COLOR Team

We believe that if a Latina has the power to make a change in her own life, she can change her community! Meet COLOR's incredible team who works to advance the Reproductive Justice movement.

 

Dusti Gurule
Interim Executive Director

dusti@colorlatina.org

Preferred gender pronouns: she/her/hers | From: Denver, CO | Bachelor of Arts, Chicano Studies, Metropolitan State University Master of NonProfit Management, Regis University COLORistx since March 2003

Favorite thing about life in Colorado: My family has lived in Colorado for seven generations, so one of my favorite things about life here is that I have family throughout the Denver metro area. My parents were integral to the Crusade for Justice and the Chicano Movement in Denver

Favorite local restaurant: Cafe Brazil

Dream job: Chicana Philanthropist who travels the world but is still connected and ingrained in the social justice movement.

Job Dusti wouldn’t do in a million years: Work for an entity that actively and visually promotes values contrary to mine. 

Best thing about working at COLOR: Knowing that i am contributing to and strengthening the pathway for a more just and accessible society where all women, regardless of income, language, age or orientation have what they need to lead safe and healthy lives.

Dusti Gurule is an accomplished executive leader with more than 20 years of national, state and local public sector and nonprofit experience. She has an extensive track record in collaborative leadership, strategic planning, public relations, organizational management, public engagement and coalition/ partnership building. Dusti is a founding partner in Dimension Strategies, LLC, a new political affairs full-service agency adding a new dimension to Colorado’s political landscape. Dimension Strategies offers clients a deep understanding and knowledge on the issues facing women voters; energy, environment and climate change policies; and reproductive rights and health care issues across urban and rural areas. With their tactical expertise, the firm will guide clients through fundraising strategies to ensure they meet their financial goals and report them accurately. Dusti served as a political appointee under the Obama administration, representing the U.S. Secretary of Labor in a seven state region where she developed connections between community based stakeholders and federal, state and local entities. As the founding Executive Director of the Latina Initiative in 2004, Dusti built the organization to a nationally recognized civic engagement and leadership entity, launching programs like Colorado Latina/o Advocacy Day and Latinas Increasing Political Strength (LIPS). Dusti has received numerous awards and accolades for her leadership in civic engagement and community building. 

Jolene Cardenas
Communications Manager

jolene@colorlatina.org 

Preferred gender pronouns: she/her/hers | From: Mexico, raised in Ohio | B.A. of Communications (The University of Akron) | Master's of Humanities, certificate in Women's Studies (Wright State University) | COLORistx since March 2017

Favorite thing about life in ColoradoI will never get tired of the beautiful sunsets over the Rockies. 

Favorite local restaurantCharlie Brown's Piano Bar

Dream job: This is my dream job….and it isn't really a job but more of a passion! 

Job Jolene wouldn’t do in a million years:  I would not be able to be an outdoor window washer on tall buildings because I'm too clumsy and definitely afraid of such heights. 
Best thing about working at COLOR: Learning from my colleagues on how to better serve our community.
Jolene's greatest extravagance: scrapbooking supplies!
Talent Jolene would like to have:  I wish I could sing like Mariah Carey.

Jolene Cardenas was raised in the Midwest and has lived in Denver since 2014. She moved here to be closer to her family living in New Mexico, and the beautiful Rocky Mountains. She graduated in 2015 with a Master of Humanities from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio where she also received a certificate in Women’s Studies. Her undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. Jolene has a decade of media experience in radio, print, and television. Her first job in the media was on the air as a local radio show hostess. Jolene has since been a published political columnist and journalist in Colorado and in Ohio. She also worked in advertising for radio and print media.

Jolene graduate work included a focus on the communication of women in higher education and how it can affect the experience of all college students. Throughout her experience she has applied various communication models to grassroots organizing.  She has helped promote various local and political campaigns as an organizer and a writer. She has been a dedicated and reliable volunteer to local organizations that promote social and economic equality and protect the right to choose. She is passionate about enhancing representation of the Latinx experience in all forms of media and promoting the voice of those working on reproductive justice.

Jolene loves living in the Mile High City with her fiancé, two dogs and one scandalous kitty. She relishes her role as an auntie and hopes her accomplishments are good examples for her half a dozen nieces and nephew. Jolene rarely holds back on her laughter or wit. She enjoys all forms of art, music, and crafts. She paints as a hobby as well as enjoys scrapbooking, crocheting, and writing in her spare time. Jolene loves movie nights and taking the dogs to the local dog park on the weekends.

