Lara joined the JCC in July of 2017 as the Chief Executive Officer. She is originally from New York City and has lived in Colorado for the past eleven years. Lara is committed to the mission and vision of the Jewish Community Center and looks forward to all that is to come at the J.
A strong relationship builder with 25 years of fundraising and stewardship experience with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, UCLA Health, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and Aspen Academy, Lara’s career has focused on leadership and philanthropy. She is a motivational leader who is well versed in creating and executing strategic plans as well as building and mentoring strong teams. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Buffalo.
When not working, Lara enjoys spending time with her husband, Frank, and their three children, Jack, age 18, Sophie, age 16, and Izzy, age 10, and their dog, Katie. She also enjoys exercising, reading, cooking, and traveling.
Ron joined the JCC in July 2018. Prior to joining the team, Ron served as a Senior Vice President at the national office of Easter Seals in Chicago. There he led both the Affiliate & Network Advancement and the Information Technology Departments. From September 1, 2017 to January 16, 2018, Ron served as Interim CEO for Easter Seals while they conducted a national search for a new national CEO. During his tenure, he led a financial turnaround of the organization.
Ron joined the staff of Easter Seals national office in April 2016 after spending eight years working at the affiliate level. He spent four of those years as the CEO of TouchPoint Autism Services, the largest provider of autism services in the state of Missouri. As CEO of TouchPoint, he led a turnaround of the financially distressed organization, a name change/rebranding from the “Judevine Center for Autism,” two mergers with other nonprofits, and an affiliation with Easter Seals to create the now $75M organization known as Easter Seals Midwest where he served as President and Chief Operating Officer for four more years. Easter Seals Midwest is the largest provider of services to people with disabilities – including autism – in the state of Missouri.
Prior to his work at Easter Seals, Ron spent nearly twenty years working in the for-profit sector as an executive leader, consultant, and management educator for organizations in the insurance, financial management, consulting, and healthcare space including: Edward Jones, BlueCross BlueShield of Missouri, Humana, and Ernst & Young. As an adjunct faculty member, Ron has taught graduate level courses on nonprofit mergers and collaborations at Webster University and courses on service excellence, total quality management, and six sigma at Washington University in St. Louis where he also received his MBA in 1991. He received a B.S. from Illinois Wesleyan University where he majored in psychology, minored in English, and had a concentration in philosophy.
He has seven children and three grandchildren. He recently moved to Glendale and loves hiking, mountains, and earth ships.
Working with fantastic volunteers, generous donors, and great teams, Linda has helped nonprofits raise more than $100 million in her 23-year fundraising career. She has a breadth of “in the trenches” development experience that makes her an invaluable resource to nonprofits, having led efforts at small, mid-sized, and large charities, and consulted for many years.
When she’s not working, Linda loves to experience adventure vacations and activities and travel specially to visit her sons, Parker and Chad, and Chad’s wife, Christina (the three baby bears!). A recovering D1 basketball player, Linda loves to watch hoops and other sports, to read, write, cook (and eat!), and to support mental health agencies, a cause that’s dear to her heart.
Sonia Dobinsky is an experienced non-profit manager who has worked for the Jewish Community for the past 20 years providing innovation, implementation, and oversight in the areas of Jewish education and engagement. Most recently, Sonia served as Vice President, Direct Services (Community Engagement) for the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. As a member of the Senior Management Team, Sonia led a team of twenty professionals in developing, implementing, and evaluating engagement and education initiatives for a broad spectrum of the Jewish community, serving members from birth to senior citizen status. For nine years prior to that she served as the Executive Director of the Central Agency for Jewish Education and was instrumental in the strategic planning efforts that led to the merger of that agency and the Jewish Federation in July, 2015. Sonia has key strengths in the areas of program development and implementation, leadership, strategic planning, change management and board development and enjoys the dynamics of staff development and lay/professional partnerships. She has a BS degree from Northwestern University and has completed additional graduate coursework in Human Resources Management. She is a Co-Active trained executive and leadership coach.
Samantha Raizen Walsh joined the JCC Development team in January of 2016, and feels at home in the hallways she grew up going to school and doing BBYO programming in. A native to Denver, Sam moved back in 2010 after short stints in Massachusetts, England, and New York. She previously worked at Judaism Your Way and Kavod Senior Life, and is passionate about Jewish community and happy to be involved in the growth and sustainability of such an important community organization.
