Women's Commission

Mission

The Denver Women’s Commission is dedicated to the women of Denver and their families so that they have the opportunities to live full, productive, authentic lives. The Commission promotes the social and economic quality of life in Denver by assisting women in the attainment of equality and full opportunity by

  • Advocating for women, especially in spaces where women are overlooked and underappreciated
  • Empowering women through coalition building, sharing information, and distributing community resources
  • Monitoring and recommending legislation and proposed policy changes affecting women

All Commissioners are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council. They serve two-year terms for up to three terms. Commissioners are required to live or work in the City and County of Denver.


Core Values

The Denver Women’s Commission believes in empowering women and girl’s uniqueness by supporting them to achieve their dreams and full potential in becoming leaders allowing them to have a voice to perform and deliver. We are a diverse team that treats all walks of life with fairness and dignity. 

We hold each other responsible and accountable; we communicate and respect each other and live by the City and County of Denver Bylaws. Our core value is to serve the City and County of Denver Women and girl’s residents. We are good stewards of the Denver Women’s Commission; we focus and commit to honoring and strengthening women and girls. 


Join Our Meetings Via Zoom

Link: https://denvergov-org.zoom.us/j/82003033392

Meeting ID: 820 0303 3392

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Commission Meetings

It is your right to access oral or written language assistance, sign language interpretation, real-time captioning via CART, or disability-related accommodations. To request any of these services at no cost to you, please contact Media Relations at hrcppio@denvergov.org with three business days notice.


Commission Members

Olivia Almaguer *Chair

Headshot of Female - Olivia Almaguer

A Denver native, Olivia was raised in Five Points, East Denver. She is the first generation in the U.S, both of my parents immigrated to the U.S. Spanish is her first language.  

Almaguer serves as Chair for the City and County of Denver Women’s Commission. She participates in 10 other committees under the Denver Women's Commission. Through her work with the committees and commissions, she collaborates in decision-making and public influencing efforts in the cornerstone of our Denver democracy. She also works with neighborhoods, businesses, and philanthropic leaders to pursue collective action. And her passion is to serve fearfully in championing diversity to make a difference in the community.  

Olivia Almaguer is a civil rights advocate for human rights, helping Coloradans with a variety of Immigration Services ranging from applying for citizenship and wage theft advocacy. She supports Denver communities where women can feel safer and empowered, and have access to information, education, recreational activities, support, and integrated services. 

Almaguer is a cultural worker, a community server, and a nonprofit leader. she has centered her focus on social change, equity, justice, and equal opportunities through community outreach and resource allocation. Her strength lies in motivating others to be performance-driven. She is committed to high ethical and professional standards and flexibility in divesting proactive responses to change. She has overcome extraordinary circumstances with grace, strength, and faith. I am a fierce defender of community injustice and she uses her knowledge in Spanish language to give back to the Latino population. 

Flavia Zacula

Headshot of Flavia Zarcula

Flavia Zarcula is a senior fundraising professional with over 10 years of experience in corporate fundraising and grant writing, research and evaluation, as well as management for philanthropic, government, and private organizations. Flavia first joined the Denver Women's Commission in 2021, and currently serves as the Human Rights and Community Partnerships Representative for the Women's Commission. As a first-generation immigrant, Flavia is passionate about issues impacting migrant women and their families. In her free time, Flavia enjoys exploring Colorado's beautiful outdoors with her fluffy companion named Alfalfa.

Iris Halpern

Headshot of Iris Halpern

Iris Halpern (she/hers) is a partner and civil rights attorney at the Denver law firm of Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC. Before that, she was the Acting Supervisory Trial Attorney at the Denver Field Office of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Iris has passionately advocated for civil rights - including those of women - for much of her adult life. Iris was first appointed to the Denver Women’s Commission in 2022. 

Iris Halpern earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and her B.A. in Women’s Studies and English from Tufts University. Before making Denver her home, Iris traveled abroad to Canada to live and do research on comparative immigration, trafficking, and labor regimes impacting the lives of the predominantly gendered and racialized migrant domestic workforce. In addition to her day job, Iris is active in many local organizations and causes. She has served on or is currently serving with, a number of community organizations and bar associations, including the board of One Colorado, a leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, the state chapter of Jobs with Justice, the Colorado Wage Theft Task Force, and as a Legislative Liaison for the Colorado Bar Association’s Civil Rights Section. She is active in Colorado’s Women’s Bar and LGBT Bar Associations, amongst others. She has also written extensively about economic inequality, racism, sexual harassment, and other topics of importance in discrimination law and public policy and has served as a lecturer at both the UC Boulder and Denver University law schools, equipping (hopefully) the next generation of activist attorneys with the knowledge needed to fight for workers’ rights.