 

Amber Garcia
Field and Advocacy Manager

amber@colorlatina.org 

Preferred gender pronouns: She, Her, Hers | From Denver, Colorado | BA in Criminal Justice/Ethnic Studies- Minor in Political Science (University of Colorado Denver) | COLORistx since Oct. 2013

Favorite thing about life in Colorado: the beautiful scenery and weather
Favorite local restaurant: Sushi Den
Dream job: Lawyer
Job Amber wouldn’t do in a million years: correctional officer
Best thing about working at COLOR: the COLOR familia
Greatest extravagance: monthly in-home massages
Talent Amber would like to have: insane public speaking skills
 

Amber Garcia was born in Denver and raised in Boulder, Colorado. She is a University of Colorado Denver alumna who studied criminal justice and ethnic studies, with a minor in political science. Currently she is in the process of moving to Denver and starting a family. Her interests include anything to do with progressive non-profits, politics, the legislature, and she loves to work with youth in any sort of capacity. Amber is passionate about women's rights, the environment, education and civil rights! She loves animals, especially her kitty and three small pups. She is super excited about politics, and engaging and empowering under represented communities. Young folks are the bees knees and she hopes to stay one as long as she lives! This lady is very family-oriented, and her three awesome younger sisters keep her inspired to change the world every day. Interests: wheat beer, edamame, anything "green", and the front range :) Oh yeah, and she LOVES shoes!!

 

Karla Gonzales Garcia
Policy and Program Director

karla@colorlatina.org

Preferred gender pronouns: She, Her, Hers | From Iquitos, Peru | B.S in Psychology, Community and School Psychology (Universidad de San Martin de Porres, Lima-Peru) | M.A Ethnic Studies with certification in Women and Gender Studies, Violence Against Women and Immigrant Rights Advocacy (Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO) | COLORistx since June 2016

Favorite thing about life in Colorado: the beautiful landscape that takes my breathe away
Favorite local restaurant: haven't found one yet since I am new to the area, but I am sure when I find it, it will be related to Peruvian food
Dream job: I am living my dream job at COLOR
Job Karla wouldn’t do in a million years: anything that has to do with handling worms 
Best thing about working at COLOR: the family environment
Greatest extravagance: to pursue new adventures in my travels
Talent Karla would like to have: to play a musical instrument 
 

Karla G. Gonzales Garcia is originally from Iquitos, Peru. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Universidad de San Martin de Porres in Lima, Peru. While completing her degree, she became an intern for a non-profit organization in Peru that provided crisis counseling for street-children who had been sexually assaulted. After graduating, Karla worked with kindergarten children with learning disabilities for three years. Karla then moved to the United States thirteen years ago, and she initially spent most of her time working with victims and survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual violence, and immigrant rights advocacy in San Miguel County, Colorado. Her passion for social and racial justice motivated her to pursue her graduate degree in ethnic studies with a certification in women and gender studies at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, CO. While pursuing her graduate degree, Karla worked as an outreach and education specialist providing sexual and reproductive health education programs and access to health services for marginalized populations. She decided to expand her research skills and diligently worked as a research assistant for a partnership between Colorado State University and the Restorative Justice Institute, to address the ethnic and racial disparities on achievement and retention gap of minority students in schools. After finishing her coursework, Karla became the co-interim director for the agency she used to work for in Telluride, CO. Karla continuously works to be grounded in decolonial methodologies, methods of research, and social justice praxis in order to achieve her long-term career goals of influencing policy making and advocacy based on meeting unique community needs.

Karla’s love for nature and people inspires her to spend her free time hiking, camping and enjoying the outdoors with friends, or sometimes just sitting on an outdoor patio being silly all together. She describes these things as the necessary ingredients in her life to continue the work of healing herself and the communities she works with.

 

Victoria Gómez Betancourt
Communications and Development Director

victoria@colorlatina.org

Preferred gender pronouns: She, Her, Hers | From Caracas, Venezuela | B.A. in Anthropology (University of Colorado Denver) and Master in Nonprofit Management (Regis University) | COLORistx since Nov. 2014

Favorite thing about life in Colorado: endless afternoons at the lake
Favorite local restaurant: Tacos de la Calle, iSushi and Sue of Siam
Dream job: visual artist, singer and writer
Job Victoria wouldn’t do in a million years: anything involving a scalpel
Best thing about working at COLOR: the sisterhood... Reproductive Justice is home and mis compañeras are my hermanas
Greatest extravagance: tequila añejo
Talent Victoria would like to have: a curandera’s wisdom and magic

