As you may have noticed, RMMFI is growing fast. Our team today is nearly three times larger than it was three years ago! To help you get to know the new roles and faces, we’re sharing a little about the most recent additions to the RMMFI staff below.
Beyond getting bigger, our team has also become more representative of the people we serve. Our entrepreneur community has grown more diverse over the past decade, and we’re proud that the diversity of our team has increased alongside those changes.
81% of entrepreneurs in the RMMFI community today identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), compared to 60% a decade ago. 70% of entrepreneurs identify as female, compared to 63% a decade ago. Mirroring national trends, the number of businesses launched by women of color in RMMFI’s programs has increased by 49% over the past decade.
On the RMMFI team, while we don’t formally collect demographic information, we’ve estimated that 69% of our current staff identify as BIPOC, 69% as women, and 88% as women, people of color, immigrants, justice-involved individuals, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and/or members of a rural community. 50% of our team are entrepreneurs themselves, and 50% are from Colorado. Our board is also more diverse than ever and includes two graduates of our programs.
We know that having staff and board representation of the communities we serve is central to fulfilling our North Star, and we celebrate the many identities and lived experiences within RMMFI.
Keep reading to meet the seven newest members of the RMMFI team!
Breonna Gilbert, Outreach Coordinator
Hey! My name is Bre, and I’m an Outreach Coordinator at RMMFI. Originally from Ohio, I now reside in the City Park neighborhood of Denver. As a formerly addicted and incarcerated mixed woman, my passion lies within showing others who have been in similar positions that their dreams, goals, and ambitions are achievable. I am the Co-Owner of Bre’s Bites (a mobile food cart), made possible by RMMFI (I graduated from boot camp in November 2021). I’m also inspired to teach financial literacy to those who have struggled as I have, and I am pursuing my dream by enrolling in MSU this fall to major in economics.
Zaira Ruiz, Outreach Coordinator
Hola! I’m Zaira, Outreach Coordinator for RMMFI. Originally from Kansas, I moved to Denver after receiving my M.A. in sociology. I started my construction cleaning company — Zircon Contracting LLC — soon after. That led me to RMMFI, first as a grad and now as a part of the team. Also, a heads up — if you can’t get ahold of me in Denver, I am probably somewhere in Mexico!
Alex Rosado, Development Director
Hello, I’m Alex. I’m a Colorado native and was born at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora. I’ve lived here nearly my entire life and received a bachelor’s in urban sociology from Metropolitan State University. I’m proud to say that 15 years of my professional career have been spent as an entrepreneur myself. I’m excited to support and contribute to the journey of becoming financially independent through business ownership. In my spare time, I enjoy water sports, gaming, and playing poker.
Marya Skotte, Thrive Trainer
Hi! I’m Marya, RMMFI’s Thrive Trainer. I’m passionate about using collaboration, strategy, and education to build a better world for people and the planet. I received my MBA from Colorado State University where I focused my studies on sustainable finance, entrepreneurship, and business for good. While in my MBA program, I launched a nonprofit to meet the needs of my community during the COVID-19 pandemic and started a consulting service to help mission-driven lenders and CDFIs offer sustainable financing to immigrant and refugee communities in Denver. Before my MBA, I managed a network of partners at the National Park Foundation in Washington, D.C. In my free time, I enjoy long-distance road cycling, hiking, and exploring the many trails and mountains near my home in Denver.
Beatrice Gallegos, San Luis Valley Trainer
I’m Bea, the Trainer for RMMFI’s San Luis Valley program. I was born and raised in the San Luis Valley in the town of Center, and I have lived and worked in the Valley all of my working career. I spent 22 years in Colorado’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation as a Rehabilitation Technician, where I helped individuals with disabilities obtain and maintain gainful employment. I also worked with the State Land Board for eight years before retiring from state government in January 2022. My passion is to assist and help individuals in my community succeed in any way I can. I’ve developed many skills in policy and process throughout my career, primarily communication, compassion, and advocacy for individuals in the unique economics of the San Luis Valley.
Stephen Ruddell-Lopez, Westwood Trainer
My name is Steve, and I’m the bilingual Trainer for RMMFI’s Westwood program. I have taught for many years and enjoy teaching and using my bilingual skills. I also enjoy entrepreneurship, so I understand what it is to have a dream of owning your own business! I have a bachelor’s in business and international relations, an MBA, and a master’s in international trade. I was born in California, grew up in South America (Perú, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile), and have lived/worked/studied abroad for 20+ years. In my free time, I love to travel on my motorcycle, play tennis and saxophone, and participate in volunteer projects.
Rhonda Garcia, San Luis Valley Site Coordinator
Hello, I’m Rhonda, Site Coordinator in the San Luis Valley. I am originally from the San Luis Valley, born in Monte Vista, but my family moved to Phoenix, AZ, when I was an infant. I moved back to the San Luis Valley four years ago and am loving the slower-paced lifestyle. I have over 20 years of teaching, behavioral health, and social work experience. I’m looking forward to working with entrepreneurs from the San Luis Valley and helping individuals realize their life goal of becoming business owners. I love spending time with family, friends, and my dogs.