Berenice Garcia Tellez | Chair
Berenice Garcia Tellez, a Mexican native and travel enthusiast, received her master’s degree in Environmental Engineering in Saudi Arabia. Other countries she has lived in include Turkey, Italy, and Norway, where she worked researching climate change. Berenice currently works at City and County of Denver implementing equitable policies for the new Energize Denver ordinance. Before, she managed the Sustainable Business Program at the City of Longmont and worked with the business community on implementing sustainable and equitable practices leading to implement the first equitable sustainable business program.
She also sits at the Latino Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Through her work with the Chamber, Berenice has supported hundreds of Latino businesses through the COVID19 crisis, coordinated community equity clinics, and provided technical assistance to Latino-owned organizations.
Some of Berenice’s favorite figures are Elon Musk and Batman. Though the two have very different origin stories, they both rose to make a great impact in their respective communities. While Batman may be fictional, both he and Elon Musk inspire Berenice to one day do something that influences the world.
Jim Vernon | Secretary
Jim joined Front Range Community College after a successful career in the private sector. For thirty years, he led projects and organization development for two global strategy consulting leaders, a Fortune 100 enterprise, an Inc. 500 technology service provider and his own small business venture. His start-up test preparation and tutoring service strengthened his passion for student success. The community college mission is a natural fit with this passion.
When he is not working with students and community partners, Jim enjoys exploring Colorado's many scenic attractions and playing Texas Hold 'Em. At home, Jim and his wife, Shanna, cater to the needs of their dog, Theodore. Always thankful for the opportunity to serve in higher education, Jim leads students to develop the best in themselves.
Esteban Martinez | Board Member
Esteban A. Martinez, a practicing lawyer with pre-Columbus North and South American roots, has practiced law for more than 20 years and became a board member in June, 2020.
By serving on the board, he hopes to learn and to help others achieve success in their businesses.
Kari Palazzari | Board Member
Kari brings extensive experience in nonprofit management, organizational development, and leadership consulting to her position on the LCC Board. Prior to moving to Colorado in 2006, she earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University and a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has served on numerous boards, including the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and as Board Treasurer of Studio Arts Boulder prior to being hired as Executive Director. Earlier in her career, Kari launched both nonprofit and for-profit start-ups and also worked in marketing communications and project management.
Other Board Members
Past Board Chairs
Peter Salas | Past Chairman:
Peter lives in Lafayette and has been a Boulder County resident since 1985. Peter is the father of 3 including 2 teenagers who currently attend schools in Lafayette. Peter has as a B.S. degree in Business Finance.
Peter began his public career as a community organizer and has been actively involved in community affairs his entire career. Peter has served on over a dozen non-profit boards as well as, having served on a city council and school board. Peter was a founding member of the Boulder County Latino Chamber and has served on the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and the former Minority Business Leadership Council. Peter has also been actively involved in local politics and has helped organize 3 different Latino focused political organizations.
During Peter’s professional work career, he has been a community organizer, a project coordinator, diversity coordinator, diversity liaison, intercultural trainer, program manager and public affairs specialist. Peter currently offers consulting services in the area of Intercultural Development and Training.
Peter has a thoughtful and collaborative style, along with deep programmatic and policy expertise in several areas, which has made him an effective champion for advancing equity, and urban development strategies to expand economic opportunity.
Rachel Garcia| Ex Officio Chairwoman:
Rachel has worked from small and international business to the nonprofit and government sectors and specializes in program development, community outreach, and operations management. She has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs make connections to start and grow their businesses across several industries and specifically, focuses on serving traditionally underserved communities.
Rachel began working at the Boulder SBDC in 2011, and returned as the center's program manager after 5 years in the health and wellness field. She is the chairperson of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County, where she began as the board secretary in 2013.
Rachel earned her bachelor's degrees in women and gender studies and English - literature from the University of Colorado. Some of her favorite things are live music, plants, and her rescue dog.