Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado
April 2020 Newsletter

In this issue...
President's Corner - Musings from "Doc" Ross
2020 ULFC Connect COVID-19 update,  2020 Community Service Projects, Alumni Highlights, Alumni Reward Program and Merchandise, and  Job Opportunities     

President's Corner

Greetings friends!

Just do it!
We shall overcome!
When the going gets tough, the tough get going!
This, too, shall pass!
Pray on it!
We are going to be all right!

There are hundreds of phrases like this. The phrases that we all call upon in times of challenge, turmoil, and uncertainty. They are the soothing words that serve as armor through tough times, the phrases that keep our hope intact.  They are mantras, affirmations, parables, and sage advice from our elders.
Recently, for some, however, the strength associated with these words seems 
not to be as strong. They seem to sound like just words.  

The reality is COVID-19 is very real. In many cases, despite our best efforts, intentions, and actions, we seem to fall short. There isn't anyone in that I know personally that hasn't been affected in some way by COVID-19. From the loss of employment to loved ones and everything in between, these pandemic has shifted our very way of life forever.

The struggle indeed is real, but it does not give us a license to stop hoping, praying, working, and collectively inspiring service in the community's interest. It should be a reminder that our community, our village, is more extensive than our neighborhood or organizational memberships. Our community is broader than the status, title, or economic condition. Our village lives and thrives through the minds, hearts, souls, and experiences of everyone. COVID-19 is not selective in who its targets so we can no longer afford t
o be particular with our love, empathy, grace, and acts of service.

We can "Just do it"!

The faith from our prayers can move mountains!

We can overcome!

As leaders in our communities, we can't afford or risk a political loyalist mentality; we have to not only cross the lines but embrace those who are on the other side. We have to root our new actions and efforts in the desire to want everyone to thrive and the rea
lization that some will have to sacrifice to do so!

What does this mean exactly? Good question here is a few things we as leaders can do to help weather these times.

1) We have to acknowledge that the challenges of COVID-19 are severe, but the effects aren't new. The profound inequity we are seeing so pronounced right now has been experienced by Black, Brown, and Indigenous people for years. We need to address this all now while everyone is open to seeing the impact of inequity.

2) Focus our Advocacy and resources on populations in the direst need. We have to ensure all of our neighbors have what they need. We have to provide incentives and safety for these folks who are essential workers and may not have the luxury to work from home or practice social distancing in a 2500 square foot home. We also need to address communities of color disproportionately being affected by COVID-19. Inequity in these communities is now even more significant.

3) We have to ensure that real support goes to real small businesses. These are the businesses of our local neighbors. This is the plumber, the barber, the daycare center, the massage therapist, the boutique gym owner, the garage repairpersons, the family restaurant, etc.! We have to ensure they thrive because they fuel so much of Colorado.

4) Understand that no one is exempt, especially those folks with privilege. Your privilege or pocketbook doesn't make you exempt from the sacrifice of staying home, wearing a mask, or not putting lives in danger by gathering in parks when they are closed. Do your part.

5) SHARE our time, talent, and treasure!.
    SERVE in the interest of the village!    
    SPEAK UP when inequity unveils its ugly face in any capacity!

6) Operate with grace, flexibility, and understanding! Make it about other people. Thi
s isn't the time to see how many people check on you. It's the time to see how many people you check in on. Remember the love you sow is the love you will receive.

It might feel like we are on the ropes, but friends we haven't been knocked down yet.  Its time!  We must ball our collective fist and deliver a severe blow.  A strike that cripples COVID-19, acknowledges and addresses inequity, and makes a clear path for each member of the village to thrive!

Let's Be Great on Purpose
Dr. Ryan Ross    
In an effort to respect and support the health and well being of our community, alumni, and the 20/20 fellows the current ULF classes will be moved to an online platform. We look forward to gathering again in a setting where we can shake a hand, give a hug, and break bread together. We will keep you posted on this process and revisit this decision in real-time with the release of new information and guidance from Governor Polis. 
Bridging the Gap Initiative 
In response to the drastic changes in our community caused by the COVID-19 pandemic the Urban Leadership Foundation has launched the Bridging the Gap Initiative to support families and small businesses experiencing financial hardships and loss.

