John Kelly | Executive Director
As a national social sector leader with over 25 years of experience, John Kelly has been involved in every aspect of crafting social change strategies, he's developed public-private partnerships, designed innovative grantmaking strategies, promoted service and volunteerism, and engaged diverse communities with the goal of making meaningful and measurable impact. He has worked at the community-level, as well as in the White House and on the leadership team of a billion-dollar federal agency.
Prior to joining Serve Colorado, John worked on the founding team of Generous, a civic-tech start-up dedicated to democratizing philanthropy by providing nonprofits and social causes with advanced tools and resources. Prior to Generous, he served for 8 years in the Obama Administration and focused on service, social innovation, faith-based community work starting at the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC) where he engaged faith-based and nonprofit organizations on mentoring, anti-hunger efforts, interfaith service, and leadership development.
John followed his tenure at DPC, by becoming the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that leads service, volunteerism, and social innovation for the country. At CNCS, John built a team and implemented a strategy to secure over $194 million in external funds that supported over 11,000 AmeriCorps service opportunities.
Additionally, John served as the first ever Catholic outreach liaison at the Democratic National Committee and was Catholic Vote Director for the 2008 Obama campaign in Pennsylvania. He also directed the Emerson National Hunger Fellows program at the Congressional Hunger Center, and was a Social Justice and Campus Ministry Director at a parish in Miami, Florida.
Paul Brown | Deputy Director and Director of Programs
Paul is excited to be back in the Rocky Mountain region since his first exposure to AmeriCorps as a Crew Leader with the Montana Conservation Corps in 2001. He most recently comes from the Oregon Commission for Voluntary Action & Service (Oregon Volunteers) where he was the AmeriCorps Program Officer.
Paul spent several years working abroad, initially in Vietnam as a liaison between Vietnamese and American universities helping develop academic programs to train the next class of global leaders. He spent five years in Tanzania, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer, then as Program Manager for a USAID-funded nutrition project.
Paul enjoys exploring Colorado's trails and sights with his spouse, son, and daughter. In addition to enjoying a microbrew while watching the Red Sox or Marquette basketball, he can often be seen on the trail, negotiating traffic on his bike on his way to work, in the kitchen, marveling at his childrens' newfound skills, or reading.
Zach Ward | Sr. Program & Impact Officer for Education
Zach comes to Serve Colorado with an extensive background in the education and nonprofit spaces. Prior to coming to Serve, Zach worked with Reading Partners Colorado, leading their programming efforts across the region. This included bringing community volunteers into Title 1 schools to provide 1:1 tutoring with students in literacy, overseeing the region's AmeriCorps team, and working closely with school & community partners to ensure successful delivery of service.
Before his time at Reading Partners, Zach served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Far Northeast Denver to expand extended day programming in schools and develop school-community partnerships. Zach moved to Colorado in 2013 for his VISTA service. He is originally from Indiana, where he taught high school history and government. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Secondary Education, History, & Political Science. Outside of work, you can find Zach enjoying the Colorado outdoors, playing disc golf, reading, or cheering on his beloved Indiana Hoosiers basketball team.
Jackie Rader | Program and Impact Officer
Jackie brings to Serve Colorado experience working in nonprofit organizations and state agencies. She previously worked for the Utah Department of Workforce Services' Refugee Services Office. In that role, she worked with AmeriCorps VISTA members on a multi-site project, worked closely with advisory board members and refugee service providers, and coordinated and managed public events, such as the World Refugee Day Festival.
Before working in state government, Jackie worked in special events in Los Angeles for the Autry National Center of the American West. In that role, she was responsible for coordinating and managing donors, artwork, sponsors, and ticket holders for institutional fundraising events to help support the many programs of the museum.
Jackie holds a bachelor's degree in history from UC Santa Cruz and a copyediting certificate from UC San Diego. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring the world, and playing ultimate frisbee.
Teralyn Dorst | Program and Impact Officer
Teralyn joins Serve Colorado with a variety of experience in nonprofit and governmental agencies. Upon completion of her dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management and International Business, Teralyn went on to complete two AmeriCorps terms as a Tutor with Great Oaks Legacy Charter School (AmeriCorps State) and a Team Leader with National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). Teralyn’s NCCC experience led her to Portland, OR where she worked with Habitat for Humanity as a Volunteer Coordinator leading their ReStore volunteer program.
After serving in this role, she went on to complete a disaster response to Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, assisted a vaccination clinic with Snohomish County in Washington, led a team of young adults in trail work with Northwest Youth Corps, and served as Incident Commander for the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team (ADRT) response to Hurricane Ida. After working with the Colorado Department of Public Safety (CDPS) in their Office of Emergency Management, Teralyn transitioned to Serve Colorado to continue to support meeting community-based needs through service.
