CLLARO is Colorado's premier leadership development, public policy, and research center dedicated to strengthening Colorado's Latino community. 

Board of Directors 

BOARD CHAIR

Kontar Tonee Mwamba, ChFC, is the Chair and founding Board member of CLLARO. He joined the Board in 2007, and helped facilitated the transition from the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA) to the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization. Tonee is a Vice-President of the Denver financial planning firm Pinnacor Financial Group. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Colorado. Originally from Hyde Park, Chicago, Tonee has made Colorado his home for the last 22 years. He volunteers with various non-profits in Denver and Aurora. He serves on the Board of the New America School (NAS) and is a member of the City of Aurora Business Advisory Board where he councils representatives and city staff on the needs of small businesses.

Marilena Ortega BOARD VICE CHAIR

Marilena Ortega, 
is the CLLARO Vice Chair and joined the Board in February 2013.  is the CLLARO Vice Chair and joined the Board in February 2013.  She is a Claims Representative for the Social Security Administration in the Greeley, Colorado District Office.  Marilena considers herself fortunate to be in a profession that provides assistance to millions of people in a time of greatest need – after the loss of a loved one, the transition from work to retirement or after the loss of the ability to work.  Originally from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, she has made Colorado her home.  She strives to be an advocate for all marginalized people.  Marilena is committed to a philosophy that supports respect, leadership, integrity, and education.  She believes everyone should have the resources necessary to live their best life.  Marilena earned a Bachelor Degree in Psychology at Texas Tech University and a Master Degree in Organizational Management at the University of Phoenix-Online.


Giovanny

BOARD TREASURER

Giovanny Anaya, CPA, is the CLLARO Treasurer and joined the Board in January 2014.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from the University of Denver in June 2011 and his Master’s in Accountancy from the University of Denver in June 2012.  While at the University he was on the Dean’s List and the Hornbeck Scholars List.  He also served as a member and President of the Sigma Lambda Beta Latino-Based Fraternity.  Giovanny is on the Assurance Staff of Ernst & Young, LLP in Denver where he performs substantive auditing procedures in multiple financial statement accounts.  He is bilingual and a member of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA).  


BOARD SECRETARY

Polly Baca, is the Secretary and a founding Board member of CLLARO.  She was a member of the LARASA Board from 1972-74.  In April 2012, the Denver Post listed Polly as one of the 75 Most Influential Women of Colorado.  She is a Colorado native and served in both the Colorado House of Representatives (1975-1978) and the Colorado Senate (1979-1986).  She was the first woman elected to chair the Democratic Caucus of the Colorado House (1977), the first minority woman and first Hispanic woman elected to the Colorado State Senate (1978-1986), the first Hispanic woman to be nominated by a major political party for the United States Congress (1980 Democratic Party Congressional nominee), the first Hispanic woman to co-chair a National Democratic Convention (1980 and 1984), and the first Hispanic woman to serve in leadership in a State Senate in the U.S. (Chair, Colorado Senate Democratic Caucus, 1985-1986).  She is in the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.  Polly has worked for three Presidents of the United States.  She was a Public Information Officer for a White House Agency during the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration, the Rocky Mountain States Coordinator for Jimmy Carter’s Presidential campaign, and Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton for Consumer Affairs.  She received her B.A. degree in political science at Colorado State University, an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Northern Colorado and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa.

BOARD MEMBER

Steve Chavez, is a founding Board member of CLLARO.  He is the Director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) and strives to protect individuals from discrimination in employment, housing and at places of public accommodation through enforcement and outreach consistent with the Colorado civil rights laws.  He is a Colorado native who attended West High School in Denver, received his undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado.  Prior to assuming his responsibilities with CCRD, Steve worked with the Colorado Attorney General's Office as a First Assistant Attorney General, supervising a team of lawyers responsible for handling a wide variety of legal matters and specializing in personnel and employment law.  Additionally, he held an executive position with the Colorado Department of Transportation overseeing its human resources, legal and workers’ compensation activities.  Steve operates under the principles that education and outreach are vital to CCRD’s mission and has partnered with numerous community organizations in Colorado to advance civil rights.  He continues to teach in both formal and informal legal and civic educational programs and has assisted civic and governmental leaders regarding civil rights issues pertaining to them and their organizations.

