Staff + Board

For all press inquiries, please reach out to michael@neweracolorado.org

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

Aly Belknap

Senior Organizing Manager
alainna@neweracolorado.org

Aly is a firm believer in the power of progressivism. She traces her passion for organizing back to her high school days in Rochester, NY, working on issues like eradicating disposable foam lunch trays and anti-bullying. She graduated from The George Washington University in 2019, and immediately set her sights on Colorado as a haven for youth power, where young people are driving forward a shared vision for a just, equitable future. When she’s not organizing, you can find her binging The Office for the 1000th time, improving her cooking skills (while refusing to improve her baking skills) and skateboarding around Denver. Aly is always down to raise some class consciousness, so don’t hesitate to start a conversation with her about capitalism.

Arianna Morales

Regional Advocacy Manager
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 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.

Danielle Ryan

Voter Registration Field Organizer
danielleryan@neweracolorado.org

A graduate of Smoky Hill High School, Danielle grew up in Aurora. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Texas State University in a tripled minored program in Political Science, Sociology, and Business Administration. While in Texas, she organised against the many voter suppression efforts of the governor and the state legislator. Other past organising experience includes canvassing for Environment Texas to ban a bee killing pesticide in the state of Texas. After graduation, nothing could keep her from coming back to Colorado; she missed the mountains and the people! One of her top issues is civic engagement, and she loves nothing more than getting people involved in the political system and bringing power back to the people! She loves working at new era and talking progressive politics with young people all day; organising is all about community. In her free time, she teaches piano lessons, performs music, and is very involved in her Jewish community.

Elsa Gartenmann

Civic Engagement Organizing Fellow
elsagartenmann@neweracolorado.org

When asked the question, “where are you from?”, Elsa does not always know how to answer. Born in Fullerton, CA, she moved every other year growing up and has since lived in five states and five countries (so far). Living within a diverse array of cultures, Elsa met hundreds of different people throughout her upbringing and began to learn from an early age how much of a variation there is in the factors that shape people’s lives as well as how they are treated. As a woman of color, she experienced firsthand the contrast between living in one’s country of origin and in places in which people of her descent and of color were scarce. Elsa attributes these experiences to the way that she looks at the world now, through a progressive lens that seeks to create more equity. Majoring in International Affairs and Political Science with a minor in Korean, she hopes to make a difference in the world moving forward. In her free time, Elsa loves to write songs, listen to Tyler, the Creator and Anderson .Paak, and try her hand at making different Korean dishes!

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.

Hayley Banyai-Becker, She/Her

Organizing Program Manager
hayley@neweracolorado.org

Hayley was born and raised in Ventura County, California, with a twin brother, 18-month-younger brother, and 7-year-older sister, who are three of her best friends. She moved to Colorado to finish off her final two years of undergrad at CU Boulder in 2015, graduating with a psychology degree and a determination to be more deeply involved in her community. You may know her from her work for various progressive candidates and issue campaigns, like paid family & medical leave, or her time with the Colorado State Legislature. Her passion for organizing — and dedication to enacting deeply needed social change— led her to the Organizing Program Manager position with New Era. In her free time, she organizes more with community organizations and direct action, loves playing volleyball and being with community.

Isaiah Gonsalves

Voter Registration Field Organizer
Isaiahgonsalves@neweracolorado.org

Isaiah was born in upstate New York to a Puerto Rican mother and a Cape Verdean Father. Growing up in a predominately white neighborhood and the son of an African immigrant, he viewed life through a different lens than most of his peers. He got to witness racism and discrimination first hand. This pushed him to want to make a difference and study the likes of Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. After that, his empathy drove him to seek out and learn about all marginalized groups, constantly trying to find a plausible way to help. Ultimately leading him to New Era. On his free time, you can find him drawing, making music, or kickboxing.

Javier Alvarado Vega

Denver Organizing Manager
javier@neweracolorado.org

Born in the heart of the Tzirondaro Valley, Javier spent the first few years of his life in his hometown of Zamora in Mexico. He immigrated with his parents to Colorado and has lived there ever since. He attended school in-state at the University of Denver where he earned a dual degree in International Studies and Political Science. For Javier politics have always permeated his life. From an young age, the impact of ICE raids and protests urged him to political action. He wants students to be as excited about politics as he felt at their age: this is why he is interested in voting. A self-proclaimed cinephile, Javier always has recommendations for good films, or bad ones. He loves traveling. And although he still has not made it to Paris, his francophone soul looks forward to it. Javier also loves to cook and is in the process of perfecting his personal ramen recipe. He is always looking for taste testers.

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

Issue Campaigns Manager
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.

Max Mapes

Advocacy Lead Organizer
maxmapes@neweracolorado.org

Max is from the District of Columbia, birthplace of National Treasure Ginuwine. Growing up in the political capital of the US, they began their career in politics at the ripe age of seventeen. During their senior year of high school, Max interned for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a coalition campaign for Maryland’s same-sex marriage ballot initiative. After winning the campaign, they realized that it would be a crime against humanity to deprive the American people of their organizing skills. Max attended Elon University in NC before transferring to Skidmore College in upstate NY, where they majored in Political Science and minored in Gender Studies.

After graduating, Max returned to DC, but quickly grew tired of living in a literal swamp. In 2018, they packed up their car and moved to the wonderfully arid Denver. A year and a half into canvassing for civil, human, and environmental rights, Max discovered their passion for working indoors. They are now the Advocacy Lead Organizer at New Era, where they support a cohort of College Fellows working to destigmatize abortion in campus culture and educate students on Anti-Abortion Counseling Centers.

