Martha Lee has been intrinsically involved in leadership development throughout her 35-year career supporting emerging and seasoned leaders in finding and following their passions.
For the past 12 years, Martha has been the founding executive director of the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance (KFLA), a diverse network of 1600 leaders from 53 countries selected by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation over the span of 30 years because they all had a passion to make a difference. This network of Kellogg Fellows are committed to positive change and giving back to their communities.
KFLA works to provide opportunities to the Fellows to join resources with others to take action on issues of growing importance that make a lasting differences in communities. It also serves as a gathering place for incubation and innovation of ideas, providing a space to renew Fellows’ capacity to be present, strengthen their ability to be fearless, gain greater clarity, and bring them together to discover their combined capacity for service, a service that ripples outward through collaborative partnerships.
Since 2002, KFLA has held numerous forums and conferences, produced leadership publications, and seeded leadership efforts across the globe resulting in an internationally recognized network known for its keen ability of connecting Fellows’ leadership and technical expertise with others in an effort to expand their capacity to serve those in need.
During her Kellogg fellowship, Martha founded and held the position of president/CEO of the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute (APAWLI). She founded APAWLI because of the belief that Asian American and Pacific Islander women should be at leadership tables; enhancing and enriching their skills and their understanding of leading in a culturally centered way, owning their power as AAPI women. During her 10-year tenure with the organization, she worked with the Gallup Organization to publish a study with data collected by Gallup on the strengths and talents of AAPI women leaders.
Opportunities to serve as program officer and manager for the Denver Community Foundation, program director for the National Hispana Leadership Institute, project manager for the Mile High United Way, and executive director of the Asian American Foundation of Colorado prepared her path to serve as a change agent.
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS
Brenda believes everyone should have access to quality education, jobs, safety, housing, nutritious food, health care, civil rights and a clean environment. She likes work that allows her to partner with people working to make the world more equitable and just. Having always been drawn to stories of good trumping evil – stories like The X-Men and The Hunger Games – she has always sought out roles that allow her to fulfill her desire to lead through service.
She has been honored to work with groups working on eliminating the school to prison pipeline, expanding renters’ rights, and changing institutional policies to be more inclusive. She has worked with hospitals, medical schools, professional societies, health departments, health insurance companies, business leaders, policy makers, and community members to develop several culturally competent health promotion initiatives. Other achievements include developing an advocacy funding initiative which created space for average everyday people to participate in the decisions that impact their lives and placing second in the office hula-hoop contest.
She enjoys finding good solutions to challenging problems and believes that comes through connecting with people and hearing their stories, including and especially people who are often written off and cast aside. She has always had faith in the power of people to come together to drive social change. She also believes it is important to think differently, act creatively, and learn continuously. In her free time, she enriches her life with a wide array of books and classes, ranging from arts & crafts to home & garden.
Brenda is originally from Chicago and has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Dartmouth College and a Masters of Public Health from Yale University. She is most grateful for the wisdom, guidance, support, patience, and faith she receives from her family, which include two dogs, her parents, her husband, and her son.
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Jaron Curtsinger is the Communications and Technology Director at KFLA. Since joining the organization in 2010, he has worked to support the mission and day-to-day operations of KFLA with robust technological resources. Today he oversees both internal and external communications and technology strategy at the Alliance, including web-presence, graphic design and branding, e-communication, databases, and the new Kellogg Fellows Community. He works with his colleagues to meet the evolving needs and potential of the KFLA Network with practical mission-driven technologies, programming, and communications.
Jaron studied Economics, International Studies, and French at the University of Denver, subjects in which he takes a particular interest in the intersection of policy, institutions, power, equity, racism, and the lived experiences of those involved.
Jaron spent many years consulting with a variety of non-profits, helping to meet their mission-driven technology, media, and operational needs within the confines of tight budgets and low overheads. His projects have included, among others, identity development and graphic/web design, video/multimedia production, data analysis, and collaboration with a student television production program for local schoolchildren.
Jaron has served on the Board of Directors of United Way of Mesa County, Colorado and on community-based fund-allocation panels.
ADMINISTRATIVE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Denise Gomez is a Northwest Denver native. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Colorado State University (CSU) and Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver. Denise has worked to remove barriers to civic engagement in various capacities; nonprofit nonpartisan, campaign, and grassroots efforts.
While attending CSU, Denise developed leadership and mentoring skills as an El Pomar Scholar and Key Academic Community Mentor. Denise worked for the 2008 Democratic National Convention and was a Field Organizer for Barack Obama’s Campaign for Change. She focused on local education policy as a Community Organizer as well as reproductive rights and family health at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
As a Field Manager for Nonprofit VOTE, she engaged nonprofits in voting and elections. Denise worked with communities for equitable access to quality health care at the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved. Denise has served as a Board Member for the Colorado Participation Project and is Co-Chair of Mujeres in Politics: Latina Voting Circles. She is passionate about developing leadership, facilitating diverse collaborations, and advocating for social justice.
Gretchen Perryman grew up in East Texas Piney Woods and moved to Colorado in 1979. Gretchen has worked in the nonprofit sector for most of her career. She worked for the Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create a unique, diverse, and vibrant downtown Denver community (1988-1996). She continued working for the betterment of Colorado at Great Outdoors Colorado, a state trust funded by lottery dollars that awards grants to preserve and enhance Colorado parks, wildlife, trails and open space (1996-2002). Her career continued with her work at Rose Community Foundation, an organization that support efforts to improve the quality of life throughout the Great Denver community through grantmaking programs (2002-2013). She joined Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance in January 2014 as Executive Assistant. Her passion for genealogy easily fills her spare time with research and volunteer projects, and service on the Colorado Genealogical Society Board.
Deb Roth came to Colorado in the summer of 1974 from Illinois and never looked back. Given the wonderful weather here and the weather in Illinois, her and her husband made this their home. Roth has been a bookkeeper for decades, and in 1999, was able to start her own business with a number of small businesses as her client base. She enjoys her work very much and during the holiday season of 2010, received a call from Martha Lee. So began her career with KFLA. “This has been a wonderful organization to be involved with” said Roth. In her spare time she has had the opportunity to be treasurer for several political campaigns and has been a part of the Colorado Chorale for the last 22 years. One of her greatest joys (other than her work) is her family, husband of almost 40 years, three children and their spouses and 5 fabulous grandchildren.
LATIN AMERICA CONSULTANT
Carmen is a native of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico. She has a degree in Psychology by the Anahuac University of Yucatan and recently earned her master's degree in Integrated Studies in Education, specializing in Educational Leadership at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She was previously in charge of the project management of the Museum of the City of Tuxtla Gutierrez. She also served as program coordinator for the Social Development area of the Bancomer Foundation, where for 5 years she was in charge of the scholarship program in Chiapas. She has extensive academic and professional career which highlights have conceived a diploma program on Social Project Management for Civil Society Organizations in Chiapas, with the collaboration of the Merced Foundation. In 2014 she was in charge of “100-in -one –day” citizen festival in Tuxtla Gutierrez, in which more than 100 citizen initiatives and interventions came together in one day. She is passionate about and committed to social justice, women rights and civic engagement.