We are led by a group of community-minded, passionate go-getters who will never stop searching for more answers or innovative ways to strengthen our community.

We are honored to have these volunteer leaders at our helm. They are passionate about what we do and why we do it and they never forget our community is counting on us. Officers and Committees >

Aaron Azari

Executive Vice President
Colorado State Bank and Trust

Aaron Azari

Executive Vice President
Colorado State Bank and Trust

"I care about the ability and freedom of each person to achieve their full potential."


Aaron joined the Board of Directors at Community First Foundation in January 2018, previously serving on the Foundation’s Governance Committee.

Aaron brings over 37 years of experience as a Trust Officer and Wealth Advisor. He is currently an Executive Vice President at Colorado State Bank and Trust. Previously, he led the Wealth Division for Colorado State Bank where he helped expand community access to professional trustee services across Colorado and into Wyoming.

Aaron attended Colorado State University and the University of Colorado. He holds an M.S. degree in Finance.

Community Participation:

As a resident of Arvada, Aaron served the City of Arvada for nearly 20 years as a Planning Commissioner, and then an elected City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem. He also is a member of the Denver Lions Club, Susan M. Duncan Advisory Board (YMCA of Metro Denver), and Colorado Bankers Government Relations Committee. He also serves on the following boards and committees.

• Jefferson County Housing Authority, Vice Chairman - Current
• Community First Foundation Governance Committee, Community Committee Member - Current
• Children’s Hospital Legacy Planning Advisory Council, Member - Current
• The Denver Foundation Professional Advisory Board, Member - Current
• Denver Estate Planning Council, past President and Current Member – Current
• Colorado State Bank and Trust Foundation Board, Member – Current
• International Society of Trust and Estate Professionals, Member - Past
• Lutheran Medical Center Foundation, Vice Chairman - Past
• National League of Cities, Finance and Intergovernmental Relations Committee – Past
• Kids in Need of Dentistry - Past

David Bomberger

Chief Investment Officer
Pinnacol Assurance

David Bomberger

Chief Investment Officer
Pinnacol Assurance

"I care about leadership development and education, particularly for college students."


Dave joined the Board of Directors at Community First Foundation in January 2015. He also serves as a Member of the Finance and Investment Committee.

Dave currently serves Pinnacol Assurance as the Chief Investment Officer and has held that position since 2012. He has more than 35 years of experience guiding large investment portfolios. His responsibilities as Chief Investment Officer include managing Pinnacol’s investment portfolio for maximum return, while ensuring its risk, quality and duration.

A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Dave holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Community Participation:

  • Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado, Board Member
  • Pinnacol Foundation, Board Member

Elycia Cook

Executive Director
FRIENDS FIRST

Elycia Cook

Executive Director
FRIENDS FIRST

"I care about assuring that our most vulnerable populations have a voice and/or someone always advocating for their protection, fair treatment, equal rights and access to opportunities."


Elycia joined the Board of Directors at Community First Foundation in January 2017 after serving on the Foundation’s Community Impact Committee that oversees its grantmaking. She is the executive director of FRIENDS FIRST, a nonprofit that mentors teens to make positive life choices and develop healthy relationships.

Elycia has more than ten years of experience working with positive youth development programs in the nonprofit sector, managing multiple federal, local and state grants and million-dollar budgets. Her diverse employment history also includes strategic planning, business development, sales, corporate training, teaching, event planning and cross-cultural relations in the business sector.

Elycia received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Marketing from Wayne State University. She lived and worked in Japan for more than eight years.

Community Participation:

  • Cherry Creek STARS Mentoring Program, founder, 2009 – 2015
  • Jack and Jill Incorporated South Suburban Chapter, member, 2013 – present
  • Mentor Colorado, committee member, 2014 – present; conference committee member, 2016
  • My Brother’s Keeper, City and County of Denver Office of Children’s Affairs, 2015 – present
  • Colorado Christian Fellowship Children’s Ministry, leader, 2012 – 2014

 

Janet Heck Doyle, Esq.

Retired CEO and President
Kramer Junction Company

Janet Heck Doyle, Esq.

Retired CEO and President
Kramer Junction Company

"I care about ensuring the highest quality of life for all Coloradans by providing tools they need to succeed personally and professionally."


Janet joined Community First Foundation’s Board of Directors in February 2012.