Mike Cortes
BOARD MEMBER

Dr. Mike Cortés, joined the CLLARO Board in April 2014.  He was a member of the LARASA Board from 1996-1998.  Mike is Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Denver, where he teaches courses in Social Policy Advocacy, and Policy Development and Analysis.  He also holds a Colorado Latino Age Wave Fellowship to study and assist organizations addressing injustices against older Latinos.  Previously, Mike held faculty and administrative appointments at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of San Francisco, the University of Colorado Denver, and the University of Denver.  He was the founding Vice-President for Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the nation's largest advocacy and community development organization for Latino minorities: the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) headquartered in Washington, D.C.  He chaired the board of directors of the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest.  Mike was Director of Planning, Finance, and Administration in the Corporate Community Affairs Department at Levi Strauss & Co. and the Levi Strauss Foundation.  He has conducted research, testified before legislators, organized and consulted to nonprofit corporations and voluntary associations, and served on boards of directors, advisory committees, and government commissions in numerous communities and states across the nation.  Mike earned the M.P.P. and Ph.D. degrees in public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and the M.S.W. with a specialty in community practice and social action at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


BOARD MEMBER        

Maureen Hewitt, Hewitt came to Denver from Napa, California where she was Chief Operating Officer of Episcopal Homes Foundation, which operates retirement communities, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, affordable homes and programs for the elderly. Hewitt was President of Ocadian Health, where she managed acute care hospitals, skilled nursing homes, and assisted living centers. Prior to that, she worked for Summit HealthCare in Burbank, California. She has held several other leadership roles at healthcare organizations.
Maureen currently is a member of the Board of Housing Colorado and past Chair of the Board of Directors. She also serves as past Chair of the Governance Committee. She is a Member of the Board of Directors for ICAST (International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology) and a newly appointed Member of CLLARO (Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization) Board of Directors.
She has volunteered and served on several boards:
Housing Colorado: Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Member and past Treasurer;
LeadingAge: Board of Directors, Member of Leadership Circle and House of Delegates, Governance Taskforce, and Care and Integrated Services Task Force;
LeadingAge Colorado: Chair of the Board of Directors;
National PACE Association: Board of Directors and Public Policy Committee; and
California Association of Homes and Services for the Aging: member of the Planning Committee and Strategic Planning Committee.
Hewitt holds a master’s degree in Administration of Developmental Disabilities from Wayne State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University.

BOARD MEMBER

Lionel Washington 


BOARD MEMBER

Hilda Perez joined the CLLARO Board in January 2013. In 1993, she graduated from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.  Subsequently, she purchased, remodeled, managed and built real estate that improved the overall pride of ownership in the Chicago area.  This contributed towards providing excellent rental opportunities to low income families in an area that typically had poor housing conditions.  While in Illinois, she served as the Executive Director for a statewide Chamber of Commerce.  During this four year period, she guided and directed new and existing businesses in understanding their market, understanding their challenges, and finding strategic solutions to promote their product while increasing their overall sales.  She created networking and procurement opportunities for business owners to find new markets to distribute their product.  In 2002, Hilda successfully completed and received a diploma from The Entrepreneurship Center at Purdue University in Indiana.  During this two year business course, she served as a board member for other business to evaluate their viability and their overall business operations.  Hilda has been a business owner for eleven (11) years and a corporate district manager for three (3) years. 

 BOARD MEMBER


Hilda Perez joined the CLLARO Board in January 2013. In 1993, she graduated from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.  Subsequently, she purchased, remodeled, managed and built real estate that improved the overall pride of ownership in the Chicago area.  This contributed towards providing excellent rental opportunities to low income families in an area that typically had poor housing conditions.  While in Illinois, she served as the Executive Director for a statewide Chamber of Commerce.  During this four year period, she guided and directed new and existing businesses in understanding their market, understanding their challenges, and finding strategic solutions to promote their product while increasing their overall sales.  She created networking and procurement opportunities for business owners to find new markets to distribute their product.  In 2002, Hilda successfully completed and received a diploma from The Entrepreneurship Center at Purdue University in Indiana.  During this two year business course, she served as a board member for other business to evaluate their viability and their overall business operations.  Hilda has been a business owner for eleven (11) years and a corporate district manager for three (3) years.

