Board of Directors
Denver Urban Scholars has 12 voting board members; 100% of our board contributes to the organization
Michael Brown, Vice Chair, Executive Committee
Mike is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. He received a BA in Political Economy from Williams College in 1992 and his CFP® from Boston University in 1998. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 2003, he advised high net worth clients at Fidelity Investments and represented money managers for MainStay Investments and Banc of America Capital Management. For the past five years, Mike was named a FIVE STAR Wealth Manager by 5280 magazine, an award given to the top Denver wealth managers for client satisfaction based on the results of an independent survey of high net worth investors.
Mike volunteers for Denver Urban Scholars and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce Leadership Foundation, and loves coaching his son’s youth baseball team. He has also volunteered hundreds of hours at The Children’s Hospital Denver and continues to be involved through the blood donor center.
Mike is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Denver and was named as one of Denver’s 2009 “Forty Under 40” in recognition of his business leadership and community involvement. An avid golfer and skier, Mike lives in Lowry with his wife Suzanna; children, Molly and Zach; and dog, Toblerone.
Amanda Campbell, Program Committee
Amanda is a licensed clinical social worker who received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Masters of Social Work from the University of Denver. Amanda has a passion for empowering others to realize their potential. She has worked in clinical roles within the fields of residential treatment, mental health, youth development, and healthcare. As her career as a social worker has progressed, she has supported emerging social workers as they pursue their education and career path through serving as a field liaison for graduate students and clinical supervisor to social workers pursuing licensure. She is currently a Clinical Field Faculty member in the Department of Social Work at MSU Denver.
Amanda served in multiple roles at Denver Urban Scholars including intern, volunteer coordinator, clinical case manager, field instructor for graduate-level interns, and program director before becoming a board member in 2014. Outside of work, you can find her exploring Colorado with her husband, Silas, and her two young sons, Rhett and Otis. They enjoy hiking, skiing, running, listening to live music, and enjoying a good glass of wine at the end of the day.
Blair Eklund, Finance Committee, Investment Committee Chair
Blair is a Commodities Trader and Member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange with 9 years’ experience. The market he primarily focuses on is trading cattle, feeder cattle, and hogs. Blair is also the main partner in Gunsight Cattle Company and part owner of Fleet Engineer, for which he serves on the Board of Directors. Prior to trading commodities, Blair was an Investment Consultant for Blue Prairie Group in Chicago, IL, where he focused on managing companies’ retirement plans. He is also a Certified Financial Planner ™.
Blair has a strong desire to help others and provide opportunities for them in any capacity to succeed. He enjoys fishing, hunting, tennis, and woodworking. His faith in God, and his love for his wife Kristina and two sons, Braden and Bo, are his inspirations for life.
Stacey Hawes, Marketing Committee
Stacey’s love for helping others succeed while empowering women to become better leaders has led her to focus not only her career but personal life on doing just that. She graduated top of her class in her MBA Program from the University of Louisville in 2005 and worked for many years at the Bank of Louisville as well as LG&E Energy where she spent 5 years in a leadership development program.
Stacey served on an industry trade organization’s Board of Directors (NEMOA) for 7 years, spending 3 of those years as on officer of the board, and was recently asked to join the Data & Marketing Association’s (DMA) Board, which is the industry’s leading trade association.
Stacey the President of Epsilon’s Data Practice, which is owned by Alliance Data Systems, a Fortune 500 company. During her 16 year tenure at Epsilon, Stacey has driven the company’s Data Practice to unprecedented levels of growth and customer satisfaction. In her current role as President, she is responsible for $180MM in annual revenue and a staff of over 500 associates, 120 of whom are sales and account management focused, selling to over 3,000 customers each year.
Amidst all of that, she also works locally with The Ascena Group (formerly known as the Leadership Investment) working with women to help further develop their leadership skills. Stacey was born and raised in Kentucky, and currently resides in Cherry Hills Farm with husband, Scott, and two children, Benjamin (13) and Georgia (10).
Christina Huszcza, Board Secretary, Development Committee
A native Coloradoan, Christina loves all things outdoors, especially hiking, skiing, and camping.
Christina is an attorney who defends clients in product liability and mass tort litigation in state and federal courts. Her practice focuses on design defect, manufacturing defect, and failure to warn claims brought against manufacturers. Christina graduated from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 2012 and received her MBA in 2009.
Desiree Jewell, Marketing Chair, Executive Committee
Desiree has served on the Denver Urban Scholars Board since 2015 and brings 15 years of marketing experience across multiple industries. Her expertise lies in strategic planning, customer relationship management, and product marketing. She holds a Masters in Marketing from University of the Colorado, and a BA in Marketing from Weber State University. Desiree is currently the Director of Product Marketing at Return Path, an email marketing solutions provider based in Broomfield, CO. Desiree is passionate about all things based on education and technology and currently resides in Broomfield with her husband and 9-year old daughter. Born an Air Force brat, she has traveled the globe, but absolutely, without a doubt, considers Colorado the best place on the planet.