When Iris is not working or volunteering you can pretty much find her visiting museums, cultural and historical sites, watching theater or ballet, walking around Denver’s many public parks, taking trips into the mountains, or pretty much doing anything else but sitting around the house as she doesn’t like to sit still unless it’s to read a book for a couple of hours in the evening by the fireplace on most nights.

Sara Hazel

Headshot of Sarah Hazel

Sara Hazel (she/her/hers) is the Vice President of Development at the Denver Public Schools Foundation. She has over fifteen years of nonprofit development and leadership experience. Sara has worked at global, national, and local organizations, including The Red Cross, The American Cancer Society, and Girls Inc. of Metro Denver. Sara’s leadership has included leading the Colorado Red Cross Centennial Celebration, celebrating 100 Years of the Red Cross in Colorado, and co-facilitating and planning the first-ever national fundraising conference for Girls Inc. As a volunteer leader, Sara worked with a team to find a scholarship fund to send kids to summer camp in the Colorado mountains at Geneva Glen Camp. In all her roles, Sara has held management and leadership responsibilities and loves to build and work with exceptional teams. She loves the nonprofit sector and fundraising because of a desire for social justice and the ability to help donors navigate a path to support a mission they can impact.

Stacey Shigaya

Headshot of Women's Commission Member

Stacey was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and is the Executive Director for Sakura Foundation, which is the sole owner of Sakura Square LLC. She is responsible for the management and implementation of the Mirai Generations Leadership Program, Chibi no Gakko (K-8 cultural program), the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival, community grant and scholarship programs, and many cultural events and programming throughout the year. She also oversees the HR functions of Sakura Square LLC as its Executive Advisor and contributes to the strategic planning of the Sakura Square redevelopment project.

Stacey holds a BA in Human Development and Learning, an MS in Counseling and Personnel Services, and is a member of many community organizations including PFLAG Denver, Mile High JACL, Asian Chamber of Commerce, and Simpson United Methodist Church, whose multicultural congregation is deeply rooted in the Japanese American culture and experience. Stacey also volunteers with Okaeri, and nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles which supports the Nikkei LGBTQ+ and ally community. She is the proud mother of two amazing young adults.

Stacey’s mother and father, both U.S. citizens, along with 120,000 others of Japanese ancestry were sent to concentration camps during WWII. Due in large part to the experiences that her parents endured, she has great respect for upholding justice, identifying and fighting discrimination, and bringing more compassion and sense of responsibility to our community.

Elena Mendoza

Headshot of Elena Mendoza

Elena is a seasoned leader with a heart for service. She is a proud first-generation Latina, her career has been in education or non-profits. Elena holds considerable leadership experience in the field of education, having served as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, and senior education director for a foundation. As a public school educator, she understands the power behind knowledge, which is why she has continued her own education. Elena has a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis on Elementary Education and a Masters degree in Administration and Supervision. Aside from formal degrees, she is also an alumna of the Circle of Latina Leadership, EMERGE Colorado, CLLARO Latino Civic Leadership training, and most recently the Latino Leadership Institute. Elena has served on The Wayfaring Band and COLOR board of directors and currently is a board member of the Presidents Leadership Class at CU Boulder. When Elena is not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her family.

Kristen C Decker

Headshot of Kirsten DeckerKirsten C. Decker is a local government leader with a keen ability to facilitate the connection between traditionally siloed areas of public policy and management, connect resources to organizational priorities and establish meaningful methods of measuring public services and community outcomes. Kirsten has led local government organizations in Maryland and Colorado to transform the way residents engage in financial decision-making, create space for innovation and empower front-line employees to problem-solve. She currently serves as the Manager of Strategy & Evaluation for the Denver Public Library System. Kirsten volunteers her time as President-Elect for the National League of Women in Government, the Co-Chair of the International City & County Management Association (ICMA), Performance Management Advisory Committee, and an advisor for the Colorado State University’s chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha.

