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MEET YOUR APPRENTICES

Prodigy provides technical and ‘applied skills’ training through pre-apprenticeship and on the job Professional Development modules taught by educators, business mentors and specialty coffee craftsmen. Young adults build skills, social capital and understanding for success in the new economy, with an impact goal of social mobility.

What do apprentices say about their experience at Prodigy?

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MEET THE LEADERSHIP

Board of Directors

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

Johnnie Williams, Board Member: Chief Operating Officer, Gang Rescue And Support Project (GRASP) 

Julie Voyles, Board Member: Owner at JVoyles Nonprofit Consulting 

Brande Micheau, Board Secretary: Legal Investigator at Armistead Investigators

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

 

Steph Frances

Founder and Executive Director

Steph brings twelve years of experience in youth career development. Her expertise lies in activating talent in youth on the margins and creating dynamic cultures that engage youth in their intrinsic motivation to learn. She has led Prodigy’s enterprise to double-digit year-over-year sales growth and accolades such as Best New Coffeehouse in Denver, and built an apprenticeship model for disconnected youth with an 85% completion rate. She has represented Prodigy at the Global Homeboy Network Gathering, the Aspen Institute’s Opportunity Youth Forum, and the National Youth Employment Coalition. Steph holds a Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Regis University and was a Denver Business Journal 2018 Outstanding Women in Business finalist.

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. He 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.

ALEX ZARNIKOW

Operations Manager

Alex brings over 10 years of experience in coffee, beginning at a small cafe at the base of Cascade Mountain in Wisconsin. Since then she has studied the craft under the team at Colectivo at the busiest location in Milwaukee and Jeffrey Knott’s ventures in Denver including Novo and Blue Sparrow. She has a degree in Global Studies and Spanish and is a trained educator with a specialization in helping youth overcome formidable obstacles. As CELTA-certified english teacher in Spain, she single-handedly helped 100% of her students pass their final exam. Her method: contextualized learning. Alex is a developer, both of business, but also of the people who work within its walls. She is looking forward to the challenge of holding responsibility for Prodigy’s business metrics and helping us surpass goals. 

EMILIA CANO

Assistant 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

Prodigy 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.

HILLARY FRANCES

Co-Founder

Hillary's background is in starting and managing educational and employment programs for refugees and immigrants at the nonprofit and state level as well as international research and development experience. She also brings to Prodigy her work with how scarcity and trauma impact employment, and integrating doorways to post traumatic growth. Master’s in International and Intercultural Communications from DU, published research author, Post-Traumatic Growth using participatory photojournalism projects.