Janet is former President and CEO of Kramer Junction Company and KJC Operating Company, the former manager and operator of the world’s largest commercial solar energy generating plants. She ran for Colorado State Representative in 2014 and in May 2016 completed her second term as an elected member.

One of the more recent boards she has joined includes At Home in Evergreen, an affordable housing advocacy organization. Janet is also part of the leadership team that organized the Emergency Shelter Program, a severe weather shelter network to serve people experiencing homelessness in the mountain foothills area.

Previously, Janet was a lawyer in Washington, D.C., at Potomac Capital Investment Corporation and Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman). She specialized in corporate and securities transactions.

Doyle received her B.A. at New College in Sarasota, Florida, and her M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling and J.D. Magna Cum Laude at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She was the Law Review Note and Comment Editor at the University of New York at Buffalo. Doyle has been a Member of the Bar in Colorado, New York and the District of Columbia.

Community Participation:

  • At Home in Evergreen, Board of Directors and Treasurer, 2016 - present
  • Evergreen Rotary Club, Board of Directors, 2015 - 2016
  • Behavioral Treatment Services, Board of Directors, 2016 - present
  • Evergreen Park and Recreation District, Board of Directors, 2007 – 2016
  • Evergreen Music Festival, Past President and Board Member 2007 – 2013

Joy S. Johnson

Community Advocate

Joy S. Johnson

Community Advocate


Joy joined the Board of Directors at Community First Foundation in January 2017 after serving on the Core 40 Leadership Group for the Foundation’s Innovators Society, a program accelerating new solutions for mental wellness. She brings expertise in business and experience as a community volunteer and philanthropist.

Joy’s philanthropic efforts have focused on children and women’s healthcare, educational reform and personal self-sufficiency. As a community volunteer, Joy serves on the Executive Committee of Children’s Colorado Hospital and chairs its community and economic benefits committee focusing on population health and health disparities.

Previously, Joy worked in the U.S. Senate and later as a lobbyist in her hometown of Washington, DC. She enjoyed a successful career as an institutional trader on Wall Street as vice president of the New York financial firm of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

Joy received her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Colgate University and her Master of Business Administration at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Community Participation:

  • Children’s Colorado Hospital, board and committee member, 2003 – present
  • Colorado Children’s Campaign, board member, 2010 – 2016
  • Children’s Colorado Foundation, past chair and other roles, 1999 - 2012
  • The Madeira School, investment committee member, 2012 – present
  • Constellation Philanthropy, investment committee member, 2016
  • Denver Art Museum Foundation, investment committee member, 2004 – 2014
  • The Denver Foundation, human services committee and investment committee member, 2004 – 2013
  • Children’s Colorado Foundation, board member, 1999 – 2012
  • Get Smart Schools (Now Catalyst), founding board member and chair, 2008 – 2012
  • Rose Community Foundation, child and family development committee member, 2005 – 2011
  • The Women’s Foundation, board, committee member and chair, 1999 – 2006
  • Urban Peak, board member, 2003 – 2006

 

Russell W. Kemp, Esq.

Attorney
Ireland Stapleton

Russell W. Kemp, Esq.

Attorney
Ireland Stapleton

Attorney
Ireland Stapleton

 


Russell joined the Board of Directors at Community First Foundation in January 2016 after serving as a Community Committee Member on the Foundation’s Governance Committee. He currently chairs the Governance Committee and serves on the Development Committee and Executive Committee.

Russell is an attorney at Ireland Stapleton in Denver and has held that position since 1998. He represents clients in business deals and disputes and in estate planning and probate. Russell has a passion for creating connections and partnerships between nonprofits serving the Denver community.

Russell received his J.D. at University of Denver Sturm College of Law and his A.B. at Dartmouth College.

Community Participation:

  • WorldDenver, Founding Board Member and past Chairman
  • Rocky Mountain Regional Board of Advisors of the Institute of International Education
  • The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, PEP Club
  • DU Sturm College of Law, Officer of Alumni Council

Russell was past Board President of Habitat for Humanity of Metropolitan Denver, past Trustee of Metro Denver YMCA, and past Chairman of Downtown Denver YMCA.

Shelley A. Marquez

Senior Vice President,
Community Development Manager
Wells Fargo

Shelley A. Marquez

Senior Vice President,
Community Development Manager
Wells Fargo

"I care about the community and helping improve the quality of life for low income individuals and families."


