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Staff + Board

Staff
Civic Engagement Program Manager Aly smiles in front of roses and a brick building

Aly Belknap

Civic Engagement Program Manager
alainna@neweracolorado.org

Aly manages our high school voter registration work. The program has been to over 100 schools in 14 Colorado counties since 2015, registering and preregistering over 27,000 young Coloradans to vote! Aly is enthusiastically growing our network of partner schools, reaching out to schools as close as the Denver metro area, and as far as the Western Slope, in order to reach neighborhoods and communities we haven’t yet worked with. Amid all this growth, Aly is working to deepen our relationships with our long-term partners by innovating our drives to more deeply involve students, educators, and school staff. Aly is excited to begin incorporating student volunteers into some of our drives, because building students into the process encourages hesitant students to register to vote, while gaining the student volunteers practical skills and experience. She is truly energized by our civic engagement work and is always ready to talk about how early registration creates lifelong voters!

Ashly Villa-Ortega

Denver Lead Organizer
ashly@neweracolorado.org

Having grown up in the Northside of Denver, Montbello, and Green Valley Ranch and being the daughter of two Mexican immigrants, Ashly’s life-long love for a young British wizard (Harry Potter) destined to defeat the most powerful dark wizard of all time hasn’t always been understood by her communities or family. Nonetheless, she still has a strong commitment to making positive profound change for and in the communities she comes from. At CU Boulder, she earned a dual degree in International Affairs and Ethnic Studies while at the same time spending three long years trying to learn Arabic and somehow managing to earn a minor in it even though she reads it at a second grade level. With the knowledge she gained at university and her own experiences, Ashly is fostering a community of advocates, activists, and allies at New Era that is safe, inclusive, and revolutionary. She uses a racial justice lens in all the work she does and helps our interns and volunteers develop that lens as well, pushing us one step closer to making civic engagement work more equitable. In her free time, you can find Ashly constantly overthinking things and trying to stop herself from eating more hot Cheetos.

Arianna Morales

Advocacy Organizer
arianna@neweracolorado.org

As a devout believer in astrology, Arianna attributes all of her success to being born at 4:23 PM, in Ventura County on a beautiful January day. But in truth, her success was a combination of her passion to give back to her community and a deep commitment to make her Mama proud. Arianna graduated magna cum laude as a first generation student from Metropolitan State University with a degree in Chicano Studies. During her undergraduate experience, she joined the 2018 Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO) fellowship, where she researched policies affecting the health and education of Latinx lives in Colorado. Her experience as a fellow led her to work as an aide for the Colorado legislature, helping push through bills to create a more equitable criminal justice system. Now, as one of New Era’s Advocacy Organizers, Arianna manages the The Brazen Project at Fort Collins to help destigmatize abortion on college campuses. In her short time with New Era, she’s worked with her students to create and facilitate a workshop at the Feminist Thought and Activism Conference, as well as helped execute the first ever Youth Activist for Abortion Access Summit (YAAAS!). Outside of work, she spends her time brainstorming new playlist names and giving her cat the silent treatment.

Charley Olena smiles wearing pink floral blazer and black glasses

Charley Olena

Advocacy Director
charley@neweracolorado.org

Charley was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, which instilled in her a deep love for losing sports teams and chicken wings. After graduating from Colby College, Charley spent the next four years training organizers to run and win environmental campaigns with Green Corps and its partner organizations. At New Era, Charley drives policy development, strategy, press, partner engagement, and lobbying for each of our priority issue campaigns, helping us win on student debt reform, election access, climate change and more. Charley’s involvement in improving the world doesn’t end with New Era—she’s the youngest commissioner serving on the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, a founding board member of Future Majority Canada (New Era of the North, as she calls it), and serves on the advisory board for the Student Borrower Protection Center. When she’s not working to engage young people in New Era’s issue work or down at the capitol, you can find Charley at the Denver Curling Club or brunch.

Emma Marion

Organizing Director
emma@neweracolorado.org

Emma grew up in Boulder, CO playing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains and hugging the occasional tree. She majored in International Studies and Spanish at CSU, where her itching travel bug led her to Spain for a year. She’s got a passion for grassroots organizing and fell in love with New Era as a Northern Organizer in 2014. Since then, she’s become even more of an expert by wearing as many hats as possible—high school organizer, Boulder Lead Organizer, Boulder Program Manager, Deputy Organizing Director, and, finally her current position as Organizing Director. She opened our first ever office on the Western Slope and led us to register over 40,000 voters in the 2018 election cycle. Somehow, she still finds the time to serve her community in other leadership roles, including on the City of Boulder’s Communications and Engagement Working Group for Municipalization and on the Sierra Club’s Political Committee. It’s unclear when/if she ever sleeps.

