Carrie Schiff is a business lawyer specializing in corporate and transactional matters. As both a seasoned business executive and outside counsel, Carrie has participated in the development and execution of commercialization strategies for a range of companies, from global multinational companies to start-ups, in industries ranging from telecommunications to organic food. Prior to co-founding Sage Law Group, Carrie was Chief Legal and Risk Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of MWH Global, Inc., a leading multinational, employee-owned civil engineering and construction firm based in Broomfield. Before joining MWH, Carrie served as SVP, general Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Flextronics International, Ltd. (Nasdaq:FLEX), a leading global electronics manufacturing services company. Carrie’s past in-house experience also includes serving as SVP, Corporate Development and General Counsel at USA.NET, Inc. in Colorado Springs.
Carrie came to Boulder to open the Colorado practice of Cooley LLP in 1993. Carrie was a member of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and was a recipient of the Legends in Law Burton Award in 2008.
Stephanie Copeland was appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper to his cabinet as Executive Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade in January 2017. She joins OEDIT most recently from The Zayo Group, where she served as a president of the communications infrastructure services firm. She was part of a leadership team taking the company public, managing full P&L and operational responsibilities for Zayo’s network services. Previously, she served as chief operating officer at WildBlue, where she was responsible for the operations of the $500 million rural broadband business.
Copeland holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois in German and Commercial studies. She completed post graduate courses at the University of Paderborn in Paderborn, Germany.
Copeland serves as a board member for the Colorado Broadband Deployment Board and the Colorado Workforce Development Council. Copeland is a Blackstone Entrepreneur, and is an advocate and supporter of women in business, serving as a mentor to support women across the communications industry. She was named Fierce Telecom’s top women to watch in 2015.
Millete Birhanemaskel is a partner and Investment Executive at PB Advisors where she manages investments and is a strategic financial planner.
Prior to becoming a licensed advisor, Birhanemaskel was a reporter for six years. Highlights of her career include covering the election of Africa’s first female president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia, as well as being awarded Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists Region IV.
In 2009, Birhanemaskel won the Social Responsibility Award from the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce Chamber Connect. Her father, Birhanemaskel Madhaniy, was a freedom fighter and governor in Ethiopia. He also began the first Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Denver.
Birhanemaskel earned an MBA from Colorado State University and is a graduate of Leadership Denver. She founded of The Ethiopian Community Center in Denver and is a past board member of Project Education Sudan and Denver Sister Cities International.
Denise Brown’s career spans over 35 years working in both the public and private sectors in Colorado. Before retiring in 2012, she served as the Interim Executive Director of the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority, which is the developer of a bioscience business park affiliated with the University of Colorado. Prior to this appointment she spent three years as a consultant working with clients such as the University of Colorado, the Colorado BioScience Association, the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, the Boettcher Foundation and the Fitzsimons Redevelopment.
Denise served as the first Executive Director of the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA). During her tenure, the CBSA expanded to 400 members and evolved into an organization that provides over 60 programs annually for the industry. CBSA initiatives over the last three years resulted in over $30 million of new state-supported programs for early stage bioscience technologies and companies.
Denise also served in senior administrative positions for 20 years at the University of Colorado including Executive Assistant to the President of the University, Chief Planning Officer for the CU Health Sciences Center, and Assistant Director of the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology. Prior to this, Denise worked for the House Majority Office at the Colorado General Assembly for two years (1975-1977). From 1977 through 1984, she worked for the Governor of Colorado as Assistant to the Governor for Human Services, Director of the Governor’s Job Training Office, and in the Office of Appointments to Boards and Commissions.
Denise attended the University of Denver and received a B.A. in political science.
Rob Brown is the executive director for Fremont Economic Development Corporation located in Cañon City, Colorado and is using his experience and capabilities to build economic capacity for rural southern Colorado. Rob is an accomplished entrepreneur, team builder, facilitator and corporate problem solver. His specific areas of professional focus are automotive repair information systems, new business development, computer aided design concepts and factory automation strategies.
Rob is a four generation Colorado native and takes a great deal of pride in continuing his family’s legacy in the state. His family first settled in Elbert County in 1868 and has been active in enhancing the quality of life in Colorado through their various endeavors, since that time. Rob is a pioneer in spirit and routinely encourages inventors and entrepreneurs from outside the state to bring their innovative ideas and concepts to Colorado to secure their individual legacies as well.
Rob is a past national standing committee chairman for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), an Eagle Scout and a recent North Star Award winner, the highest award given to a civilian by the Boy Scouts of America. As a dedicated community leader and volunteer, Rob has worked in numerous capacities with local government, civic boards and not for profit organizations during his career.
Tom Clark is CEO of Collaborative Economic Development, LLC, an economic development consulting company for major metro regions in the U.S. and Canada.
Clark is recently retired from 35 years of economic development programs in Colorado. Over 25 of those years were as an employee of the Metro Denver Chamber and its Economic Development organizations. Clark is nationally known for his role in Metro Denver’s successful collaborative economic development systems that resulted in the creation and growth of one of the most metropolitan regions in the U.S. An Clark is an often sought after speaker on issues related to economic strategies, marketing and public relations and the management of regional economic development programs.