Victoria Gómez Betancourt is a native of Caracas, Venezuela, and has for nearly 20 years lived outside of Venezuela in both the U.S. and Mexico. She has built a career in nonprofit work rooted in social justice through professional, volunteer, and board roles across organizations focused on worker’s rights, immigrant rights, human rights, education, and health. In 2014, Victoria joined Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) as the organization’s Communications and Development Director. Prior to joining COLOR, Victoria served as Director of Strategy and Communications for Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado, as affiliate faculty at Regis University for the master of nonprofit management program, and as a contributor to Viva Colorado, a local Spanish-language newspaper. She is a 2014-15 Mayoral Appointee for the Denver Women’s Commission and a member of the Circle of Latina Leadership Class of 2013. Victoria has a bachelor’s in anthropology from the University of Colorado Denver and a master’s in nonprofit management from Regis University

Victoria leverages cultural depth and linguistic strengths when working with communities of color and Latino/immigrant groups. Working at COLOR gives her the opportunity to reconcile the complexities of being Latinx, sudaca, a woman of color, and an immigrant xingonx who is also a reproductive justice advocate and abortion positive artivist. Victoria loves life in Aurora’s immigrant enclave, singing rancheras, writing prose, and making art.

Marie Medina

Development Coordinator

marie@colorlatina.org

Preferred gender pronouns She, Her, Hers | BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Metropolitan State University of Denver | Birth place: La Junta, Colorado | COLORistx since Fall 2015

Favorite thing about life in Colorado: I'm a Southwest kid, born and raised. I love living where my family has deep roots going back before the United States even existed.

Favorite local restaurant: La Abeja, their pan dulce is the best!

Dream job: Florist

Job Marie wouldn’t do in a million years: Anything to do with the stock market

Best thing about working at COLOR: Knowing that we are a radical group of Latinx who move mountains and stay true to our cultura

Marie’s greatest extravagance: Skin products, I never met a face mask or serum I didn't want to immediately slather all over my face

Talent Marie would like to have: Singing! I know so many lovely musicians and can't hold a tune to save my life.

Marie Medina was born and raised in Southern Colorado, the granddaughter or Mexican farmers, cuadanerxs and storytellers. Her roots are in the nopales of New Mexico and the melons of Colorado farm country.

Marie was a student at Metropolitan State University of Denver and received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Women's Studies. Marie has worked with Denver Public Schools and in residential treatment care for children experiencing emotional trauma. Working with youth from the expansive and unique populations of Denver and the metro area created a strong foundation for her deep love of this city.

A substantial part of Marie's life and personal identity is that of an activist. As a member of the ever-growing and supportive activist community in Denver, she has been a lead organizer of SlutWalk Denver, a grassroots Feminist movement focused on ending gender-based violence and building a community for survivors. Marie also volunteers with various organizations and movements, including Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Girls Rock Denver, V-Day (One Billion Rising), NARAL, Girls Inc. Denver, and other organizations and grassroots groups in our community.

Marie is a loving plant mom, an amateur astrologist and tarot card enthusiast, and is a firm believer that Beyonce is the greatest artist to have ever lived.

Kathy Maestas
Contract Accountant

kathy@colorlatina.org

Preferred gender pronouns: She, Her, Hers| From Greeley, Colorado | B.S. in Accounting (University of Denver) and Master in Public Administration, Concentration in Nonprofit Organization (University of Colorado – Denver) | COLORistx since Oct. 2013

Favorite thing about life in Colorado: being close to family, good friends and the mountains
Favorite local restaurant: still finding my favorite
Dream job: travel the world and be a wine connoisseur (critique regional wines)
Job Kathy wouldn’t do in a million years: prison guard
Best thing about working at COLOR: the AMAZING women I work with and all the food!
Greatest extravagance: my large Jacuzzi bathtub and my closet
Talent Kathy would like to have: speak Spanish fluently
 

Gina Millan
Parent Organizer

gina@colorlatina.org

Preferred gender pronouns: She, Her, Hers| From Morelos, Mexico | B.A. in Computer Science (Instituto Tecnologico de Zacatepec) | COLORistx since Aug. 2011

Favorite thing about life in Colorado: public parks
Favorite local restaurant: Cariño’s
Dream job: to found and run my own nonprofit
Job Gina wouldn’t do in a million years: police officer
Best thing about working at COLOR: to work for/with Latinas
Greatest extravagance: having 300 pairs of shoes
Talent Gina would like to have: painting

Gina is an immigrant from Morelos, Mexico. She got involved in the social justice movement since 2007 after she witnessed firsthand the abuses towards the immigrant community. She has worked with several immigrant rights organizations and believes that fighting for justice is her passion. COLOR gives her the perfect opportunity to continue working for justice and helping women and children in the community. She earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from the Instituto Tecnologico de Zacatepec in Mexico. She moved to Colorado 17 years ago, and now lives in Denver with her beautiful daughter, Gianella.

Stephanie Olivas
Data and Development Manager

stephanie@colorlatina.org 

Preferred gender pronouns: She, Her, Hers| From Denver, CO | B.A. in Sociology (Colorado College) | COLORistx since July 2015

Favorite thing about life in Colorado: The weather in Colorado is phenomenal. You can’t beat three hundred plus days of sunshine!