In their free time, Max volunteers with community organizations to expand legal protections for trans, black, and undocumented folx. Outside of activism, Max enjoys listening to jazz rap, petting cats, and eating baked goods.

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.

Michelle Schwartz

Boulder Organizing Fellow
michelleschwartz@colorado.org

Michelle was born and raised in North Carolina and has been passionate about young voter involvement since her freshman year of high school. She believes that when young people utilize their power that great change can happen. Michelle is currently a Senior at The University of Colorado at Boulder and is excited to get back in person to excite young voters.

Morgan Royal

Campaigns Director
morgan@neweracolorado.org

Morgan was born and raised in Colorado, comes from a big family, and believes that people-powered organizing is the path to liberation. She went to Colorado State University and studied Political Science and Women and Gender 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 Black Women. Morgan first got involved with New Era as a volunteer in 2014 and then went on to join the organization full time as the Denver Organizing Manager and then Senior Organizing Manager. Currently, as Campaigns Director, she leads our issue organizing campaigns at the ballot box and at the legislature, organizes voter mobilization campaigns, and turns our plans for social change into reality. Since 2017, she has trained dozens of young leaders, coordinated and overseen massive voter registration and GOTV efforts and has brought our economic justice and student debt 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.

Nicole Hensel

Executive Director
nicole@neweracolorado.org

For as long as she can remember, Nicole has been driven to create a more just and fair world. Before New Era, she spent over eight years working in the field of youth empowerment and education policy. Nicole first moved to Colorado in 2012 as a bilingual kindergarten teacher in Montbello, right when the “Frozen” craze swept kindergarten classrooms across the nation (yes – she knows all the words to “Let it Go”). After teaching, Nicole received her Master’s in Public Policy and Master’s in Education Leadership at Stanford where she geeked out over social psychology, social contract theory, and systems-change. At Stanford, she co-founded an organization called REENVISIONED, a national movement to redefine the purpose of school, where she learned how to unite and mobilize students, teachers, parents, and community members around a shared vision for change.

After moving back to Denver, Nicole continued to work in education – both at Denver Public Schools and a national nonprofit, The Future Project. However, she found that many of the problems she was seeking to solve in education were symptoms of larger societal issues that could only be solved by democracy. Nicole decided to bring her expertise in youth empowerment and deep commitment to social justice to New Era in 2019 as our Executive Director.

Nicole strongly identifies as a Gryffindor, has a dog named Tonks, and owns a staple Hermione costume for whenever the moment is right. She is happiest when she is making Lebanese food (ask for her family hummus recipe) and adventuring outdoors.

Paulina Castle

Voter Registration Field Organizer
paulinacastle@neweracolorado.org

Paulina grew up in Aurora, where her passion for social change started after learning about Climate Change in the fourth grade (she successfully lobbied her teacher into starting a recycling bin).

In 2018, she started fundraising for Healthier Colorado. For almost two years, you could find her talking to community members at a local grocery store or coffee shop about healthcare reform. Her favorite part of her role was destigmatizing mental health, which drove her to also intern at Young Invincibles. While there, she worked with students to make counseling services more accessible on college campuses.

Paulina originally joined New Era Colorado in the Spring of 2020 as an Economic Justice fellow, where she mobilised young people around protections for private student loan borrowers and financial education. During her short time away, she collected ballot initiative petition signatures for NEWR (No Evictions without Representation) Denver.

Now she is back as a Voter Registration Field Organizer, she is ready to hit the hallways and help students begin their life-long journey of civic engagement.

When Paulina isn’t on the field, she enjoys watching cartoons, drawing and playing board games. If you want to make a fast friend, mention Steven Universe to her. If you want to make a fast friendenemy, challenge her to a game of Survive!

Phoebe Rudnick

Boulder Organizing Fellow
phoeberudnick@neweracolorado.org

Phoebe grew up in Winnetka, Illinois and is currently a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in Physics. Passionate about social change and equal opportunity, she plans on pursuing a career in law to be an advocate for people’s civil liberties through the legal channels. As a Boulder Organizing Fellow, Phoebe connects with students on campus through in-person tabling to mobilize them to register to vote, take action on issue campaigns, and volunteer with New Era. When she is not working or studying, Phoebe likes to be outside whether she is hiking, running, or snowboarding. She can talk about Taylor Swift’s discography for hours, has re-watched Gilmore Girls more than she would like to admit and goes to bed way too early for a 21-year-old.

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 (she/they)

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, they stayed on as an Organizing Fellow during the election. After a year of achievements like becoming Co-President of BSA, working as an editor for the CU Honors Journal, and graduating from CU Boulder as the valedictorian for the Ethnic Studies department, they came back to New Era in 2018. As the Senior Advocacy Manager, they lead our work to destigmatize abortion through The Brazen Project and our annual Youth Activist for Abortion Access Summit (aka YAAAS!). She also leads Let My People Vote, our electoral justice work in collaboration with Soul 2 Soul Sisters, and is extremely passionate about centering Black women in this work. You can usually find them ranting about how much they hate capitalism, reading tarot, talking to their cat like a human child, and endlessly scrolling through tiktok.

Board

Alvina Vasquez

President, PowerMap Ltd.

Amanda Gonzalez

CEO, PBT Management, Inc.; Executive Director of Common Cause

Carmen Medrano

Executive Director, United for a New Economy

Feven Netsanet, Chair

Super Mom

Joanne Schwartz

Advocacy Consultant

Karla Gonzales-Garcia

Policy Director, COLOR

Leah Pryor-Lease, Vice Chair

Program Director of the Proteus Fund

PJ Hoberman, Treasurer

Senior Software Engineer at Pocket Outdoor Media