Benita Duran is a 5th generation Colorado native raised in Pueblo and currently living in Boulder. She has extensive professional expertise in community engagement and organizational capacity building, government affairs and workforce development arenas throughout the southwest.
Early in her public sector career Benita was an aide to Denver Mayor Federico Peña, where she was responsible for city employee programs, neighborhood outreach and the construction employment efforts in the building of DIA. Her municipal management interests prompted her move from Denver to Boulder for a position in the City Manager’s Office. She served as Assistant City Manager of Boulder for over eight years. Recently, Benita directed the outreach and engagement program for the Denver Public Schools (DPS) 2008 and 2012 general obligation construction bond program. She also served as the government liaison between DPS and the City and County of Denver. Prior to this, she was the Vice President and Director of Southwest Regional Government Affairs at CH2M Hill.
Duran is an active member of the community and has served on over 15 nonprofit organizations’ board of directors in Denver and Boulder. She is a past chair of the Mi Casa Resource Center Board of Directors, as well as past chair of the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. Duran also served on the International City and County Management Association (ICMA) Board of Directors as the Mountain Plains Vice President, a professional association of city/county public sector managers. She is presently on the Board of Directors of Boulder Community Health, the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, and National History Day Colorado. She is a member of the Colorado Women’s Forum and the International Women’s Forum.
Duran graduated from the University of Denver with degrees in Economics and Public Affairs. She earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Chris Franz is the managing director of Pioneer Fund. Chris has over 20 years of experience in building and scaling high technology, high growth companies. Chris has founded more than 10 startups focusing on emerging technology, data analytics, SaaS software and data center systems. He has built companies funded by venture capital, angel capital and bootstrapping. He is a respected mentor, board member and leader of the startup movement in Colorado. Chris has run technology organizations with budgets from nearly nothing to $3.5B and enjoyed all of them. He has managed multiple investment funds focused on Colorado start-ups and has served on numerous start-up and non-profit boards to drive the entrepreneurial ecosystem including the boards of Startup Colorado and Peak Startup. Chris holds a Masters degree from Stanford University and a Bachelors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Chris is passionate about driving economic opportunity and diversity through startups. Plus, he just loves Colorado.
Bob Hurst is currently a partner at Crestview Partners, a private equity firm and a member of its Investment Committee. Mr. Hurst leads Crestview’s private company recapitalization strategy, working with entrepreneurs who seek a partner to transition their business. Mr. Hurst retired as vice chairman of Goldman Sachs in June 2004. At Goldman Sachs, Mr. Hurst spent 30 years in a variety of leadership positions, including head of the investment banking division from 1990 to 1999. Following Goldman Sachs’ IPO, Mr. Hurst became vice chairman and a member of the board of directors and focused on firm-wide matters in addition to client responsibilities.
Mr. Hurst is currently a director of Oxbow Carbon and is a board observer at NYDJ Apparel. He also serves as a director of VF Corporation and has served on the boards of directors of other public and private companies. He has been active in the nonprofit sector and currently serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Aspen Music Festival and School, chairman of the National Cybersecurity Center, former chairman of the board of directors and currently chairman of the executive committee of the Whitney Museum of America Art, a trustee and member of the executive committee of the Aspen Institute, chairman emeritus of the Jewish Museum and is a former member of the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Hurst was also founding CEO of the 9/11 United Services Group, the coordinating arm for 13 social service agencies involved in the relief activities, including the Red Cross.
Tara is the Community Development Director for the City of Trinidad and heads up the City’s development services as well as assisting in many of the City’s economic development and community revitalization efforts. In her time in Trinidad, Tara has worked to establish the Corazon de Trinidad Creative District, Trinidad Historic Main Street, and Trinidad Urban Renewal Authority. She leads the Trinidad City Council in all policy discussion related to land use and was responsible for updating the City’s comprehensive and strategic plan. Prior to her time in local government, Tara lived in Dallas, Texas and worked in the wine industry. As the Texas State Marketing Manager for Glazer’s Wholesale Domaines and Estates division, she managed a fine wine portfolio of primarily imported and high end domestic wines and was recognized for significantly improving profit margins, increasing sales, strategically managing relationships with key wineries and implementing best practices.
Tara has a Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and is pursuing a Master’s Degree from University of Colorado Denver. Tara is a Board Member of Downtown Colorado Inc. and serves on the Colorado State Main Street Advisory Board and the Colorado Tourism Destination Development Committee.
Jay Seaton is the publisher of The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colorado. Jay also oversees several local publications in western Colorado.
Prior to his arrival at the Sentinel in August 2009, Jay was a corporate and commercial litigation partner at the law firm of Lewis Rice & Fingersh in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to his position at Lewis Rice & Fingersh, Jay worked in toxic tort litigation at the law firm of Shook Hardy & Bacon.
Jay is former chair of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and serves on the boards of the Riverside Education Center, the Saccomanno Higher Educatin Foundation, St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation and Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Jay is also a member of The Colorado Forum. Jay holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received his juris doctorate from Kasas University in 1996.