Before joining the JCC team in 2016, Pam spent a decade in public service, working or volunteering for offices and organizations including Americans for the Arts, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, and the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. She has also worked for the Telluride Film Festival and several D.C. area theatres as a lighting crew member, including the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre. In 2014, she earned a Juris Doctor degree from William & Mary Law School in Virginia, where she concentrated her legal studies on First Amendment, animal, and nonprofit law. The missions of the JCC and MACC are dear to her heart, speaking to her strong love of public service, the arts, and the outdoors, and she enjoys serving such a vibrant and unique community.
Originally from St. Louis, MO, Abby Copilevitz graduated from the University of Denver in June 2017. She received a BA in Sociology and a minor in International Studies. Abby joined the J in October of 2017 where she worked as the Front Desk Receptionist. She officially joined the Development Team in February of 2018. Outside of work, Abby enjoys spending time with her friends and family as well as spending lots of time outside running, mountain biking or skiing.
Courtney joins Camp Shai from the JCC in Berkeley, CA where she was the Director of Summer Camp & After School Programs. She is originally from Denver and attended Ranch Camp as both a camper and staff member. She developed a huge passion for camp and the outdoors there and then went on to graduate from Hebrew Union College and the University of Southern California where she achieved a Masters in Jewish Nonprofit management and Social Work.
Molly is originally from Upstate New York where she spent 15 years attending and working at an overnight camp in the Adirondacks. Since graduating with her B.S. in Elementary Education, Molly has worked with youth in a variety of settings ranging from outdoor backpacking trips to alternative high schools to elementary classrooms in Peru. Currently, Molly is pursuing her Masters in Mental Health Counseling at CU Denver. She is excited to return to “Camp Life” and bring her experiences and love for camp to Camp Shai.
Daniel is originally from Kansas City and graduated from the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!) with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Daniel first fell in love with camp over his seven years of working at Camp Young Judea MidWest. He most recently comes to Camp Shai from Northern California where he was managing a Challenge Course and a team of instructors for an outdoor science school and summer camp. In his free time, Daniel is an avid rock climber and loves spending time in the mountains. Daniel is excited to be a new resident of Denver and bring his many years of experience working in Jewish Summer Camps to Camp Shai and Youth Programming at the J.
Noah Gallagher is what we call a “life long camper” beginning his camp career as a camper at Camp Young Judaea Midwest, where he met his wife Lauren, and later became director of this camp for almost a decade.
Noah began his career in Jewish camping as Assistant Director of Camp Tel Yehudah (Barryville, NY) where he served in that role for 3 years, and has spent the last 8 summers as Director of Camp Young Judaea Midwest. Under Noah’s direction, CYJ Midwest earned a reputation for its innovative programming and outreach to underserved populations. Noah has shared his expertise in building relationships with parents in popular sessions at regional conferences of the American Camp Association as well as the most recent National ACA Conference, and will hold a session on this topic at the upcoming Leaders Assembly of the Foundation for Jewish Camp.
Noah is joined by his wife, Lauren, who he met at CYJ Midwest when they were campers, their adorable twins Daphne and Leo, and their beautiful new baby Tess.
Gina McReynolds discovered the Ranch Camp in 2004 and has enjoyed roles in the corral, as summer admin staff and has held seasonal and year-round assistant director positions since 2009.
I like to say that finding Ranch Camp almost by accident on a winter day in 2003, at a summer camp fair at Colorado State University, has more profoundly affected my life then anything else in the world. Ranch Camp has influenced my personal life through friendships and connections. My professional life has been changed as Ranch Camp showed me the incredible importance of summer camp on youth. I believe that few things in life have the power to shape the journey of youth, define their character, foster their independent selves, and bring pure, unapologetic joy then summer camp.
At Ranch Camp, I have had the amazing opportunity to watch my campers grow up into creative, passionate adults, many of whom return for years as Ranch Camp staff members. I am grateful everyday for the opportunity to spend my summers out of doors, sharing my favorite place with campers, staff, families and alumni each summer!
Carly Coons first joined the Ranch Camp family in 2001 as a camper and quickly found her home away from home. She spent nine summers as a camper and staff member at camp, the best summers of her life.
I am a Denver native and a proud Ranch Camp alum. My experience at Ranch Camp was life changing for me. It helped me to make incredible friends, shaped my Jewish identity, and inspired my career path. Needless to say, I have a great love for and special connection to camp.
