most of the choices were soda, tea, and water. I was craving more than that. I wanted something fresh and balanced, not premixed and overly-sweet. After four years of waiting for someone to create what I was looking for, I decided to create it myself.
Herbal Mocktails is currently a mobile business. This gives me the flexibility to bring my mocktails to more people and places. I hope to have a storefront one day, and maybe even bottle my mocktails, but this is the first step.
Outside of Herbal Mocktails, I am a wife, mom of three, astrologer, entrepreneur, forager, tarot reader, alchemist, artist, neurodivergent, queer, feminist, and marijuana advocate.
When asked to self-describe, Timniyha (TIM-nee-uh) will usually respond that they are “an ever-evolving experience”. After breaking into the Colorado spoken word scene in 2006, Timniyha earned the moniker “Duchess of Wordplay”. During this time, they developed over a decade of community-building and grassroots equity work performing, speaking, and facilitating workshops for community groups, universities, theaters, and more. From 2012-2016, Timniyha (along with their mentor Karen “Oooh Weee” Grissom) organized, hosted, and co-facilitated The Speakout poetry and open mic venue, providing a space for hundreds of artists and poets from various social identities and backgrounds to freely express creativity, exchange stories, and collectively heal from generational trauma. In 2023, Timniyha wrote, produced, and played the main role in a scripted poetry experience titled “Death of the Duchess”, officially commemorating the passing of that persona and chapter of life.
Timniyha entered local government work in 2014, and currently holds the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Specialist position at the State of Colorado Office of Information Technology (OIT). In 2022, they received a Public Service Recognition Award for their modeling of inclusion and facilitation of EDI work at OIT. Timniyha also takes pride in being a distinguished graduate of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado’s ULF Connect Leadership Program, and receiving the 2022 Spirit of ULF Award for outstanding leadership and service. Timniyha has a certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental, Social and Governance Strategy from the University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business. When Timniyha isn’t out sprinkling magnificence in the world, they are likely spending time with their wife Cydney and daughter Rhylyn, catching up with friends, or building a LEGO set. They can be easily contacted for Inclusion & Belonging coaching services at www.timniyha.com or via LinkedIn.
Tyler is a certified physician associate specializing in gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) for transgender and gender-diverse patient populations in Colorado. With a background in public health, Tyler dedicated his early career to working with non-profit organizations in New York City, focusing on medical care coordination for clients living with HIV/AIDS. Motivated by the opportunity to continue to make a difference in the LGBTQIA+ community, he decided to relocate to Colorado and launch his PA career with the Integrated Transgender Program (ITP) at UCHealth, in collaboration with the CU School of Medicine.
Beyond providing direct patient care, Tyler actively engages in GAHT research and promotes the ITP throughout the community. His commitment to inclusivity extends beyond his clinical responsibilities, as he actively contributes to various projects aimed at enhancing LGBTQIA+ awareness and inclusivity across the UCHealth system. By combining his expertise and passion, Tyler strives to create a supportive and comprehensive healthcare environment for individuals across the gender spectrum.
Zephyr is a licensed English teacher in Colorado with a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse endorsement. He has taught in the US, China, and Thailand. He has taught in American, Australian, British, Chinese, and international schools/programs. He has taught in public, private, and charter schools. He has taught students from economically advantaged backgrounds as well as Title I schools. He taught in a monocultural environment as well as the most diverse high school in Colorado. Through all of these experiences, he has had the opportunity to work with English-language learners from a wide variety of backgrounds which has helped him to create fun and dynamic games that teach people English at all levels.
More importantly, he has had the opportunity to learn how games unite people; it is a fundamental part of the human experience to gather together and enter into relationships with each other in the spirit of competition, collaboration, and fun. These things help foster a warm and welcoming environment that break down barriers and promote a sense of belonging while also teaching how to navigate social boundaries. Moreover, games improve creative problem solving and adaptability. Finally, playing games with others releases the neurotransmitter norepinephrine which improves brain plasticity and therefore helps people retain the information they learned while engaging in play. For these reasons, he has put his knowledge of teaching and the English language into a series of games that teachers and parents can use to open the door for students of all ages and levels to engage in positive learning experiences.