The Power of Networking
The power of networking is that you never know what can happen after a coffee meeting.
In January of 2018, I had coffee with Judge Arguello and a mutual friend. I had just retired from my
life in the corporate world, after working in various Fortune 50 companies and a national law firm
and having moved many times across major cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and DC. I came
“home” to Denver, because this is where I raised my children, this is where I met my husband, and
this is where I have a strong network of friends.
As I was chatting with Judge Arguello and mentioning my desire to find a new challenge, she
immediately described her program, LAW SCHOOL…Yes We Can (LSYWC), and how she led the
organization with a volunteer board, but that she needed an Executive Director. However, the
organization lacked funding, and I was sidelined by two knee surgeries. Fast forward to the end of
the year, Judge Arguello called because she had suffered the devasting and sudden loss of her
husband, and she needed someone to run the organization. So, I said yes, even though the
organization could only pay a part-time stipend.
When I first joined LSYWC early in 2019, my focus was on raising funds and creating the
infrastructure for the organization’s operations to track, analyze, and create the institutional
history of the program, because every stakeholder wants to know that its contribution is having an
After raising enough funds to ensure the operations throughout 2019 and into early 2020, I
focused on governance and partnered with a few Board members to revise the by-laws,
restructure the Board, create an Advisory Board, and add new Board members to broaden the skill
sets and base of supporters. I then focused on strengthening communications by establishing a
monthly newsletter, a social media presence, and updating LSYWC’s website. I added workshops
to the curriculum initially established in 2014.
All this work was foundational but also critical to LSYWC’s continued growth throughout Covid-
19 since we had established relationships, an infrastructure, and the technology to operate
seamlessly in a remote working world. Working round the clock, we had secured technology-
focused grants in record time – from some of our local nonprofit partners –at the start of
Covid. And, we even launched a Young Professionals Network during the peak of Covid.
Then came 2021, the year of reckoning for all of us, with the racial and social justice movement.
Suddenly, LSYWC became a focal point for many who realized that we are the only comprehensive
and successful diversity pipeline program for the law in Colorado. It was a record year for
fundraising, not only for operational support and scholarships for LSAT prep courses but also for
paid internships. We’ve moved from a handful to over 30% of our fellows having paid internships,
and more scheduled for Fall and into 2023.
This year, 2022, was much harder, with the war in Ukraine and inflation causing some to
pause. But, with our established base of supporters, plus a new and expanded base of support
from law firms, bar associations, individual donors, corporations, and our Board, we achieved our
goals. I’m very proud of two milestones in particular: first, a five-year funding and paid internship
commitment from the five largest Denver-based law firms, who have joined together as the
Denver Coalition for Racial Justice; and second, a $50,000 unrestricted grant from the Denver
Foundation in recognition of our successful workforce development program for students of
I’m proud to say that, in less than four years, I created a well-oiled machine — one that, for the first
time, prospectively can afford a full-time Executive Director, a full-time Program Manager, and a
I could not have done all of this without the dedicated and ongoing support of our Board
President/Treasurer, Jason Márquez, and his Office Manager, Katie Brennan, who, from the
beginning, and to this day, provide extensive research, tech, accounting, and administrative
support – not to mention morale support– through the many difficult periods. I’d also like to
thank our first part-time Program Manager, Christine Hoffman, who always worked well beyond
her paid part-time hours to ensure the viability of the program, and more recently, Kelsey
Goodwin, the first full-time program manager –who brought new energy, many new ideas, and
helped me develop the organization’s first five-year strategic plan. To Yatzari Lozano, our first
intern: You helped balance the unending workload. You are our secret weapon with the fellows,
they respond to you, because they trust you with their stories. All of us on this team have worked
24/7 – because that is what it takes to make a program in development and growth mode
To our Board members, past and present, thank you for sharing the vision, committing your time
and energy, sharing your perspectives, and working side-by-side with me to make LSYWC the
strong and successful organization that it is today. Your dedication has been inspiring.
Judge Arguello, there are no words to express what we’ve been through on this journey together.
We’ve had 6am calls, and 9pm calls, and a lot in between. And we’ve texted and emailed Monday-
Sunday… not just about LSYWC, but also about things and events impacting our lives. This has
been both a professional and personal journey. I’m so proud to call you, and so many of members
of the LSYWC Community, my friends.