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 newly-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 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.
A first-generation daughter of immigrants from Colima and Michoacán, Mexico—Sol Sandoval Tafoya is a fully bilingual Latina from a union family and a seasoned community leader who has been fighting for working people for over 20 years. Sol is a Chicana, community organizer, and former candidate for U.S. Congress in the Third Congressional District of Colorado. Upon graduating from Colorado State University Pueblo, Sol spent a decade with the Pueblo County Department of Social Services to give back to community because she knew from a young age that too many working families never get their fair shot and that the American Dream doesn’t come easy. She envisions a community where people who have not been given a seat at the table have allies and comunidad who will ensure that they are no longer left out of the decision making. Sol enjoys dancing, running and volunteers translating for monolingual Spanish speakers. Sol lives in Pueblo with her two children and her dog, Esteban—a rescue from Las Vegas, NM.
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