MEET THE APPRENTICES

our city's next generation of homegrown leaders

At Prodigy, young adults study the craft of coffee and activate their inherent greatness. These are your next generation leaders, here to go forth and enrich the city.

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Tyree 2

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Drejon

Drejon

Teira

Teira

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Sierra

Sierra

Andrew

Andrew

Audrey

Audrey

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Meriah

Meriah

Jalen

Jalen

Gennessa

Gennessa

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December-98

Yesenia

Yesenia

Jazmin

Jazmin

Simone

Simone

Angel

Angel

Michael

Michael

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Jaime

Jaime

Earl

Earl

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Prodigy July-6

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Prodigy July-36

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MEET THE LEADERSHIP

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Founder and Executive Director

Steph Frances

Steph grew up in a military family, moving every few years to Army bases around the country. At a young age she became acutely aware of her privilege, which expounded when she moved to Milwaukee to study theology at 18, the first major city she called home. Her most salient experience was working in alternative schools in Denver for eight years, building relationships with kids dropping out. Here she saw firsthand how our culture tell us deep and destructive fallacies about why people drop out of school--how we blame the young people. But she witnessed a devastating truth: our educational institutions have failed them. Schools are designed for the industrial era, are highly discriminatory, inequitable and ineffective.

She became convinced a seismic shift needed to occur. In 2015 she founded Prodigy Ventures, a network of social enterprises that believes every young person is prodigious and intrinsically motivated to learn. Prodigy hires young adults who have been marginalized into apprenticeship, and activates their inherent greatness. Here apprentices learn how to learn, how to teach, and experience healing.

As Executive Director, Prodigy is Steph’s life work and activism. She sees her form of activism as “elevating that which she loves” and building a more equitable economy with 'community wealth-building' principles.

Steph holds a Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Regis University and is an altMBA graduate. She was a Denver Business Journal Outstanding Women in Business finalist and also serves on the Board of Wyatt Elementary. As a 2020 Livingston Fellow she is dedicated to exploring and understanding her role as a privileged leader in building more equitable work and learning spaces.

Brady grant

Director of Learning

Brady comes to Prodigy after three years as the Senior Academy Dean at Denver School for Science and Technology and eight years of career development, postsecondary planning, and job readiness program
development for Denver Public Schools. This experience developed a deep understanding of the weaknesses in our education system and the points at which youth disengage.

Brady is well-positioned for the role of supporting apprentices in their learning and integration into the workforce after Prodigy. Brady holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bradley University.

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EMILIA CAnO

Operations Manager

Emilia is a 5th generation Denver native born and raised in the Curtis-Park neighborhood. She is a strong Indigenous woman and a spiritual community leader, sitting on council to the Traditional Aztec Dance group, Danzantes De Coloraztlán.
 
After beginning her professional journey as an apprentice in Prodigy’s first cohort in 2016, Emilia has organized and participated in many leadership conferences and youth development programs. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from MSU Denver in 2018 and now sits on Prodigy’s Leadership Team. 

DESTINY HARDNEY

Educator

A native of Denver, Destiny is an educator with Prodigy Coffeehouse. With a Sociology degree, concentrating in Pre-Law and Criminology from Spelman College, Destiny’s passions lie in community-focused development, specifically with youth.

Destiny’s diverse experiences working in social justice, college and career readiness, restorative practices and conflict transformation have led her to Prodigy with the intention to combine the learnings and experiences from each space she has been able to occupy. As an educator, her aim is to provide spaces in which youth have the ability to think, verbalize and advance the skills and abilities they already possess.

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Marianne Manzler

Educator

Marianne is a Filipina-American writer and educator hailing from the Midwest, who currently leads educational programming in Prodigy's apprenticeship program. Over the past ten years, she has designed and deployed instruction for all ages in a variety of learning spaces across the US, Canada, and Southeast Asia, including as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia from 2015-2016. With a B.A. in English from The Ohio State University and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, she believes in the power of storytelling and narrative building as a means for disrupting traditional education and forging deeper connections amongst diverse groups of people.

Marianne's passion lies in authentic relationship building and creating compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires. At Prodigy, she hopes to fuse her unique experiences across education, communications, entrepreneurship, and community development as she grows an effective facilitator and leader and builds meaningful educational partnerships across Denver. Click here to read more of her work.

Board of Directors

Chad Cookinham, Board Chairman: Director of Foundation Relations, Achievement Network 

Johnnie Williams, Board Member: Executive Director, Gang Rescue And Support Project (GRASP) 

Julie Voyles, Board Secretary: Owner at JVoyles Nonprofit Consulting 

Dan Reed, Board Member: Chief Executive Officer, Seed Fundraisers

Heather Lafferty, Board Member: Executive Director and CEO at Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

Derrick Kelsey, Board Member: Senior Consultant at Apex IT & Pastor at The Embassy Church

Tawnya Ramirez, Board Treasurer: Certified Professional Accountant & Consultant