Before joining the year round Ranch Camp team, I completed my Master of Social Work degree at Washington University in St. Louis. While in graduate school, I worked part time with the NFTY-Missouri Valley region, staffed the Israel Study Tour through JewishColorado, and led the URJ’s Pacific Northwest Mitzvah Corps program in Seattle. Prior to graduate school, I was the Director of Youth Engagement at Temple Sinai. Through all of these positions, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many of our youth in the greater Denver area. I am excited to connect to new and old campers, staff, and alumni.
Ryan joins Ranch Camp from Putnam County New York, and has grown up almost exclusively at camp. He attended Hillside Summer Camp from 1996-2002, and worked for their parent organization, Green Chimneys, for the next 13 years.
Â Ryan started his work full-time in 2009 at Green Chimneys Clearpool Campus, in their outdoor education department. Teaching environmental education to at-risk and underprivileged youth from NYC, as well as running their new, second summer camp, Ryan honed his skills as a facilitatorÂ passionate for creating unforgettable experiences for children from all walks of life.
He served as the Ropes Course Manager, Lifeguard trainer, Program Manager and as an environmental educator throughout his employment.
Ryan’s appreciation for summer camp comes from two themes: challenge by choice, and caring deeply about what you do and how it helps others grow. Getting to watch campers step outside of their normal range of comfort, whether it be through physical, emotional or social experiences is always a reminder of ‘this is why I do what I do.’ Secondly, putting care into creating an environment which fosters this type of experience is also a huge draw to camp for him. In the words of Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot […],” is the theme of his passion to create lasting and memorable experiences, and to encourage others to never rest on their laurels and do the same.
Now, having worked for years outside of the counselor-camper relationship, he has found the joy of experiencing it vicariously through the staff working with him to be just as, if not even more rewarding.
Shana Jacobs is a Denver native who grew up in the Winston Downs neighborhood. She was a proud JCC Ranch Camper for 10 years! After graduating from Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy she received a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in New York as well as a degree in Hospitality and Restaurant management from UNLV. Upon returning to Denver after graduation, she met her husband at the JCC, and they now have two beautiful boys ages 5 and 2 ½. In her free time, Shana loves watching all Denver sports teams (especially the Broncos) and playing with her kids in the Denver sunshine.
Rachel Cram graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a BA in sociology with an emphasis in Family Studies. A few years after college, Rachel worked in an Early Head start infant room for Americorps and fell in love with early childhood education. She started at the JCC working with the infants through 3 year olds in 2008. She later took college courses, workshops and completed her fellowship called JECELI (Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute) in 2015 to become ECE qualified and then later director qualified. Rachel has been a part of the Early Childhood Engagement administration team since 2013, and during that time her passion for Jewish Early Childhood Education has blossomed. When not working, she loves to spend time with her husband and two daughters exploring all that Colorado has to offer.
Rachel Baum joined the JCC team in early 2015. Being a new parent herself, Rachel is passionate about helping young families connect and create their community. Rachel grew up mainly in Colorado. After attending the University of Denver for both her undergraduate and master’s degree in business, she moved to Los Angeles where she met her husband, Andy, and easily persuaded him to move to Denver. She loves every aspect of her job and particularly enjoys building relationships with the families who engage in her classes. Have a program idea? Rachel would love to hear about it and help make it a reality!
My names is Sarah Roberts and I am the pedagogista here at the JCC. A pedagogista is someone that works with teachers to reflect on their theory and practice in the classroom. I bring with me a background in Studio Art, I received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts, in Fiber Arts and Communications Media. After graduating with my BFA I moved to Colorado and have lived in Denver for the last 12 years. After my daughter was born in 2010, I decided to go back to school and learn more about Early Childhood Education. I started with an associate degree and director certification and fell in love with the teaching and connections that I found in the field of ECE. After two years of working with the I Have a Dream Foundation in Boulder, Colorado, I joined the teaching team at Boulder Journey School and began my Master’s program at University of Colorado, Denver. Working at BJS gave me the opportunity to learning about constructivist teaching and Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum. While working with children is an amazing experience, my heart and passion has been working with the teachers and supporting them in their classroom curriculum. This passion has now lead me to begin the journey towards my Doctorate of Education. I am currently in my 2nd year at the University of Colorado, where I am focusing on the importance of adult learning as it relates to Early Childhood Education.
When I am not thinking about and working with adults and children, I am spending time with my family. I have one daughter, Ellymae. I also have three cats and a dog. On the weekend, you can usually find us at a swimming pool or the dog park. As a family we are always looking for fairies, building them new homes, or leaving gifts for them.