Kirsten holds a B.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University and a Master of Public Administration from the Edwin O. Stene School of Public Affairs & Administration at the University of Kansas. She is recognized as an ICMA Woman to Know, an ELGL Trager Local Government Influencer, and a recognized leader in EDI efforts, and, in 2016 she received the Medallion for Meritorious Service Award from Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Rena Dulberg

Headshot of Rena Dulberg

The Founder and Lead Consultant of BOOSH, an agency supporting nonprofit organizations as they revolutionize their mindsets, strategies, and programs through human-centered design. She spent nearly 10 years in higher education in both faculty and administrative leadership roles and later served as VP of Community Engagement at ThinkImpact and Innovation Lead of Entrepreneurs and Ventures at UpStart Labs. She has a BA in Psychology from Occidental College, and an MA in Conflict Resolution from the University of Denver. In 2017 she obtained her certification in Design Thinking Facilitation from Stanford D School and has since completed coursework through IDEO. She currently serves on a number of local nonprofit boards. In her spare time, she wrangles two kids, ages 8 and 5.

Rachel Garcia

Headshot of Rachel Garcia

Rachel Garcia has deep roots and connections in her hometown of Denver, Colorado. She has a great dedication to the arts and creative communities in Denver. Her love of the creative community grew from a desire to connect with like-minded people and give back. She found her chosen family through the arts, social justice pursuits, and community advocacy, particularly for immigrant and refugee communities. Rachel has gained a sense of belonging within the arts and creative communities and they have endowed upon her the beauty of cultural traditions she is proud to pass along to her daughter, Annalisia. Rachel graduated from the University of Colorado at Denver with a Bachelors of Science in Business Management and earned a Certificate in Executive Leadership with an emphasis on the issues and challenges affecting the Latinx Community/Population and holds a Certificate in Inclusive Leadership/Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility. Both certificates were earned at the prestigious Latino Leadership Institute (LLI) at the University of Denver. Rachel is a current fellow of the Metro Denver Chamber Leadership Foundation’s Impact Denver Fellowship. Her professional background includes 25 years in the design/build industry as a Business Operations Executive, however, her passion has always been in the arts.

Rachel is a founding member and CEO of Colectiva, a collective of creatives that curate culturally inspired experiences that elevate and promote Latino Creatives via culture, art, and cuisine. Colectiva’s mission is to reclaim Latino culture from appropriation and to ensure creatives are compensated fairly. Rachel is also a founding member and curator of Calaveras en mi Ciudad, a mobile Calaveras exhibit celebrating the traditions of dia de Los Muertos, and is a co-founding member of La Feria del Tequila-the first and only tequila festival in Colorado founded by 3 women that identify as Latinas. In service to her community, Rachel currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Artisti-co, Vice Chair of the Mexican Cultural Center, is a Member of the Board of Directors for Latinas First Foundation and the Coalition Against Global Genocide, is a member of several municipal LatinX Advisory Councils, are a Covid-19 Vaccine Ambassador and a Mental Health Anti-Stigma Ambassador in partnership with the Metro Denver Partnership for Health/Colorado Health Institute focusing on the Latinx community. She is a member of the Colorado Women’s Foundation Development Committee and Empowerment Council, and she is also a member of the Scientific and Cultural DistrictCommunity Acts Fund Advisory Council.

Rachel has provided consulting services for many organizations. Her consulting services range from Public Relations, Community Connections and Collaborations, Culturally Relevant Information Sessions, Communications, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility work, Anti-appropriation and Building respectful culture, Business Services, Non-profit Sector Specialization, Grant Writing/Development, Social Media and other Marketing, Covid-19 Resources and Relief, Logistics, Project Management, Event/Conference Planning, and Production. Most recently she has provided consulting services for 3 Margaritas Restaurant, Alta Onda, Artistico, Aurora Public Libraries, Breakthru Beverage, Breckcreate, Cerveceria Colorado, Chef or Death Podcast, Calaveras en mi Ciudad,The Center for the Arts Evergreen, The City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver Office on Aging, City and County of Denver Office of Storytelling, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA),Colorado Day of the Dead Festival, Colorado Health Institute, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Film, Denver Health, The Denver Latino Commission, Denver Theatre District, Front Range Community College, The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, iZcalli, Jack Daniels, Juneteenth Music Festival, L’ATTITUDE Conference, La Feria del Tequila, Latin Fashion Week Colorado, Latinas First Foundation, Latinas Líderes y Emprendedoras, Meow Wolf, The Mexican Cultural Center, Museo de las américas, Newman Center for the Performing Arts, Origo Foods, Re:Vision, Studio Colombia, Strive Prep, Sunset Sundays, University of Colorado at Denver, Village Exchange Center, Xatrucho Concepts, Youth on Record and several Visual and Performing Artists.

