Denver Human Services Introduces Additions to Leadership Team
Published on May 17, 2021
Leaders to advance key areas with an emphasis on community impact and equity
Denver Human Services (DHS) today introduced four new leaders who will advance the department’s priorities in the key areas of child support, child welfare and adult protective services, marketing and communications, and equity, diversity, and inclusion.
“We are excited to introduce these instrumental Denver Human Services leaders to the community,” said DHS Executive Director Don Mares. “Each will play an integrated, but different role, in supporting the one in three Denverites who we serve at our department. We will continue to work together with the community, especially around the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular emphasis on equity.”
Two of these leaders are joining DHS’s new Community Impact team, which launched in January. The Community Impact team is comprised of the department’s strategic planning, grants, and marketing and communications teams, as well as the new Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion program. Community Impact is focused on improving the department’s community outreach, engagement, and charitable giving.
“Across all divisions at Denver Human Services, our leaders are focused on meeting the community where they are at,” said DHS Deputy Executive Director of Community Impact and Strategic Planning Patrice Hawkins. “Currently, we are working with community leaders to listen to their needs and to flip their feedback into real-time action so that we can make an even greater difference for those we serve.”
In March, the Community Impact team launched its Community Conversations report, which provides insight on feedback from residents and community partners. The report will continue to serve as a guide to newer DHS leadership in Child Support Services, Child Welfare and Adult Protective Services, and other divisions to make services and programs even more accessible to the Denver community.
More about DHS’s newest leaders:
Dr. Mary Whitehead, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Administrator
Dr. Mary Whitehead joins DHS from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas as the former director in the Office of Student Diversity & Social Justice. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from University of Texas at San Antonio, M.Ed. in Higher Education and Administration from Loyola University Chicago, and a B.A. in Communication with a Human Resource Development minor from Northeastern Illinois University. Guided by her values and commitment to social justice, she is interested in embracing an inclusive and nurturing community where people realize their dreams while achieving their goals. Her professional passion has been in research areas of critical race feminism, activism, and the power dynamics between discourse and culture. As a social justice advocate who incorporates forms of activism and learning into her work, she desires to lead many holistic and healing conversations for marginalized communities by sharing her personal story as a Black Womxn through the empowering approach of "voice" in order to inspire others to have freedom to express.
Adriana Lopez, Marketing and Communications Director
With more than a decade of strategic communications experience in private and public sectors, Adriana joins DHS from the Morgridge College of Education at University of Denver (DU) where she was the marketing and communications director. Her professional roles have focused on web and social media management, brand development, marketing, event execution, internal communications, media relations, crisis communications, and community outreach. Adriana earned her M.A. in International and Intercultural Communication from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, and the Media, Film and Journalism School at DU. Prior to graduate school, Adriana received her B.A. in Journalism and Technical Communication, and a certificate in Women’s Studies, from Colorado State University. A fourth generation Coloradan and native of Denver, she is a graduate of DU’s Latino Leadership Institute, board member at Museo de las Americas, president of Valverde Neighborhood Association, and mentor at Denver Kids, Inc.
Josie Berry, Director of Child Welfare Services and Adult Protective Services
Josie has more than 20 years of experience within the human services field. Josie began her career in child welfare in Arapahoe County as an intern in 1997 and graduated with her B.A. in Social Work from Metropolitan State College of Denver in 1998. Josie worked as an intake caseworker, child and adult protection hotline supervisor, and intake supervisor before joining Denver County in 2015 as a deputy division director. Since October, she had served as the interim director for Child Welfare and Adult Protective Services before being appointed its permanent director. Josie is passionate about strengthening families through positive community collaborations and enhancing child welfare practice in the areas of family engagement, father engagement, and with families who have experienced domestic violence.
Tom Battany, Division Director of Child Support Services
Tom Battany has been with DHS since 1996, having assumed the role of division director in 2020. Tom believes strongly in servant leadership, where all employees are equipped with the tools, resources, and work-life harmony that allows them to serve the community effectively and passionately. Tom also embraces a family-centric approach to caseload management that encourages innovative strategies that will benefit the entire family unit and community as a whole. Tom is a Colorado native and graduated from the University of Colorado in 1991.