S.T.E.P. AdvisorsCFGV Nonprofits
Advisors and Specialties
Jason Berv, Ph.D.
Both independently and in association with a number of outstanding partners, Jason has been involved in coaching, education, leadership development and organizational change for over 25 years. Jason founded a school in Boulder, Colorado on the forefront of educational innovation, and currently works with Blue Dot Coaching, helping individuals, couples, leaders, and executives fall in love with their lives, no matter the circumstances. He lives with his wife, sons, horses and dogs in the mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado and can often be found (and sometimes lost) on a mountain bike or skis.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Coaching – President, Coaching – Executive Director, Team Building
Jenny Birnie brings over 30 years of experience with non-profit organizations to her position as Executive Director for Foundation & Community Well-Being of the Gunnison Valley Health Foundation. Prior to this, she was the Executive Director for the Crested Butte Center for the Arts, and under her leadership the Center was named “Non Profit of the Year” by the Chamber of Commerce. In her tenure, the Center has experienced a remarkable expansion of their program offerings leading to a 75% increase in the Center’s program participation, and she successfully headed a multi-million dollar campaign for the major renovation and expansion of the Center. Jenny returned to Colorado in 2007 after spending 9 years in Oregon serving in many different leadership capacities in human service organizations. She served as the Executive Director of Meadowlark Manor, a non-profit residential treatment program, and was the Director of Juvenile Community Justice in Deschutes County. Jenny has a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Communication from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Jenny is committed to building community support, igniting collaboration and consensus among organizations, and utilizing performance measures to improve overall outcomes for organizations.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Capital Campaigns, Coaching – Executive Director, Community Engagement, Fundraising, Measuring Outcomes, Meetings, Nonprofit Basics, Strategic Planning
Michelle is the Executive Director of the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. She holds a M.A. in Science Education from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and a B.A. in Biology from the University of California-San Diego, and spent over 15 years teaching high school and college students in classroom and online settings before moving to the Wildflower Festival. She leads trainings on time/workload management for both CFGV and the ICE Lab at Western Colorado University, and understands the complexity of non-profit staff/board relationships having formerly served as the president of the Festival’s board of directors. Michelle is passionate about helping Executive Directors manage their (often overwhelming) workload and developing positive, productive relationships between the staff and Board. In her free time you will find her traveling trails of the Gunnison Valley by foot, bike or ski.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Coaching – President, Coaching – Treasurer, Coaching – Executive Director, Grantwriting, Meetings, Team Building, Time Management
Drew Brookhart serves as the Executive Director of Gunnison County Libraries. Drew holds a Master of Library and Information Science Degree from the University of Denver and has in-depth experience with strategic planning, budgeting, facility design, program design, public finance, grant writing, board development, and more. He returns to the Gunnison Valley from Columbus, Nebraska, his most recent library post.
Advisor skills: Community Engagement, Strategic Planning
“Most nonprofit directors are already wearing too many hats. Making sure the bookkeeping is accurate and audit-ready doesn’t have to be one of them.” Annie offers professional nonprofit bookkeeping that will save you time and money. She says: “With a professional bookkeeper experienced in nonprofit books, you’ll always have the information you need to make the best decisions for your organization, keep your board informed, and donors confident in how funds are being used. I have been bookkeeping for small businesses and non-profit organizations since 2006. In 2017 I took the step to become an entrepreneur myself, and opened Equip Bookkeeping Solutions.”