Hannah Robinson-Armour, MBA

Operations Director
hannah@neweracolorado.org

Hannah considers herself a Coloradan having moved to Boulder when she was six. She received her undergraduate degree from CU Boulder in history and chemistry (in 3 years because she’s just that organized) then went out to explore the world. After living in China for a year, she was drawn back to Colorado and discovered a love of operations and completed her MBA at CU Denver. At the office, she manages New Era’s finances so we can optimize transforming our resources into real on the ground work, answers all the compliance questions the staff can throw at her so we’re always on point, and makes sure we support and value the truly amazing people who work at this organization. She loves working at New Era so she can combine her love of progressive politics, spreadsheets, and overall operations. When not working, she’s reading, cooking, and eating.

Kate Travis

Data Manager
kate@neweracolorado.org

Kate moved back to her home state of Colorado to work on the 2018 midterm election as an organizer with New Era. Before that, she taught math in New York City for three years (shout out to 5th graders!) where she learned how to fearlessly jaywalk. There, Kate learned the importance of truly intersectional and badass organizing and activism and works to center that in all of her work at New Era (and her life!). From 2011-2015 she attended the University of Virginia where she studied Environmental Science and Economics, learned critical analyses of society, history, and identity, and ran Let’s Get Brunch Together in Q-mmunity as well as dialogues around identity and privilege. As Data Manager, she runs New Era’s sprawling google sheets republic, supports our field and advocacy programs, and drives metrics and strategy for all of our data. She’s working to constantly grow her data practice, especially as it intersects with racial and economic justice. When she’s not running the numbers, she’s probably out dancing, explaining an extended and overly specific joke, or hypothesizing inner monologues for dogs at breweries.

Lauren Smith

Advocacy Organizer
lauren@neweracolorado.org

Looking at Lauren, you would never have guessed that she started out as a physics major at the University of Colorado Boulder. In just a few short years, she transformed from a science nerd to advocacy organizing queen, all thanks to the New Era internship that she took on a whim in 2017. During the 2018 election, she registered hundreds of voters on the CU campus and proved her organizing and strategic prowess, which is why she was asked to stay on permanently, and was given the title of “Advocacy Organizer, Sorcerer against Shame and Stigma, Fearless Fashionista, Warden of Aurarians, and Bringer of Smiles”. Since then, Lauren has testified at the capitol multiple times, hired a cohort of students to to lead the charge on de-stigmatizing abortion in Denver, and helped put on the Youth Activists for Abortion Access Summit (YAAAS!). When Lauren isn’t working on a robust campaign to eliminate the insidious presence of fake clinics on the Auraria campus she’s likely getting her nails done, playing ukulele, or begrudgingly watching reality TV so she can participate in her coworkers’ conversations.

Lizzy Stephan

Executive Director
lizzy@neweracolorado.org

These days, Lizzy is our Executive Director…but back in the day, she was a distant New Era superfan, collecting New Era swag and volunteering. We won her over instantly in 2010 by offering *both* a free t-shirt and a granola bar (editor’s note: why was this so impressive) at a door-knocking event to get out the vote, and she’s been hanging around ever since. She officially joined the team in 2012 as an organizer, moving on to serve as New Era’s Organizing Director, and then Deputy Director before taking over as Executive Director in 2016—the same year Rolling Stone named her one of 16 young people shaping the General Election (that was cool). Lizzy currently serves on the Secretary of State’s Bipartisan Election Advisory Committee and served as the chair of the Alliance for Youth Action’s body of Executive Directors from 2016-2018. Lizzy graduated magna cum laude from Colorado College, where she studied sociology and was a leader in campus sustainability, divestment and electoral campaigns. In her free time, she struggles to keep a few dozen cacti alive and cooks vegetarian food.

Michael Carter

Communications Manager
michael@neweracolorado.org

Michael is a proud Virginian (at-large) who grew up wandering the Blue Ridge Mountains. He studied English and Environmental Policy at UVA before Colorado pulled him away to begin advocating for stronger national environmental protections. This work plugged him into the wonderful world of progressive politics, leading him down a rabbit hole that landed him at New Era. He’s leading a strategic effort at New Era to uplift young people’s voices and to make sure our work gets recognition, allowing us to continue to reach more people, grow to new heights, and better carry out our mission.

