Seven New Trustees Join WFCO Board
New Trustees Round Out Board of 26 Business Leaders, Nonprofit Executives, Public Servants, and More
Katie Kellen Takes Over As Board Chair, Joyce Vigil As Vice Chair
The Women’s Foundation of Colorado welcomed seven new individuals to our board of trustees on April 1, 2020. Trustees Helen Gair, Ken Gart, Julie Groves, Jim Reuter, Jamey Seely, Kim Tobin, and Elizabeth Wylie bring to WFCO’s board an array of backgrounds, identities, passions, and professional expertise. They include university and business leaders, attorneys, investment bankers, and more. Many served on WFCO committees and belong to one of our communities of giving.
Together, they round out our board of 26 individuals who work in partnership with WFCO President and CEO Lauren Y. Casteel to set The Foundation’s goals and priorities, determine policy and grantmaking, raise funds, and manage The Foundation’s assets.
“We are pleased to bring in a new class of community and business leaders who will ensure that The Foundation is meeting the current needs of Colorado women and building resources for the future,” said Lauren Casteel. “Their diverse perspectives, insights, and experiences will strengthen The Foundation and the essential work we do to bring equity and opportunity to all women.”
Also on April 1, Katie Kellen stepped into the role of board chair, succeeding Stephanie Bruno who served as chair since 2018. Katie is a senior vice president and wealth advisor for Wells Fargo Private Bank and joined the board in 2014. Additionally, Pueblo Trustee Joyce Vigil became vice chair.
“I have supported WFCO for many years because I believe that when women have the same opportunity as men, our entire society benefits. Given that the majority of those in poverty or lacking a livable wage are women, WFCO’s support of our most vulnerable is critically important to me,” said Katie. “The goal of educating and training women in STEM and higher paying jobs are pathways to prosperity. Now more than ever, we need to support them. With COVID-19, our most vulnerable population is being hit the hardest. Women are the predominant health workers, hospitality workers, teachers, and caregivers. Even with federal stimulus, they need more support than ever so that they can also be part of the recovery, when that time is upon us.”
2020-21 New Trustee Class
During Helen Gair’s 25-year investment banking career she represented a handful of women holding executive leadership positions in the Colorado investment banking community. She began her career in 1978 with a Denver-based regional investment banking firm and joined Newman & Associates as an institutional bond salesperson in January 1980. At Newman, Helen led the firm’s sales and trading group and served on the board of directors and executive committee. She and other key principals of the firm established Newman & Associates as the premier national firm providing investment banking services in the area of tax-exempt multifamily housing finance. She continued in a leadership position after the firm was acquired by GMAC Commercial Mortgage in 1998.
Following her investment banking career, Helen became engaged in addressing poverty among women in developing countries. In 2003, she brought her finance expertise to the board of the microfinance organization, Friendship Bridge, that makes loans to women living in rural Guatemala. In 2008, she joined Beyond Our Borders, a donor-advised fund of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. She is active on the Beyond Our Borders gender lens investing committee and serves as a member of WFCO’s investment committee.
Ken has been a partner at The Gart Companies since its inception in 1992. Prior, he was co-president and chief merchandising officer at Gart Bros. Sporting Goods, a family-owned and operated corporation, from 1983 to 1992. Ken started Specialty Sports Venture, LLC (SSV) in 1994 and built it to over 140 stores and into the nation’s leading specialty ski and bicycle retailer. SSV included Aspen Sports, Telluride Sports, Boulder Ski Deals, Colorado Ski and Golf, and roughly 30 other trade names. The company was sold to Vail Resorts in 2010.
Appointed to the position by former Denver mayor and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Ken served as chairman of the board of Denver Bike Sharing (DBA B-Cycle), the first major city-wide bike sharing to launch in the U.S. Ken is currently chair of the board for RPM Events Group, which owns the Colorado Classic, North America’s only stand-alone women’s professional stage road cycling race, focused on providing opportunities for women in sports. The goals of the RPM Events Group are health & wellness & economic development for Colorado.
Ken served on numerous boards including The Nature Conservancy, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Telluride Foundation, Colorado Conservation Trust, Denver Area Council Boy Scouts of America, Denver Metro Boys & Girls Clubs, and the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Julie’s interest in WFCO piqued after attending the Annual Luncheon more than a decade ago. Since that time, Julie joined PEP and the WFCO direct-service grantmaking committee. She also served as The Foundation’s Annual Luncheon chair in 2019.