Advisor skills: Coaching – Treasurer, Excel, Measuring Outcomes, Nonprofit Basics, Quickbooks, Systems/Data/Records, Other – Xero Accounting Software
David spent most of his career in the field of engineering and management of technology, but he always worked in or around the non-profit arena. After college, he worked for a Marine Research laboratory for 17 years with time spent as Director of Ocean Engineering and Director of Facilities. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Florida Institute of Technology and on the Indian River Community College Foundation Board. He has served in fundraising and financial positions for many non-profits both in Florida and after moving to the Gunnison Valley. Locally, he has served with the Crested Butte Center for the Arts, the Crested Butte Academy, Union Congregational Church and the Crested Butte/Mt Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce. He also has served as General Manager of KBUT-FM and is a former Mayor of Mt Crested Butte. He is currently serving as the President of the Board of Directors of the Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Coaching – Treasurer, Quickbooks, Strategic Planning, Website Coaching
Ronda S. Connaway
Ronda Connaway is a Colorado native, born in Stratton, and residing in Delta County as well. She holds an AB degree in sociology from Anderson University (IN), and an MA and PhD from Washington University (St. Louis). She was a professor of Social Work at Washington University, and then moved to Kentucky to become Professor and Dean of College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky as well as the Associate Dean for Graduate Academic Affairs. She is skilled in community needs assessments, board/committee effectiveness, leadership behavior, and community services especially for underserved populations. Currently she serves as Trustee and Chairperson of the Gunnison Valley Health System and she is an Emeritus Board Member of Habitat for Humanity of Gunnison Valley.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Coaching – President, Coaching – Executive Director, Community Engagement, Grantwriting, Measuring Outcomes, Meetings, Nonprofit Basics
Katie is the Acting Executive Director of the Gunnison Country Food Pantry, and has served on its board. She has enjoyed and benefited from a plethora of experiences in the nonprofit world including volunteer positions with the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, and the National Security Agency. She has served as Program Director for Maryland Academy of Sciences, Adult Development Director for Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, and Director of Volunteer Services for the Mountain Resource Center. She has also been a Senior Associate with Jackson & Associates, a philanthropic fund-raising business, and Operations Manager for Peak Learning Systems, an educational consulting business. Katie is also a storyteller of social history and works occasionally as an executive assistant-at-large for her own entrepreneurial endeavor, Welcome Relief.
Advisor skills: Coaching – Executive Director, Community Engagement, Fundraising, Grantwriting, Volunteers
Paul Duba, M.P.A., NCC
Paul Duba trains, facilitates and coaches for exceptional performance at the intersection of leadership and teamwork. He is a Newfield-Certified Coach. He works with leaders in business, non-profit, civic, educational, and military groups, helping them explore the behaviors that serve teams as they work to get from point A to point B. His clients learn the leadership practices that define and animate a team in its desire to perform. While Paul’s teaching is based on the scholarship of contemporary leadership and teamwork theorists, he is outcomes-oriented, using experiential methods to lead participants to a better understanding of themselves, the interpersonal skills necessary for teamwork, and the role that leadership plays in helping teams find efficacy and courage in the face of uncertainty and change.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Coaching – Executive Director, Meetings, Team Building
Mark moved to Crested Butte in 2003 and now lives in Almont. When first coming to the Valley, he was the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce in Crested Butte/ Mt. Crested Butte, then returned to the Mortgage Lending Business in 2006, joining Community Banks of Colorado as a Mortgage Banking Officer. Mark is board member of CFGV, and has served on the board of Junior Achievement in Crested Butte and Gunnison. He was a founding member of CBiZ, an economic development group in Crested Butte, and was a facilitator of the Gunnison Valley Leadership Program. He has also been an Elder at the Oh-Be-Joyful Church in Crested Butte and and has used his expertise in human relations and communications in the service of the CFGV’s Civility Initiative. This role has grown increasingly significant in his life, to the extent that he left the mortgage banking industry in 2019 to devote his life to the service of others. In his spare time Mark likes to ski and fish.
Advisor skills: Coaching – President, Coaching – Executive Director, Mergers, Nonprofit Basics
Elizabeth began her training in strategic planning, project management, grants development and culture change leadership while working at UC Berkeley for many years. She began by learning Appreciative Inquiry, a management tool that aims for collaborative and strengths-based change, and went on from there, continuing to use an appreciative approach as well as business process improvement, Agile Management, and participatory change management in coaching administrative managers, faculty, cross-departmental teams and entire divisions at UC Berkeley, focusing on addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and organizational development until 2016. During this time she also cut her teeth on major grant development and management that resulted in over $17 million in grant funding for various departments and research endeavors. In 2016, she moved to Gunnison with her husband to follow their dream of living here. She now works as the coordinator for the Gunnison Senior Center (in the Community Recreation Center), following her life-long passion for elders, developing and managing programs and other opportunities to help community members age well in the Gunnison Valley. She cherishes her life her with family, dear friends, the outdoors, her dogs, and great food.
Advisor skills: Coaching – President, Community Engagement, Meetings, Strategic Planning, Other – Diversity and Inclusion
Believing the arts nurture and grow creativity, goodness, and beauty in the world, Carlie began her journey with the Arts Center as a volunteer receptionist in 2011. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Western Colorado University, she sporadically explores the worlds of photography, painting and mixed media creation. With a passion for bringing the arts to life in our community, Carlie values the delight and emotion felt when experiencing the arts, either as a creator or as an observer. She hopes to improve other people’s lives, and our world, by sharing the impact of these experiences. Now as Executive Director, Carlie has taken on the essential responsibilities of reporting to the board of directors, raising funds for organizational operations, participating in capital campaign planning and managing a staff and facility.
