CU Advocates Advisory Board
Director of Marketing at Western Export Services
Eric is a Colorado native and attended the University of Colorado, Boulder where he graduated in 2000 with a BA in Political Science. While at CU, Eric participated in many intramural sports, joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and participated in student government through the Residence Hall Representative Council. As part of his studies, Eric worked as an intern for the Governor’s office during the summer of 1999 while also working as catering manager for the University Club. Following graduation in the spring of 2000, Eric worked in marketing and advertising in Denver and then Dallas, Texas where he met his future wife Jennie Kinsler. They moved back to Colorado in 2005 and were married in October of 2008. Currently Eric works Western Export Services and Origo Brands where he oversees international field marketing for Celestial Seasonings, Ghirardelli, Sweet Baby Rays, and is also developing several brands for the US and international markets. Eric and Jennie live in Lakewood with their three children: Cal (6), Clae (3), and Audrey (1). Eric’s sister Lindsay Lew received her master’s degree from CU Boulder and works in the athletic department, and his father Monty is a CU Denver graduate.
Christina Beck currently serves as the Executive Assistant to Athletic Director Rick George at the University of Colorado. While this may be her “day job”, Christina’s passion is the linking many departments, people and communities together. When Christina applied to serve CU as an employee, she believed and still believes CU Athletics embodies the best of what team sports bring to our next generation. She excels in her role as she has been a long-time community organizer.
Christina joined the CU Advocates program in 2015 and has been working with the Office of the President to ensure alumni and friends of the University are connected at all levels. She volunteers to serve and attends many CU Advocates events annually on top of a full-time position within CU Athletics, and a full-time role as parent to her three wonderful children. Her daughter, Anna, is a film-studies major in the School of Arts & Sciences here at CU. Theo is a physic-engineering major at Colorado School of Mines and Joe is a senior at Boulder High School.
Christina was named the 2017 CU Advocate of the Year.
Program Coordinator, Office of Academic Affairs, University of Colorado System
Darren Chavez has been with CU since 2011 and is currently program coordinator for the Office of Academic Affairs. Chavez appreciates the local, national, and international impact of CU and this led to his interest in serving on the Advocate’s advisory board. As an advisor, he is particularly interested in increasing program engagement with faculty and students. Chavez earned a Master of Arts in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Columbia University, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Regis University, and an associate's degree from Northeastern Junior College. Darren was named CU Staff Advocate of the Year in 2017.
Trustee, University of Colorado Foundation
Jane lives in Colorado Springs and is an active volunteer for UCCS and CU. In 2015 Jane was named to the CU Foundation Board of Trustees. She is on the CU Advocate Advisory Board and received the 2015 CU Volunteer Advocate of the Year Award. Jane serves on the UCCS Advisory Boards for Theatreworks (the professional equity theatre located on the UCCS campus);The Heller Center for Arts and Humanities (Chair), The School of Public Affairs (Chair), and the Karen Possehl Women’s Endowment (Mentor Coordinator). This scholarship fund is for non-traditional women age 25 and up with each scholar being assigned a mentor. Jane coordinates these mentors. Jane is also a member of the University Booster Club (proud Mountain Lion!). Jane was named the CU Advocate Volunteer of the Year in 2015.
Senior Consultant, Cloud, Services and Emerging Solutions, Hitachi Data Systems
John consults with Fortune 500 companies on IT technologies including analysis, design, implementation of private/public cloud services, minimizing risk, and exploring new opportunities in the Internet of Things (IoT). John graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1997. Passionate about technology, he continued his education and earned a Masters of Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1999. John lives in Denver with his daughter and future Buff, Ashley. John is an avid sports fan who enjoys the Buffs and live music.
QUOTE: I enjoy serving on the CU Advocate Advisory Board because of the amazing impact the University of Colorado has had on my life. I enjoy touting the many positive educational opportunities that CU offers, the inspiration of the students to make significant impacts on the world as many alumni have done, and to promote the positive impact and economic growth that CU brings to the State of Colorado.
Alum, University of Colorado - Boulder / Community Volunteer
Three generations of my family have graduated from CU - my father, my husband/myself, and our children. I've in the power of education! I am so fortunate to be part of the CU Advocates Program where I have the opportunity to highlight all the amazing research being conducted at CU as well as the countless possibilities for students to explore their interests. Wendy was named the CU Advocate Informant of the Year in 2015.
I am all 4 CU!!!
Colin Finch | 2015 CU Advocate of the Year
Senior Project Manager, Four Winds Interactive
Colin Finch is a Senior Project Manager at Four Winds Interactive. Prior to this position, Colin was a Project Manager for a software company in Denver and prior to that a startup nutritional genetics company in Boulder, Colorado. Colin came to Boulder from New Zealand and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Political Science. He stayed involved with the University sitting on the board of the Department of Recreation for ten years. Currently he is president of the University of Colorado Boulder Alumni Chapter, sits on the board of the University of Colorado Directors Club, and the Advisory Board for the CU Advocates Program.
Colin was named the 2015 CU Advocate of the Year. He is the current chair of the Events and Outreach Committee on the Board of Advisors of the CU Boulder Alumni Association.
