Hickenlooper Names Executive Staff Appointees
(DENVER) Mayor John Hickenlooper officially announced his appointments to the Mayor's Office staff on Thursday. These appointees join previously announced Chief of Staff Michael Bennet, City Council Liaison Happy Haynes, Communications Director Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, Director of the Office of Art, Culture and Film Denise Montgomery, and Director of the Office for Education and Children Maria Guajardo Lucero in comprising the executive team to date.
“I am fortunate to be surrounded by this level of energy and expertise,” Hickenlooper said. “When it came to building my executive team - the people whom I work with day in and day out - I wanted people with diverse sets of skills and experiences, a genuine commitment to Denver’s best interests, an eagerness to tackle the challenges ahead. I am extremely proud of this incredibly talented team.”
Deputy Chief of Staff: Sarah Kendall
Sarah Kendall, 30, is the former Midwest political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Denver-based New Schools Development Corp. She previously managed Kathleen MacKenzie's successful 1999 Denver City Council race and Ken Toltz's 2000 congressional bid in Colorado's 6th district. Most recently, Kendall served as the finance director for the Hickenlooper mayoral campaign and deputy director of Hickenlooper's transition. She holds a bachelor's degree in history from Franklin & Marshall college.
Special Assistant to the Mayor for Human Services: Lisa Flores
Lisa Flores, 33, served as executive director at Denver Inner City Parish since 1998. In this capacity, she led a multi-generational community center that offered programs in the areas of senior well-being, education, hunger, and childcare. She previously held positions as a field executive with Girls Scouts Mile High Council, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador (94-96), and a Teen Pregnancy/HIV Specialist for the Fenix Program at Mi Casa Resource Center for Women. Flores served as a volunteer on the transition committees for Manager of Safety and Fire Chief. A Denver East High School graduate, Flores received her bachelor's degree in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. As a Colorado Trust Fellow, Flores is a master's candidate for Nonprofit Management at Regis University.
Special Assistant to the Mayor for Neighborhood Services: Beth Conover
Beth Conover, 39, has been the principal and sole proprietor of Headwaters Consulting, LLC since 1998, providing strategic planning, negotiation, program development and fundraising services for natural resource conservation. In this capacity, she was involved with the Cherry Creek Water Quality Regional Agreement, the Mayor's South Platte River Commission Long-Term Management Framework, as well as other local, regional and statewide initiatives. She previously held positions as the director of parks and environment for the Stapleton Development Corporation, manager of programs and development for the Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation, and grant writer for the Denver Public Library, to name a few. She served as a volunteer Hickenlooper’s Parks and Recreation transition committee. A graduate of Denver’s Manual High School, Conover received her bachelor's degree from Brown University, and master's degrees in both Public and Private Management and Environmental Studies from Yale University.
Special Assistant to the Mayor for Administrative Services: Michelle Harper
Michelle Harper, 50, served as director of finance and strategic planning for the PNS Communications Group, a telecommunications start-up; as chief of staff for the Denver Housing Authority, and as manager of commercial programs for the Colorado Housing and Finance Agency. She also worked in Governor Romer's Administration as director of finance and job training, state director of defense conversion and retention, state director of diversity, and director of citizens' advocacy and outreach. She has served on the boards of the Community Reinvestment Fund and the Denver Urban Renewal Authority. Harper served as the deputy campaign manager for Penfield Tate's mayoral campaign before joining the Hickenlooper run-off campaign and serving as office manager for the Hickenlooper transition. She received her bachelor's degree in political science from Luther College and her MBA from the University of Denver.
Special Assistant to the Mayor for Economic Growth: Peter Chapman
Peter Chapman, 38, has 15 years of experience as an urban policy professional with private, academic and governmental institutions designing and implementing strategies for improving the quality of life in underserved, urban communities. As a community development planner with Abt Associates, Inc., a Cambridge, Massachusetts based public policy research and consulting firm, Chapman has helped governmental agencies and foundations with issues related to federal Community Development Block Grants, neighborhood economic revitalization, workforce development, affordable housing, and health care delivery. Chapman previously served as executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development in Nashville, Tennessee; as Meharry Medical college’s community development advisor and director of corporate and foundation relations; as director of economic development for the Madison Park Economic Development Corporation in Massachusetts; as an economic development consultant to the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations; as director of public policy for the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, and he worked in the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation’s Office of Governmental Relations. Chapman received his bachelor's degree in English from Wesleyan University and his master's in public policy, with a concentration in community economic development, from Tufts University.
Director, Boards and Commissions: L. Chantal Unfug
Chantal Unfug, 36, has worked in the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and International Trade since 2001, where she served as an economic development specialist and acting director of marketing. She previously served as director of the Colorado Women's Business Office, appointed by Governor Roy Romer, and also served as deputy director of Boards and Commissions in the Romer Administration, where she worked to fill over 3,000 gubernatorial appointments to over 400 Boards. Unfug came to government from the private sector, where she co-founded Denver-based Biomedical Consultants, Inc, a healthcare related consulting firm for the investment community, where she managed global marketing, business development and client relations. Unfug received her bachelor's degree in mass communications from Boston University.
Scheduler: Anthony Aragon
Anthony Aragon, 36, spent two years at the Gill Foundation, the largest GLBT foundation in the country, coordinating local donor conferences nationwide, and previously worked as a public policy manager for US West. He volunteers with the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association and the GLBT Community Center of Colorado. Aragon joined the Hickenlooper mayoral campaign after the primary election, having worked as the scheduler and office manager for Ari Zavaras' mayoral campaign; Aragon also worked on Hickenlooper's transition staff.
