This agency creates opportunities for innovation to take root in local government and throughout the community to impact local challenges. HRCP is the model of inclusiveness, recognizing that diverse perspectives, skills, and resources strengthen the foundation for lasting solutions.
Our mission is to proactively protect human rights, build capacities, and strengthen connections that result in stronger relationships in the community through collaboration, communication, and advocacy. We address issues concerning older adults, racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and families, people with disabilities, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, immigrants and refugees, neighborhood partnerships, and non-profit partnerships.
Derek Okubo is a Colorado native and was raised in Littleton, Colorado graduating from Arapahoe High School. Derek then attended the University of Northern Colorado and graduated with a degree in Psychology and double minors in Communications and Sociology.
Derek was hired by Big Brothers of Metropolitan Denver as the services coordinator for Denver County. Three years later, Derek started the Big Brothers High School Program where he utilized high school students as mentors and tutors to the children on the waiting list. Derek was appointed Governor Roy Romer’s staff as a community liaison to northeast Colorado. A few years later, Derek was hired by the National Civic League (NCL, the nation’s oldest “good government” organization) as the Assistant Director of Community Services. Through July 2011, Derek rose through the NCL ranks becoming the Senior Vice President where he oversaw NCL’s projects and programs.
In July 2011, Derek was appointed Executive Director of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships by Mayor Michael B. Hancock. In this role, Derek oversees eight offices and 10 mayoral appointed commissions. The agency acts as a conduit of communication and convener of problem solving among local government, non-profits, businesses and residents.
Rowena Alegría is HRCP's Communications Director and Chief Storyteller for the City & County of Denver, founder and director of the new citywide storytelling project I Am Denver. She is a 2019 Jack Jones Literary Arts Fellow, a 2019 Vermont Studio Center Fellow and a 2018 Writing by Writers Fellow. She holds an MFA in Fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts. A career journalist, communications executive and speech writer, she is writing a novel that plays with form and the history of the Southwest.
Wil Alston is the director of the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships (DOSP), an office in Denver’s Human Rights and Community Partnerships (HRCP) Agency.
Prior to DOSP, Wil served as a senior communication advisor for the Hancock Administration, as the executive director for the Five Points Business District, and was a key staffer for former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. He is also the founder and principal of the Wil Alston Group, a versatile Denver-based boutique firm specializing in marketing & public relations, civic engagement, government relations, and supplier diversity.
Wil also has a rich and long history of working with area nonprofits that have included: the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, the Five Points Business District, The Spirituals Project, The Porter-Billups Leadership Academy, Regis University, the East Denver YMCA, the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, and the Stadium Baseball District.
He is a veteran communication strategists and executive and has close to thirty years of professional experience in entrepreneurship, networking, fundraising, marketing, and strategic planning; and he gained those experiences in a variety organizational structures including: all three branches of government including federal, state, and local; nonprofits, and in private business.
Wil shares two and a half decades of marriage to Rosalind “Roz” Alston and they are longtime Park Hill residents.
Michael Burnett is a Personal Finance Coach and enjoys numbers and people so this role is a perfect blend of both
Michael is a Colorado Native, former college athlete at Colorado State University (Go Rams!), youth basketball coach & entrepreneur.
He got into the financial industry because of the strong need he saw within his own community to grow and develop assets. There is a deeper story behind that (which he is happy to share if asked) which connects to the relevant social uprising of today.
Burnett feels It is his duty to educate, guide, and coach individuals and families on how to think differently about their money and make it work for them more then they work for it!!
He is excited to embark on this new journey in his career with this amazing organization and he looks forward to helping Denver residents.
Mariette Candelon is a Personal Finance Coach with the Office of Financial Empowerment & Protection.
She was born in Vietnam, but grew up and lived in France for the larger part of her life. She then came back to Vietnam and had the chance to be an educator there for 7 years.
Candelon has continued in the education field in the US with Denver Public Schools before transitioning into the finance industry with Fidelity Investments, and then mpowered, a non-profit organization.
At this last organization, as a multilingual Personal Finance Coach, it was with the highest level of compassion, care, and respect that Mariette was able to help low- to moderate-income individuals and families on the path towards financial self-sufficiency.
She has a passion for supporting people grow and thrive, and nothing is more fulfilling than being able to raise people’s awareness around their own talents and strengths, show them how they are valued as individuals and in the community, and that they are able to achieve their own definition of personal fulfillment and financial success.
