Anna Zawisza has served as the Executive Director of The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado since September 2013. Throughout her career, Anna has worked to further environmental, social and economic sustainability through projects at the Alliance, making higher education possible for low income students, and engaging in the community to increase transportation options for all. Prior to becoming Executive Director, she was the Programs Director and oversaw the Alliance’s statewide programs. Anna and the programs team identified regional and community sustainability organizations throughout Colorado and brought the organizations together as partners to implement projects to advance sustainability.
In addition to her work at the Alliance, Anna serves on the City of Denver Office of Sustainability Advisory Council and the Sustainable Communities Initiative Executive Committee. She also volunteers with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and The Park People with projects such as trail construction and maintenance and planting and pruning trees in public spaces.
Before joining the Alliance in 2008, Anna spent 12 years helping young people fulfill their dreams of going to college by assisting them with financing their education through grants, federal loans, and private student loans.
Anna completed an MBA at Webster University and holds a BS in Management Science from SUNY Geneseo.
Alliance Center Director
Jason oversees all aspects of the Alliance Center to ensure it fulfills its mission as a hub of collaboration, enabling all of its tenants and partners to be more effective. Jason also carries a dual role as the point person for all technology needs; this involves managing the Alliance Center’s shared internet, phone and printing services as well as the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado’s website, database and IT infrastructure. Jason has administered microcredit loan programs for Denver entrepreneurs, explored fair trade and international development first hand in South and Southeast Asia, and assisted his family business in caring for elderly individuals with dementia. He is a firm believer that our society must establish a deeper sense of community and accountability and looks forward to working towards expanding this view across the state. As a Colorado native, Jason loves the beauty and simplicity of the outdoors and welcomes any opportunity to get outside the city limits. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Finance/Economics, and was two courses short of an Information Systems degree.
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Jeff has worked as a leader in sustainability, education and business for over 35 years. As a teenager, Jeff ran nature programs for the Boy Scouts and worked as a backpacking guide in the Sierras. In his twenties, he worked for Barclays and Fuji Banks in corporate finance, analyzing businesses and streamlining client cash flows. After a five-year stint teaching third grade, Jeff moved to the nonprofit sector where he has worked since 1993. At the Los Angeles nonprofit, TreePeople, Jeff led a team that built service learning programs that inspired over 100,000 teenagers to lead projects to improve the environment in their neighborhoods, and also worked with the California Department of Education to develop a statewide network to coordinate the efforts of over 3,000 environmental education programs. After moving to Colorado, Jeff served as the CEO of Natural Capitalism Solutions, where he built up their corporate consulting practice to serve Fortune 100 companies, mid-sized and small businesses with collective revenues totaling over 3 percent of U.S. GDP. Jeff lives with his wife in a net-zero home in the mountains outside Boulder. He came to the Alliance with a passion for a sustainable future and a long-held desire to have fun working with good people to change the world for the better.
Jacob Smith serves as the Programs Director for the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado. Jacob returned to Colorado to join the Alliance staff after a stint working as a climate and energy staffer in the U.S. Senate. Prior roles have included serving as the mayor of Golden, Colorado and as the Executive Director of Center for Native Ecosystems. He is also a former member of the board of the Denver Regional Council of Governments and the executive committee of the Denver Metro Mayors Caucus, and he was a member of Transportation Committee of Governor John Hickenlooper’s Transition Team. He is also the co-author of The Nimble Nonprofit: An Unconventional Guide to Sustaining and Growing Your Nonprofit.
John is responsible for providing accounting and human resource services, as well as general administrative and clerical support, to the Alliance’s senior management and staff in the collaborative effort of furthering the organization’s mission and sustainable efforts. He has pursued a career in managing small to medium-sized organizations in both nonprofit and for-profit endeavors in helping people living with disabilities, producing long distance running events and in food services and construction. He has traveled and lived in Europe, Africa and South America. When he is not making spreadsheets sing and dance and finding joy in balancing the books, perfecting process, managing mission with margin and looking for ways to get the job done, you will find him in the garden and the kitchen. John has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, summa cum laude, with a double major in Finance and Accounting from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.
Kim is responsible for managing the social media presence of the Alliance, the graphic design of Alliance collateral, creating videos that document the Alliance’s work, managing and updating content on the website and expanding the Alliance’s public relations efforts. For her first two years at the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, she worked as an administrative assistant, responsible for office management and data entry duties. Before joining the Alliance, Kim worked for a nonprofit consulting firm in marketing and event coordination. Immediately after college, she volunteered full-time for The Gathering Place (Denver’s only daytime shelter for at-risk and homeless women and children) through Americorps as a Program Assistant. Hailing from the Southeast, she graduated from Elon University in North Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate Communications with an emphasis on Marketing Design.
