Denver Advisory Board

February Meeting Topic – Soles of a Survivor

Nhi Aronheim stands at only four feet, nine inches tall, but her story is immense.

Several anthologies including KENTUCKY WOMEN: TWO CENTURIES OF INDOMITABLE SPIRIT AND VISION, and the PBS documentary, VIETNAM 101, have profiled my harrowing journey as a child refugee who escaped war-torn Vietnam in search of the American dream.

Speaking very little English when Nhi arrived in Kentucky, she excelled in school and became valedictorian her senior year. She later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Centre College in Danville, and a Master of Science degree in Telecommunications Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Nhi worked for four years as a telecommunications consultant for Lucent Technologies, during which time she met and married a Jewish man, and converted to Judaism in 2004. She has two beautiful children who she has raised to embrace Vietnamese and Jewish cultures.

After transitioning to sales and marketing in the mortgage industry—where she worked for over sixteen years—she retired from Citywide Home Loans as a marketing specialist, at the age of forty-one.

Next to her family, Nhi’s passion is to make a positive difference in people’s lives. She volunteers as a mediator for courts and the Better Business Bureau in Colorado, in addition to being an interpreter.

In 2013, Nhi earned a Black Belt in Taekwondo, fulfilling a promise she made to her birth mom—who wanted Nhi to learn karate before she left Vietnam—in the event she came under attack during her escape, she could protect herself.

Having come full circle from prosperity to poverty and back, Nhi hopes to encourage others to believe that in spite of overwhelming odds, they can survive any situation with a desire for improvement and the willingness to grasp opportunities in front of them.


The soles of my feet still bear the scars of my horrific escape from Vietnam—where I trudged through the jungles of Cambodia at the age of twelve with a group of strangers. No experience, however, has influenced or enriched my life more than being adopted into a Christian family and later becoming a Jew.

In SOLES OF A SURVIVOR, I share my story of survival, resilience, hope, and faith in my quest to achieve the American dream.

Various articles, academic papers, and literary anthologies have focused on the experiences of Vietnam Boat People, but many of the one million refugees who fled my country’s oppressive communist regime find it too painful to share their stories in depth. I too refused to relive my traumatic experiences for almost three decades—until now.

Through SOLES OF A SURVIVOR, I fill an essential gap for understanding the adversity Vietnam refugees endured from the perspective of a young child; the experience of being adopted into a household of a different culture; and the joys of interfaith marriage.

March Speaker: Rosalie Chamberlain, Dimensions of Diversity

Rosalie Chamberlain is the Director of Rosalie Chamberlain Consulting & Coaching. She is skilled leadership and executive coach and consultant, having worked with a broad range of corporate, government, and private industries, both national and international. Additionally, she is a nationally recognized speaker and program facilitator. Rosalie has more than 18 years of coaching experience working with individuals and groups on leadership development, team building, talent management, career transitions, and helping organizations become successful and inclusive environments.

She specializes in helping leaders obtain leadership mastery and enhance or develop critical skills that maximize the talent of the workforce of their organization, as well as identify and understand any potential blocks and beliefs that hinder progress.

Rosalie specializes in leadership assessment and effectiveness, multicultural competencies, leadership influence, talent management, organizational culture and managing and leveraging diverse talent. She has unique experience with respect to organizational culture, having worked with multicultural organizations with complex diversity and inclusion challenges to develop and implement strategies, behaviors and best practices for building inclusive organizations.

She is the author of Conscious Leadership in the Workplace: A Guidebook to Making a Difference One Person at a Time (2016). Rosalie is a contributor to The New York Times, HR News Magazine (International Public Management Association for Human Resources), Strategic HR Review, Talent Executive, Chief Learning Officer,, Onward Nation, Strategy Driven, Recalculating: 97 Experts on Driving Small Business Growth, Center Valley Business Times, American Diversity Report, as well as multiple national and international blogs.