Advisor skills: Coaching – Executive Director, Community Engagement, Earned Income, Evaluation/Data, Fiscal Policy, Fundraising, Grantwriting, HR/Personnel Policy, Measuring Outcomes, Nonprofit Basics, Policy – General, Strategic Planning
Although she’s currently working in the for-profit sector, Marilyn’s background in non-profit work includes five years as the Executive Director of the Trailhead Children’s Museum in Crested Butte, and an additional eight years in administrative positions at the Crested Butte Music Festival and the Mt. Crested Butte Performing Arts Center. She is well versed in non-profit finance, budgeting, development, HR, and strategic planning.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Capital Campaigns, Coaching – President, Coaching – Treasurer, Coaching – Executive Director, Excel, Fundraising, Nonprofit Basics, Quickbooks
Eileen has lived in Gunnison County since 1979. She started work as an architectural draftsman for the only Gunnison based architectural firm at the time, and since 1983 has operated her own business, designing and drawing custom family residences and other construction projects. The recent recession had its challenges in this profession so she took the opportunity to return to college and earn a degree in Accounting and Business Administration from Western Colorado University. Since then, she has worked in numerous accounting offices, gaining experience in tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll prior to operating her own tax preparation and accounting business. She knows QuickBooks software and can help get nonprofits on their way to successful bookkeeping.
Advisor skills: Excel, Quickbooks, Systems/Data/Records, Other – Tax, Payroll
Paula has over 20 years of experience in accounting, tax, and business consulting. She began her career in public accounting at Deloitte, before working at various diverse financial services firms, including New York Life, Marsh & McLennan, hedge fund DE Shaw, and Simon Equity Partners. Most recently Paula has run her own tax and consulting practice and serves as a Lecturer in Accounting at Western Colorado University. Her recent Board service includes acting as Treasurer of the Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League, and she is appointed to the Colorado State Board of Accountancy. She holds her Certified Public Accountant certificate and is licensed to practice in the State of Colorado. She is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and a Master of Taxation from the University of Denver – Sturm College of Law.
Advisor skills: Coaching – Treasurer, Excel, Fiscal Policy, HR/Personnel Policy, Quickbooks
Tina is the Executive Director of Gunnison Valley Mentors, a nonprofit youth mentoring organization serving Gunnison, Crested Butte and Lake City. She holds an M.P.A. from Ball State University, and a B.S. in Education from Western Kentucky University. Tina serves as President of the Partners Mentoring Association state-wide board of directors, a member of the Mentor Colorado Advisory Council, an appointee to the Region 10 Area Council on Aging, and a member of various civic organizations. With Tina’s leadership, GVM–Partners has received international recognition as a model of youth mentoring, and Tina travelled to Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, to help establish a first-ever, youth mentoring program in that country. Mentors matter, and Tina’s aim in life is to be an advocate for positive change in any way possible.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Coaching – Executive Director, Community Engagement, Fundraising, Grantwriting, Measuring Outcomes, Nonprofit Basics, Strategic Planning
Gesa Michel has an MBA from the University of Nuremberg in Germany and a postgraduate degree in International Environmental Management from the Erasmus University, The Netherlands. She has worked for several non-profits in the Gunnison Valley, most recently between 2011-2019 as the Director of Finance and Operations at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and between 2004-2009 as the Executive Director at the Office for Resource Efficiency. Gesa has lived in Crested Butte for 21 years with her husband Glenn and two sons, Vincent and Yvon. Gesa grew up in Hamburg, Germany, and originally came to the US on a field hockey scholarship at the University of Iowa, where they were Division I NCAA Champions. Today she enjoys summer horseback rides in our spectacular mountains and playing on several local ice-hockey teams in the winter. Gesa has strong roots in the Gunnison Valley and enjoys bringing her business sense to the local non-profit community.
