Tribe organizer and convener for Good
Betsy Wiersma is a tribe organizer and convener for Good: Good Works, Good News, and Good Times.
Her motto is her life work: Do Good Have Fun.
Betsy created the Colorado-based CampExperience Network, Global Sisterhood Network, Boost Power Radio and her own inspirational art.
Betsy believes that story unites and experiences galvanize. .
Betsy’s speaking has inspired producers in Italy, Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Scotland, Jamaica, Spain, Norway and Australia, as well as cities throughout the United States.
The 15-year-old CampExperience™ Network of 5000+ amazing women has raised over $1 million cash and in-kind support for charities.
Recognition includes the 2018 Francis Jacobs Wisebart Award for Philanthropy from Mile High United Way, 25 Most Powerful Women, from Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, three ESPRIT event excellence awards, and first inductee into the Colorado Meetings and Events Magazine Hall of Fame as Best Events Planner.
Influential Business Leader
Chaitra Vedullapalli is recognized as an Influential Business Leader with a passion to enable digital equity and access to achieve economic prosperity in our communities. She is the co-founder and CMO of Meylah, focused on helping customers to modernize their business with cloud solutions. Vedullapalli is also the co-founder of Women in Cloud, sits on many boards and drives global conversations with the United Nations and top corporations throughout the U.S.
Using the power of AI, Cloud, and IoT, Vedullapalli Is fiercely committed to empowering business owners to access the digital economy. She is recognized as an author, speaker and change leader, holds a patent, is a TEDx and United Nation Speaker and was honored as a top 100 Small Business Influencer.
Founder of The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute
Dr. Debi Silber, founder of The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute in New York and https://pbtinstitute.com is a holistic psychologist, a health, mindset, and personal development expert. She's an award-winning speaker, coach and author of the Amazon #1 Bestselling book: The Unshakable Woman: 4 Steps to Rebuilding Your Body, Mind and Life After a Life Crisis, The Unshakable Woman-The Workbook (the companion guide to the book).
Debi has contributed to FOX, CBS, The Dr. Oz show, TEDx, The Huffington Post, Shape, Self, Health, Working Mother, Forbes, Psychology Today, WebMD, Ladies Home Journal, Woman's World and Glamour to name a few. Her doctoral study led to three discoveries around how women experience and heal from betrayal. Based on her findings, along with 27 years of health, mindset and lifestyle coaching, Dr. Debi has created a proven multi pronged approach to help women heal (physically, mentally and emotionally) from a life crisis, specializing in betrayal.
Elaine Appleton Grant
Elaine Appleton Grant is a podcast producer, public radio broadcaster and magazine journalist. She’s worked at Boston’s WBUR, New Hampshire Public Radio and Colorado Public Radio, where she led the team producing Colorado Matters. Her work has appeared on NPR and in Inc., Fast Company and hundreds of other print and online publications. She produces Business Wars Daily, a Wondery podcast about corporate rivalries, and wrote about the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 for Wondery’s American History Tellers podcast. She is the cofounder of Podcast Allies, LLC, a podcast consulting and production company that helps organizations tell stories that matter.
I began my drumming and dance studies in 1986 with the Damballah Dance Company in Boulder, CO. I concurrently began to study traditional songs and dances of the Yoruba people of Nigeria with the legendary Baba Adetunji Joda in Denver, CO. At that time, women were still persecuted for playing traditional African drums and I was an anomaly.
I have studied numerous forms of West African drumming traditions with indigenous teachers living in America. I also traveled to Africa twice to study Drumming and Dance with Master Dancer Marie Basse-Wiles of Senegal and Master Drummer Abdoul Doumbia of Mali.
In the year 2000 I developed Jambalaya Sistah’s Drum and Dance ensemble and performed and taught traditional djembe music throughout the country. I simultaneously encouraged women to drum as an act of personal empowerment.
Managing Director, Accenture
Gina Fratarcangeli manages a team designing complex solutions to solve complex business challenges for her Fortune 1000 clients. She has evaluated and tested multiple leadership styles, and created her own unique approach to fostering the next generation of leaders.
