Board Members

Jesus Salazar

Jesus Salazar

Board Member

Jesus is a Colorado native who loves bringing exceptional people together to accomplish great things.  He believes that we are all at our best when we can tie what we do really well back to helping others.  His vision for Prosono, the company he founded, is to create a workplace where exceptional consulting professionals can find a deeper purpose in their work, by unlocking their passion in philanthropy and incorporating it into their day to day jobs.  For the past 16 years, Jesus Salazar has helped some of the largest organizations in North America formulate and execute compelling strategies that significantly transform their business.


Myles X Mendoza

Board Member

Myles is the Founder of the Untapped Potential Project (UPP) a national education policy 501c3 and 501c4 non-profit supporting local organizations currently operating in Colorado and Illinois.  UPP supports local advocates to optimize educational outcomes for children with unique abilities through policies and practices that effectively respond to: low-income and gifted, autism, twice exceptional, learning disorders, social and emotional barriers.
Myles comes to his work as a results-proven leader with 20+ years of success in the non-profit sector as well as experience advising philanthropists about investments in education, healthcare and social services for under-served children.
Prior to serving in his current roles, Myles developed multiple organizations from the ground up.  Myles began his career as social worker and inpatient psychiatry adolescent therapist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago where he supported the creation of Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Psychiatric Summer Program.  Later in Denver,  he developed the Colorado Children’s Hospital adolescent HIV/AIDS program, and was a member of the founding executive team at the Denver Scholarship Foundation that raised $62,000,000 in college scholarships for low-income students in Denver Public Schools.
At Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), Myles supported the creation of 12 state chapter offices nationwide and was a leader in the development of a 200 member national coalition in support of “Waiting for “Superman”.
Additionally, in conjunction with an Aspen-based philanthropist, he developed edXchange, a Denver-based education shared space which fosters strategic collaboration, ideation, and joint ventures among the leading education policy organizations in Colorado.
Myles is a board member of Solar Empowered, Money Locker and A+ Colorado.
Mary Gittings Cronin

Mary Gittings Cronin

Board Member

Mary Gittings Cronin is the former President and Executive Director of the Piton Foundation, a private operating foundation that provides opportunities for children and their families to move from poverty and dependence to self reliance. From 1988 through 2009, she managed the foundation's philanthropic investments to improve public education, create economic opportunity and strengthen neighborhood leadership.

Ms. Cronin has served on numerous boards and commissions in Denver. She is a past president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Association of Foundations, and the Women's Forum of Colorado. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Northern Colorado, and as a board member of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, The Children's Hospital, The Denver Scholarship Foundation, Vectra Banking Corporation, Colorado Zoological Trust, Stapleton Foundation, Urban Land Conservancy, Metropolitan State College Foundation, Colorado Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and the Colorado Health Planning Council.

From 1976 to 1988, she was Chairman of the Board of Gittings Lumber Company. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


Anna Alejo

Anna Alejo


Anna Maria Alejo is a communications consultant currently serving technology companies in the financial services, ed-tech, and real estate sectors. She also works in the nonprofit sector. Anna served for 7 years as Director of Corporate Communications for Western Union, a Fortune 500 company with half a million locations in 200 countries and territories. At WU, Anna designed and led global communications initiatives to drive business strategy, build reputation and protect the brand.

Anna covered public education as a reporter for 16 years at the NBC- and CBS-owned stations in Denver. In addition to award-winning local reporting, she reported stories for CBS News, CNN and Univision, and hosted three public affairs television shows including DPS Today. Anna began her journalism career as a researcher in the Miami-based Latin America Bureau of the Washington Post.

Alires J. Almon

Board Member

Throughout her professional career, Alires has fostered a deep passion for the opportunities created by advanced science and technology. Alires is a member of the 100 Year Starship team and is based in Denver, Colorado. She is the Orchestrator of Engagement, responsible for Programs, Outreach and Partnerships for 100 Year Starship (100YSS). The goal of 100 Year Starship is to enable the capabilities for interstellar human space flight within the next 100 years, and enhance life on earth every step of the way.