Hilda Perez joined the CLLARO Board in January 2013. In 1993, she graduated from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.  Subsequently, she purchased, remodeled, managed and built real estate that improved the overall pride of ownership in the Chicago area.  This contributed towards providing excellent rental opportunities to low income families in an area that typically had poor housing conditions.  While in Illinois, she served as the Executive Director for a statewide Chamber of Commerce.  During this four year period, she guided and directed new and existing businesses in understanding their market, understanding their challenges, and finding strategic solutions to promote their product while increasing their overall sales.  She created networking and procurement opportunities for business owners to find new markets to distribute their product.  In 2002, Hilda successfully completed and received a diploma from The Entrepreneurship Center at Purdue University in Indiana.  During this two year business course, she served as a board member for other business to evaluate their viability and their overall business operations.  Hilda has been a business owner for eleven (11) years and a corporate district manager for three (3) years.

Hilda Perez joined the CLLARO Board in January 2013. In 1993, she graduated from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.  Subsequently, she purchased, remodeled, managed and built real estate that improved the overall pride of ownership in the Chicago area.  This contributed towards providing excellent rental opportunities to low income families in an area that typically had poor housing conditions.  While in Illinois, she served as the Executive Director for a statewide Chamber of Commerce.  During this four year period, she guided and directed new and existing businesses in understanding their market, understanding their challenges, and finding strategic solutions to promote their product while increasing their overall sales.  She created networking and procurement opportunities for business owners to find new markets to distribute their product.  In 2002, Hilda successfully completed and received a diploma from The Entrepreneurship Center at Purdue University in Indiana.  During this two year business course, she served as a board member for other business to evaluate their viability and their overall business operations.  Hilda has been a business owner for eleven (11) years and a corporate district manager for three (3) years.

Hilda Perez joined the CLLARO Board in January 2013. In 1993, she graduated from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.  Subsequently, she purchased, remodeled, managed and built real estate that improved the overall pride of ownership in the Chicago area.  This contributed towards providing excellent rental opportunities to low income families in an area that typically had poor housing conditions.  While in Illinois, she served as the Executive Director for a statewide Chamber of Commerce.  During this four year period, she guided and directed new and existing businesses in understanding their market, understanding their challenges, and finding strategic solutions to promote their product while increasing their overall sales.  She created networking and procurement opportunities for business owners to find new markets to distribute their product.  In 2002, Hilda successfully completed and received a diploma from The Entrepreneurship Center at Purdue University in Indiana.  During this two year business course, she served as a board member for other business to evaluate their viability and their overall business operations.  Hilda has been a business owner for eleven (11) years and a corporate district manager for three (3) years.

Hilda Perez joined the CLLARO Board in January 2013. In 1993, she graduated from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.  Subsequently, she purchased, remodeled, managed and built real estate that improved the overall pride of ownership in the Chicago area.  This contributed towards providing excellent rental opportunities to low income families in an area that typically had poor housing conditions.  While in Illinois, she served as the Executive Director for a statewide Chamber of Commerce.  During this four year period, she guided and directed new and existing businesses in understanding their market, understanding their challenges, and finding strategic solutions to promote their product while increasing their overall sales.  She created networking and procurement opportunities for business owners to find new markets to distribute their product.  In 2002, Hilda successfully completed and received a diploma from The Entrepreneurship Center at Purdue University in Indiana.  During this two year business course, she served as a board member for other business to evaluate their viability and their overall business operations.  Hilda has been a business owner for eleven (11) years and a corporate district manager for three (3) years.


Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization l 309 W 1st Ave l Denver CO 80223 l 303.722.5150 l cllaro@cllaro.org

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