Mariette feels honored to serve the diverse community and city she lives in and is thrilled to be part of the amazing OFEP Team.
María Corral is the Community Integration Coordinator for the Denver Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs an office within the Agency of Human Rights & Community Partnerships for the City and County of Denver to promote a greater awareness and integration of immigrant and refugee residents. She has served the Denver community working and volunteering in non-profits, education and labor. Her diverse set of skills include advocacy, building collaborative relationships, outreach, public relations and communications.
María is a proud alumna of the University of Denver where she studied Law and Society and Communications and a fellow of the Latino Leadership Institute. She also serves as the co- chair on the Board of Directors for Inside the Orchestra, the Levitt Pavilion, and Focus Points Family Resource Center. She is also a founding board member of the Colorado Organization of Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), an 20 year old organization focused on building a movement of Latinas, their families and allies through leadership development, organizing and advocacy.
Outside of work, María shares two dogs and her passion for social justice and civic engagement with her daughter, Iriana, a 2020 graduate from the University of Redlands in California.
Kevin Dodge is the Project Coordinator for the Office of Strategic Partnerships, where he is focused on supporting the needs of nonprofits across the City and County of Denver. He earned his master’s degree in social work (MSW) from the University of Denver with a concentration in organizational development, leadership, and policy practice.
Kevin is a former community health development specialist with the United States Peace Corps, where he focused on assisting local nonprofit organizations, schools, and local government in designing strategies, programs, and systems to better serve youth and families in Mongolia (RPCV 2015-2017).
Kevin’s experience is varied and includes time spent working as a sales strategy contractor with the Kellogg Company, and providing case management and counseling services to youth in Chicago. He has received specialized training in non-violent intervention strategies and biopsychosocial interviewing.
He strongly believes in building robust and genuine partnerships, creating sustainable solutions, advancing equity, and doing business right. Kevin strives to become a better colleague, community member, and leader.
Will Flowers holds a BA in British and American Languages and Literature from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Will’s career began in higher education, first at UNCW as a graduate teaching assistant, then the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he worked in the Office of Equity and Diversity, the principal administrative office charged with investigating internal grievances related to civil rights and protected statuses. Will then took a position with the Student Success Center at UT Martin, where he coordinated high stakes standardized testing and services for students with disabilities, in addition to teaching English composition and creative writing courses as an adjunct faculty member in the English Department.
Will moved to Colorado to work for the Community College of Aurora, where he served as the Director of the Office of Disability and Equity, a role that oversaw the interactive process for accommodating students with disabilities, including sign language interpreting, assistive technology solutions, and ADA compliance training for the campus community. Will also contributed to multiple strategic initiatives related to accreditation and assessment, student mental health, and incorporating disability access in campus inclusion efforts. He is a trained civil rights complaint investigator, and is passionate about access and inclusion.
Ms. Garcia is the Program Navigator for DenverConnect in the Office of Aging. She manages the new DenverConnect mobile resource unit to provide necessary information and services through the city and community resources that enables older adults – regardless of ability, health or income – to age in place with dignity and respect and to thrive and contribute in our community.
Prior experience includes Denver Health Medical Center Government and Community Affairs, MillerCoors Diversity-Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility leadership positions.
She was honored in September 2017 with the Denver Latino Library Lena Archuleta Community Service Award. Other notable honors include the Athena Award from the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce, Businesswoman of the Year and Corporate Advocate of the Year from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver, Latin American Educational Foundation Corporate Advocate of the Year and the Latina Leadership Foundation’s Unsung Heroine award.
Ms. Garcia serves as a board director of Scholars Unlimited, a trustee of Museo de las Americas. She earned a BA from CU Boulder and a master’s degree from Denver University.
In April of 2016, Perla Gheiler began working with the City and County of Denver in the Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships as the Director on Aging for the Office on Aging. Perla’s role serves as the convener for our aging adults and the Mayor’s office. She also serves as the liaison for the Commission on Aging which advocates, empowers and monitors the rights and concerns for our older adults.
Gheiler started Perla Gheiler Solutions, LLC in 2013 which served as a marketing and community affairs consultant firm and worked with clients like Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) and Escuela Tlatlelolco, to name a few. Her consulting work led to a full-time offer from MSU Denver as the director of strategic initiatives and outreach for the Office of the President in the marketing communications department.