Julie and her husband Matt Groves opened their own law firm, Groves Law, LLC, nearly nine years ago. Julie’s practice focuses on educating women about the power of planning. Because women live longer, earn less, and are more inclined to be caregivers for young children and aging family members, Julie understands that women sometimes need convincing to also take care of themselves. Julie’s practice emphasizes estate, trust, tax planning, probate, and business law as well as litigation in each of those areas.
Having lost her first and oldest friend to domestic violence and survived breast cancer herself, Julie understands many challenges women face. She believes that her partnership with The Women’s Foundation of Colorado offers the most valuable alliance to ensure that those who lack needed services will find the support they need through WFCO’s amazing grantees.
Jim Reuter is chief executive officer (CEO) of FirstBank and brings extensive banking experience to the WFCO board. He started his career at FirstBank in 1987 and held several different roles within the organization.
He previously served as FirstBank’s chief operating officer (COO) where he oversaw many of the bank’s divisions, including loan/mortgage operations, IT, online banking, payments, contact center, online account/loan acquisition, and treasury management. FirstBank has attributed many of the bank’s products and IT innovations over the years to Jim’s leadership and guidance. Prior to his role in operations and IT, Reuter served as a loan officer in FirstBank’s Palm Desert location. Reuter is an active participant in FirstBank’s executive committee, board of directors, risk committee, audit committee, project portfolio management committee, loan committee and funds management. Additionally, he is heavily involved with industry efforts in technology and payments.
Reuter is a highly active member of the Colorado community, currently chairing on multiple nonprofit boards that include the Special Olympics of Colorado and Cerebral Palsy of Colorado Legacy Foundation.
Jamey Seely is president and general counsel of Integra Ledger. Previously she was with Gates Corporation and Ion Geophysical, a leading international technology firm in the global oil and gas industry, where she served in the capacity of general counsel. In that role, she led all international corporate law and governance matters across multiple continents for the firm. Prior to Ion Geophysical, Jamey held executive leadership responsibility at NRG Energy, a Fortune 300 company and the nation’s largest power generator. She also served as general counsel at Nuclear Innovation North America (NINA, and Direct Energy). Additionally, Jamey has private practice experience as a partner at Thompson & Knight LLC, a premier law firm in Houston.
Among her professional accomplishments, Jamey was named as an “Energy and Environmental Trailblazer” for 2017 by the National Law Journal and was also one of the “Top Women in Energy for 2016” by Texas Lawyer.
Dr. Kim Tobin joined Colorado State University in 2003 and was appointed vice president in 2017. As vice president, she leads CSU’s development efforts and campaign initiatives, alumni and donor relations, University events, and other efforts to build the University’s profile and relationship with donors, alumni, and key constituent groups.
A strong believer in life-long education, Kim earned her Ph.D. in higher education leadership at Colorado State. She is passionate about higher education and has spent 20+ years fundraising for universities. She began her career with her alma matter, the University of Toronto, before applying her development skills at Lakehead University in her hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Tobin began her tenure at CSU as the director of development for the College of Natural Resources (now the Warner College), before she went on to lead development efforts for the College of Liberal Arts for nine years.
Kim embraces all aspects of philanthropy – she is an active community volunteer, serves as a mentor to emerging advancement professionals, and supports her favorite charities such as the hospital where her premature son was born.
Elizabeth S. Wylie
Elizabeth is a trial attorney with more than 25 years of experience focusing on business and employment litigation involving commercial disputes and employment matters. She has represented clients across multiple industries, including food service, health care, construction, real estate, and manufacturing, and at all states of litigation, including administrative proceedings and appeals, seeking or defending a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction, and trial or arbitration.
Elizabeth regularly represents public and private entities in commercial disputes, including commercial landlord/tenant disputes, breach of contract and fraud claims, and shareholder disputes. She also provides representation to public and private entities in employment litigation and business torts cases, with an emphasis on the enforcement of non-competition agreements and the protection of trade secrets in Colorado and other states. She advises employers concerning most aspects of the employer-employee relationship.