Gina has always thrived in and strived for leadership roles. Whether it be on the athletic field, or in the board room, her leadership style has been one of collaboration, and seeking mutual best interest for all parties.
Now, as a senior leader, she is working intentionally to formalize the unofficial system and ensure that the multiple layers of rising stars are supported, coached and seen.
Gina attended the University of Michigan and received a degree in International Relations. She has lived all over the world including Tokyo, Belgium and Costa Rica.
Izi Stoll began conducting neuroscience research in January 2001, while earning her undergraduate degrees in biology and psychology at the University of Illinois. She then completed a PhD in neurobiology and behavior at the University of Washington in Seattle. Shortly after moving to the United Kingdom, she started her own lab at Newcastle University, leading a team of talented researchers to develop new therapeutic avenues for treating neurological disease. After the Brexit referendum, Dr Stoll returned to the United States, where she currently directs a theoretical research program at the Western Institute for Advanced Study in Denver, Colorado.
Dr Stoll has received a number of awards for her research, including recognition from the American Federation for Aging Research and the Society for Neuro Oncology. Her new book, What We Are: The Physical Basis of Consciousness, is scheduled for publication in November 2019.
Jelie Bradlie Jones
Jelie, also known as Bradlie Jones, started rapping at age eight. By 16, she was performing in venues around Denver, and by age 19, she had launched her own production company, Kickback Couture.
As the only black female rapper in her graduating class in college, Jelie had to make school work on her terms, as there was no audition track for rap. She was not fluent with any instruments nor was she educated about where she could take her skills for commission. As a rising artist, her education laid the foundation for her to create a successful business.
Jelie knew that college would give her the skills she needed, but as a first generation college student, she needed outside support to help her get there. Denver Scholarship Foundation helped make Jelie’s college education possible.
While her story is her own, she says that she is just one of many talented young people going against the grain today.
The Chocolate Thearapist
Julie Nygard has a degree in psychology from the University of Colorado in Denver as well as a Nutrition Educator’s Certificate from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Boulder, Colorado. She studied nutrition for more than 25 years.
A quick review of the research revealed that large chocolate companies were already mismanaging the “health benefits of chocolate” message, convincing consumers that any dark chocolate is good for them. To help get the correct message out, she wrote, The Chocolate Therapist: A User’s Guide to the Extraordinary Health Benefits of Chocolate.
Her shop, The Chocolate Therapist, makes clean-ingredient chocolates using all-natural chocolate, fresh spices, locally roasted nuts and organic flavoring oils. Julie has made it her personal mission to educate the public about nutrition and the health benefits of chocolate, helping people understand how to include a little dark chocolate in a healthy eating program.
My name is Katie Chock, you can find me at local comic book and game shops, nerdy cafes, and conventions like Denver Pop Culture Con. I’ve been a geek for as long as I can remember. In my younger years I obtained a bachelor’s degree in history from Metropolitan State University. These days I have focused more on my nerdy/geeky passions in forms of writing, artistic crafts, and games.
When I’m not working at the Denver Art Museum, I’m an aspiring dice maker hoping to crack the code of making the perfect set of dice with my own two hands. I have been playing tabletop roleplaying games for ten years with my very close friends. We created our own system and created a deep bond of friendship between each other and with the characters we created in our stories.
We are writing our own roleplaying book based off the system and world we created! We hope to get it published and filled with beautiful works of art to sell to the public and have folks play it at conventions!
Writer and Editor / Performer
Laura Thomas might just be the best question asker in the world—and she usually asks the questions we avoid. Why? Because that’s where true freedom hides.
In 2011, Laura hit rock bottom after her brother and best friend was lost to suicide. While healing, she harnessed creativity and community, turning her experience into a now signature one-woman performance. Despite humble origins, the performance has ignited intimate conversations about loss and grief and touched thousands of people across the U.S.
Laura is a full-time writer and editor.