She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Denver with a B.A. in Communication. Through the National Hispana Leadership Institute, Perla attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and The Center for Creative Leadership and received the Executive Leadership Certification from Harvard.
Perla is the proud mother of her son, Austin.
Lorelei Johnson is the Contract Compliance Coordinator with the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships. After spending more than a decade working with special trades service companies in contract development, Lorelei found a home with the City and County of Denver. Lorelei started her career with the City, at Denver International Airport (DEN) working with the Operations & Maintenance Contract Services group. She devoted 4 years to process improvement and contract management. She is a proud mother to her 15-year-old daughter. Together they spend time volunteering in a variety of community service projects, including work in homeless shelters.
Jessica Jorgensen is a data and research analyst for the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships and the staff liaison for the Denver Asian American pacific. Jessica brings ten years of quantitative and qualitative analysis to her current position and has a passion for using data and research to make informed policy decisions which have a lasting impact on the community. In her current position she researches and analyzes various topics including but not limited to, demographics, civic engagement, and program performance and evaluation.
Jessica began her professional career as an appointee with former Denver Mayor Hickenlooper’s administration. She spent four years serving under three different Mayors providing scheduling and administrative assistance for various senior staff members. During her last year at the Mayor’s Office, Jessica had the opportunity to work with the community affairs and communications team on multiple community focused projects and meetings.
Jessica received her master’s degree in public policy and her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Denver.
Jessica is a Colorado native, born and raised in Pueblo. She greatly enjoys the outdoors and can be found hiking trails all over Colorado in the summer. Once winter comes, she trades in her hiking boots for snowshoes. She’s married and has two cats and two dogs – which she often refers to as her “animal farm.”
Lorrie A. Kosinski is the Director of the Office of Sign Language Services and has been with the agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships since 1987. Lorrie’s job duties include providing and coordinating sign language interpreting for all City & County of Denver programs, services, and events; ensuring access to these services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing; providing information and referral; and working with members of the deaf community to offer sign language classes and Deaf Awareness training to City employees. Lorrie also represents the City on several committees, is the chair for the Colorado Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Legal Interpreting Committee, interpreter representative to the State’s Legal Auxiliary Services Advisory Council, is a Master Mentor for interpreters, and holds national certification, IC/TC, CI, CT and a Specialist Certificate in Legal interpreting (SC:L).
Ro-Tien’s role in the Division of Disability Rights includes providing management to staff responsible for plan reviews, accessibility inspections, project management, and external contractors in relation to compliance with architectural accessibility standards and other regulatory requirements. He will also be responsible for the documentation and implementation of policies and procedures related to structural access throughout the City, including the provision of technical interpretation, guidance, and assistance to ensure accessibility compliance in City facilities.
Liang immigrated with his family to the United States in 1987, from Taiwan. They moved to a small town in Hastings, Nebraska, to start a new life. He graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska, with a master’s degree in architecture. After graduation, Ro-Tien started his career in Washington, DC, where he worked at Stantec, which is a large multi-disciplinary company that specialized in schools and government work.
After five years in DC, Ro-Tien moved to Pittsburgh, PA, to work for Cannon Design. As the project architect, he was able to work on different building types from churches to hospitals, including international work in the United Arab Emirates. His work has been recognized for design excellence and technical thoroughness by peers within the architectural community.
In 2015, Ro-Tien moved to Colorado, to be closer to his immediate family. He worked at Lantz-Boggio Architects and at Hord Coplan Macht. At both companies, his role was focused on project management, client relationships, consultant coordination, and contract administration. Ro-Tien is a licensed architect and holds certification as a Contract Document Technologist, and LEED accredited profession. He has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and various inner-city school yard revitalizations.
He is determined to utilize his architectural experiences to provide quality services for the disability community.
Jeremy McKinnon was born in Rapid City, South Dakota. He attended the University of Evansville in Indiana where he received a bachelor's degree in mass communications. In 2002, Jeremy moved to Glendale, Colorado and worked for Developmental Pathways, a Colorado non-profit agency created to serve persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He worked with clients as a home-care provider and assistant program administrator.