August Meeting Speakers: Zach & Joel Appel, Childhood Addiction

Zach Appel is a junior at Metro State. Zach grew up in Denver and attended several high schools in Denver and a boarding school in Maine. Zach has been sober for 3.5 years and now helps teens and adults get and stay sober. Zach’s interests are music, reading, psychology, and anything outdoors.

Joel Appel has been an entrepreneur and business manager most of his life. After graduating from Claremont McKenna College and Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Joel worked at the Quaker Oats Company for 8 years. He then founded Orange Glo International with his parents, which they sold to Church & Dwight/Arm & Hammer in 2006. A year later Joel founded Launch Pad Ventures which partners with inventors and entrepreneurs who have created such cool companies as Tortle, Brainetics, FullBar, Base Education, and Sleep For Life. Joel sits on the boards of First Descents and the Hoffman Institute. Joel is married to Tiffany Glucksman Appel, has two kids, Zachary and Danielle, and also loves everything outdoors.

April Meeting Speaker: Julie Rasmussen, on Russia Today

Julie Rasmussen has led international business startups, turn arounds and high growth companies for over 25 years. Recently, she served as interim COO for the 8 portfolio companies of a publicly traded holding company based in Dallas, TX. She also sits on the board of the holding company. She lived and worked in Russia and the UK for over 15 years before returning to the US and relocating permanently to Colorado. She has extensive CEO and private, public and nonprofit board experience in industries such as real estate development, fast moving consumer goods, franchising, car leasing and rental and direct selling.

As a child, she spent her summers at her grandparents’ log cabin near Florissant, CO. After college, she moved to Aspen to wait tables and be a ski bum, only to get a job helping produce a whitewater river rafting documentary in Siberia for ABC TV. After spending most of her adult life abroad, Julie’s goal has always been to get back to Colorado where her heart and home are.

Here’s what Julie’s colleagues say about her:
“I can say without reservation that Julie Rasmussen is one of the finest corporate executives I’ve ever worked with in the last 25 years of my career in corporate communications. She is exceptionally bright, uniquely talented, passionate about her work, forthright and fair in the management of her team, engaged in the world outside her balance sheet, and, in the end, a kind person you can trust completely.”

October Meeting Speaker: Tami Door, President & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership

Tami Door is the President & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, a membership organization that creatively plans and manages Downtown Denver so that it remains vibrant and economically healthy. The Partnership dedicates its efforts to development, retail, public policy, transportation and housing initiatives. The Partnership currently has over 700 member businesses.

© Glenn Ross |
© Glenn Ross |

Under the umbrella of the Downtown Denver Partnership Door oversees multiple entities including the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, the Downtown Theater District and Downtown Denver Events – Colorado’s largest producer of public events. Her organization produces popular community events that bring more than one million people Downtown each year, including Denver Startup Week, A Taste of Colorado, the 9News Parade of Lights, and New Year’s Eve Fireworks Downtown.

Throughout her ten years of leadership, she has overseen multiple key city plans, such as the 16th Street Plan and 14th Street Plan, all of which have involved a wide variety of stakeholders. Door led an 18-month process to create a twenty-year vision for Downtown, the Downtown Area Plan. It was formally adopted by City Council in July of 2007 and is now in its implementation phase.

She was selected by the Denver Business Journal as one of the Forty Under Forty in the local business community, and was included in Denver’s Powerbook List, compiled by the Denver Business Journal. She is a member of the Young President’s Organization and the Colorado Women’s Forum.  She was named the 9News Leader of the Year.

Door serves on the following committees / boards:

  • Auraria Higher Education Center Board of Directors – Vice Chair
  • Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce – Treasurer
  • Denver Commission to End Homelessness – Co-Chair
  • Visit Denver – Board Member
  • Denver Theatre District – Board Member
  • Young Presidents’ Organization – Member

Door, her husband Rick and sons Hayden and Parker live in Park Hill and enjoy skiing and water skiing in their spare time.