Shelley joined the Board of Directors at Community First Foundation in January 2016.

Shelley is Senior Vice President, Community Development Manager for Wells Fargo. Based in Denver, she and her team support economic development projects related to affordable housing, financial education, workforce development and small business success across 17 Midwest, Rocky Mountain and Southwest states. She has 33 years of experience in financial services and has spent the last 24 years with Wells Fargo.

In 2012, Shelley received an Outstanding Women in Business award from the Denver Business Journal.

Community Participation:

  • Housing Colorado, Board Member
  • Asset Funders Network, Steering Committee
  • Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, Bank On Advisory Board
  • Habitat for Humanity Metro Denver, past Board President
  • Mile High Community Loan Fund, past Board President and Member
  • Colorado Enterprise Fund, past Board President
  • City and County of Denver, Housing Task Force
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas, Community Development Advisory Council, past

 

Christopher J. Davis-Massey, Esq.

Chief Operating Officer
ChoLon Restaurant Concepts

Secretary
Community First Foundation

Christopher J. Davis-Massey, Esq.

Chief Operating Officer
ChoLon Restaurant Concepts

Secretary
Community First Foundation


Christopher joined the Board of Directors at Community First Foundation in November 2012. Massey is a corporate attorney with a background in accounting, finance and merger/acquisition transactions. His experience includes issues regarding corporate securities, general commercial law, plus tax, labor and healthcare reform regulatory compliance.

Recently Christopher became Chief Operating Officer at ChoLon Restaurant Concepts. He and business partner Chef Lon Symensma operate three restaurants: ChoLon, Cho77 and now Concourse.

Previously Christopher served as Senior Counsel at NBH Bank, and has previously held roles at Ballard Spahr LLP, Holme Roberts & Owen LLP, The University of Denver, Ernst & Young, LLP and Scott Price & Co.

Christopher received his Master of Laws in Taxation at Sturm College of Law and Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. He also received his Juris Doctor at the University.

Community Participation:

  • Melanoma Research Foundation, Volunteer
  • Sturm College of Law mentor program, Volunteer
  • Center for Legal Inclusiveness, Volunteer

Ron Meyer, M.D.

Retired Community Pediatrician
Pediatrics West

Ron Meyer, M.D.

Retired Community Pediatrician
Pediatrics West

"I care about empowering families to become healthy and fully functional."


Ron joined the Board of Directors at Community First Foundation in January 2016.

He is a Clinical Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics with the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. His conducted office-based teaching in his community from 1972 until his retirement in 2012. He also taught previously at The Children’s Hospital and at Denver General Hospital.

He regards the opportunity to have been intimately involved in the lives of his pediatric patients, families and staff as the most rewarding aspect of his career.

Ron received his B.A. at Columbia College and received his M.D. at Albany Medical College.

Community Participation:

  • Lutheran Medical Center Foundation, Chairman of the Board of Directors, 2010
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Fellow
  • Pediatrics West P.C., President, 2001 – 2009
  • Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado, Career Teaching Scholar, 2004
  • Preceptor, “Foundation of Doctoring,” 2001 - 2004
  • Volunteer, E-Z Care Clinic, Jeffco Action Center, 2001 - 2003
  • Attending Pediatrician, Hospice of St. John, 1986 - 1992

Jerry Paul, CFA

Senior Vice President
of Fixed Income &
Portfolio Manager
ICON Advisers

Jerry Paul, CFA

Senior Vice President
of Fixed Income &
Portfolio Manager
ICON Advisers

"I care about the improved quality of life that nonprofits bring to Colorado."


Jerry joined Community First Foundation’s Board of Directors in October 2011.

Jerry is a senior investment management executive with more than 40 years of investment management experience. He is currently Senior Vice President of Fixed Income and Portfolio Manager at ICON Advisers. He was previously a founder and managing partner at Essential Investment Partners, LLC, a wealth management advisor, and Quixote Capital Management, LLC, a boutique investment firm. In addition, he has worked at companies such as INVESCO Funds Group, Stein Roe & Farnham, Inc., and Century Life of America. He was recognized by Morningstar as their Fixed Income Manager of the Year.

