Staff + Board

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.

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!

Evaristo Gomez Jr

Boulder Multi-Issue Organizer
evaristogomez@neweracolorado.org

Evaristo Gomez is a local to the greater Denver metropolitan area and has witnessed rapid change throughout the city over the last 20 years. He graduated from CU Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism and believes the art of storytelling combined with activism is vital to making progress in our society. He found his passion for the political late in his high school career and found a knack for storytelling even later. Evaristo wants to charge into the field with compassion and empathy to help New Era create sustainable solutions and inform the public of the multiple crises today’s youth will experience.

Gabrielle Gonzales

Multi-issue Organizing Fellow
gabriellegonzales@neweracolorado.org

Gabi is a proud Mexican and Native American born and raised in Houston, Texas. She initially committed to run cross country and track, as well as pursue a Studio Arts degree at Texas Lutheran University which is a tiny private school in an even tinier town near San Antonio. While there, she became heavily involved with advocacy work. She joined and assisted the TLU voter coalition, volunteered at the election office during the 2020 election, and eventually got the opportunity to become a Democracy Fellow for The Campus Vote Project and Seguin chapter President of MOVE Texas. She strived to help her peers learn the importance of civic engagement and education; while spreading the message of equality and unity. After her sophomore year, she transferred to CU Boulder, a long-time dream of hers, to finish her degree. After discovering New Era Colorado she was eager to become a part of the team to continue to spread information on the importance of student civic engagement and advocate for the voices of marginalized people to be heard as well as advocate for other important social and political issues.

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.

Kate Kelly

Interim Boulder Lead Organizer
katekelly@neweracolorado.org

As a strong supporter of the power of people and communities, Kate is driven to invest herself in the work necessary for social change. Graduating from CU Boulder in 2021, with a BA in Political Science and Women & Gender Studies, she is very fortunate for the opportunities she’s had and the relationships she has built along the way. With previous work in student groups and non-profits, Kate has found her passion in advocacy and organizing with people and community members. She gives credit to those environments she got to be a part of as a large motivator for her passions today.

Morgan Royal

Interim Deputy 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!

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.

Trish Hyde

Multi-Issue Organizing Fellow
trishhyde@neweracolorado.org

Trish was born and raised in Boulder (go Knights!) and has had a passion for social justice since high school. While completing her bachelor’s at San Diego State University in International Business, Trish was active in student organizing and voter registration. She is particularly proud of her involvement in the passage of California Senate Bill 24 which ensured all California public university students have access to abortion pills in their campus medical centers. She is currently working on her master’s in economic and gender history at CU Denver. When she’s not reminding you to vote or reading for school, she enjoys cooking, reading (not for school), and running.

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

Leah Pryor-Lease, Vice Chair

Program Director of the Proteus Fund

PJ Hoberman, Treasurer

Senior Software Engineer at Pocket Outdoor Media