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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Teira

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Andrew

Andrew

Audrey

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Jalen

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Michael

Michael

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Jaime

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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 Academy. As a 2020 Livingston Fellow she is dedicated to exploring and understanding her role as a leader in building more equitable work and learning spaces. Steph and Prodigy were honored to receive the 2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder's Award, $200,000 for organizations leading the charge to address tough issues related to economic mobility.

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. 

Board of Directors

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

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

Julie Voyles, Board Secretary: Owner at JVoyles Nonprofit Consulting 

Heather Lafferty, Board Trustee: Executive Director & CEO at Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

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

Tawnya Ramirez, Board Treasurer: Certified Professional Accountant & Consultant

Angela Garcia, Board Trustee: Retired from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Tanner Sandoval, Board Trustee: Business Development Executive at IBM Security


Sumaya Vanderhorst, Board Trustee: Associate General Counsel at Real Capital Solutions

Dr. Paula Gallegos, Board Trustee: Instructor and Site Professor at CU Denver School of Education and Human Development

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