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Board of Directors

BRET DUSTON – Chair
Senior Vice President & Director of Commercial Banking – Colorado, Academy Bank, N.A.

Bret has been in the banking industry and active in the greater Denver, Colorado market for 25 years. Bret has extensive experience helping small and mid-sized commercial businesses grow and prosper. He has held numerous executive management roles with responsibility for small business, business banking, middle market, SBA, and credit administration divisions during his tenure. Prior to joining Academy Bank, Bret served in executive roles with Vectra Bank Colorado, Flatirons Bank as its CEO, and multiple roles of increasing responsibility with KeyBank, N.A. Bret is a graduate of Texas Tech University and holds an MBA from the University of Colorado. He has served on multiple boards including as past President of Trout Unlimited (St. Vrain), South Metro Economic Development, and a graduate of the prestigious “50 For Colorado” leadership program. He currently serves as a Mentor in the DTC/Greenwood Village Young Professionals Mentorship Program. Bret and his wife Heidi just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and have two children, Bryce (17) and Aubrey (14). The family resides in Castle Rock, CO.

ANN SWANSON – Vice Chair
Community Volunteer

Ann’s career was spent at the Walt Disney Company as the Vice President of National Accounts at Disney/ESPN Networks. Ann was inspired to shift gears in life in 2011, when she attended Ready, Set, Grow, Women’s Bean Projects’ annual luncheon and graduation celebration. Ann has been a mentor for six years, worked on several special projects, served on the Programming Committee, and in 2017 joined the Board of Directors. She never ceases to be amazed by the transformation the ladies go through from when they first start their journey to when they begin to blossom with self-confidence, and learn work skills they never thought they had. It is a true metamorphosis. Travel, gardening, bike riding, and bridge keep Anne entertained when not volunteering at the Bean Project.

DAVID PRICHARD –  Treasurer
President, Teegarden Financial Corporation

David Prichard is a highly respected, heavily involved Denver-area business leader and community influencer. David serves as the President of Teegarden Financial Corporation, a specialty finance and investment firm that partners with high net worth business owners, families, and executives throughout the country. A serial entrepreneur, David has founded multiple businesses, from consumer products to retail establishments. David is an active Angel/Venture investor and prides himself on bringing solutions to the table that effectively connect people, resources, and strategy as they work to turn ideas into reality.

David’s passion for community is evident in his work with many organizations. David is particularly engaged with and sits on the board for two of these non-profits. Women’s Bean Project hires women who are chronically unemployed and teaches them to work, stand tall, find their purpose, and break the cycle of poverty. The Opportunity Coalition provides leadership, collaboration and support to help grow businesses and create economic vitality in Colorado. David moved to Colorado in 2004. He has 4 boys and loves spending time with them and watching them grow into men. David has adopted all the local sports teams and is an Avalanche Season ticket holder. The Prichard family loves to travel, ski, and enjoy the Colorado outdoors together.

GWEN J. YOUNG – Secretary
Of Counsel, Greenberg Traurig

For many years, Gwen has donated to Women’s Bean Project and other non-profits that help women. She believes that women in our community and abroad who suffer from cycles of poverty, incarceration, homelessness or other struggles need the tools to obtain the employment and social skills to become productive members of their communities. Having served on a non-profit board for eight years and volunteering on its various committees, Gwen hopes to bring that experience to grow the Bean Project and help the women who commit to its program to thrive for their entire lives. Gwen is an attorney in private practice, primarily in the area of complex commercial litigation, and is a founding partner of her Denver firm, Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell. She semi-retired in April 2018 and is now Senior Counsel, looking forward to committing to the Bean’s success for years to come.

AMY BITTNER
Principal, Mercer

Amy Bittner is a Principal at Mercer in the Employee Health & Benefits Practice. She is responsible for developing new business partnerships for Mercer’s Denver office as well as developing programs and content to educate and empower the local human resource community. Amy has over 18 years of experience helping organizations access their current human resource strategies as well as overall business goals. In addition to her board position with Women’s Bean Project, Amy served for 3 years on  the board of Firefly Autism and co-built a skills-based volunteer group, hrUnlocked (Formally hrCares Colorado), which focuses on removing barriers to employment for those who struggle to find appropriate work. hrUnlocked has more than 70 members and hosts volunteer events throughout the year.

MILLY CHRISTMANN
Owner, Marathon Growth Management

Milly Christmann is a high energy, operationally oriented talent management leader with extensive expertise in human resources, sales management, service and operations. Currently, Milly is focused on her Human Resources consulting business which is geared to support small to medium sized businesses where she is leveraging her Fortune 100 background to level the playing field for those business owners.  Milly also provide career and executive coaching as well as transitional career coaching. She most recently served as the Vice President of Human Resources for PFG, Vistar in Denver, Colorado. She has also led HR functions for The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, and Sears, Roebuck and Company where she began her career. She has also crossed over from HR into Sales, Operations and Supply Chain functions in order to round out her ability to act as Trusted Advisor at an executive level. Milly and her husband, Ken, reside in their forever home in the rural beauty of Sedalia, CO and enjoy hiking, archery, fishing and their two hunting dogs Kobe and Tessie.

ALICIA D. HARVEY
Regulatory Analyst, Xcel Energy

Alicia Harvey was first drawn to Women’s Bean Project by her passion for helping women in the areas of business etiquette, employment, and life skills. She most recently served on the Daniels Executive Advisory Board for DU’s Daniels College of Business. Alicia is also active in the Denver African American Commission (DAAC), where she advises the Mayor on issues and concerns that impact or are of importance to the African American community. In her free time, Alicia is an avid reader and enjoys traveling and participating in triathlons.