As part of 100YSS, Alires has facilitated the annual Public Symposium that brings together leading scientists, global thought leaders, and space enthusiasts in science, space exploration, life science, engineering and culture. Her first paper, Breaking Bad: Creating Predictive Models for Psychological Breaking Points during Long Term Space Travel, was published in the 2014 100YSS Symposium Proceedings.

Alires works extensively in the in the Colorado space community, serving on the board of Colorado Space Business Roundtable (CSBR) as it’s Education Chair. She is the chair of the group’s signature space event – the CSBR Round Up. Formerly part of a Fortune 100 global telecommunications company, Alires was a Senior Relationship Manager responsible for working with “Top Tier” revenue-generating accounts.

Deeply involved in her community, Alires serves as Board Chair for College Track Colorado. She also volunteers with Colorado Association for Black Professional Engineers and Scientists (CABPES). Selected as a member of the “2010 Class of Leadership Denver,” she was selected to be the Class Valedictorian by this organization’s 2010 membership of Denver’s most promising young leaders. Alires is a 25-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and former Board Member for Metro Denver Partners, a youth-mentoring organization.

Alires earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia and a Master’s Degree in Experimental Psychology with a specialization in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from New Mexico State University. In addition, she enjoys snowboarding, golfing, cycling, and the occasional triathlon.

Jill Barkin A+ Board

Jill Barkin

Board Member

Jill S. Barkin is VP of Board Governance of Teach For America. Jill brings over 15 years experience in social enterprise, corporate philanthropy, and strategy consulting. Most recently Jill was the Vice President overseeing corporate philanthropy and community relations for the Colorado region of JP Morgan Chase & Co. Before moving to Denver in 2006, Jill worked in Massachusetts as a consultant to nonprofits and charitable foundations at both the Monitor Institute and FSG Social Impact Advisor and served as the Interim Chief Operating Officer at New Profit Inc., a venture philanthropy firm.

Jill currently serves on the Board Directors of Chalkbeat, a national network of local education news websites operating in New York, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. In 2011 Jill was appointed by Mayor Michael B. Hancock to serve on Denver’s Homelessness Commission and the Denver Education Compact.

Jill holds a BA in Economics and Political Science cum laude from Williams College and a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Steve Dayney

Steve Dayney


Steve Dayney is the Managing Director and CEO of Senvion USA Corp. a wholly owned subsidiary of Senvion SE based in Hamburg, Germany.  Mr. Dayney established Senvion’s United States subsidiary in September 2007 and has led the organization since that time.  The company is located in Denver, CO and to date has sold and installed over 1200 MW of its 2MW wind turbines across the United States.

Mr. Dayney has been in the energy industry for over thirty years, holding a variety of management positions in the engineering, project management, business development and regulatory functions of various utility and start up companies. He holds a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Purdue University and a masters degree in business administration from the University of Colorado.

Alan Gottlieb

Alan Gottlieb

Board Member

Alan Gottlieb is a Colorado-based writer, editor, journalist, and nonprofit entrepreneur, with 20 years of experience in education policy and education journalism.

Currently, Alan is owner of Write.Edit.Think,. LLC, an independent communications consulting firm.

Alan co-founded Chalkbeat, a growing and increasingly prominent national news nonprofit focused on PreK-12 education policy, policy implementation and practice. Alan founded Chalkbeat’s precursor, Education News Colorado, and served as its publisher from its founding in 2008 until the merger with New York-based GothamSchools that created Chalkbeat in 2013. Under Alan’s leadership, Chalkbeat grew into an organization with more than 20 employees and a budget topping $3 million.

From 1988-97, Alan was a reporter with The Denver Post. His work focused primarily on urban social issues, including public housing, homelessness, and, from 1995-7, Denver Public Schools. His coverage of DPS earned several regional journalism awards.

From 1997 until June 2007, Gottlieb served as education program officer at The Piton Foundation in Denver. He is the author of two books, one fiction, one non-fiction. Neither has anything to do with education.

Denise Maes

Board Member

Denise is the Public Policy Director of the ACLU of Colorado.  In that role, she oversees all legislative work that affects civil liberties at the State and local level.  She is the primary person overseeing all legislatives initiatives at the state Capitol during the legislative session.  Denise also sits on various municipal boards and commissions that review police and jail-related matters.  She is a frequent panelist on civil liberties-related matters. She is also on the advisory board for DFER Colorado and on the board of trustees for University Prep.