Teralyn enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and camping, baking, trying to raise plants, creating “pet art”, and spending time with her cat, Gremlin.
Finance & Operations Staff
Kay Emerson | Director of Finance and Compliance
A leader in public administration and national service, Kay brings a diverse adaptability and a long-standing record of accomplishment and skills in grant management, data analysis, resource development, budgeting, and public relations. Kay uses statistics and applied research to make a difference locally and nationally. Kay is passionate about public education, workforce development, and civil rights.
Before joining Serve Colorado, Kay worked as the AmeriCorps Kansas Director for the Kansas Volunteer Commission, leading the AmeriCorps Kansas portfolio in grant-making, compliance, training, and technical assistance. Kay comes to the Serve Colorado team with extensive knowledge and strategies for supporting subgrantees in all aspects of AmeriCorps programming.
As a graduate of the University of Kansas with a master’s degree in Human Services, Kay loves to volunteer and believes in service to the community. Kay also holds several certifications in leadership, public policy, social justice, and equity from national public organizations such as the Great Lake Equity Center, YWCA Northeast Kansas, Seattle Works, the University of Washington, and the Kansas Leadership Center.
Kay’s public service record includes service as an elected School Board Member, Public Health appointee to the Equity Advisory Board for Lawrence Public Health Department, Commissioner for the City of Lawrence Human Relations (Civil Rights) Commission, and BIPOC Affinity Facilitator for America's Service Commissions.
Kay believes that when individuals are empowered to lead, everyone benefits. Kay is excited about the next journey within her new community and the opportunities ahead to improve the lives of others.
Louie Luis | Finance and Compliance Officer
Louie Luis is a Finance and Compliance Officer at the Governor's Commissions for Community Service. Born in Puerto Rico and raised between San Juan and New York, they graduated from the prestigious Masters School in NY and are finishing their accounting degree at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Before working for the Governor’s Commission for Community Service, Louie worked for The Hilton Worldwide Corporation, at their Hilton Garden Inn, Denver Union Station location. They have also fundraised for Non-Profit organizations, been your local baker, and earned a certification in Massage Therapy.
Louie is fluent in English and Spanish. They enjoy cooking, water activities, and facetiming with their baby niece.
External Affairs Staff
Arianna Pattek | Director of External Affairs
As the Director of External Affairs, Arianna collaborates closely with the Executive Director of Serve Colorado to oversee a diverse range of functions, including managing communications and external messaging, cultivating innovative new partnerships, and driving member recruitment.
With a Master’s of Education in international education policy and child protection from Harvard University, Arianna is driven by an unwavering passion for leveraging education and community development to tackle pressing global challenges and pave the way for a brighter, more equitable future for all. She earned her bachelor's degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where she immersed herself in the study of international politics and justice and peace studies, establishing a strong foundation for her work to foster positive social change.
Her journey in service and advocacy began as an Education Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar, developing capacity-building initiatives for rural educators. In addition to her service in Madagascar, Arianna led civic education and capacity programs in Kenya and Tanzania. Prior to joining the Serve Colorado team, Arianna played a pivotal role in the corporate social responsibility space as the Director of National Programs for a small nonprofit, where she honed her expertise in designing high-impact engagement and service-delivery programs for individuals and corporations while redefining roles of businesses in community uplift efforts.
Outside of work, Arianna finds joy in being outside through skiing, hiking, and horseback riding. Alongside her husband, she shares her life with a fluffy Samoyed named Eevee. They hold aspirations of mastering the art of dogsledding – hoping for an adventure that is both thrilling and safe.
Danny Fisher | Training and Outreach Officer
Danny joins Serve Colorado after working in the federal government on emergency management and community resilience. He began his career in public service with a graduate internship with the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Relations Service, providing community-based conflict resolution and dialogue facilitation throughout New York State. Following graduate school, Danny was awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship, during which he worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in national preparedness. He later worked with the White House Council on Environmental Quality during the Obama Administration, where he focused on climate change preparedness and community resilience, including initiatives supporting Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA members.
A certified mediator, Danny graduated with a master's degree in negotiation and conflict resolution from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Oklahoma State University.
Joslyn Orji | Executive Assistant and Communications Coordinator
Joslyn joins Serve Colorado after graduating from Colorado State University in May 2022. With a background in political science, global policy, international development, and ethnic studies, Joslyn has experience working in student organizations and university committees such as the Associated Students of CSU, Presidential Ambassadors, and the Black/African American Cultural Center - all of which are centered around improving the undergraduate experience at CSU through a DEI lens. Her passions revolve around upward improvement in the lives of others through sustainable solutions and service, which she has been able to accomplish by serving the CSU community as a peer mentor and coordinator for four years.
Joslyn loves to travel and explore new cities, hoping to explore Denver more in its entirety and experience all it has to offer. In her free time, she likes to read, make playlists, and spend time with friends and family.