Janna West Kowalski, MS, ACC

West Kowalski Consulting and Coaching

Janna West Kowalski has more than 25 years of experience leading, coaching, and training in government, health, non-profit and academic sectors. She currently serves as a Faculty member and Coach for the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership (RIHEL) and with Blue Mesa Coaching. Additionally, Janna is an International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited coach and works with leaders and emerging leaders to achieve their personal and professional development goals.

Previously, Janna provided training and development with County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the Center for Public Health Practice at the Colorado School of Public Health. She also spent nine years working in local public health and continues this commitment to her community by serving on the Larimer County Board of Health.

Janna received a Master of Science from Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and a Bachelor of Science from Colorado State University.


Norm Hartman

TMT Worldwide, Inc.

normhartman-80x80Hartman prepares people for a variety of communications opportunities including media interviews, crisis communication, public speaking and presentations and interacting with social media. He is a former major market broadcast news reporter and executive and spent several years in corporate public relations and as head of public affairs for the California Department of Health Services. Among his clients are the CDC, FDA, EPA, regional public health leadership institutes and many state and local public health organizations.

Norm has prepared clients for appearances on programs such as 60 Minutes, Today, Good Morning America, Nightline, Dateline and interviews with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and hundreds of other newspapers and magazines. His workshop includes an overview of current media and an excellent insight into working with reporters and editors. He introduces a formula for developing compelling and quotable messages and provides a unique on-camera opportunity for workshop participants. For more information, see his website, www.tmtww.com.

Advanced Leadership Training Program

Heidi Brinkman, PhD

Brinkman Consulting Inc. – President

heidibrinkman-80x80Heidi Brinkman, PhD is President of BCI, a management-consulting firm specializing in individual, team, and organizational effectiveness. She is former Academic Director of Leadership Programs for The Institute of Executive and Professional Development, Daniels College of Business. Heidi was a Clinical Professor/Lecturer in the department of management at Daniels for 10 years. She continues her affiliation as an adjunct professor. Her work centers on research, training, coaching, and development with subject matter expertise in interpersonal and organizational communication, conflict resolution, business writing and presentation, and human resource management.

Heidi received a B.A. in Communication from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Ph.D. in Speech Communication, with an emphasis in organizational communication from the University of Denver. Dr. Brinkman has been serving as a corporate coach, consultant and trainer, as well as teaching courses at the University of Denver in communication and management for 15 years. She has conducted assessments, designed programs, facilitated workshops and change efforts, and given presentations and seminars for major corporations.

Dr. Brinkman has authored several journal articles, book chapters and conference papers on diversity and the influence of culture, gender and age on communication. She has co-authored a book chapter on conflict resolution. Her doctoral dissertation, nominated for the Mary McKinney Ware Excellence Award, addresses diversity in the work place. The extensive project included the development of the Diversity Survey, an assessment tool for measuring the effectiveness of an organization’s diversity management.


Carl Larson, PHD

University of Denver – Professor Emeritus

carllarson-80x80Carl Larson is Professor Emeritus of Human Communication Studies and past Dean of Social Sciences at the University of Denver. He earned his B.A. degree (1961) in Speech and Drama at Idaho State University and both his M.A. degree (1962) and Ph.D. (1965) in Communication at the University of Kansas.

Larson’s main research activities have focused on groups and teams, and on negotiation and collaborative processes. His ten books have dealt with communication, negotiation, teamwork, collaboration, and leadership.

He has consulted for many entities in both the private and public sector on leadership, teamwork and collaboration. These organizations include including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Congress. He has received awards for research, community service and teaching, including the Driscoll Master Educator Award, given by the students of the University of Denver to the outstanding professor of the year.

Kathy Kennedy, DrPH, MA

RIHEL Founding Director

kathykennedy-80x80Dr. Kathy Irene Kennedy served as the Executive Director of RIHEL since its inception in 1998 until 2021. Her work focused on workforce development either through the professional development opportunities offered through RIHEL or through formal education at the Colorado School of Public Health. She retired as Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado’s Colorado School of Public Health where she created two masters degree programs and two certificate programs and where she taught (among other courses)0 the Doctoral Leadership Seminar, Leadership in Public Health Practice for master’s degree students and Leadership Dialogues for postgraduate fellows in the School of Medicine.

