We are thrilled to welcome four new members to the board of trustees and a new slate of officers. These leaders bring diverse skills to our board. They are community leaders, investment professionals, and philanthropic role models.
2024 new trustees
Kelly Brough is the vice president of strategic partnerships for Colorado Mesa University. As a former chief of staff to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, head of human resources for the City of Denver, and CEO of the oldest and largest business advocacy organization in Colorado, she has built effective teams, managed large budgets, negotiated key contracts, influenced public policy and navigated the intersection of the public and private sectors. Kelly led the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce as its first female CEO from 2009 to 2021. During her tenure, she nearly doubled revenue for the organization, growing it from $17 million to $30 million annually.
Kelly has also worked in the public sector as the Director of Human Resources for the City of Denver and Chief of Staff for Mayor John Hickenlooper. Kelly has an MBA from the University of Colorado Denver and a BS from Montana State University. In her free time, you can find Kelly outdoors — biking, hiking, skiing, or paddling.
Meg Franko, Ph.D., has spent the past thirty years working on public policy issues at the national, state, and local levels. She has expertise in early childhood systems, school readiness, and program implementation and has led research and evaluation projects for governmental and non-profit clients in Colorado and across the country. Meg has served in leadership roles with the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver, research faculty with the Graduate School of Social Work, and has founded and run her own research and evaluation firm. Meg was born in Denver and raised two (now adult) children here.
Jennifer Kilpela has a 20-year career in finance and institutional investment management. She was previously a managing director at Monticello Associates, a large investment consulting firm based in the Denver area. Jennifer also held investment roles at university endowments, including George Washington University and The University of Texas at Austin, and started her career as an investment banking analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston. Jennifer earned a BBA from The University of Texas, an MBA from Darden Business School at the University of Virginia, and is a CFA Charterholder. Most recently, she earned a certificate in Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Ecosystems from Harvard University Extension School.
Simone D. Ross, a visionary leader from Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood, excels in change management and community building. As CEO of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director of its foundation, she champions women entrepreneurs in Colorado. Simone founded Simone D. Ross, LLC, focusing on change management, and leads SDR Events and Youth United University, fostering inclusive leadership among middle schoolers. Her corporate journey includes pivotal roles at Kaiser Permanente, Delta Dental of Colorado, SCL Health, and The Riveter, impacting business development and market expansion.
Holding an MA and MBA from Colorado State University, Simone’s accolades include COBiz Gen XYZ Most Influential, Denver Business Journal’s “Outstanding Women in Business” and “40 Under 40”, and recognition as a Top 25 Most Powerful Woman by the Colorado Women’s Chamber. A dynamic public speaker and curriculum developer, she devises training for equitable and inclusive business practices. Simone serves on boards including Girls Inc. of Metro Denver and the Colorado Enterprise Fund, balancing her professional achievements with her role as a devoted mother to Gavin and Zoe, continually striving to make a meaningful difference.
2024 Board Officers
- Lisa Zúñiga Ramírez, Chair
- Peter Kirsch, Vice Chair
- Mira Finé, Treasurer
- Sean Kenney, Secretary
- John Loewy, Immediate Past Chair