Before joining the ACLU, Denise was Director of Operations for Vice President Joe Biden. In that role, she managed, the Vice President's budget, travel, and personnel.  She also served as General Counsel for the Office of Administration under President Barack Obama, where she managed White House contracts and personnel issues.

F. Mike Miles

Board Member

Mike Miles co-founded Third Future, an educational services company, after serving three years as the Superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District. Under his leadership, the District saw remarkable student achievement gains and implemented ground-breaking initiatives. Prior to Dallas, Miles successfully transformed the Harrison School District in Colorado Springs, raising student achievement and building a high-performance culture.

A graduate of West Point, Mike Miles has also served as an officer in the Army’s elite Ranger Battalion. He later served in the U.S. State Department as a Diplomat to Poland and Russia.

Miles also holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University.

Craig Smith

Craig M. Smith

Board Member

As a fourth-generation Coloradan, Craig Smith was raised with a deep appreciation for his home state and a desire to help its citizens prosper. True to the spirit of the West, Smith’s persistence and work ethic earned him a prestigious fellowship at El Pomar Foundation, a job that laid the foundation for his rise to President & COO of HomeAdvisor by age 33.  One year later, Smith was named a Colorado Biz “CEO of the Year” finalist and helped earn the company top honors as Denver Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” and CTA Technology “Company of the Year.” As one of HomeAdvisor’s early executives, Smith was instrumental in building the company from an idea to Colorado’s largest consumer Internet brand.

Today, Smith still serves as President & COO of HomeAdvisor, responsible for leading more than 1,400 employees, including international and subsidiary businesses.  In true pioneer fashion, he has helped launch and guide several new start-ups in Denver, and serves on the board of Remotely, a Colorado-based technology start-up.

In addition to his leadership in the business community, Smith has stayed true to his philanthropic roots.  In addition to Remotely, he serves on The Children’s Hospital Colorado Corporate Leadership Council and the Board of Directors of the Beanstalk Foundation, where he helped champion a new strategy to support the social enterprise movement.

In 2015, Craig received the first ever Colorado Governor's Citizenship Medal recognizing his professional excellence and positive impact on the Colorado Community.  

Smith graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 1997 with a degree in Finance.

Craig lives in Denver with his wife and three young children and starts his mornings with a bike ride to take his daughter to school. Even though she’s only in kindergarten, these rides have become the greatest source of inspiration shaping his future career and civic duties. As they say: “Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

Charles Ward

Charles L. Ward

Board Member

Chuck retired as Colorado President for Qwest Communications in 2012. He worked in the telecommunications industry for over 38 years. He also served as interim CEO at the National Sports Center for the Disabled and two years as head of Public Affairs at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Chuck served on the Board of the Denver Metro Economic Development Corporation, which he co-chaired for two years, the Board of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, which he chaired in 2010, and the Board of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Colorado.

Chuck grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University [BS] and Southern Illinois University [MBA]. Chuck and his wife Chris have lived in Denver for 20 years and have two children.

Federico Peña

Chairman Emeritus

The Honorable Federico F. Peña is currently a Senior Advisor at Vestar Capital Partners, a leading global private equity firm. The company’s investment strategy is targeted towards companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia with valuations in the $250 million to $3 billion range. Vestar Capital is headquartered in New York and has offices in Boston, Denver, Milan, Munich, Paris, and Tokyo.

During the past 30 years, Peña has practiced law, served in the Colorado State House of Representatives, served as Mayor of the City and County of Denver, founded an investment advisory firm, and served in two cabinet positions in the Clinton Administration as Secretary of the Department of Energy and Secretary of the Department of Transportation. Peña received a JD from the University of Texas and is a 1968 graduate of the University of Texas. Peña serves on the boards of Border Media Partners, Sonic Corp., and Toyota’s North American Diversity Advisory Board. He is National Co-Chair of COMPETE, an organization dedicated to fostering competition in the electricity market. He was also National Co-Chair of Obama for America and a national board member of the Obama-Biden Transition. Mr. Peña was a founding co-chair and board member of A+ Denver.