Emerge Colorado Staff

Dr. 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.

Kristen Seidel, Political Training Director

​​Kristen is a graduate of the Colorado 2019 Signature Class and a force in progressive politics. She has successfully managed campaigns throughout the Denver metro area for the State Board of Education and local school board and city council races. Kristen has built her career galvanizing “non-traditional” candidates to win elections with fewer resources and has a proven track record in building campaigns around a candidate’s strengths – she does not believe in a one-size-fits-all campaign. Kristen also chairs the Women’s Lobby of Colorado, where they advance gender equity through state policy. Before her work at Emerge, Kristen co-founded Indivisible Denver where she oversaw many community-centered events and activist training programs. Kristen enjoys spending her free time with her two boys, husband, and dogs.

Emma Piller, Events and Donor Relations 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, Colorado where she served as 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.

Angy Martinez, Emerge Colorado Intern

Angela Martinez is a Class of 2024 Political Science major at the University of Denver with minors in Leadership, French, and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. With the ambition to one day run for office, Angela is more than eager to work alongside Emerge Colorado. 

“Through my studies, I hope to one day run for office to represent my Latino and female community in politics. I want to see faces like my community, family, and my own taking part in the US legislative process to better our home in the United States. Being a female minority will open the eyes of many in the future and hopefully through time, diminish patriarchal and racist practices.”




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

Phone: (970) 306-7724
Emerge Colorado
2701 Lawrence Street
Suite 112
Denver, CO 80205