Berenice Garcia Tellez | Chair
Berenice Garcia Tellez, a Mexican native and travel enthusiast, received her master’s degree in Environmental Engineering in Saudi Arabia. Other countries she has lived in include Turkey, Italy, and Norway, where she worked researching climate change. Berenice currently works at City and County of Denver implementing equitable policies for the new Energize Denver Building Performance Ordinance. Before, she managed the Sustainable Business Program at the City of Longmont and worked with the business community on implementing sustainable and DEI practices that lead to the creation of the first equitable sustainable business program in the country.
She also sits at the Latino Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Through her work with the Chamber, Berenice has supported hundreds of Latino businesses through the COVID-19 crisis, coordinated community equity clinics and advocated for equitable financial resources distribution.
Some of Berenice’s favorite figures are Elon Musk and Batman. Though the two have very different origin stories, they both rose to make a great impact in their respective communities. While Batman may be fictional, both he and Elon Musk inspire Berenice to one day do something that influences the world.
Jim Vernon | Secretary
Jim joined Front Range Community College after a successful career in the private sector. For thirty years, he led projects and organization development for two global strategy consulting leaders, a Fortune 100 enterprise, an Inc. 500 technology service provider and his own small business venture. His start-up test preparation and tutoring service strengthened his passion for student success. The community college mission is a natural fit with this passion.
When he is not working with students and community partners, Jim enjoys exploring Colorado's many scenic attractions and playing Texas Hold 'Em. At home, Jim and his wife, Shanna, cater to the needs of their dog, Theodore. Always thankful for the opportunity to serve in higher education, Jim leads students to develop the best in themselves.
Esteban Martinez | Board Member
Esteban A. Martinez, a practicing lawyer with pre-Columbus North and South American roots, has practiced law for more than 20 years and became a board member in June, 2020.
By serving on the board, he hopes to learn and to help others achieve success in their businesses.
Norma King | Board Member
Norma King has specialized in public relations and community outreach with multicultural communities for over 15 years. Her work has focused on advocating for the Hispanic Community in Colorado. Norma's career has spanned several strategic roles supporting minority business development at the Colorado Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and connecting students with industry leaders to grow their career opportunities while working with Denver Public Schools.
Norma King is the Bilingual Business Sustainability Advisor at PACE (Partners for a Clean Environment), part of the Boulder County Office of Sustainability, Climate Acton & Resilience. PACE provides technical assistance and resources to small businesses, helping them reduce the negative impact of their operations on the environment. Norma supports the PACE small business equity program focusing on equity outreach.
Norma King Holds a Bachelor of Art in Advertising and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. Her extensive career started working with a renowned advertising agency in Medellin-Colombia, her native country. Her involvement in the music industry as a singer and a TV show host led her eventually to initiate a successful career in marketing and business development in Colombian record companies.
Norma leveraged her expertise in the music and entertainment industry establishing a marketing and event productions company in Medellin. For several years her company produced concerts and relevant events for private and public sector clients.
Norma moved to the United States after getting married to Steven King, a seasoned entrepreneur. They own a corporate catering business called Wok & Roll Teriyaki, providing healthy food to offices and also having the opportunity of giving back to some families and small charitable organizations.
Marisa Baylón Guillén | Board Member
Marisa Baylón Guillén is a first-generation Mexican immigrant. She earned International Relations and Political Science degrees from the University of Colorado Boulder. Marisa’s emphasis is largely on socioeconomic issues facing immigrant populations today and exemplified by her work in advocacy, education, and policy specifically targeting traditionally underserved communities. Marisa is an exceptional strategist with an array of experience ranging from local non-profits to international businesses and from small businesses to Fortune 500s. Marisa currently works as Longmont EDP’s Collective Impact Coordinator, a position created to help Longmont build an economy that champions growth, prosperity, and inclusion. Before returning to Longmont, Marisa was a labor organizer for Service Employees International Union (SEIU), where she collaborated and integrated with community organizations, executives, and political affiliates. She also served as the New Americans Citizenship Coordinator for the Florida Immigrant Coalition and was the project and business manager for Intercambio Uniting Communities. She has volunteered as a Board Member for the Latino Task Force of Boulder County and during the creation of the Boulder County Latino History Project. Marisa is passionate about building strong community networks, designing new programs in collaboration with partners, and coordinating program implementation.
Kari Palazzari | Board Member
Kari brings extensive experience in nonprofit management, organizational development, and leadership consulting to her position on the LCC Board. Prior to moving to Colorado in 2006, she earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University and a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has served on numerous boards, including the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and as Board Treasurer of Studio Arts Boulder prior to being hired as Executive Director. Earlier in her career, Kari launched both nonprofit and for-profit start-ups and also worked in marketing communications and project management.
