The Denver Women’s Commission promotes the social, economic and political quality of life in Denver by assisting women in the attainment of equality and full opportunity by:
Our Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council. They serve 2 year terms. Commissioners must live or work in the City and County of Denver.
The Denver Women's Commission meets the first Thursday of each month, from 6:00p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (unless otherwise noted). Meetings are open to the public. We recommend confirming the date and place prior to the meeting.
*Meeting locations rotate monthly to various community organizations. Please see the Monthly Committee Meeting Schedule for locations.
Note: All commission meetings are open to the public.
In May of 2017 the Denver Office on Women & Families, the Denver Women's Commission, and It's Time Network hosted the 2017 Denver Gender Equity Summit to collaboratively prioritize solutions and pledge action to address systemic inequity.
The Denver Thrives When Women Thrive Guide is an employer tool created by the Denver Women’s Commission to help city agencies, private businesses, and non-profits assess gender equity within their own operations.
Indya J. Clark is a mother and Colorado native. As a first-generation college student, she graduated from DU's degree program in 2013 and completed both a master’s in social work and a Bachelors in Sociology and Human Communications. Her education combined with her passion for people, has drawn her to working for community organizations that provide solid support systems and robust programming that pave the way for people to become and stay resilient. Living by the mantra, "Teamwork Makes the Dream Work", Indya enjoys being a part of collaboratives that make a better tomorrow and help all people reach their highest goals and dreams. In her spare time, she loves having fun her daughter, researching and trying new things.
Magen Dodge is a Commander with the Denver Police Department. She is currently assigned as a liaison to the State of Colorado's Information Analysis Center (CIAC)
Commander Dodge joined the commission to become more involved with shaping the City of Denver's response to the challenges faced by women and girls in our city. As a twenty-year veteran of law enforcement, she has seen the disproportionate impacts facing women around social issues within the city. Additionally, working for the City of Denver has given Commander Dodge a keen understanding of how the city operates, both for citizens and city employees, contributing to the knowledge base necessary for this role. She wants to bring her unique perspective when making recommendations for change which can directly impact women and girls' success. She believes that women and girls need advocates, and what better way to advocate while having a far-reaching impact for women and girls, than serving as a commissioner with Denver's Women's Commission.
Commander Dodge is a wife and mother of three (two teenage girls). She loves to cook (and taste!) and entertain family and friends.
Kayla Frawley is a family service worker with Catholic Charities Early Head Start and Head Start programs where she manages cases and supports families in meeting basic needs and supports parents in advocating for their children. Frawley predominantly supports families in the Lincoln Park, Sun Valley, and Westwood neighborhoods where she supports school readiness through family engagement and supporting parents as leaders in their communities. It is a privilege to directly support families through addressing adversities that arise with poverty, homelessness, and single parenthood.
She is also a maternal and child educator at Denver Health where she teaches Child Birth Education class, New Born Care class, and Breastfeeding class. Through teaching I support new parents and families as they plan for birth and the postpartum period.
Kayla is also a contracted mentor through HealthConnect One in the Birth Equity Leadership Academy where she mentors community leaders across the country, who are designing projects related to birth equity. She believes that if a parent has the right tools they will change an entire generation.
As a single mom she has a vital voice in family advocacy and sees it as her responsibility to help create a Denver that promotes gender equity, elevates families with the highest needs, and values the most marginalized voices. She joined the commission to engage our community, so that together, we create a Denver we can all be proud of.
Marisa Garverick Herrera is passionate about enhancing education, particularly for traditionally marginalized children, and working to create a more holistic approach to learning which reflects the student’s specific needs and culture.
As a daughter of a single mother who taught for nearly 40 years, and as someone who is energized by spending time with kids, becoming a teacher was a natural next step after she graduated from The Ohio State University in 2013 with a degree in political science and women’s studies. Her move from her native Ohio to Denver was fueled by opportunities with Teach for America and the enthusiasm for the mountains and an outdoor lifestyle that she shares with her partner, Preston. Marisa taught Kindergarten to underserved children who were largely English language learners for three years in northwest Denver. In 2016, she took a hiatus from teaching during which she and her partner backpacked and volunteered throughout Latin America, seeing firsthand the effects of educational disparities, and renewing her commitment to creating opportunity for children of all backgrounds. In May 2018, Marisa joined Denver Public Schools as member of their central office support team. She now is the Project Manager of Culturally Responsive Education to help actualize the goal that every child succeeds.