May Meeting Speaker: Dick Monfort, CEO Colorado Rockies

As baseball season kicks off, we are thrilled to host Dick Monfort, CEO Colorado Rockies, at our May Meeting.  Dick will talk about Leadership in the context of a Major League Baseball Team.  What it looks like to deal with these high-powered stakeholders (MLB Owners, league President, wealthy players, etc.) in a leadership capacity.  Pulling back the curtain, here is what it is like behind the scenes.DickMonfort

Dick Monfort enters his 18th season with the Rockies franchise and in 2015 he continues in his role as Owner/Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the club.  A Colorado native, Monfort and the Colorado Rockies Ownership Group have established the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club as a leading organization in the Rocky Mountain Region in both the sport and business of baseball.

Brothers Dick and Charlie Monfort have done extensive community outreach through their family-directed Monfort Family Foundation.  In September 2004, the Monfort Family Foundation, gifted $10 million dollars to Children’s Hospital Colorado for the construction of a new medical facility in Aurora, Colo.  The oncology floor of the new hospital is named in memory of Rick Wilson, a cousin of the Monfort family.  In addition, the family funded an artwork, photo and Rockies memorabilia display to enhance the seventh floor of the hospital.  The foundation is a longtime provider of funding and endorsement for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Metro Denver and Weld County.  In 2012, they matched dollar for dollar on fans’ collected contributions for Coloradoans devastated by summer wildfires.  Also active in higher education, the Monfort family supports the Monfort School of Business at the University of Northern Colorado and the Monfort Excellence Fund at Colorado State University; both impact students, faculty and the Northern Colorado community through scholarships for exceptional students and support of outstanding faculty.  Other organizations that have benefited from the Monfort family’s years of philanthropic work include CU Cancer Center, Craig Hospital, United Way, the Denver Art Museum and Habitat for Humanity.

In January 2012, the Monfort brothers headed an investment group that purchased the Casper Ghosts, the Rockies affiliate in the Pioneer League now located in Grand Junction, Colo.

Individually, Monfort was the 2008 recipient of the United Way of Weld County Humanitarian of the Year Award-an award his father, Kenny Monfort, received twenty years earlier.  Monfort is currently the Chairman of the University of Northern Colorado Board of Trustees, Chairman of the Board of Directors of University of Colorado Health and Chairman of the Colorado Economic Development Commission.

Monfort spent 25 years in the cattle business, primarily with his family’s company. He became president of Monfort of Colorado, Inc., in 1987 and joined ConAgra Red Meats in 1991 as the president & CEO.  After retiring from ConAgra in 1995, he helped launch the Montera Cattle Co. in 1996.  Currently, he owns the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, Calif.

A 1976 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, Monfort has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management.  In May 2012, Colorado State University President Tony Frank awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Monfort in recognition of his significant contributions to Colorado industry and higher education.  Also in May 2014, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship by Johnson & Wales University.

Born April 27, 1954, Monfort makes his home in Greeley, Colo., and he has three children: daughter Lyndsey (and son-in-law Aaron Graber) and sons Walker and Sterling.

January’s Meeting Topic: Yippee Ki Ya-Cowboy Wisdom in the Business World

To kickoff the New Year, we welcome Todd Ordal of Applied Strategy to our January Monthly Meeting.

Real business leaders are successful, but they are not rock stars. They work hard, they are emotionally intelligent, they want to win and they want to run an ethical business that is a great place to work. In other words, they are “real” and they want real lessons on leadership, not platitudes, parables or posturing. Todd is the author of a soon to be released book, “Never Kick A Cow Chip on a Hot Day” (Morgan James, 2016).

Todd Ordal leverages his rich leadership background to help CEOs and other senior executives lead better, profit more or sleep soundly-usually without narcotics! He has led teams as large as 7,000, has worked as a CEO in multiple industries and served on many boards of directors.