Managing Partner, EGW Enterprises LLC
Proud CU parent and spent several years as an active member of the CU Boulder's parent association. Chuck was a finalist for CU Advocate of the Year in 2014. He currently provides consulting, products and services that can help a business increase its sales, reduce costs and grow during our current economic conditions. He specializes in Business Development, Business Cost Reduction, Networking, Creating Business Relationships B2B, Tax & Valuation, Marketing and Corporate Branding. Provide expert advice on how to network how to meet people in various settings. He has helped early stage and mid-size companies attract capital, utilize alternative financing tools and help to develop comprehensive plans, acting as a Strategic Partner. He has owned and operated All America Auto Transport of Colorado for (6) years, was a partner in The Boulder Packaging Center for (3) years. Worked for Toyota Motor Distributors for (5) years, leaving them as a District Sales Manager responsible for all sales activities for (14) dealers in three states; Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. Was with Mellon Mortgage and Security Pacific Mortgage, in loan servicing and managed a collection department for Mellon Mortgage.
Senior Director, Institutional Relations, TIAA
As to my relationship with the University of Colorado, I have been fortunate to have learned about all four CU campuses during my team as the primary Relationship Manager for the CU system and have loved working with CU ever since that time.
I am proud to be a CU Advocate to help promote all campuses as they all serve their own important role in driving the economy of Colorado forward. I also recognize the societal impact of having such a strong higher education system in place. It is critical that all Coloradans understand the importance of these institutions to Colorado which is why I am proud to be an Advocate.
Retired FirstBank of Cherry Creek President
Leslie Mitchell, formerly president of FirstBank of Cherry Creek, devotes her time. She serves on the boards of AAA Colorado and the Emily Griffith Foundation, as well as on the State of Colorado Board of Mortgage Loan Originators. She was a Girl Scout Woman of Distinction and twice nominated for Colorado Outstanding Women in Business. Leslie has a Master's of business administration from CU Denver and a Bachelor's of Science in marketing from CU Boulder Leeds School of Business.
QUOTE: As a two-time graduate of CU, as well as two-time CU parent, I believe CU provides unique opportunities for students, invaluable resources for businesses, and an incredible economic return for the people of Colorado.
Student, Political Science, CU Denver
Johnnie Nguyen is a 21-year-old, first generation, undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Denver (Go Lynx!), studying Political Science with a minor in Ethnic Studies and Spanish. He is inspired by the stories of his parent’s immigration hardships from Vietnam, and acknowledges how fortunate he is to have so many open for him here in America. Johnnie’s experience involves working on diversity issues by being a youth advocate for the White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders, a legislative aide in Colorado State Legislature, student Advocate for CU Advocates program, Senator in Student Government, teaching in SW Denver and working local political campaigns and non-profits. Johnnie’s dreams of pursuing a career in public service where he can put his leadership strengths towards being a voice for the voiceless, as well as opening doors for others. In Johnnie’s free time, he enjoys cooking, working on his fish tank, and playing basketball with his friends. #SkoLynx Johnnie was named CU Student Advocate of the Year in 2017.
Kimberly Orr | 2016 CU Advocate of the Year
President, Knock Out Performance, CU Advocate of the Year, 2016
Kimbirly Orr is the lead media and PR social media strategist and Founder of Knock Out Performance, a marketing & media agency based in Denver, CO. Kimbirly has over 30 years experience in marketing and business development. She is a hybrid marketing and sales expert with an impressive record of success across diverse consumer and B2B industries and companies. Kimbirly is uniquely skilled in digital marketing, media relations, event production, and publicity.
Kimbirly is an innovative thinker who can hit the ground running and provide game changing solutions. Kimbirly is passionate about networking. She is a Social Media advocate and has been working in this space since before Twitter and Facebook were household words.
A graduate of the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business, Kimbirly is active in non-profit and fundraising work. In her free time, Kimbirly enjoys cheering for the Colorado Buffaloes and playing in the snow near her home in Denver, Colorado. Kimbirly also was named CU Advocate Marketeer of the Year in 2015.
Alvin Rivera | 2013 CU Advocate of the Year
Retired Higher Education Policy Director, Washington, D.C.
As the first CU Advocate of the Year in 2013, it has enhanced my understanding of the full scope of CU resources and learned how our four CU campuses have enabled ordinary hard-working youth to transform their lives forever. Because of their enrollments, they can be the next generation of leaders and CU advocates. A Ph.D. from CU-Boulder enabled me to serve in two Presidential Administrations, testify before Congress on Hispanic issues, work in several colleges, universities, in the National Research Council’s National Academic of Sciences in Washington, D. C. and severed as political campaign manager for Congressional, state and local races.
Legislative Analyst, Denver City Council
A native to the Denver area, Zach attended CU Boulder, was vice-president of Lambda Chi Alpha, and actively played intramural sports. He is a proud alumnus of CU earning a M.A. in International Affairs and M.P.A. in Environmental Policy, Management and Law. He is a graduate of CU's Rocky Mountain Leadership program and received a certificate in legislative affairs from Georgetown University. As a result of CU's education, he has enjoyed a broad career in public policy, including at the Colorado and Oregon legislatures, the United Nations in Geneva, the Department of Interior, and even worked for CU's Center for Education Policy Analysis. He serves on the board for Arvada West High School Foundation. Zach currently resides in Denver with his wife Rebekah and Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Canela. In his free Zach enjoys traveling, Colorado's outdoors and watching all CU athletics. Zach was named the CU Advocate Supporter of the Year in 2016.
Past Board Members
- Bill Croyle, Board Member, Hill City Silica LLC
- George Gramer, Retired Army Colonel, 2014 CU Advocate of the Year
- Bernard Slack, Retired, Relationship Manager, TIAA-CREF, 2015 CU Recruiter Advocate of the Year