Please click on the board member’s picture below for their bio.
Barb Catbagan, Professor/Mediator
Barbara Catbagan is a retired Associate Professor of Education and current Senior Faculty for PassageWorks Institute. She has spent decades dedicated to bringing transformative and culturally responsive teaching and learning to individuals and organizations throughout the U.S. She was Chair of the Contemplative Education Department at Naropa University, and is an Associate Professor. Barbara’s commitment to transformational leadership is grounded in her K-12 teaching background and her association with the National Coalition for Equity in Education through which she works with institutions of higher education on issues and initiatives of equity, social justice, and personal and professional development. Through her past work as the Director of the Human Rights Resource and Education Office for the City of Fort Collins, she facilitated professional development and community educational opportunities on topics of civility, communication and human rights, and investigated and mediated allegations of discrimination. As a certified mediator, she has worked with individuals and groups on workplace mediation and to settle disputes of discrimination. She consults with businesses, organizations and educational institutions, and has presented locally and nationally on topics germane to diversity and social justice. She has a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. from Colorado State University.
Teacher and Mentor
Cathy has worked in elementary schools for 30 years in the US and abroad. She is especially passionate about teaching student teachers, mentoring colleagues in literacy methodology, and building community with her students. Cathy currently teaches third grade at Whittier International School where a diverse student body learns through inquiry, service learning, and collaboration. In her free time, Cathy enjoys traveling, camping, and hiking in the mountains with her husband, Graham, and two daughters Peyton and Lexie Bowe.
Ari Gerzon-Kessler, Director of Equity and Partnerships, BVSD
Ari is the Director of Equity and Partnerships for the Boulder Valley School District. Previously, Ari served for 16 years as a principal, assistant principal, and bilingual teacher. In addition to completing extensive research on equity best practices within the U.S., Ari also traveled as a Fulbright recipient in Japan and taught briefly in Mexico and Thailand. He is the author of Money Fit and co-author of Have No Career Fear. Ari has a lifelong passion for social justice. He received his B.A. in African-American Studies from Wesleyan University and his M.A. in Instruction and Curriculum from CU-Boulder.
Strategic Account Executive, Allocadia
Shannon is a senior business development executive with a strong record of building sales for major marketing research organizations. He has generated large sales volumes with Fortune 500 clients even in adverse economic conditions. Shannon is continually selected to lead sales management, training and coaching for in-house development teams. He has broad experience selling customer experience and data integration software platforms. Shannon founded a software company, which brings together visual relationship mapping (who knows whom) and collaboration functionality (who knows what). It improves poor CRM adoption rates and facilitates the creation of a “learning organization” for increased sales and greater operational efficiency. By combining visual relationship mapping, collaboration and contextual knowledge capture/search in a three-dimensional environment, he is creating an entirely new paradigm. Shannon’s other specialties and interest include business development, data visualization, social networking and collaboration software, marketing research & consulting.
Melody Suitts Conway
Business and Community Leader
Melody is a Boulder County native. After graduating from the University of California in San Diego with a pre-law/philosophy degree and a real estate paralegal credential, Melody went into banking. From there, she joined her family business in Boulder, doing construction, land and development lending throughout Colorado. For ten years, she also designed and built homes. In 2004, she took over her family business, which she still runs today. The company provides residential construction and development loans and works with small builders and individuals.
Melody has three children, two sons who live in Boulder/Denver area and a daughter who lives in Austin. Starting with many of her children’s friends, Melody has served as a mentor and role model to many young people. Mentoring and teaching compassion are still her passions and today it’s not unusual to often find young people from around the world staying at her home while they attend programs in Boulder.
Melody loves the outdoors, gardening and building – on many levels. As a lifelong learner, Melody has become a coach, a Reiki master and an energy worker. Spirituality has always been at the center of her life, starting with the practice of Zen Buddhism in her teens and studying multiple disciplines since. In the early 2000s, Melody volunteered with Mark Wilding at the Naropa Marpa Center, participated in the Authentic Leadership program and also received her coaching certificate. She continues to serve on committees at Naropa and multiple boards in Boulder supporting women in business and personal growth.
Psychotherapist & Professor of Psychology at Naropa University
Diane Israel is currently a psychotherapist with a private practice in Boulder, Colorado and a professor of transpersonal psychology at Naropa University. Her experiences as a world-class runner and triathlete led her to specialize in body image, eating struggles, and our issues around the race to perfection. Her life’s work has been to help individuals reclaim their humanness, practice self-care, and heal through mind-body integration. She produced the award-winning independent documentary film, Beauty Mark and inspires folks around the country during her lectures. Diane’s film has reached over 10,000 people and has been endorsed by the National Eating Disorders Association, the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Dove Self Esteem Fund. She is also behind the revolutionary program, Camp Celebrate You, which will be offered for free to schools who want to increase positive self-care, self-worth, and wellness through a month of life-changing activities and events. Diane inspires people to find their authentic greatness and coaches individuals to reach their fullest potential with joy!
Victoria Kindred Keziah
Principal, Net Generative LLC.
Victoria is a twenty-five year strategist with a proven history of building brands from the bottom up. She began her career in the New York advertising world as a Strategic Planner and market researcher. She then founded and built one of the world’s first boutique brand strategy firms, Kindred Keziah Inc., which grew to house three divisions — Consumer Insights, Brand Strategy, and New Product Innovation — with offices in Boulder and New York and a roster of Fortune 500 clients. In 2005 she sold Kindred Keziah to senior management and devoted her work to sustainable and social innavotion exclusively. She has since provided brand strategy, business modeling, content creation and executional rollout for clients in circular economics, renewable energy, educational reform, health care, environmental conservation, and regenerative agriculture. Victoria is among the first in the world to receive her MS in the emerging field of Biomimicry, the emulation of natural systems in human design and strategy. She lives with her family in Boulder, where she spends every possible moment in the great outdoors.