He received his B.B.A. at the University of Iowa and M.B.A. at the University of Northern Iowa. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Community Participation:

Jerry is a former member of the Denver Health System Finance Committee,  the  Denver Southeast Rotary Club, the Iliff School of Theology Institutional Advancement Committee, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services Investment, and the Lutheran Family Services Foundation Investment Committee.

Hereford Percy

Retired President
FirstBank North

Treasurer
Community First Foundation

Hereford Percy

Retired President
FirstBank North

Treasurer
Community First Foundation

"I care about improving the quality of life for all segments of our community."


Hereford joined Community First Foundation’s Board of Directors in March 2014. Currently retired, he served as President of FirstBank North for twenty years. Hereford attended Louisiana State University and received a degree in business.

Community Participation:

  • Jefferson County Board of Education, former Member
  • 2010 recipient of The Jefferson Foundation’s Norma Anderson Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2015 Inductee in the YMCA of Metro Denver Hall of Fame

Hereford has served on boards of numerous organizations, including the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the Arvada Economic Development Association, the Duncan Family YMCA, Independent Bankers of Colorado, Westminster Building Authority and the North Metro Arts Alliance.

Lydia Prado, Ph.D.

Director of Community Partnerships
The Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise

Lydia Prado, Ph.D.

Director of Community Partnerships
The Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise

“I care about tackling the inequities that keep certain populations from being as healthy, educated, fed, housed and hopeful as others.”


Lydia joined the Board of Directors at Community First Foundation in January 2018 after serving on the Foundation’s Community Impact Committee. She is the Director of Community Partnerships at the Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise at the University of Denver. The Barton Institute brings together resources from the public, private, social and academic sectors to improve life for people in Colorado Communities. Previously she served as Vice President of Child & Family Services at the Mental Health Center of Denver for more than 17 years.  She has extensive experience in mental health, community mobilizing, nonprofit administration, fundraising and teaching at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Lydia received a Bachelor’s in Psychology at Pomona College in California and a Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology from the University in Denver.

Community Participation:

Lydia is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the Alpha Kappa Alpha Award: Health Promotion, Swanee Hunt Individual Leadership Award and Colorado Association of Black Journalists Outstanding Community Service Award. Her board participation includes:

  • Colorado Health Foundation, Board of Directors
  • HealthOne, Board of Trustees
  • Governor's Early Childhood Leadership Commission, Board Member

Emily S. Robinson

Chief Operating Officer
FirstBank

Chair
Community First Foundation

Emily S. Robinson

Chief Operating Officer
FirstBank

Chair
Community First Foundation

"I care about K-12 education and the availability of resources to improve financial literacy among teenagers and young adults."


Emily has served on Community First Foundation’s Board of Directors since October 2010.

Emily has served as Chief Operating Officer since February 2017 after serving as Regional President and Executive Committee Member for FirstBank since 2015. She has filled various officer positions at the bank since 1993.

Emily received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Mississippi State University and a Graduate Degree in Banking from the University of Colorado’s Graduate School of Banking.

Community Participation:

  • State of Colorado Banking Board, member
  • El Pomar, Denver Metro Regional Council, member

Emily formerly served on the boards of numerous organizations, such as The Jefferson Foundation, Arvada Economic Development Association, Seniors' Resource Center, Clinica Campesina Family Health Services and West Chamber of Commerce Serving Jefferson County.

Cynthia Stevenson, Ph.D.

Instructor
School of Education & Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver

Cynthia Stevenson, Ph.D.

Instructor
School of Education & Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver

"I believe that giving to others is core to a satisfying life. The charities closest to my heart include education and caring for animals."


Cynthia initially joined Community First Foundation’s Board of Directors in January 2015.

She is currently a senior instructor for the School of Education & Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. She also serves as a Senior Consultant for the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC). She retired from the Jefferson County School District after more than 40 years as a teacher, principal, deputy superintendent and superintendent.

Community Participation:

  • Great Ed Colorado, Board Chair
  • Arvada Center Board of Directors

While at Jeffco Public Schools, Cynthia was selected by her peers as Colorado Superintendent of the Year and was a finalist for the national award in 2010. She was named a National Leader to Learn From by Education Week in 2013 and was a recipient of PEBC’s Cal Frazier Investing in Education Award in 2014.

Robert Urwiler

Retired Chief Information Officer
Vail Resorts, Inc.

Robert Urwiler

Retired Chief Information Officer
Vail Resorts, Inc.