In 2006, Jeremy was hired as a superintendent with Max Construction, a Denver-based construction company that specialized in commercial tenant-finish projects, where he managed construction projects. In 2015, Jeremy was hired as a construction inspector, with the Denver Community Planning and Development Department, where he inspected residential and commercial construction projects for code compliance. In 2018, he was promoted to combination 1 inspector and has a general contractor Class A Supervisor license.
Jeremy's primary role in the Division of Disability Rights will include inspecting accessibility projects for the City, providing guidance to ensure accessibility during projects, and maintaining records on assigned projects. He will also be responsible for coordination with external consultants and facility managers to ensure compliant implementation in City facilities. Jeremy is excited to be a part of the team and to serve the disability community.
Dr. Aisha Rousseau serves as the Director of the Division of Disability Rights for the City and County of Denver, Colorado.
She earned a B.A. from Spelman College; a M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University; and a Ph.D. in Health Related Sciences from the School of Allied Health Professions at Virginia Commonwealth University.
She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and an elected Board Member of the National Council of Rehabilitation Educators.
Dr. Rousseau comes to the City and County of Denver most recently after serving several years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona. Her former clinical experiences include serving as the first ADA Coordinator for the Richmond, Virginia Public Schools District, managing and overseeing $25 million in capital improvements toward a five-year legal settlement agreement.
Atim Otii is the Director for the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. She is a leader in immigration integration and has helped thousands of immigrants throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Prior to joining the city, Otii served as the Immigration Legal Services Director for Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains for six years, where she led several immigrant focused programs from direct legal representation to social service support in Colorado and New Mexico. Previously, Otii was in private practice, where she successfully represented immigrants in family-based immigration, asylum and naturalization law, and removal defense. Otii has served with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Colorado Lawyers Committee Immigration Task Force, offered trainings on immigrant rights and integration, and provided technical assistance and advocacy locally, nationally and internationally.
Otii was born and raised in Denver. Her parents came from northern Uganda as refugees. She earned her Juris Doctor from the Washburn University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University, where she was also a student athlete.
Juan Pasillas serves as the ADA Building Plans Reviewer for the Division of Disability Rights/Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships.
Juan graduated from Adams City High School in Commerce City, Colorado and has a Technical Degree in Architectural Design/Cad from CU Denver/Community College of Denver.
Prior to joining the City and County of Denver, Juan worked for over 25+ years on multiple commercial/residential design projects throughout the State of Colorado and across the country.
Edith is a Personal Finance Coach with the Office of Financial Empowerment & Protection. She has over 9 years financial coaching & leadership experience through her previous roles with a local nonprofit, Buckley AFB, and the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®). She is passionate about helping individuals realize their strengths, gain knowledge, and build confidence to reach their personal and financial goals. She enjoys working with diverse populations & is experienced in working with marginalized communities, communities of color & the military community.
Early in her financial services journey, Edith served the military community as a Financial Counselor at Buckley Air Force Base. In her recent roles with a local nonprofit, Edith served as a personal Finance Coach. She was later promoted to Team Lead where her primary role was supervising & offering leadership support to other financial coaches. In her most recent role as Interim Coaching Program Manager she collaborated with OFEP in implementing Denver’s Financial Empowerment Center’s coaching program initiatives. Through these roles, Edith served the Denver community through integrated partnerships & collaborative relationships with local organizations. These partnerships offer clients holistic support through wrap around services to improve their financial situation & support them in becoming self-sufficient. In addition to serving clients & coaches locally she supports coaches/counselors nationally through her voluntary roles with AFCPE®, a national certifying body for financial counselors/coaches & whose mission is to ensure the highest level of knowledge, skill & integrity in the personal financial profession.
In addition to being an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®), Edith is a Financial Fitness Coach, FFC® & an Associate Certified Coach (ACC®) through the International Coach Federation. She adheres to the proven coaching model that supports clients in identifying their goals, values & internal motivations that lead to lasting change. She is also interested in learning more about how to bring equity into financial services & served on the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee at her previous organization; she plans to continue supporting this work in her role with the City. Edith is excited to join the OFEP & HRCP team & bring her skills & experience to reach the Denver community with quality, equitable financial services & support. Outside of work, Edith enjoys being outdoors, reading, listening to music & spending times with family & friends.
Vanessa serves as the Regional Coordinator for Cities for Action (C4A), a national coalition of over 200 cities and counties working to advance pro-immigrant legislation and implement innovative local programming that advances the rights and wellbeing of immigrant and refugee communities. Vanessa supports the implementation of national campaigns and manages recruitment and member relations.