Press Assistant: Sarah Elliott
Sarah Elliott, 25, spent over two years at KULR-TV, the NBC affiliate in Billings, Montana, working as both an assignment editor and political reporter. She served as scheduler for the Hickenlooper for Mayor campaign and performed double-duty as scheduler and press assistant during the transition. After spending three years studying speech communications at Colorado State University, Elliott received her bachelor's degree in organizational communication from Montana State University-Billings.
Executive Assistant to the Mayor: Tony Young
Young, 29, served as executive director and Get Out the Vote coordinator for the Larimer County Democrats and was a member of the field staff on former Mayor Wellington Webb’s 1999 re-election campaign. He was director of campus affairs for the Colorado Student Association, student and youth coordinator for the 1996 Colorado Coordinated Campaign, and Colorado delegate to the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Young served as outreach director for the Hickenlooper mayoral campaign and executive assistant to the Mayor-elect during the transition.
Executive Assistant to the Mayor: Angela Casias
Angela Casias, 30, spent over a decade years working for local non-profit organizations. She served as a mental health clinician and youth mentor for Servicios de la Raza, a project specialist for the Mi Casa Resource Center for Women, an administrative assistant and literacy teacher for Escuela Tlatelolco, and a Hispanic youth mentor for the Girl Scouts of America. Casias served as the deputy finance director for Hickenlooper's mayoral campaign and was a member of the transition staff.
Policy Assistant: Seneca Holmes
Seneca Holmes, 24, worked for the Maryland Coordinated Campaign on behalf of Congressman Elijah Cummings and Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, doing field organizing, managing phone banks, and serving as a liaison to the senior and Hispanic communities. Holmes has also worked for the Colorado Springs Municipal Court and has held internships with the Denver Mayor’s Office, the Boulder County Democratic Party, the Rocky Mountain Law Center, and the Colorado Springs Public Defender’s Office. Holmes served as the deputy field director for Hickenlooper’s mayoral campaign and worked on the transition staff. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
SUMMARIES OF PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED MAYORAL STAFF APPOINTEES:
Chief of Staff: Michael F. Bennet
A former Coro Foundation Public Affairs fellow, Michael Bennet, 38, started his career in government, working as personal assistant to Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste (now president of Colorado College) and later as a law clerk for Judge Francis D. Murnaghan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Following a brief stint at the Washington law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Bennet returned to the public sector as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration. Bennet has spent the past six years in Denver working for the Anschutz Investment Company, most recently as Managing Director, where he had direct responsibility for the investment of over $500 million. Bennet received his bachelor’s degree in history with honors from Wesleyan University and his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of The Yale Law Journal.
City Council Liaison: Allegra “Happy” Haynes
Former three-term City Councilwoman Happy Haynes, 50, was first elected to Denver City Council in 1990 and served as Council President from 1998 to 2000. She chaired the Airport Committee for most of her tenure, playing an instrumental role in the development of Denver International Airport and in transforming the former Stapleton Airport into one of the most innovative infill redevelopment projects in the country. Prior to her election to the Denver City Council, Haynes served as an administrative aide to former Mayor Federico Pena. She also worked as a professional facilitator, assisting communities with strategic planning and collaboration, leadership development and diversity training. A native Denverite, Haynes attended Denver Public Schools, received her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College at Columbia University, completed two years of law school, and received her Master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Communications Director: Lindy Eichenbaum Lent
Prior to joining the Hickenlooper campaign as communications director in December 2002, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, 28, served as Mike Feeley’s deputy communications director in his 2002 bid for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District seat. During her nearly three years as the communications director for U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin, Texas, she worked with the national media on topics ranging from campaign finance reform and international trade to tax policy and Social Security. As a political journalist, Lent covered Chicago City Hall for the Illinois Times, Daily Southtown and Arlington Heights Daily Herald newspapers; covered Capitol Hill as a Washington correspondent for WISC-TV (Madison, WI) and KVIA-TV (El Paso, TX); and held internships at CNN’s Washington bureau and Chicago’s CBS affiliate. Lent received her bachelor’s degree in political science with honors from Stanford University and her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.
Director of the Office of Art, Culture and Film: Denise Montgomery
Since 2000, Denise Montgomery, 33, has served as the executive director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA), a non-profit organization that serves as the catalyst for business-arts partnerships. Prior to joining CBCA, she spent three years as the director of marketing for the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), a non-profit arts service organization serving 12 states. Montgomery’s private sector experience includes Denver-based work as an independent facilitator and marketing consultant, marketing manager for Boston Market, and a district account supervisor for Hershey Chocolate USA. Her civic involvement includes service on the boards of Denver Civic Ventures and the Denver Art Museum’s CultureHaus, as well as volunteer work for Arts for Colorado, and past volunteer work with the Arts Resource Council, Neighborhood Cultures of Denver, and the Colorado Alliance for Arts Education. Montgomery received her bachelor’s degree in business administration, with concentrations in marketing, art history and arts management, from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Director of the Office for Education and Children: Dr. Maria Guajardo Lucero
Since 1997, Dr. Guajardo Lucero, 44, has served as the founding executive director of Assets for Colorado Youth, a $10 million positive youth development initiative funded by The Colorado Trust. Dr. Guajardo Lucero has served as a therapist for Denver Head Start, a bilingual school psychologist for Denver Public Schools, an adjunct professor at Metropolitan State College and UCD and now a trustee for the University of Denver. Her research in dropout prevention guided her work at the Colorado Department of Education as the Dropout Prevention Coordinator and as co-director of the Colorado Preschool Project. In the mid-1990s she served as the executive director of the Latin American Research and Service Agency. She is a national spokesperson on topics of educational attainment, positive youth development and the strength of diversity. Dr. Guajardo Lucero graduated with honors in psychology from Harvard University and earned her Masters and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Denver. She is also a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.
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