By training, Dr. Kennedy is a public health scientist who has conducted many studies in reproductive health, especially in the areas of lactation, fertility and contraception. She has directed several multi-center international studies, and has written on women’s health, on human immunodeficiency virus (AIDS) and on postpartum issues. Dr. Kennedy has worked in 20 countries and has served as an advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) Human Reproduction Program in Geneva, Switzerland, directing data analysis and report writing for a variety of projects, including large international prospective studies. She provides peer review of scientific papers to public health and health care journals, and reviews research proposals for foundations and institutions.


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Leanne Jeffers, MPH, PCC

RIHEL – Program Director

leannejeffers-80x80Leanne Jeffers, MPH, PCC is the Director of Coaching Services and the Leadership for Healthy Community Design (LHCD) Program at the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership (RIHEL). For over 30 years, Leanne has worked in the health and public health sectors, with an emphasis on professional development, coaching, healthy community design, community health, and health promotion. Leanne earned her Master of Public Health from the University of California Los Angeles, her Professional Certified Coach designation from the International Coaching Federation and is a graduate of both the National Public Health Leadership Institute and the RIHEL Advanced Leadership Training Program.

As the Director of RIHEL’s Coaching Services, Leanne manages the coaching programs within RIHEL’s comprehensive leadership programs, oversees RIHEL’s personal coaching services, and directs the Coaching Academy, an accredited coach training program. Since 2000, she has been coaching individuals and groups and training others to be peer and professional coaches.

Additionally, Leanne is a core faculty member for RIHEL’s comprehensive leadership programs and a lead RIHEL trainer, delivering a variety of workshops for organizations and professional associations around the U.S. She is a a certified facilitator of The Leadership Challenge Workshop, and a certified administrator for both the EQ-i 2.0 emotional intelligence assessment and the Influence Style Indicator. Leanne also offers mental fitness training and coaching through the Positive Intelligence (PQ) framework.

Since starting with RIHEL in 2003, Leanne has also managed the RIHEL Advanced Leadership Training Program (ALTP), coordinated Emergency Preparedness training for public and environmental health professionals, and provided training, facilitation and coaching to build professional and community capacity in the area of healthy community design. Leanne served on the Denver Regional Council of Governments Metro Vision Planning Advisory Committee for two years (2012-2014), was on the Governing Board of Directors for WalkDenver for five years (2015 – 2019; Chair 2017-2019) and is serving her second year as a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee with the Colorado Chapter of the International Coaching Federation.


Contact Me
Give me a call at 303-871-3550 or send me a message through the contact form below.

Chrissy Chard, PhD

Director, Advanced Leadership Training Program, Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership

Dr. Chrissy Chard (she/her) is the incoming director of RIHEL’s Advanced Leadership Training Program. Between 2015-2022 she was a professor in the department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University, as well as with the Department of Community and Behavioral Health with the Colorado School of Public Health. Her public health practice and research interests include physical activity, self-esteem and body image in adolescent girls, as well as tailoring programming using Community-based Participatory Research. Dr. Chard has a strong interest in uncovering the ways that racism, structural bias, and social inequities continue to impact health disparities, as well as a commitment to exploring and disrupting how whiteness and white supremacy show up in public health. Dr. Chard has taught various graduate courses including Social and Community Factors in Health, Public Health Leadership, and Foundations of Anti-Oppressive Public Health Practice and Research.

She also co-founded and runs a non-profit organization for middle school students called Smart Fit Girls, which is dedicated to supporting the social, emotional and physical health and well-being among adolescents. Most recently, Chrissy has also begun a parent coaching practice, whereby she supports and guides parents to show up as the conscious and intentional parents they want to be.

Originally from Denver, she has many years of experience in health behavior change and wellness coaching. She deeply values her close community of family and friends, as well as moving her body in ways that feel good. She loves spending time with her partner and three kiddos, Lucy, Jack and Jordan.


Nicole Tuitt, DrPH, MPH

Colorado School of Public Health, Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, Department of Community and Behavioral Health

Nicole R. Tuitt, DrPH, MPH is an Assistant Professor at the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health (CBH) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH). Nicole received her DrPH from the ColoradoSPH in Community and Behavioral Health with a minor in Epidemiology (2018).

Nicole currently teaches at the ColoradoSPH, in the areas of Community and Behavioral Health, Latent Variable Methods, and Anti-Oppressive Research and Practice Methods in Public Health. Her research focuses on substance use, suicide prevention, and sexual risk reduction among Black and American Indian and Alaska Native youth.