Advisor skills: Evaluation/Data, Fiscal Policy, HR/Personnel Policy, Insurance, Time Management, Systems/Data/Records, Other – Event Management
Jeff has thirty years of experience working in the fields of business development, economic forecasting, destination marketing, resource allocation, and political strategy. Jeff worked for Crested Butte Mountain Resort, holding positions in marketing, lift pricing, and air service development. Working with all of the major U.S. airlines, Jeff conducted numerous market feasibility studies to evaluate new routes and revenue maximizing schedules. In 2013, he founded Triple Point Strategic Consulting to provide data-driven marketing, strategic planning, and business analysis in a variety of sectors throughout the Western U.S. and Canada; Triple Point is frequently retained to develop economic forecasts and financial models. More recently, Jeff has and is serving as strategic advisor to multiple campaigns seeking voter approval as well as development projects requiring various government approvals. (Visit www.tpsconsulting.net for a complete list of projects.) Jeff has served on many boards and is currently President of the West Elk Hockey Association.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Branding, Coaching – President, Coaching – Treasurer, Coaching – Executive Director, Community Engagement, Evaluation/Data, Fundraising, Grantwriting, Marketing, Measuring Outcomes, Meetings, Social Media, Strategic Planning, Surveys/Focus Groups, Team Building, Time Management, Website Coaching
Brooke is a culture, employee engagement, and leadership development consultant, professional coach, workshop designer and facilitator, and professor. She works with Fortune 100 and 500 companies, non-profits, and government agencies and has done so on five continents. Brooke is a professor at Western Colorado University and regularly serves as adjunct faculty at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Brooke has also earned money by cleaning hotel rooms and flipping burgers as a vegetarian in high school, waiting tables in college…and she has done countless hours of service work with a shovel and pick axe. She has authored several articles on leadership and sustainability, and is currently writing a book on how to engage employees in social and environmental sustainability. As assessed by Personnel Decisions International, a firm with nearly 40 years of personnel and leader assessment expertise, Brooke ranked in the top 10% of leaders evaluated. Brooke holds graduate degrees from the University of New Hampshire and Harvard University. She is a certified Leadership Circle coach.
Advisor skills: Community Engagement, Team Building
Darcie worked as the Executive Director of a Gunnison Valley nonprofit through rapid growth. She is now assisting small businesses through the ICE Lab at Western Colorado University, and she is a consultant with Managing for Results a national consulting firm. She helps nonprofits think like entrepreneurs, enabling them to bring more services to the community they serve, and provides coaching in the following areas: Mission, Vision, Values, Board and Staff roles, Strategic Planning, and general nonprofit management.
Advisor skills: Coaching – Executive Director, Community Engagement, Fiscal Policy, Fundraising, Nonprofit Basics, Policy – General, Strategic Planning, Time Management, Systems/Data/Records, Volunteers
In search of bigger mountains and a small, tight-knit community, Hedda found herself at home in the Gunnison Valley after growing up in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Her work with both the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount Washington Observatory in Vermont and New Hampshire fueled her desire to explore, research and protect her surrounding environment through her work at the Crested Butte Land Trust as Stewardship Director. Hedda graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Geography and German. In May of 2018 she completed her Masters in Environmental Management, with a focus in Integrative Land Management, at Western Colorado University. Today, she works as District Manager for the Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District, whose vision is to improve Gunnison Valley’s citizens’ quality of life by promoting vital recreation opportunities.
Advisor skills: Community Engagement, Grantwriting
Shelley Popke has been the Executive Director of the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum since 2015. She worked as the Museum Store Manager & Buyer when the CBMHM moved into Tony’s Conoco in 2003. In 2005, she moved to Denver where she earned an MA in History from the University of Colorado, worked at CWC–University of Denver as Special Assistant to the Dean for Development and Strategic Projects, and pursued an International MBA at DU. Most recently, as the CBMHM Executive Director, Popke led the Museum’s Preserve Tony’s capital campaign and two-phased building preservation project. She also serves as the Vice President of the Crested Butte / Mt. Crested Butte Board of Directors and enjoys volunteering for the many non-profits in the Gunnison Valley.
Advisor skills: Capital Campaigns, Coaching – Executive Director, Earned Income, Facility Development, Fundraising, Grantwriting, Nonprofit Basics, Strategic Planning, Volunteers
Lyndsey Ruehle is an accountant and the President of Elevation Accounting Inc. As the founder of Elevation Accounting, she provides business consulting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and general accounting services. Lyndsey grew, managed and then sold Quick Draw Carpet Cleaning between 2006 and 2018. Meanwhile, she also worked in the accounting profession, first for several other local firms, and then going into business for herself. With her business background and working alongside venture capital groups, Lyndsey understands small business and is driven to help others succeed in their ventures. As a Colorado native, she enjoys mountain biking and skiing.