DAB’s 2015 Newest Members

Michelle Oddo of NOVA Home Loans has over 20 years of mortgage lending experience MichelleOddoas a loan originator as well as experience in loan processing and underwriting. This experience makes her a knowledgeable resource to take your loan from application to closing as smoothly and stress free as possible. She enjoys helping people choose the right loan to fit their specific needs, and prides herself on educating her clients on all available options. She believes communication with all parties involved in the loan process is the key to a successful real estate transaction, and she always strives to be the best at what she does.

NOVA Home Loans
1745 Shea Center Drive, Suite 110
Highlands Ranch, Co 80129

Bryan Guice of Centennial Leasing & Sales has over 30 years Automotive Experience.BryanGuice Fleet sales are his bread and butter, management for smaller fleets of 15 – 100 vehicles, yet he has the most fun when he’s referred to assist an individual or family purchase or lease a car! Each customer’s goal is different based upon their business or personal needs.

Centennial Leasing & Sales
67 Inverness Dr E, Ste 100
Englewood, CO 80112

June’s Meeting Topic: A Republican and Democratic Lobbyist Speaking of the Results of the Latest Colorado Legislature Activities

Amy Attwood is a fourth generation Coloradan with a background as a general contractor in the water industry. In 2012 Amy transitioned her career from construction to public affairs. Having gained a large amount of political capital through her political relationships Amy opened her firm, Attwood Public Affairs in January of 2013. Attwood Public Affairs specializes in construction and land development, k12 education, public lands and oil and gas legislation. Amy is married to Gavin and mother to Max and Zak.

Solomon  Malick,Owner/President/CEO Peak Government Affairs LTD

Personal Background – I was born in my parents home in Crested Butte, Colorado in 1980 and grew up in Boulder after moving there in 1983. Being a Colorado native has given me many opportunities due to it’s landscape, climate and diverse business aspect.

Professional background – After attending Colorado State University, I pursued a career in emergency medicine and wild land fire suppression with the United States Government in the Department of the Interior. I moved from Fort Collins to Durango and began volunteering for La Plata Country Search and Rescue and acquired my Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license in 2002. I was then hired on with an engine crew with the United States Forest Service and worked in Delores fighting fire for two years. I then moved back to Durango to work as a full time contracted EMT for a year until my father, Chuck Malick, approached me and asked if I’d be interested in joining his business. In 2005 I moved to Denver and started my career as a contract lobbyist. I soon gained experience running political campaigns, legislative campaign strategy and implementation, and building coalitions necessary for success in Colorado’s political arena. I worked with Chuck as an understudy, than partner, and am now the principle of Peak Government Affairs with Chuck as my general consultant. The 2015 legislative session will my 10th session lobbying and consulting in Colorado. Regarding campaign strategy and involvement, I ran the American Federation of Teachers endorsement and initiative campaigns for four cycles and collected signatures for amendment 41 in 2008. Though a very different process than legislative work and lobbying, campaigns gave me an appreciation for what goes into maintaining a transparent, accountable and viable state government.

Methodology – After many experiences in the Colorado State Legislature, I have discovered that coalitions and partnerships with key stakeholders are the most effective avenue to success. There are many advantages to working with allies to grow support and create a critical mass, but there are also advantages to working with partners that typically end up on the other side of issues. By spreading the political net as wide as possible, political viability in regard to a specific goal becomes much more realistic and attainable in most situations. I tend to focus on building the largest and most comprehensive power base before introducing any legislation and I do the same for opposing large campaigns that are damaging to my client’s interests. This power base includes working with lobbyists, stakeholders, legislative majority and minority leadership, and the administration. Other important aspects of everyday work at the capitol are strong vote counting, sound backup in the form of grassroots and information from the client, creativity when finding legislative solutions and maintaining a consistently growing profile for the client that increases the chances of victory year after year.

Partnerships – When working with coalitions, one needs to not only understand the clients issues, desires, necessities, and nuances, but needs to understand the same for all parties involved. A comprehensive appreciation for all angles of a dynamic when moving forward with any political effort is paramount and will afford insights that prove integral for success. There is a need for collaboration, synergy and team work if longterm goals are to be achieved.