Kelley began her work with children who have developmental delays after graduating with her Master in Early Childhood Special Education in 2002. She provided services to young children, who have autism, global developmental delays, and significant behavioral needs, and their families as a Part C provider using the LEAP Parent Skills Training Model from 2002 – 2007. She also worked with preschoolers with ASD, in an Inclusive Classroom, from 2002 – 2004. Kelley worked at The University of Colorado Denver, under Dr. Phil Strain, for 9 years beginning in 2007. With the inception of the Colorado Autism Waiver Kelley’s first role at the University was to develop a service model to provide home-based services to families of children with autism. Kelley was able to grow the clinical services to include private insurers and Children on the CES waiver. This growth allowed for services to be provided to children with varying needs and diagnosis. During Kelley’s time at the University, she went on to do research on the development of behavior models for children with significant challenging behaviors, project implementation on these models and training on these models. Kelley continues privately to provide clinical services to children and their families in their homes and in the community. In addition to Kelley’s experience, she has a solid educational foundation and a passion for the educational improvement of all children. She is extremely passionate and committed to early childhood intervention under a model that recognizes and supports a practice that enhances a child’s skills by empowering the family.
Dinah grew up in Denver, Colorado and has her B.S. from the University of Northern Colorado. Prior to the J, Dinah served the Non-Profit Wellness Organization for 18 years in Dallas, Texas. Her passion is “wellness for all” – no matter who you are, limited or strong, she wants to help individuals accomplish their wellness goals. Equally important to Dinah is coaching and helping her team meet their professional goals. Her experience in Operations delivers a well-rounded approach in bringing everyone together to get healthy, meet someone new, and have fun doing it. Pride factors: her children, husband, qualifying and completing the Boston Marathon, initiating a special-needs duathlon, as well as a 5k visually-impaired running group.
Judy has had the opportunity to work in the fitness industry for almost 30 years, the last 14 at the JCC Fitness & Wellness Center as a Group Fitness Instructor, Office Manager, Accounting Specialist and now in Membership. Her favorite part of her job is her ability to engage with the members and help them integrate into our community and reach their fitness goals. Outside of work Judy enjoy spending time with her husband, kids, and grandkids. She also enjoys running (especially marathons), and her yearly trip to the beach.
Shanell brings 18 years of swim lesson instructor experience to the JCC Denver. She started off swimming competitively when she was five years old and instantly gravitated towards Gold medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken. When Shanell is not working she enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 year-old son.
Stacy comes to the JCC after having served the Steamboat Springs tennis community for twenty five years as Vice President and Operations Manager of the award winning Tennis Center at Steamboat. The Tennis Center at Steamboat was honored as the Colorado, Intermountain, and National USTA Facility of the Year in 2011, twice honored by the Colorado Tennis Association as the “Organization of the Year.” Stacy is the current USTA National Indoor Champion in both Women’s 40 and over and Women’s 50 and Over Doubles. She and husband, Jim, won Silver Balls (2nd place) in the recent USTA National Grass Court Husband-Wife Doubles held in Palm Springs. The Swiggart’s have also been honored as the Colorado Tennis Association’s Family of the Year. Stacy played on the four time Big 8 Champion Oklahoma State University tennis team, has been ranked #1 in Women’s Open in Nebraska and Texas. She served the Steamboat center as director of operations, leagues, and merchandising for twenty five years. Stacy and Jim have two children, Kylee, a Colorado State Doubles Tennis Champion, who works in Denver for E & J Gallo Company. Their son just completed his collegiate tennis career playing for Pac 12 University of Utah.
Marshall Carpenter, a 22 year Elite USPTA professional, brings a well rounded tennis background to the JCC Tennis community demonstrating a career long passion for youth and adult tennis development, a life-long passion for tennis competition and a dedication to tennis administration. As a coach for both Team Colorado and varsity girl’s tennis at D’Evelyn High School, Marshall was named Jefferson County’s “Coach on the Year” in 2016. As Director of Tennis at Bow Mar Tennis, Marshall boosted both junior and adult tennis programming through a variety of leagues, lessons, tournaments, drills, and mixers, always assessing to meet the dynamic needs of every tennis player. Marshall and wife Lindsey also keep busy raising two beautiful toddlers.
Deb’s involvement in tennis is following a career in higher education which includes Masters degrees in both Communication and Higher Education. Deb’s educational background included a thesis on the importance of sports involvement for women. This background coupled with her passion for tennis and the JCC community makes her a powerful asset for the reinvigoration of the JCC tennis community. Deb is a Professional Tennis Registry certified professional. She frequently competes in 4.5 tennis leagues and tournaments – which is where she and Jim Swiggart became acquainted. While not playing tennis, coaching, or administrating at the front desk, you will find Deb sprinting for frisbees and soccer balls, jumping for volleyballs, mountain biking, traveling for family and exploration, or just enjoying mountain time.