Through this initiative we have provided nearly    $25k in financial support to thirty small businesses and families experiencing hardships. We have also launched the ULF 30 Minute Refresh which is a 30 minute break to focus on yourself and take a break from your work day. Activities have ranged from yoga, painting and financial advocacy to line dancing and style tips. We have engaged more than 100 people via Zoom and social media outlets and we will continue into the month of May every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12:00-12:30p.  Special thanks to our presenters who included but are limited to: Topazz McBride, DJ KTONE, Joseph Graves, Shed G and Remembrance Wellness and Yoga!

Stay on the lookout as we continue these efforts in the month of May with small Business support in the far North East (Montbello/ Green Valley Ranch), supporting graduating seniors, and providing limited masks free of charge. For questions or to support please email Jasmine Elizabeth - jasmine.elizabeth@ulfcolorado.org.


...WE pledge ourselves to liberate all people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering of any sort, against gender and any other discrimination.
Nelson Mandela
When many of us joined the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado, (formerly known as the Chamber Connect), it was with hope toward the future and making a difference in the community.
Our experiences have been varied, both before and most definitely after engaging in this impactful work to make ourselves and the places where we carry influence - Better!
As you know, the strength of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado is found in its alumni. This necessary work of developing leaders and supporting growth, lives on as we continue our commitment to its success, through our support both physically and financially.
The Alumni Pledge Program provides you with the opportunity to continue your support and commitment at the level that is most meaningful to you.

Please see below for our level of contributions. To make your pledge please contact Jasmine Elizabeth - jasmine.elizabeth@ulfcolorado.org


Show your ULFC pride in our latest gear! Click here to check out what we have in store. Place your order today!

Upcoming Events and Initiatives of Interest for ULFC Alumni and Friends

The Community Voted! The 2020 Community Service Projects are In!
 A huge thank you to every alum and community member along with our judges Shay J, Hanifah Chaku, Brandis Meeks, Alexandria Harris and Alexis Perry-Sc?ott for  participating in our 1st online community service zoom pitch party! We had over 80 people stream and over 50 votes received! This years community service projects will be:

Rock the Vote - High School Senior Voting Campaign and Concert
ULFC Mental Health 5k Run
A ULF Salute to each of our fellow for working diligently on their community service projects and pitches. You represented the 2020 and we look forward to the great work you will do in our community!

 Please send job highlights or announcements to info@ulfcolorado.org 

Colorado Community College Syste currently has the following jobs posted on our Job Opportunity Page:
·        Academic Technology Professional - CCCOnline
·         System Apprenticeship Grant Accountant - Finance/Administration/Operations
·        CO-TECH Apprenticeship Grant Manager - Academic Affairs
·        CCCOnline Adjunct Instructor - Computer Science
If you are not interested in any of these positions for yourself, please pass along to anyone you may know who could be interested.  Be sure to watch for job postings on our Jobs Page on the CCCS website for positions that have shorter posting periods.


Derek R. Jones, M.D.

1) What is your current title, company, and primary job function?

Resident Physician, PGY-1
Department of Internal Medicine
SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital

About Me

I graduated from the historically black Howard University earning two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in biology and a bachelor of science in chemistry.      After graduating from Howard, I was offered a post-baccalaureate intramural research training fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.  I received my MD from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 2020.   As an underrepresented African American male student of color at CU School of Medicine, I have been uniquely able to contribute to the educational benefits derived from a diverse student body. Sharing my beliefs and values has created a better educational experience among the student body and has helped to infuse diversity in all aspects within the clinical and academic setting. With an awareness of the history of disparities in access to quality health care, I have brought a different perspective into the practice of medicine.

2) Year Chamber Connect (ULF) program was completed?


3) What is your greatest takeaway from the Chamber Connect program?

The ULFC program is dedicated to preparing the next generation of leaders.  While in the program,  I was given the unique opportunity to improve my business acumen, build my leadership toolkit, and gain an in depth understanding of Colorado's civic, political, and nonprofit landscape.   I now have a  greater appreciation for the political process, a better  understanding of what it means to run for office, and most importantly how to engage in the political process from the viewpoint of a community leader.  

4) What is your leadership philosophy? Why? 