Christi is a freelance writer, photographer, filmmaker and communications specialist who wraps her professional life around a deep commitment to sustainability. She turned a BA in international affairs & foreign languages from Lewis & Clark College into more than seven years working in sustainable development programming in Madagascar, Kenya and Tanzania, starting as a Peace Corps Volunteer and ending as Education & Outreach program manager for Blue Ventures Conservation. In between, she co-led an overseas studies trip to East Africa for her alma mater, managed an eco-lodge in a Madagascar rainforest, taught teens to produce films on local conservation and development issues, produced radio programs for rural education and conservation, and built a solar-powered radio station. Using radio, photography and film as development program tools led her to a master’s in journalism & mass communication at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she could deepen her love and hone her skills for multimedia storytelling. As a communications specialist, she’s worked primarily with a fair trade chocolate company; as a journalist, she writes about sustainability and human development, climate change and policy, energy use and behavior change, and more, and she’s excited to have a 2015 Top of the Rockies award under her hat. The Rhode Island native has lived and worked in Chile, the Dominican Republic, Norway, Kenya, Tanzania, the UK, and four U.S. states, but Colorado truly feels like home.
Alliance Center Manager
Chris is excited to be joining the Alliance, serving as the lead for the daily operations and maintenance of the building to ensure it is living up to its mission as a high performance commercial building for its tenants and visitors. Prior to joining the Alliance, Chris had a very successful and diverse career working in industries including Real Estate Development and Construction Retail along with a short period with a nonprofit organization responsible for summer education programs for grade school students. It was in this later role which Chris was the founding member and chair of the company’s Sustainability Committee, responsible for improving green initiatives within the company’s leased office space. Chris possesses a degree in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Business from Virginia Tech and also has his Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Associate credential. Growing up in West Virginia and starting his professional career in the Washington, DC area, Chris and his family relocated to the Denver area in 2012 as a means to improve their quality of life and enjoy everything Colorado has to offer.
Kristen Leary is excited to be supporting the Alliance’s development and relationship building activities. Kristen comes to the Alliance with extensive experience in office administration, data analysis, and multimedia reporting, having worked as a geo spatial-intelligence analyst for the federal government. A Brown University graduate, she is an accomplished pianist and avid outdoor enthusiast. Kristen moved to Denver in the summer of 2014 with her husband and two cats after years of visiting for snowboarding trips. When she’s not working, you can probably find her cooking up a storm in her kitchen, backpacking in the mountains, or plotting her next trip.
After serving as the Spring 2014 Programs Intern at the Alliance, Dani moved into the Programs Coordinator role and is responsible for building programs, activities, and assisting with events in and around The Alliance Center community. Born and raised in Iowa, Dani moved to Colorado for school and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with her BA in Geography Education and Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree at the University of Denver in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Policy; as well as certificates in Project Management and Six Sigma Lean & Change Management. When she’s not at school or work, Dani enjoys spending time with her family and friends, movie marathons, fostering puppies with All Aboard Animal Rescue, kickboxing, and walking her dog, Roxie.
As the Administrative Assistant, Mariah assists with various programs and projects at the Alliance, providing support with administrative tasks from data entry to coordinating meetings. She graduated from the University of Denver in 2013 with a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish, but her focus has always been on sustainability. She previously worked at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society on their annual Walk MS Denver event and at the Center for Sustainability on the DU campus. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with loved ones.
Special Projects Director
Sandy is focused on the transformation of The Alliance Center building to insure that this flagship building provides the setting for highly effective, collaborative setting that makes a difference in our world. She is inspired by the opportunity to be part of ‘discovering new opportunities ahead of their time’. Her efforts are directed toward developing funding sources that contribute both to the bottom line and establish long-term partnerships for The Alliance Center.
After a career in academia with a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from the University of Southern California, her entrepreneurial genes kicked in to high gear. Sandy completed an MBA in Marketing and Decision Theory at Rochester Institute of Technology as prelude to a serial entrepreneurial career. The challenges of business start-up and growth provided opportunities to work in small business ownership and management from manufacturing to agricultural products to the food industry. In these diverse setting, she developed passionate, productive teams that worked together to create a special relationship with each other and the clients that they served. Two consistent themes are threaded through a host of experiences—emphasis on the health of our planet and its natural extension to historic renovation. The mission of The Alliance Center provides a unique opportunity for her to continue to pursue those passions in a setting where she can share those goals and outcomes with others.