Jeff Lund | Board MemberJeffrey is an Instructional Program Consultant with St Vrain Valley Schools, Founder of The TAJL Group llc, and Associate Dean for Planet Startup Inc. As a Master Certified Life Coach, Certified Entrepreneurial MindSet Facilitator, Consultant and Solutions Specialist, he is one who is dedicated in helping all discover their inner potential. Having an MBA, and years of leadership experience in education as a principal, director and teacher, and leadership positions in large corporate settings, as well as experience training others in career success, his focus is to help others learn how to turn life's obstacles into opportunities. Jeffrey utilized a Design Thinking environment to create a MultiMedia Studio for students as well as an innovative, state-of-the art Entrepreneurial Zone to enrich the educational and career opportunities for the students within St Vrain Valley Schools and in Silver Consolidated Schools in New Mexico.
His ability to network creates opportunities within educational and business environments that others may not have envisioned. His strength and passion for creating authentic experiences for students and adults alike pushes through the traditional thinking within education and business. Through his vision and use of industry best practices, Jeffrey has been able to work collaboratively with industry, universities, and community agencies, to support his efforts in the enrichment of opportunities for all he serves.
Iris Prieto | Board Member
Iris Prieto, a Mexican native, received a bachelor degree in psychology at the Centro Universitarios del Norte (CEUN). Also, she completed two years of master's degree as a family and couples therapist at Instituto Regional de la Familia (IREFAM). As well, she has a long journey as a cultural broker of the Spanish speaking community. Recently, she joined the OUR Center team as a Community Outreach & Equity Coordinator.
Iris is looking forward to further connecting with the greater Longmont community, particularly to help small businesses to have access to diverse resources.
Jorge Navarrete | Board MemberJorge is a Latino business owner and young entrepreneur in the area. He is a México native that has lived in the Boulder County Area for 10 years. He received his BS with a degree in International Business Management in Boston, MA. Jorge currently works in his family company in Longmont which has helped many Latino immigrants start and grow their own business over the years. He hopes to continue this work and help more entrepreneurs in the Longmont area become independent.
Jorge previously served as the Chairman of the Superior Youth Leadership Council in the town of Superior. A committee he founded in 2014 to promote youth involvement and foster young leaders in the town. Additionally, he founded a club in his university called the Mexican Student Association in order to create an inclusive and supportive environment where Mexican students in Boston could connect and network, mentor, and socialize with other fellow-countrymen and women.
Other Board Members
Carla Colin | Programs Manager:
My name is Carla Colin, my pronouns are she/her/hers/ella, I am originally from Mexico City, I came to live in Colorado with my parents and my sister when I was 15 years old.
I am fortunate to be married to my best friend and adventure partner, I have a teenage daughter and a dog named Minnie, I am one semester away from graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work, I have a Mexican arts and crafts business called Mi Casa Azul.
I am the new Program Manager for the Boulder County Latino Chamber of Commerce and I am very excited to be part of an organization focused on supporting and empowering Latinx businesses and entrepreneurs. Before coming to the LCC I worked as the Community Engagement Coordinator for Boulder County in the Community Services Department within the CAP Division and before that I worked as a contractor and Cultural Broker for EFAA in the 2020 Census campaign educating and representing low income and immigrant families.
I really enjoy traveling with my family, camping and kayaking on Colorado lakes are some of my favorite things, cooking for my family and practicing Yoga relax me a lot.
I look forward to meeting many Latinx businesses and helping them propel themselves to the next level with transparency, community collaboration, and a commitment that their priorities will be mine.
Peter Salas | Past Chairman:
Peter lives in Lafayette and has been a Boulder County resident since 1985. Peter is the father of 3 including 2 teenagers who currently attend schools in Lafayette. Peter has as a B.S. degree in Business Finance.
Peter began his public career as a community organizer and has been actively involved in community affairs his entire career. Peter has served on over a dozen non-profit boards as well as, having served on a city council and school board. Peter was a founding member of the Boulder County Latino Chamber and has served on the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and the former Minority Business Leadership Council. Peter has also been actively involved in local politics and has helped organize 3 different Latino focused political organizations.
During Peter’s professional work career, he has been a community organizer, a project coordinator, diversity coordinator, diversity liaison, intercultural trainer, program manager and public affairs specialist. Peter currently offers consulting services in the area of Intercultural Development and Training.
Peter has a thoughtful and collaborative style, along with deep programmatic and policy expertise in several areas, which has made him an effective champion for advancing equity, and urban development strategies to expand economic opportunity.
Rachel Garcia | Ex Officio Chairwoman:
Rachel has worked from small and international business to the nonprofit and government sectors and specializes in program development, community outreach, and operations management. She has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs make connections to start and grow their businesses across several industries and specifically, focuses on serving traditionally underserved communities.
Rachel began working at the Boulder SBDC in 2011, and returned as the center's program manager after 5 years in the health and wellness field. She is the chairperson of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County, where she began as the board secretary in 2013.
Rachel earned her bachelor's degrees in women and gender studies and English - literature from the University of Colorado. Some of her favorite things are live music, plants, and her rescue dog.