CHRISTINE JOCHIM
Attorney, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP

Christine has long been passionate about women’s advancement and educational opportunities.  She first learned about the Women’s Bean Project as a young girl, making 10 Bean Soup with her mom.  After moving back to Colorado from the east coast, Christine reconnected with the Bean after attending the annual Ready, Set, Grow luncheon and is honored to serve on the Board.  Christine is an attorney with the national law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP.  Her law practice concentrates on energy, environmental and natural resources compliance counseling, occupational health and safety, federal policy, litigation, and government enforcement.  Christine grew up in Colorado and spends as much time as she can outdoors with her family and dogs.

AMY KUARK
Treasurer, Friendship Bridge

Amy is passionate about helping women in ways that enable self-sufficiency and development through education, work experience, and financial literacy. Women’s Bean Project is a perfect fit and she has been involved with the Bean for several years on the finance committee and now serving on the Board.  She is currently the Treasurer at the Friendship Bridge, an international social enterprise and nonprofit that provides microlending to women in Guatemala to help them create and grow their own businesses. She is responsible for the organization’s investor relations, debt portfolio and cash management. Amy has over 20 years of corporate finance experience. She was previously the Vice President of Investor Relations at Western Union and held various finance roles at Qwest Communications (now CenturyLink).  She was born and raised in Denver and attended the University of Denver where she earned a BSBA and a master’s degree in International Management with a Finance specialization.

BOB KUMAGAI
Executive Director Career Services, Daniels College of Business, University of Denver

Bob has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Women’s Bean Project for over 15 years, primarily because of the work and dedication of CEO Tamra Ryan. Having failed at early retirement, his day job is the Executive Director of Career Services at the Daniels College of the University of Denver. He is a seasoned business strategist and executive with a background in strategic marketing, early stage investment, technology product development, e-commerce, and digital advertising. He is an adjunct faculty member in the Daniels College and University College at DU. Bob earned a BS from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an MBA from the University of Denver. He is married to pediatrician and saint, Karen Leamer, and has two reasonably well adjusted kids and two poorly behaved Siberian Huskies.

HELEN LEE
VP & Private Client Advisor, Bank of America Private Bank

Helen is a private client advisor at Bank of America Private Bank, working with clients to address a range of wealth management needs in areas such as investment management, estate planning, business succession, credit and banking, and philanthropy. With 23 years of combined retirement and investment industry experience, she is passionate about financial empowerment and its impact on a person’s life, especially for women. During the COVID pandemic lockdown, Helen was trying to make sense of what was going on in the world and figure out her life’s purpose. Just like a rom-com, she stumbled across Women’s Bean Project website and was captivated by its mission and its impact on each of the women it served. And the rest as they say, is history. Helen loves to travel and eat delicious food (another reason to be a Bean supporter!). Almost a CO native, she grew up in Colorado Springs and graduated from University of Colorado at Boulder with a BS in finance and subsequently from University of Denver with an MBA.

STACEY MCCUNE POJAR
Business Center Head, Travelers Insurance

Stacey believes in lifting women up and has been a volunteer for several years at the Bean.  She most recently has served on the Finance Committee.  She has been at Travelers Insurance for almost 30 working in many different capacities in Leadership, Operations and Underwriting.  Stacey is a Colorado native who received her Bachelor’s Degree from Colorado State University in Finance and her Master’s degree from the University of Colorado.  She is married with one child that still lives with them at home and enjoys spending time in the mountains, hiking, paddle boarding, traveling, scrapbooking and cooking.  She could not be more excited to give back to these incredible women.

LEAH RUSSELL
Chair of Digital Experience, Mayo Clinic

Inspired after hearing Tamra speak at an event, Leah knew she had to get involved with Women’s Bean Project.  She has served as a Mentor, Job Coach, Alumnae Relations Chair and Board Member, becoming more dedicated to the program participants and overall mission with each new role.  Leah works in technology, focusing on web design and usability, and has worked in the US and Europe for companies such as Hilton, Travelocity, HomeAdvisor and Mayo Clinic.  An avid traveler, passionate college sports fan and amateur fly fisherwoman, Leah holds multiple degrees from Southern Methodist University, and lives in Denver with her husband and her part lab, part trouble mutt.

SHANNON GARCIA-LEWIS
Owner, Strategic Business Partners

Shannon is a Colorado native and is inspired by her passion for empowering women and helping them become economically independent, which enables them to take control of their lives and that of their families. For the past two decades, she has supported The Bean by purchasing WBP products and attending Ready, Set, Grow events. She is the owner and principal of Strategic Business Partners and has over two decades of experience managing and guiding Human Resources and Talent Acquisition teams. Formerly, she served as Senior Vice President, People & Talent at Angi and Housecall Pro, where she led both volunteer and philanthropic efforts. She holds leadership credentials from Cornell University and serves on the executive board of directors of We Don’t Waste (Denver, CO). She has been an avid painter since high school, and most recently she discovered her passion for funding local charities by painting kindness rocks. She lives with her husband who is a wild game chef in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

ELLEN STEIN WALLACE
Partner, Johnson and Wallace Consulting

Ellen is a partner with Johnson and Wallace consulting, specializing in helping organizations build the internal capacity to achieve their missions, sustainability and significance. She has 35 years of policy, program planning and development experience and has worked in the field of domestic violence advocacy for over 20 years. She received her MSW from the University of Denver.  Ellen has consulted with state domestic violence coalitions, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and as the Interim Executive Director for the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She has implemented executive coaching, board development, capacity building, strategic planning, organizational stabilization, and organizational trauma work. Ellen lives with her husband Luther and enjoys hiking, gardening, paddle boarding, and (sometimes) beating Luther at tennis. She is very excited for the opportunity to contribute to the Bean Project.