Marisa was inspired to become a commissioner to continue her advocacy for the advancement of women and girls, specifically of color, to progress to a more equitable society.
Bio coming soon
Laurie Heydman is a senior assistant City Attorney for the Denver City Attorney’s Office where she largely performs transactional and general counsel work.
Heydman joined the commission because she believes strongly that it is necessary to do the work if you want to see the change. She is committed to supporting women from all walks of life in the City. Laurie has been going it on her own or with colleagues from time to time in creating a now defunct OWLS (Older Women in Leadership and Support) group for older women attorneys who are often discounted by younger lawyers of both genders. She also mentors young people, mostly women, in several formal programs, as well as informally. In joining the commission, she was seeking an opportunity to join a motivated community working together to achieve bigger advances. In her position as an attorney, she writes the policies of others, but she thought it would be terrific to be able to share her thoughts as a policy maker instead of just a policy scrivener.
Laurie is an active member of the Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, and Denver Film Society as well as a regular visitor to the Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Performing Arts Complex, and art galleries in Colorado. She is also an avid gardener, reader, movie goer, foodie, and the caretaker of two hilarious Pekingese dog!
Shontel M. Lewis is Associate Director of Community Engagement Strategy and Advocacy with Denver Public Schools.
Lewis joined the commission hoping to help create opportunities for the commission to bring communities along as partners to build a city that is truly inclusive of all not just some.
She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, playing board games, and writing.
Tram Ha works as a legal program assistant at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, a disability rights organization that advocates for social justice for people with all types of disabilities. She grew up in Springfield, Missouri, but was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States at an early age.
Tram graduated from Colorado College with distinction with a degree in History-Philosophy. She has always been personally and professionally invested in advocating for the civil rights of all individuals, especially women and immigrants, and volunteers with organizations in the Denver community that work to advance those causes.
Ariana Nikmanesh is a graduate of the University of Colorado Denver Business School. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, an emphasis in Marketing, a minor in Political Science, and a certificate in Strategic Communication. Nikmanesh will start her career as a Business Development Representative at Oracle.
She also devotes her time serving as a representative for the National Millennial Community (NMC), a community of millennial thinkers who aim to change the conversation about the millennial generation. Through the NMC, she has consulted with various companies such as Amazon, Coca-Cola, Disney, eBay, Microsoft, and NBC Universal to help them better market their brands to millennial consumers. In this capacity, she has consulted with the White House as well.
Nikmanesh also serves as a consultant for Disney to ensure their scripts are accurately representative of Muslim and Middle Eastern characters.
She is passionate about women’s rights worldwide and was appointed by Mayor Hancock to serve as a voice for Denver’s women and girls on the Denver Women’s Commission in 2018. When she is not working or advocating for women’s rights, she spends time traveling, hiking Colorado mountain trails, and enjoying time with her family and friends.
Stephanie Pacheco-McRae, a Colorado native and graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, started her professional career in Miami, Florida. In 2009, she made her way back to her roots in Colorado. She is currently serving as the Director of Employer Engagement and is responsible for executing the Center for Work Education and Employment’s (CWEE) employment-related services by developing strategy, generating leads, and cultivating relationships with employers. Since joining CWEE in March of 2013, she has helped place more than 1,000 low-income parents into Colorado’s workforce.
Previously, Stephanie served as an advisory board member for the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and continues to use her voice and connections to develop and support opportunities for advancement for her community, both personally and professionally. Outside of the office, you can find Stephanie and her husband at their kids’ sporting events, on a patio enjoying the Colorado sunshine or at the airport headed out for some rest and relaxation.
Catherine Pierce is a Talent Acquisition Manager with Graebel Companies, Inc where she recruits Graebel’s talent and oversees outreach efforts.
Pierce joined to the commission to be an advocate for Denver’s women and girls in a meaningful way. She hopes to leverage her corporate HR knowledge to do so.
Outside of work and the commission, Catherine loves travelling, cooking, and reading.