Her other interests include strengthening her leadership skills, writing/wordsmithing, travel/adventure, great cuisine, and libations, supporting local businesses, meditating, experiencing the world through her daughter's eyes, connecting with friends old and new, and fine-tuning her abilities as an intuitive being. Things she is most known for: cheering her friends and family along from the sidelines, promoting their ventures with enthusiasm, and having a knack for knowing what the latest/hottest/coolest things are.

Rowena Alegría, HRCP Staff Liaison

Rowena Alegría is Denver’s Chief Storyteller and the HRCP Staff Liaison for the Denver Women's Commission, founder and director of the city’s first Office of Storytelling and the citywide storytelling and cultural preservation project #IAmDenver. She leads an award-winning team that has recorded nearly 400 video stories since 2019, including documentaries about Denver’s drag community; women of the Chicano Movement; the role Denver activists played in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act; how the internment of Japanese Americans in Southeast Colorado resulted in a robust Denver community; and so much more.

Alegría is an award-winning writer, editor, filmmaker, career journalist and communications executive. She was born and raised in Denver and is a graduate of DPS’ Lincoln High School. She received her BA magna cum laude with Honors from MSU Denver and an MFA in Fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She served as Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s Chief Communications Officer and was an editor at The Denver Post and publisher/editor of their Latino multimedia news outlet Viva Colorado. She is writing a novel that plays with form and the history of the Southwest. 

Adopted at birth, Alegría is fascinated by inheritance and identity. From her bio and adopted families, she inherited a love of learning and a passion for words and justice. She believes we live the dreams and sorrows of our ancestors, and her novel in progress takes a particular interest in these ideas coupled with the legacy of colonialism on the indigenous and mestizo peoples of what is now Mexico and the southwestern United States. Alegría was the Ricardo Salinas Scholar in Fiction at Aspen Words 2021 and has won numerous writing fellowships and residencies. Her work has appeared in publications including The Rumpus, the Mississippi Review, the Hennepin Review and others. She’s a member of Sandra Cisneros’ Macondo Writers Workshop. For more, please visit her website.


Committees

Executive

Elected leadership to guide the efforts of the DWC.

Ad Hoc

Various sub-committees and assignments that come up at various points throughout the year.

Care Work

Responsible for identifying areas of need within the care work community and ways to support those care workers specifically in a pandemic.

  • Meets the third Wednesday of the month from 4:00pm-5:00pm.

Colorism Collaboration

Responsible for collaborating with HRCP and the Office of Equity & Social Innovation on colorism in the community.

Community Engagement & Marketing

Foster trusting, deep relationships within the Denver community, connecting with value-aligned organizations and promoting opportunities to learn, grow and engage. In 2023, this committee will focus on fostering relationships through community engagement & events, and marketing.

Education & Advocacy

Responsible for identifying opportunities to build awareness about the ways in which we can collectively address the biggest challenges facing our community. In 2023, this committee will focus on uplifting and informing on areas such as colorism, racism, multi-ethnicity, and LGBTQIA+ issues. Including colorism, and event planning.

Gender & Pay Equity

Responsible for promotion and implementation of the Denver Thrives When Women Thrive Guide and increasing awareness of pay and working condition inequity.

Housing

Responsible for identifying housing concerns and stakeholders in solutions.

Legislative Action

Responsible for monitoring legislative activity and structuring responses, by addressing general values and principles to inspire humanity. In 2023, this committee will prioritize activity and structured responses

Marketing

Responsible for promotion and implementation of the Denver Thrives When Women Thrive Guide and increasing awareness of pay and working condition inequity.

Safety

Collaboration with the Department of Safety to help provide insight on processes, procedures, and provide valuable feedback and interaction to better serve our Denver Communities. Engage with various departments such as DPD, DSD, and Denver Fire.