Christina Beck | 2017 CU Advocate of the Year

Business Services Manager – Office of Digital Education, University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz

Coordinating the underlining operational systems for the Office of Digital Education (“ODE”), 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 that online education, whether fully online, hybrid or blended, is changing the demographics of our campus, community and state by providing unprecedented access to quality education for both traditional and non-traditional students. 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 ODE, and a full-time role as parent to her three wonderful children, Theo, Anna & Joe.  Anna is currently enrolled in the BFA program in Film Studies at CU Boulder.


Darren Chavez

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.

Keri Christiansen

Keri Christiansen

Communications, Community Relations, and Marketing Professional

Keri Christiansen has managed marketing and communications projects drawing expertise from organizations including The Denver Hospice, high-level talent management companies, internationally recognized speakers, and political campaigns and initiatives. As a key company spokesperson she has worked closely with business and community leaders, successfully engaging them for powerful and influential lay positions. Keri has combined her exemplary relationship and interpersonal communications skills with her passion for sharing the message, talent and mission of an organization or individual to create highly successful outcomes.

Keri is Past-President of the DCPA’s Denver Center Alliance, and 2018 Auction co-chair for Saturday Night Alive, the DCPA’s annual fundraising event that raises more than $1M annually. She also serves on the Board of Advisors for the CU-Boulder Alumni Association and as Vice-Chair of the Marketing and Communications Committee. Keri has been involved with numerous non-profit and community organizations and initiatives. An Emmy Award recipient for KUSA-TV’s “Keri’s Story” – a story of survival – Keri has also been a spokesperson for Komen Denver, sharing her story at Denver’s “Race for the Cure” and “Cowgirl Up for the Cure.” Keri is a past honoree of the Denver Rescue Mission’s “Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City.”

Keri is an honors graduate from the University of Colorado–Boulder and a proud Forever Buff! Her pastimes include lots of time with her family, tennis, and all things sports! Her passion for sports comes through in nearly every conversation; she is working on a book with stories that illustrate the powerfully positive impact that sports can have on individuals and communities.


Jane Dillon | 2018 CU Advocate of the Year

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 where she serves on the Membership Committee. Jane serves on the UCCS Advisory Boards for The Reach Your Peak Scholarship, 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, which Jane coordinates. She is also a member of the University Booster Club (proud Mountain Lion!). 

Originally from Texas, Jane moved to Colorado Springs in 1999 from New York City where she was Assistant Commissioner for Business Services under New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Later she was Executive Director for the American Red Cross in the Borough of Queens. In Colorado Springs Jane has served on the PPRTA Advisory Council, the City Transportation Advisory Board (two years as Chairman), the El Paso County Planning Commission (currently Vice Chair), the County's Highway Advisory Commission and the County's Parks Advisory Board. Jane is on the Board of Blue Star Recyclers, which recycles electronics to furnish jobs for people with disabilities, particularly autism. Her activities at UCCS include the Theatreworks Advisory Board and the KPWE Advisory Board (mentor coordinator).

Jane holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Texas A&M University Tarleton Campus. Jane is a member of the CU Heritage Society and the CU Benson Society. Jane was named the CU Advocate Volunteer of the Year in 2015. Jane is a significant benefactor to UCCS establish more than a dozen scholarships and recently created an endowment at the campus.


Wendy Fiedler

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 believe 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

Colin Finch | 2015 CU Advocate of the Year

Project Manager, Four Winds Interactive

Colin Finch is a Senior Project Manager at Four Winds Interactive (FWI). Prior to this position, Colin was a Senior Project Manager at FWI, he has also been a Project Manager an IT 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 is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the CU Advocates Program.

Colin was named the 2015 CU Advocate of the Year.  He is the current chair-elect of the Board of Advisors of the CU Boulder Alumni Association.


Chuck Gamber

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.


Gregory Johnson

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.


Sue McGurkin

Program Manager for Alumni Relations and Events at CU Boulder

Sue is a member of the CU Boulder Advancement team in the College of Arts & Sciences, Graduate School and Research Institutes. She is responsible for designing and implementing a comprehensive alumni relations plan for the college. Sue is also a proud member of the advisory board for the CU Advocates. Go Buffs!

Prior to joining CU, Sue was the Federal Policy Representative for the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry and was instrumental in building CACI’s first federal program. In addition, she was the Director of Federal Government Affairs for Intrado Inc., where she was responsible for managing the company's federal outreach efforts.

Sue earned a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Sue currently lives in North Boulder with her husband, Mike. In her free time, she enjoys reading, yoga, running the trails and savoring a glass of wine with her close friends.


Leslie Mitchell

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.

Scott Neff

Scott Neff

Student, Business Management and Communications, CU Denver

Scott is a senior at the University of Colorado Denver pursuing dual degrees in Business Management and Communications, and a graduate of Student Veterans of America’s Leadership Institute. From 2017-2018 he served as President Pro Tempore of the CU Denver Student Government Association where he focused on veteran’s affairs and strengthening business relationships in the community. In addition to his service to CU, Scott serves our state as a Commissioner on Serve Colorado: The Governor’s Commission on Community Service, is active as Vice Chairman of the Douglas County Public Safety Advisory Committee, Junior Vice Commander of the Colorado Department of the American Legion’s 6th District and served on the Board of Directors for the Douglas County Veterans Monument Foundation for 2.5 years. He has spent over 500 hours volunteering for Colorado Boys State, an American Legion program that teaches young men about government and legislation. Scott is also currently serving our country in the United States Army Reserve as a Unit Supply Specialist. In his free time, Scott likes to hike, swim, and go running and remains active with the Junior Achievement, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and the Make A Wish Founda


Johnnie Nguyen

Student, CU School of Law and CU Denver alumnus

Johnnie Nguyen was a first generation, undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Denver (Go Lynx!), where he studied 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.


Kimbirly 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

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.


Zach Rothmier

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.

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John Z.

John is a proud, two time graduate of CU, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Colorado Denver, specializing in International Business. John joined the CU Advocates network the day it launched, October 7, 2011, and volunteers with numerous other community programs as well. John has spent his professional career in public service, working for several Federal Government agencies in Colorado and Washington D.C. John is a fan of CU athletics and enjoys going to as many games as possible.

Past Board Members

  • Eric Anhold, Director of Marketing at Western Export Services
  • Bill Croyle, Board Member, Hill City Silica LLC
  • John Dold, Senior Consultant, Cloud, Services and Emerging Solutions, Hitachi Data Systems
  • 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