Jen joined the JCC team in 2017 as the Controller. Jen is a Colorado native and graduated from Colorado State University with a BA in Accounting and is a licensed CPA. Prior to joining the JCC, Jen spent over a decade in public accounting performing not-for-profit financial statement audits. in Outside of work, Jen enjoys spending time with family, including playing golf with her husband and watching her son play soccer.
Kellie grew up in Colorado Springs and has her BA in Theatre from the University of Northern Colorado. She has lived in Maine, working at Maine State Music Theatre and Kentucky, working at Lexington Children’s Theatre. Kellie also has a passion for visual arts and is currently pursuing her Masters in Illustration. She has worked at the MACC for the last four years.
Adam joined the J back in 2015, in charge of heading up the Marketing Department. Prior to the J, Adam owned his own digital marketing agency working with small business around the country. Adam spent the first decade of his career working for advertising agencies around the Denver/Boulder area, working on clients such as Audi, Oakley and Revo sunglasses. We are excited to have Adam help take the J into this next chapter!
Jackee has been at the J since 2011 and joined the Marketing Team in 2012. She enjoys marketing because it challenges her every day to stay innovative and adaptive. Jackee loves working alongside her team members to bring fun, new, and captivating material to the J community. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, spending time at the lake, and volunteering part-time as an EMT in Golden, Colorado.
Steve Wilson (Executive Artistic Director, MACC) holds an MFA degree from the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver and a BFA degree from the University of Southern California. He has been administrating, directing, teaching and performing in Denver for the last 30 years. For the last 23 years he has worked for the MACC (Executive Artistic Director 13 yrs; Artistic Director, Theatre Dept. 10 yrs) where he founded the Wolf Theatre Academy and Denver Children’s Theatre. An experienced theatre director, he has won numerous awards including four Henry Awards (Colorado’s Tony Award) for “Best Direction of a Musical” as well as the 2014 True West award for “Theatre Person of the Year”. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Theatre Guild (since 1997; former 6 term President), the Scientific and Cultural Collaborative (a collective of all SCFD Tier I and Tier II organizations; current 6th term co-chair) and Citizens for Arts to Zoo (CATZ). He is married to Denver Center Theatre Company actress Leslie O’Carroll and is a proud dad of their talented daughter Olivia – a student at the Denver School of the Arts.
Amy is a recent East Coast transplant, originally from South Florida, who made her way to Denver via New York City. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from NYU’s College of Arts and Science in 2014 with a degree in Dramatic Literature and Cinema. She has since worked and reviewed content for various independent film festivals including Rooftop Films in Brooklyn, the Hamptons International Film Festival, Barnard College’s Athena Film Festival, and SeriesFest here in Denver. She serves on the Denver Board for JWI’s Young Women’s Leadership Network.
Dan is originally from Southern California where he started his career as Stage Manager and Company Manager for Los Angeles Ballet. He moved with his wife to Denver in 2013 and served as Producer and Company Manager for Vintage Theatre (Aurora) for two years before joining the MACC team. Dan freelance stage manages on occasion in the Denver Metro area in addition to all the programs and festivals produced here at the MACC.
Miriam Brizendine has worked at the JCC since 2005 in a variety of positions. Since 2015 her work has focused on the IT and database side of things. Her favorite part of the job is the ability to support the variety of amazing departments and programs offered at the JCC. When she is not at work, you can usually find her enjoying the great outdoors of Colorado.
Debbie was born and raised in Denver and at the Denver JCC, and recently returned home after living in the Midwest for many years. Debbie is thrilled to be back in Denver and at the JCC. She has served in a variety of positions in the field of Jewish education for close to forty years. Debbie did her undergraduate degree at UC Boulder that included a year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She holds Masters degrees from the Harvard Divinity School and Spertus College of Judaica.
Debbie has a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and a JD, and a decade of experience at Denver nonprofits working with older adults and intergenerational programs. Most recently, she managed intergenerational enrichment programs in Denver Public Schools and collaborated with the Denver Office on Aging to develop the strategic plan for improved older adult services for the next decade. Her passion is serving older adults and connecting generations to promote better understanding and respect. She joined the JCC to develop an intergenerational program and outreach older adults.