“I care about the advancement of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to develop our future workforce”


Robert joined the Board of Directors at Community First Foundation in January 2016.

In 2018 he retired from his role as Chief Information Officer at Vail Resorts.  He has been in the technology-enablement field for over 30 years and has previously held CIO roles at Macromedia, Inc. and Peregrine Systems, Inc.

Robert received a Ph.D. in Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University’s School of Engineering and Computing and a Master’s Degree in Technology Management from Mercer University’s Stetson School of Business and Economics.

Community Participation:

  • Colorado Technology Association, Board of Directors/Tech talent Council Member
  • 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Organizing Committee, Member
  • The CIO Executive Council, Founding Member

Lynne D. Valencia

Director of Strategic Partnerships
Denver7/KMGH

Vice Chair
Community First Foundation

Lynne D. Valencia

Director of Strategic Partnerships
Denver7/KMGH

Vice Chair
Community First Foundation

"I care about education and equal access."


Lynne joined Community First Foundation’s Board of Directors in March 2014.

She is Director of Strategic Partnershps at Denver7/KMGH. Previously she served as Vice President Community Relations at 9NEWS for 18 years.

Lynne earned her B.A. in Communications at the University of Colorado and Masters of Special Studies in Communications from the University of Denver.

Community Participation:

  • National Association of Hispanic Journalists, co-president, 2016
  • CEI, Trustee, 2017
  • 9Health Fair, Trustee, 2000 - present
  • Colorado Succeeds - Advisory Council Member, 2011 - present
  • ARC Thrift - PR Committee Member, 2012 - present
  • Rose Community Foundation - Senior Source Committee, 2011 - present
  • Latin Fest, DU, UNC, CSU, and CU - Events Committee, 2009 - present

Marla J. Williams

President and CEO

Marla J. Williams

President and CEO

"I care about community—its power to bring out the best in us, individually and collectively, and to draw strength from our differences as well as what we share."

720.898.5922
mwilliams@CommunityFirstFoundation.org


Marla has served as president and CEO of Community First Foundation since 2010. Formerly she was a partner with the law firm of Holme Roberts & Owen LLP (now Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP), and also served as president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado.

She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her A.B. from Indiana University. She grew up in Indiana and is a proud citizen of Colorado since 1980.

Community Participation:

  • Colorado Association of Funders, past Director and Board Chair
  • Women’s Forum of Colorado, Member and past President
  • Sturm Financial Group, Director and Audit Committee Member
  • The Women's Foundation of Colorado, Honorary Trustee
  • Colorado and Denver Bar Associations, past Board of Governors
  • Colorado Women's Bar Association, past President

Marla is the recipient of the Mary Lathrop Award (the highest honor bestowed by the Women's Bar Association). She has also been honored by the Girl Scouts of Colorado as a Woman of Distinction, by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce as one of the 25 Most Powerful Women of 2018, and named Woman of the Year by the Colorado Business and Professional Women's Association (now Colorado Business Women).


 

Gaye Woods

System Director Community Benefit
SCL Health

Gaye Woods

System Director Community Benefit
SCL Health

"I care about improving health equity and leveraging social determinants of health to alleviate some of society's chronic health challenges."


Gaye joined the Board of Directors of Community First Foundation in January 2018.

Gaye serves as the System Director of Community Benefit at SCL Health. She leads operations to positively impact the overall health of SCL Health communities, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations. Prior to this, her experience includes leadership roles in program management, strategy, community engagement and compliance with companies such as Centura Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical and OSA Partners. Over her 14 year career, her work has been recognized by the Clinton Foundation, American Public Health Association and the Dell Foundation.

Gaye received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management - Northwestern University and BA degree from Texas Tech University.  Her certifications include: the Robert Woods Johnson Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, Motivational Interviewing and Mental Health First Aid.

Community Participation:

  • Joseph Hospital Foundation – Board of Trustee member (2017 – present)
  • The Catholic Health Association – National Community Benefit Board member (2016 – present)
  • The Women’s Foundation of Colorado - Board of Trustee member (2011 – 2017)
    • Girls Leadership Program – Chair (3 years)
    • Governance Committee – Secretary (1 year)
    • Development Committee – (3 years)
    • Marketing Committee – (2 years)
  • Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce – Board of Trustee member (2012 – 2015)
  • Colorado Chapter – The Link’s Inc. – member (current)