Her first book, Shit My Zen Teacher Says, distills masterful advice for living a better life from the world’s wisest teachers. She’s currently on draft 32 (ugh) of her upcoming memoir, Finding Magic. Laura lives in Colorado with her husband, where she gets lost in mountains and her insatiable imagination. You can learn more at www.lauratheexplora.org or on Instagram @_.lauratheexplora._
Public Relations - founder of Cutter Communications / State Legislator
After 25 years of working in the public relations and communications industry, I launched Cutter Communications in 1998. Throughout my career, I have been a strong advocate for ethical communications and a robust press.I have always balanced career and family with community leadership and involvement. I've held several leadership roles in Public Relations Society of America, and led and served on a number of nonprofit boards, including The Women's Bean Project. I'm proud to have provided strategic PR and media relations for the Women's March in 2017 and continued on with March On Colorado to be a core organizer for the 2018 march and related activities until I won my election in 2019.
I have always worked to be part of the solution. Becoming a public servant is natural progression and a way for me to help drive real and impactful change in Colorado. As a legislator, I’ve worked on First Amendment, campaign transparency, environmental, media literacy, mental health and education issues.
Real Estate Activist
Lori is a self proclaimed Real Estate Activist and has been involved in public and private collaborations of Real Estate Acquisitions and Community Development which serves as the core foundation of her background. Lori's professional training in real estate, neighborhood revitalization/development, leadership, and sales has created an understanding of the multiple facets of the industry.
Lori trains and speaks on Diversity and Inclusion initiatives with an emphasis on the real estate. Her passion for real estate has culminated in her serving as a Board of Director of The Denver Metropolitan Association of Realtors and a founding member of the Community Alliance Committee.
Lori is the founder of Gainfully Earning Moms(GEMs) a networking group designed to support mother’s who work in business, organizations and entrepreneurs. She also founded a neighborhood group Soulfully Stapleton which supports underrepresented residents in Stapleton while celebrating Diversity and Inclusion.
Mary Jelkovsky (known as @maryscupofteaa on social media) is a former bikini fitness model turned self-love advocate and women’s retreat host.
After recovering from an eating disorder of 8 years and healing her body, mind, and spirit, she started her online platform Mary’s Cup of Tea, to inspire women to be more confident in their bodies and love themselves unconditionally.
Mary’s story has been featured in publications like Teen Vogue, Women's Health, and Self Magazine because unfortunately, so many women know what it’s like to hate their bodies. Mary is committed to changing this trend by empowering women of all shapes and sizes through her social media, online programs and worldwide self-love retreats.
Mary's biggest inspiration is her spunky, 11-year-old sister Ilana who knows how to dance like no one's watching and love with her whole heart. Mary wants Ilana to grow up in a world where women are empowered to chase their dreams without being bogged down by beauty standards.
The Honey Empire is a Denver-based band comprised of Kimberly Gionta (lead vocals & rhythm guitar), Yvette Frampton (lead guitar & vocals), Josh Skelton (bass guitar & vocals), and Blake Watts (drums & percussion).
Kimberly and Yvette met when their kids became friends at school, and they soon bonded over their mutual interest in music. They started taking guitar lessons together, which turned into playing live and writing songs.
The Honey Empire’s first, self-titled album was released last spring and can be found on Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and YouTube.
Director of Community Engagement at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work and owner of StorySpring Consulting.
Trish supports people and organizations advancing social change by connecting them to resources, opportunities and each other.
At the University of Denver, she leads community engagement initiatives and creates gatherings that explore a variety of social justice topics. She listens to community organizations and co-creates mutually-beneficial partnerships that push forward social change. As a consultant and owner of StorySpring, she provides strategy, facilitation and coaching to nonprofits and social changemakers, specifically around their communications and public image efforts.
She is a founding member of Denver’s newest cohousing community, Aria Cohousing, and a passionate advocate for housing solutions that address both the crisis of affordability and the global loneliness epidemic. She is in the process of establishing a micro-village in Wheat Ridge that addresses both.