Vanessa was led to a career in immigrant and refugee affairs early on by her experiences growing up in a mixed-status family in rural Oregon. She is deeply committed to the advancement of immigrant and refugee rights and brings a breadth of experience from over a decade of work with immigrant communities to her position.
Vanessa’s dedication to this work took her to the southern border in 2015 to start a legal volunteer program with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) for detained mothers and children seeking asylum. Her work was recognized nationally when she was awarded the AILA Michael Maggio Pro Bono Award and the Oregon AILA Immigrant Achievement Award in 2015. Following her work on the border, Vanessa helped launch the Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic at the University of San Francisco School of Law. Most recently, Vanessa was the Pro Bono Program Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network where she recruited and supervised attorneys representing children, families, and detained adults in immigration proceedings. She holds a master’s degree in Migration Studies and a bachelor's degree in Social Work.
Dr. Ken Seeley serves as a collaboration and evaluation specialist for the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships of the City of Denver and the Office of Financial Empowerment & Protection. Prior to his work with the City he served for 20 years as the President and CEO of the Colorado Foundation for Families and Children, a nonprofit partnership with five Colorado state agencies. He is a researcher and cross system leader with an extensive background with at-risk and vulnerable populations.
Ken was a tenured faculty member at the University of Denver, College of Education in the areas of Education Leadership and research design. He has broad social policy experience as a policy analyst and consultant for the Center for Study of Social Policy in Washington, and many foundations including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Colorado Trust and the Piton Foundation. Additionally, he has served as senior evaluation consultant to Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mayors Challenge and as a senior evaluation consultant to the One Community Pueblo Colorado.
Kaylie is a Colorado native, born and raised in Boulder Colorado. Upon graduating from Boulder High School, Kaylie remained in Colorado for her undergraduate degree and studied Anthropology and Economics at the University of Colorado. Kaylie was student on the Dean’s List, an active participant in various campus groups such as Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), and an intern for the Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains cultural mentorship program.
In 2016, Kaylie graduated from the University of Colorado, and was hired by the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) as a Housing Program Specialist. Kaylie held various roles with DHA, and ultimately served as the Healthy Living Program Coordinator overseeing the Healthy Living Initiative for the nationally recognized, mixed-income Mariposa housing development in West-Central Denver. In June 2019, Kaylie was hired on with the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships (HRCP). In her role with HRCP, Kaylie supports the Executive Director and all staff of the Agency, which houses 10 city offices and 10 Mayoral-appointed Commissions.
In her spare time, Kaylie enjoys all things Colorado; hiking, biking, snow-boarding, paddle-boarding, and tubing down the Boulder Creek. She is a singer and song-writer for fun, loves to catch a show at Red Rocks, and plays the piano, violin, and is learning to play the guitar.
Darius Lee Smith serves as the Director of the Denver Anti-Discrimination Office within the Agency for Human Rights & Community Relations where he facilitates resolution of civil rights discrimination complaints by assisting individuals; he does this by utilizing the Indigenous form of “Peacemaking” ~ resolving conflict/disputes by using common sense principals and encouraging ethical settlements. Darius holds a Masters of Nonprofit Management and a Certificate of Graduate Studies in American Indian History and Culture from Regis University and the University of Denver, respectfully. Professionally, Darius has served the American Indian community since 1992 in various positions with Habitat for Humanity International, Denver Public Schools and several local American Indian nonprofits.
Additionally, Darius speaks nationally on topics ranging from “Indian Identity” to “Contemporary Urban Issues”, as well as on the issue of “American Indians as Mascots” and the negative impact it has on the self-esteem and self-determination of native people. Finally and personally, Darius is health conscious and enjoys working out and running and occasionally finds the time to participate in organized races and sporting events.
It is the mission of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships' Advisory Board to both advocate on issues and opportunities of the represented commissions and at-large constituency groups and communicate those with the Agency and work with the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships Director regarding Agency policies, goals and objectives that will affect the Agency and the constituencies of the Commissions and at-large groups.
Established in 2007, the HRCP Advisory Board is made up of 15 members, 10 representatives from our Commissions and 5 at-large community members. The Advisory Board's primary responsibility is to advise the Executive Director on special or emerging issues or opportunities that may affect our communities.