Nicole Portee currently serves at the Executive Director of the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Transportation Department, overseeing a fleet of more than 400 school buses, 500 personnel and transportation for over 37,000 students throughout Denver. Ensuring the Safe transport of students is her and the department’s number one priority. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native is a change agent who prides herself on approaching the profession with an innovative frame of mind and takes advantage of opportunities that present themselves.
In 2013 Nicole was honored by Superintendent Boasberg and awarded “Persons of the Year” for exemplifying DPS Shared Core Values. In 2014 she was also named one of the 14 Phenomenal Women in School Transportation by the School Bus Fleet magazine and in 2014 as one of the 14 Fascinating Personalities in Pupil Transportation School Bus Fleet magazine. Nicole has continued to be recognized by various organizations for her leadership and out of the box thinking. Nicole served as the President of the Colorado State Pupil Transportation Association (CSPTA) from 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. She has presented at several National Conferences including; Transporting Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers National Conference.
Nancy Reichman is Professor of Sociology and Criminology and Director of Socio-legal Studies at the University of Denver where she has taught since 1984. She has written articles and books on several topics including, pay equity, workplace regulation, white -collar crime, global environmental regulation, pay equity, and workplace regulation. She is the editor of the scholarly journal, Law & Policy. Reichman chaired the Colorado Pay Equity Commission from 2010-2014. She previously chaired the Board of Directors of Building Bridges, a Denver non-profit that helps to combat hate, discrimination and violate conflict by connecting individuals face-to-face with though they have been taught to fear and mistrust and teaching leadership skills for working across communities. Professor Reichman received her BA from New College in Sarasota Florida, MPA from New York University, and PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Leslie is the Director of Operations and Programming for LoDo District, Inc., a registered neighborhood organization and nonprofit dedicated to serving the historic LoDo neighborhood through advocacy, promotion, and education. Leslie has her Master's in Political Science from Boston University and continues to work towards her Ph.D. Her research interests include democratization, transitional justice, community development, and human rights. Leslie's dissertation project concerns countries in a period of transition, whether from civil war or authoritarian rule, and how the built environment can play a role in promoting peace and/or justice.
Prior to her role at LoDo District, Inc., Leslie has taught courses in Political Science at Randolph-Macon College, and served as Program Officer at the Global Literacy Institute, housed at Boston University's School of Education. She has also been a fellow for the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future and been awarded several grants to conduct doctoral research.
Jessica Skibo is a Denver native and a proud resident in South Denver. She’s employed as a Senior Financial Management Analyst for the City & County of Denver, managing Denver Police, Denver Fire, Civil Service Commission, and the Office of Emergency Management budgets, amounting to $343 million of a $1.2 billion annual budget. She is a two-time recipient of the 5281 Award in 2015 and 2012, the highest honor obtainable from Office of the Mayor, for her significant contribution to the City’s Five STARS Goals (Service, Teamwork, Accountability, Respect, and Safety). Jessica is currently serving as Chair of the Denver Women’s Commission, advocating for legislation and policies affecting Denver’s women and girls.
Jessica sits on the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce as a member of the Public Affairs Committee. In this role she actively monitors Legislation with regards to Colorado’s economic environment. Jessica serves on the Board of Directors of Denver Sister Cities International, helping promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation with cultural, educational, and economic endeavors. She double majored receiving a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a second bachelor’s degree in Art History from Colorado State University in 2000. Jessica is known for her integrity, passion and dedication among her peers and colleagues.
Marisol Solarte-Erlacher is owner and a psychotherapist at Marisol Solarte-Erlacher and Associates.
Solarte-Erlacher joined the commission because she strongly believes in civic leadership. Over the years, she has sought many ways to serve and stay connected to her community and to advocate for issues that are important to her. The Women's Commission offers her a unique opportunity to step up in service and leadership with the end goal of increasing access and opportunity for women and girls. She also believes that representation matters and as a woman of color, she wants other women to know that they can have a seat at many different tables in our city, and that their voices matter.
Outside of work and the commission, Marisol is a friend, mother, and consumer of good food. She loves spending quality time with people she loves, doing fun things with her kids, and finding yummy food to eat.
Bio coming soon
For questions, comments, or more information please contact:
Kim Desmond, Director
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