Morgan Royal

Senior Organizing Manager
morgan@neweracolorado.org

Morgan was born and raised in Colorado, comes from a big family, and believes that organizing will lead to liberation. She went to Colorado State University and studied Political Science and Women’s Studies and went on to write a Black Feminist Manifesto with her peers to call out the lack of institutionally supported spaces on college campuses for Women of Color and Black Women. Her first interaction with New Era was back in 2014 as a volunteer and she instantly fell in love with the bold approach to politics and the classic Vote F*cker buttons. She was Emma Marion’s first ever volunteer and the rest is history. At New Era, she’s in charge of tying together advocacy and civic engagement, turning our plans for social change into reality, and setting up our lead organizers for success. Since 2017, she has trained dozens of young leaders, coordinated and overseen massive voter registration efforts and has brought our economic justice work to new heights by launching powerful new initiatives. When Morgan’s not at work she enjoys watching reality tv, eating anything with cheese on it, and playing with her cat.

Natalie Drevets

Development Director
natalie@neweracolorado.org

Natalie grew up in Wichita and Taipei, and spent the six years before moving to Denver in Chicagoland. After earning a degree in sociology and urban studies from Wheaton College, she stuck around to manage their development and student philanthropy programs. As Development Director, Natalie has taken New Era’s fundraising to new heights, building lasting connections throughout Colorado and advocating for the power of youth-driven democracy. She’s passionate about helping her community and volunteers with both Homeless Out Loud and the Interfaith Alliance. When she’s not asking people to give money to New Era, you can find Natalie meeting future friends (no one is a stranger), exploring new cities, or texting her friends about their local elections.

Raegan Cotton

Development Manager
raegan@neweracolorado.org

Raegan was born and raised in Redondo Beach, CA, but after high school she felt a calling to buy her first winter jacket and move to Colorado to attend The University of Denver. Even after 6 years in Denver, her family in LA still calls to check in every time it snows to be sure she is “okay” (spoiler- she usually isn’t). While trying to keep herself warm, she found a passion for policy and decided to pursue majors in both Criminology and Political Science, with a minor in Psychology. She first crossed paths with New Era Colorado as an intern during the summer of 2017 and fell in love with their approach to creating systemic change. While wrapping up her senior year at DU, she worked as a Legislative Aide in the CO State Capitol and learned firsthand about how a bill becomes a law. Surprise, surprise…it’s a lot more complicated than the Schoolhouse Rock song leads you to believe. After graduating, she spent time working with a New Era partner org before winding up back in the New Era office to step in as the Development Manager. When not at work you can probably find her walking her dog, watching The Office for the 75+ time or cooking dinner for her friends and neighbors.

Victoria Dadet

Senior Advocacy Manager
victoria@neweracolorado.org

Victoria is “from” a lot of places, but considers the Chicago suburbs her home and never hesitates to profess her love for Lou Malnati’s. After completing an internship with New Era during the summer of 2016, she stayed on as an Organizing Fellow during the election. After a year badass achievements like being elected Co-President of BSA, working as an editor for the CU Honors Journal, graduating from CU Boulder with degrees in Psychology and Ethnic Studies, and graduating as the valedictorian for the Ethnic Studies department, she came back to New Era in 2018. As the Advocacy Manager, she runs The Brazen Project where she leads our reproductive rights work to make sure everyone in Colorado who needs an abortion can get one with dignity and respect, and without shame and stigma. In her first year in this role she expanded Brazen to a third campus, graduated nine cohort members, and put on the very first Youth Activist for Abortion Access Summit (aka YAAAS!). If she’s not reading articles on reproductive justice and ranting about fake clinics, she’s probably braiding her hair, watching Beyonce’s Homecoming for the millionth time, doing Black Girl Magic yoga, or trying to get through her massive TV watchlist.

Board

Amanda Gonzalez

Executive Director, Colorado Common Cause

Brittany Pettersen

State Senator for Senate District 22

Daniel Ramos, Vice Chair

Executive Director, One Colorado

Rob DuRay, Chair

Vice President of Javelina's Colorado office

Feven Netsanet, Treasurer

Budget Analyst, City of Denver

Joanne Schwartz

Principal, Civitas Public Affairs

Karla Gonzales-Garcia

Policy Director, COLOR