Joe Kelloff, Board Member, Board Chair, Executive Committee
Joe graduated from Colorado School of Mines in 1994 with a BS in Petroleum Engineering, and has been a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers since 1992. He is a registered Investment Adviser Representative in the State of Colorado with over 22 years of diverse engineering, operations, planning, and business development experience. Joe was contracted with McElvain Energy Inc., in 2010 to manage the activities of the energy funds and soon after became a full time employee.
Prior to that, Joe held the position of Chief Operating Officer with Sun River Energy. He has also served as the Director of Western Production for PDC Energy, Manager of E&P Planning for Hess Corporation, and in a variety of engineering roles focused on US assets in the Rocky Mountains, Mid-Continent, Permian Basin, California, and Gulf of Mexico.
Patrick Labbe, Board Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair, Executive Committee
Patrick’s association with Denver Urban Scholars began with his time as a mentor in 2006, which led to a friendship with the student and his family that continues to this day. Patrick has more than 20 years of experience in the investment industry including financial analysis and investment management, and currently evaluates public companies for investment and portfolio construction. He also has experience in municipal finance from a previous role as Investment Manager for the city of Arvada. Prior to his finance career, he did a great deal of traveling while serving in the U.S. Air Force for nearly ten years. Patrick holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in finance from CU Denver and became a Chartered Financial Analyst in 2006. Patrick also supports other non-profits such as Colorado Special Olympics and Ralston House. In his spare time, he is an all-weather runner and a fair-weather cross country skier.
Ryan McGuffey, Development Committee
Ryan received his BS in Business Administration from the University of Wyoming in 2004, and continued on to receive his JD from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 2008. Ryan’s love for his alma mater has lead him to serve as a guest lecturer on numerous occasions for the Business Planning Course at the University of Wyoming College of Law.
Ryan currently sits on several boards including the Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Wyoming Bar Association, Laramie County Bar Association, Southeast Wyoming Estate Planning Council, Sports Lawyers Association, and Colorado Bar Association. He has a history of service on boards including Meals on Wheels of Cheyenne, Boys and Girls Club of Cheyenne, and the Louisa Swain Foundation. He is currently working with Denver Urban Scholars Development Committee to establish fundraising plans with staff members.
Kenzie Strong, Senior Director Evaluation and Learning
Kenzie Strong has spent the past 14 years developing, implementing, and evaluating programs on a local, national, and global level. She lived in remote communities in the Arctic, the Pacific, and Uganda while teaching and directing a variety of formal and non-formal education programs. She has led program evaluation, strategic planning, and capacity building initiatives for a wide variety of non-profit and government agencies, including Mile High United Way, Right To Play International, Save the Children USA, ActionAid International, and the Ministry of Education in the Marshall Islands.
While Kenzie thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to do work she loves in over 20 countries, with two young daughters, she was excited to return ‘home’ to Colorado and join the Mile High United Way team as the Senior Director of Evaluation and Learning. In this role, Kenzie works to strengthen the impact of Mile High United Way investments by integrating strong evaluative practice, both within Mile High United Way and through its non-profit partners. Prior to finding her passion in the community development arena, Kenzie worked for several years in the private sector as a Financial Analyst. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Duke University and a Bachelors in Finance from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Jenna VanBerschot, Program Committee
Jenna has devoted her professional career to learning and education. She has worked with a wide range of clients in the government, corporate, educational, and academic markets. She started her career as a high school Spanish teacher, creating high school curriculums and taking students on trips around the world to build their language learning skills. Jenna currently works at Northrop Grumman as a Lead Instructional Designer and Training Strategist. She leads projects related to cybersecurity, super forecasting, leadership training, and knowledge management. Jenna has spent time researching education, with a strong focus on the impact of instructional techniques and culture.
Jenna is a professor at the University of Colorado Denver where she is currently teaching online courses in research and instructional design. Jenna enjoys jogging, hiking, skiing, traveling with friends and family, and writing books for her girls. If she’s not walking with her girls around the great neighborhoods of Denver, you can find her skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking around Grand County with her family.
Noel Wickwar, Development Committee
Having assisted Executives and Business Owners and their families with their wealth management needs for over 13 years, Noel is passionate about taking a holistic approach to helping his clients achieve their financial goals. Striving to be a “Trusted Advisor” to his clients, Noel believes in a transparent and straightforward approach to investing that begins by listening to understand his clients’ personal, professional, and philanthropic priorities. Noel is a native to Colorado and grew up in Arvada. He attended CSU and currently lives in Sloan’s Lake area with his wife Erika. Noel is an avid Fly Fisherman and Denver Bronco Fan.