Emerge Colorado Staff

Lisa Calderón, Executive Director

Prior to coming on as the Executive Director of Emerge Colorado, Dr. Lisa Calderón was the Chief of Staff for Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, the youngest and first LGBTQ woman of color elected to council. As a former university professor she has taught in academia for over 15 years in the areas of Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, and Criminal Justice. Her 30 years of public service also include being a justice reform advocate, nonprofit executive, and social justice organizer.

In 2019, she was the first woman of color to make the ballot for mayor of Denver on the principles of equity, fairness, and justice. Although she was outspent 20:1 by the incumbent, she made an impressive showing for a first-time grassroots candidate garnering 33,000 votes. Her historic race was chronicled in the soon-to-be-released documentary “Running with My Girls.”

As Chief of Staff serving Council District 9 which has the highest concentration of both wealth and poverty in the city, Dr. Calderón works to advance policy priorities for resolving the affordable housing crisis, stemming the tide of gentrification and displacement through a civil rights framework, reducing mass incarceration and increasing gender equity.

Born and raised in Denver, Dr. Calderón holds a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, law degree, and a doctorate in education. She has obtained several awards for inspirational leadership for her work serving the community. Lisa will begin at Emerge Colorado on July 12th, 2021.

Emma Piller, Events and Communications Coordinator

Before joining Emerge Colorado, Emma Piller served as a legislative aide for a year at the Colorado State Capitol. She has gained experience working with young people organizing civic engagement opportunities, building a coalition within the national movement to expand voting rights, and volunteering for local and state initiatives and candidates. Emma continues to stay engaged in her hometown of Lafayette, CO where she is a member of the Human Rights Commission. She is also proud to contribute to a new venture, Transformative Teach, an online platform working to equip educators with the tools to dismantle the school-to-prison-pipeline. Emma recently graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder. Email Emma at




If you would like to reach the Emerge Colorado staff, contact us by: 

Phone: (970) 306-7724
Emerge Colorado
P.O. Box 140693
Edgewater, CO 80214