Favorite local restaurant: There are tons but the green chili at The Original Chubby’s Mexican restaurant never disappoints.

Dream job: I always wanted to be an astronaut or at least allowed into control rooms at NASA.
Job Stephanie wouldn’t do in a million years:  Anything to do with insects or bugs of any sort.
Best thing about working at COLOR: Being surrounded by a staff of incredibly talented, smart individuals who I have lots to learn from!
Stephanie's greatest extravagance: Going out to eat at new restaurants and books!
Talent Stephanie would like to have: I wish I was a much better dancer.

Stephanie Olivas is a proud native of Denver, Colorado. During her time at Colorado College, Stephanie began her career in the nonprofit sector working, volunteering, and interning at the Children's Literacy Center, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Rocky Mountain SFR Headstart, and the Colorado League of Charter Schools. After completing her BA In Sociology, Stephanie returned to Denver and jumped into the progressive non-profit scene by joining the COLOR team as a Data Coordinator. Since then, Stephanie has also joined the Development team at COLOR and was recently promoted to the Data and Development Manager position.

Stephanie has a passion for social justice and data. She is committed to sharpening her skill-set to better work with datasets and create meaningful narratives in her community. When she isn't crunching numbers or creating spreadsheets, Stephanie enjoys a packed schedule of family gatherings, nature outings, and planning sessions on how to someday run for public office.

Kassandra Rendón-Morales
Community Organizer

kassandra@colorlatina.org 

Preferred gender pronouns: She, Her, Hers| From La Paz, Baja California Sur, México | B.A. in in Women’s Studies and Spanish (University of Nevada, Reno) | COLORistx since Jan. 2017

Favorite thing about life in Colorado: I absolutely love the weather in CO; the sunshine will literally turn my mood around! I’m originally from Las Vegas, NV, which means 120 degrees in the summer time.
Favorite local restaurant: I’m still on a mission on finding the best street tacos in Denver, CO - Help!
Dream job: This is a hard one… because there are a million of things I would want to do! As of right now, my dream job would be becoming a professor in History and/or Cultural Studies.
Job Kassandra wouldn’t do in a million years: I don’t think I could ever be a pilot; I’m scarred of heights!
Best thing about working at COLOR: The fact that I’m surrounded by resilient, wonderful, brilliant, and funny women working in reproductive justice is the best thing about working in COLOR. It wouldn’t be COLOR without them.
Greatest extravagance: My book collection! It’s my guilty spending pleasure.

Talent Kassandra would like to have: Abuelita knowledge! I want to learn more about indigenous medicine, as well as practive and cultivate them in my life.
 

Kassandra is a recent graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Spanish. Her passion revolves around helping others by sharing all that she knows, and all that she aspires to know. One of her favorite community norms, shared with by a dear friend, is, “Nobody knows everything, but together we know a lot.” Kassandra truly thinks that to succeed and be sufficient in this world we need to work together, and shared knowledge calls for this. When Kassandra is not thinking about social justice, she likes to seek adventures, play video games, or binge watch shows. She is also currently looking for delicious taco shops in the area, so please please send your recommendations her way! 


Maria Ignacia Miranda Santis

Community Organizer

maria@colorlatina.org

Preferred gender pronouns: She, Her, Hers | Birth place: Santiago, Chile | International Relations, Political Science, and Spanish with a focus in Community Organizing in Latin America from the University of Colorado Denver | COLORistx since June 2017

Favorite thing about life in Colorado: I love the relaxed feeling Colorado has. There is no stress a good hike can't wash away.

Favorite local restaurant: Los Frijoles Colorado - they have the best Cuban sandwiches I have ever had!

Dream job: National Geographic Photographer

Job Maria wouldn’t do in a million years: I am terrified of heights, so parachuting for a living is out of the question.

Best thing about working at COLOR: Being able to speak my native tongue (Spanish) with my co-workers and feeling like I belong.

Maria's greatest extravagance: My 6 cameras

Talent Maria would like to have: I would love to sing!

Maria Ignacia was born and raised in Chile, and moved to the U.S. in 2006. She recently graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a B.A. in International Studies and Political Science. She is interested in a variety of social justice issues, especially concerning the Denver and Colorado community; however, she believes that the conversations around collaboration and intersectionality among social justice organizations are the key to creating effective change in the community. With a passion for learning, Maria Ignacia enjoys exchanging viewpoints and information with colleagues, friends, and family. As Gabriela Mistral once said, “Los días más felices son aquellos que nos hacen sabios”. Her hobbies are traveling, photography, and crafting when there’s time!