Advisor skills: Excel, Quickbooks
Tammy is a native of Gunnison and has spent most of her adult life working with businesses and organizations in the Gunnison Valley. Following graduation from Western Colorado University, she spent ten years in the banking industry with a focus on Marketing and Human Resource Management on the Western Slope of Colorado. Returning to Gunnison, Tammy enjoyed 25 years as the Executive Director of the Gunnison Country Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. She has participated on many boards and organizations in her tenure with the Chamber. She is currently co-owner of Scott Resource Management Specialists providing consulting in a variety of areas as well as working as the Foundation Coordinator for Gunnison Valley Health.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Branding, Coaching – President, Coaching – Executive Director, Community Engagement, HR/Personnel Policy, Marketing, Meetings, Surveys/Focus Groups, Team Building, Volunteers
Rob has lived and worked in the Gunnison Valley since the ‘90s and understands the challenges small businesses and non-profits face – and how important these small businesses are to the fabric of our community. Today, the marketing landscape is largely a digital one which presents many options to market your business… perhaps too many options. People say, “If you’d like to explore ways to cost-effectively promote, and measure, your business with digital marketing then Rob’s your guy!” Rob graduated Magna Sum Laude from Western Colorado University, worked seven years as the Marketing Coordinator for the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association before launching his own business (Midnight Marketing Solutions), and has taught several courses in marketing at Western. The biggest perk for Rob has been the opportunity to create lasting professional relationships with many businesses locally, regionally, and Internationally. Rob’s scope of practice includes website development and design, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, social media, and Google analytics.
Advisor skills: Branding, Marketing, Social Media, Website Coaching
Paul has traveled the world assisting organizations in leadership development. Whether working as a basecamp director for Outward Bound, serving with the Australian Army, teaching in higher education, facilitating leadership development workshops for corporate executives, volunteering at the local food pantry, or coaching executives, Paul’s unique and approachable style wins people’s trust and respect. He has focused his professional experiences on connecting people to their personal mission and career objectives, and with organizational clients he is dedicated to collaborative, solution-based learning. Paul has worked with employees and executives from such organizations as Outward Bound International, Singapore Airlines, PwC, Telstra Australia, Australian Federal Police, Commonwealth Bank, Singapore Department of Education, and Indonesia Post.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Coaching – President, Coaching – Executive Director, Meetings, Strategic Planning, Team Building
Sue is currently Office Manager of Elk Mountain Therapy Associates in Gunnison and Crested Butte. Prior to that, she worked for over 25 years for a variety of nonprofit organizations in Nebraska and Colorado, ranging from college and hospital foundations to a museum and arts center. As Executive Director of Six Points Evaluation and Training, Inc., she was at the helm through a successful capital campaign which resulted in funding and constructing of a new permanent home; prior to that, she led the Gunnison Arts Center through its first strategic plan. Sue feels her strengths are in the areas of successful communications with and development of volunteer boards, as well as policy development and planning.
Advisor skills: Board Development, Capital Campaigns, Coaching – Executive Director, Earned Income, Fiscal Policy, Fundraising, Grantwriting, Nonprofit Basics, Policy – General, Strategic Planning
Janice is the CEO of Welborn and Associates, a consulting firm serving nonprofits, school districts, local governments and the health care industry. Janice excels at bringing public and private stakeholders together to address community matters and has a reputation for building strong teams that accomplish their objectives. Her skills include business and nonprofit organizational management; grant writing, management of federal, state and private foundation grants, fund development and board development. She is a skilled facilitator, strategic planner and competent writer. Since 1997 Janice has been the research administrator at Western Colorado University and is the Director of Sponsored Programs and Grants. She currently serves on the Sustainability Action Committee, the Western Research Council, and the Mid-Manager Council. She serves as an advisor to the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley and has worked with the development committee, the grants committee and the education foundation.
Advisor skills: Strategic Planning
Joe L. Williams
Joe has over 53 years experience as an insurance agent/broker and insurance consultant. From 1970 until 2007 he was a principal shareholder in a large Houston firm, Wisenberg Insurance + Risk Management, and was its Chairman and CEO when the firm was sold to a subsidiary of Wells Fargo Bank. He has a particular expertise in insurance coverage analysis. Joe is very familiar with all phases of the insurance industry, including consulting on bad faith, customs and practices, and standards of care. He is a media contact for radio, television and news publications as an authoritative source for various insurance and risk management topics. He was one of the youngest people ever to receive the CPCU professional designation at the age of 23.
Advisor skills: Insurance
Born and raised in Sheboygan, WI, Chad knew he was destined to move west – especially since his school yearbook voted him as “most likely to live in Colorado.” Chad graduated from Western Colorado University in 1999 with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. Since 2000, he has been with Gunnison Bank & Trust, starting as a management trainee, and now as: Executive Vice President, Senior Lender, Marketing Officer and Board Member/Secretary of the Board. He’s the husband of Melinda, and father of Connor and Carson. When he can, he makes time to serve on nonprofit boards. He is an avid golfer, hockey player, skier – and devoted fan of the Green Bay Packers.
Advisor skills: Coaching – Treasurer