The term  leadership  conveys the  idea of oversight  and implies collective action oriented toward  coordination of activities , determination of professional responsibilities, and clarification of roles, boundaries, limitations, and expectations.   My role and philosophy as leader is one of engaging and promoting clinical leadership, collaboration, coordination, and respect among team members and the patient and family to ensure the most effective patient-centered high-quality care is provided.   I hope to use my leadership platform to serve and advocate for disenfranchised communities.  I envision a system where all people, from all over the world can hold power to create opportunity for themselves and others. 

5) What civic, nonprofit, or service community endeavor are you most proud of since becoming a Chamber Connect alumnus?

Racial/ethnic minorities and those with lower socioeconomic status are less likely to be listed for a kidney transplant compared to whites.  I had a unique opportunity to conduct research aimed at identifying barriers to kidney transplant evaluation in our dialysis centers in the Denver Metro Area and determine if we have disparities in access to kidney transplant evaluations.  The research resulted in a publication in the American journal of Nephrology.  ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29258094 ).   My research shed light on the issues of healthcare inequality that disproportionately impact people of color and other marginalized groups. Regardless of the progress made in recent decades, far too many African Americans still struggle to lead healthy and economically secure lives. This is due to the long-standing effects of racism, which touches all African Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status. These effects can be reversed, but it will take real commitment and systemic change.  

My life's ambition is to make a positive contribution to the field of medicine while serving my community.  The Area Health Education Centers program has been developing an on-line program for High School Juniors and Seniors and I had the unique opportunity to deliver lessons to them on careers in healthcare.  I had the opportunity to bring in my culture and all that it encompasses: my beliefs, values, identity, and links to the community.  Further, as an underrepresented African American male, the students were given a unique perspective as it relates to perceptions of what those who practice medicine look like.

6) What advice do you have for the current cohort of Chamber Connect Fellows?

In order to combat racial and ethnic inequalities in our community, we must invest our time and/or funds to anti-racist policymakers or organizations.  We must support initiatives that prevent monopolies in business, tax the rich more than the middle class, and remove profit incentives from healthcare, education, and our criminal justice system.  Widespread structural inequality continues to plague Black and Latinx communities which stems from the widening racial inequities from "Health to wealth".  Recognize the link between racism and capitalism by supporting policies that provide a safety net for all people.  Dare to make people uncomfortable regarding issues of privilege, power and oppression.  

"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."
- James Baldwin

Richella Craft-Delgado

1. What is your current title, company, and primary job function?

F-35 Project Manager for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
I monitor government and military contracts with budgets over $300M for the F-35 Systems Engineering team. Responsible for execution and coordination of monthly data driven metrics, root cause analysis, and development of corrective action plans for teams. Also perform Risk and Opportunity Management, Earned Value Management System (EVMS) oversight and conduct Program Reviews with the Joint Program Office.

2) Year Chamber Connect (ULF) program was completed? 


3) What is your greatest takeaway from the Chamber Connect program? 

The program consistently exhibited classes that motivated and inspired action. Through the ULF Chamber Connect, I was able to establish strong and effective relationships with pillars of the community who I may not have had the opportunity of meeting and also the forever connection with my graduating class. The program definitely provided the necessary tools that prepared us to become leaders in any industry we were employed.

4) What is your leadership philosophy? Why? 

A favorite quote that explains my leadership philosophy is "Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence" - Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. I like to build trust amongst my colleagues. I am open, honest, transparent and attentive and that has helped me build strong relationships throughout my career. I listen to everyone's opinion from the entry level employee to the veterans on the team and provide the environment for each one to feel like a valued part of the team.

5) What civic, nonprofit, or service community endeavor are you most proud of since becoming a Chamber Connect alumnus? 

Currently I am over the Community Service events for Lockheed Martin Leadership Association and my focus is Habitat for Humanity. Our goal is to give back by partnering with such a great organization that helps families build and improve places to call home. The volunteer experience is so rewarding. The preparation started with our community projects at the end of our leadership program. To pull together as a team and complete a successful service for others was a reward you cannot put a price on. Any good deed for the sake of others can change the world.

6) What advice do you have for the current cohort of Chamber Connect Fellows? 

I would advise them to build as many connections as they can as they venture through the program. The relationships and knowledge received from a great program as this is unmatched. Also, learn as much as you can from every person that leads a workshop and ask many questions. The speakers were so receptive to us and their biggest priority is to pass the knowledge on to all of us.