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Our Advisors

Heidi Barker is the Director of Global DEI Inclusive Experiences at Amazon, exploring the intersectionality of communications, learning & development, and events. She brings 30 years of experience as a senior corporate communications executive and broadcast journalist. A champion of diversity, equity and inclusion, she advises executives and leads organizational DEI initiatives. Prior to Amazon, Barker led communications and DEI at John S. & James L. Knight Foundation in Miami, which funds journalism, arts, & community initiatives in the eight cities where the Knight brothers published newspapers. She also executive level communications positions at Carnival Corporation & plc and McDonald’s Corporation. Prior to that she spent a decade producing for NBC Network news.

Lisa Blum Nigro has been in the radio industry for over 40 years. She recently retired as a VP of National Partnership Investment at Audacy after 36 years with the company. Lisa is an experienced Broadcast advertising professional who oversaw all aspects in maintaining and driving national sales for over 230 Audacy radio stations around the country. Lisa received her degree in Communications from the University of Colorado. She began her career in radio as a local advertising seller at a small news/talk station in Miami, Florida.  She evolved over the years and eventually began to pick up markets and then grew into the national advertising vertical. Lisa has won numerous advertising awards over her many years in the industry. She now spends her summers/fall back where it all began, in Colorado.

Kathy Neustadt has been a freelance field producer for ABC News since 1993. Before ABC, she was a news writer at KCNC-TV, Denver and Station Manager and News Director at a Leadville, Colorado radio station. She is past board chair of the Mizel Arts and Culture Center and a former board chair and longtime board member at the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center. Originally from Oklahoma, the Neustadt family established the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1969, which is a biennial award sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and World Literature Today. Kathy and her sisters created the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, which for the past ten years has celebrated the significant achievements of living writers in children’s and young adult literature.

Kerry Sanders is one of America’s best loved storytellers. For 32-years, Kerry was NBC’s Miami-based correspondent distinguishing himself with breaking news coverage and memorable features. Sanders has more than 40 years of experience providing in-the-field reports during hurricanes. He has covered more than 100 named storms including Andrew & Hugo. Kerry was a member of the NBC Nightly News reporting team awarded a Peabody, an Emmy and the RTNDA Edward R Murrow Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He contributed regularly to “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt,” “Today” and MSNBC, and was a founding member of the NBC Nightly News Kids edition reporting staff. In 2023, Kerry retired from NBC News. His interests in reporting remain and he hopes to develop a longer form outlet for his reporting with a focus on the environment and animals.

Gary Shapiro has been a television journalist for nearly 50 years. He recently retired after spending 39 of those years at 9News in Denver. Gary received his journalism degree from the University of Nebraska and his Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications from Iowa State University. The next stop was KAKE-TV in Wichita, Kansas, where he worked as a Reporter, Photographer and Anchor. Gary came to 9News (KUSA-TV) in Denver in 1983, and started anchoring the Morning Show in 1989. In addition to his anchoring and reporting duties, Gary has produced numerous TV documentaries, including “75 Years after Pearl Harbor”, an in depth look at Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, and the history of Amache, a WWII Internment Camp in Colorado. He’s won numerous awards, including Emmys and the prestigious Edward R Murrow Award.

Tiya Ashantia Trent is the program director of Denver’s Project Voyce, an organization that engages youth as partners in personal and community development.  She is an activist, organizer, mentor, and mother to two young men. She received her BA in Theater and Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder and performs for social justice. Tiya also received a Master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies, specifically in Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice, and works with youth in a myriad of ways. Tiya is the HBIC (Head Baker in Charge) and owner of her baking business, Patty Bakes. In Tiya’s spare time you can find her reading, writing, acting in theater productions, African dancing and even mountain bike riding with a group of African American women.