Beth Roome, MA, ACC

Founder of Switchback Institute, and Executive Director of the Switchback Foundation

image of Beth RoomeBeth is Founder of Switchback Institute, and Executive Director of the Switchback Foundation. Her passion is the development and championing of people doing high impact work. She has 28 years’ experience in strategic planning, program development, leadership standards, training and communications. She graduated from Colorado College with a degree in Sociology and a focus in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She has an M.A. in Strategic Communication and Leadership from Seton Hall University. Beth is a proud member of the RIHEL class of ’08 and has served as coach and coach team lead for the RIHEL programs on-and-off over the past 13 years. She is a member of the first cohort of the RIHEL Coaching Academy. Before launching Switchback, Beth worked 13 years for the State of Colorado in the Departments of Human Services, Public Health and Environment, and Public Safety. Eight of those years she served as a Disaster Behavioral Health and Communication Specialist. She co-led the development of a statewide system for standardized behavioral health response during disasters. She also created a workforce resilience workshop including material that has been delivered in various formats to over 100 agencies and conferences locally, nationally, and internationally. The crux of this work is a systems approach to promoting employee engagement and performance through prioritizing organizational resources, recognition, and support. During 5 years with the Department of Public Safety, she served in the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, as the Training and Exercise Program Manager. She and her team were responsible for coordinating statewide delivery of Incident Management Training for hospitals, public health, fire and emergency management agencies. The team also created a clearinghouse for local, state and national Emergency Management and Homeland Security training. She moved to the CDPS Executive Directors Office where she created the Department’s Leadership Strategies Institute and served as the Department’s lead trainer. Switchback Institute exists to provide leadership resources, resilience strategies and personal/professional growth through coaching, presentations, workshops, learning opportunities and retreats. The Foundation exists to partner with other organizations, businesses, and individuals in providing respite and professional development opportunities to non-profit communities engaged in high impact work. RIHEL FACULTY FOR:

Joan Eden, ACC

Consultant, Trainer, Coach

Joan EdenJoan currently works as a professional coach devoted to clients primarily in government and non-profit work situations around leadership development. She is a Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF). She has been recognized by the Center for Coaching Certification as a Certified Professional Coach and a Certified Master Coach. She has been a coach with the ALTP Coaching Program for 12 years? and a “Coach Team Leader” for six of those years. She is also certified to administer and debrief the EQi 2.0 Assessment.

Prior to becoming a professional coach, Joan worked as an independent consultant, trainer, and coach. Past projects include working with: 1) the Colorado Department of Health and Environment on creating and administering a ten year formal Mentoring Program with up to 130 participants annually ; 2) the American Public Health Laboratories on development of an internal coaching program and; 3) county, state and federal government employees through Executive Forum as a trainer of “Crucial Conversations,” “Crucial Accountability”, “Influencer”, “Change Anything” and “I love Feedback”.

Joan is an ALTP graduate and served on the RIHEL Governing Board for six years, which included two years on the Executive Committee.

She has a Master’s degree in Public Health and Nutrition from Columbia University.

In 2005 she received an Award for Excellence from the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership (RIHEL), and in 2006 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Public Health Association.


Curt Drennen, PsyD, RN

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – Healthcare Operations and Response Branch Supervisor; HPP Program Manager, CO BH Disaster Coordinator

image of curt drennenDr. Curt Drennen is a psychologist working for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response as the Health and Safety program manager. Curt has led the Colorado behavioral health response to over 10 events of significance including natural disasters, public health crisis and major community violence. He now leads the Healthcare/Hospital Preparedness Program and the Ebola Preparedness Program. He has in excess of 20 years of experience in the fields of mental health and psychology with an emphasis in Disaster Management and Community Recovery, Emotional Intelligence, Resilience, Servant Leadership, and Systems Conflict Management. Curt is also a graduate of the RIHEL Advanced Leadership Training Program Class of 2006.


Armando Herald, ACC

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – Drinking Water Local Assistance Unit Manager

Armando graduated from the RIHEL Advanced Leadership Training Program (ALTP) in 2010, and believes coaching to be one of the most valuable skills he has ever learned. He completed Certified Master Coach training with the Center for Coaching Certification in 2018 and is working towards his Associate Certified Coach credential with the International Coaching Federation. Armando graduated in 1997 from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. His experience includes environment, health and safety in oil and gas drilling, power transmission and distribution design, telecommunications, air quality, and drinking water. He manages the Safe Drinking Water Local Assistance Unit at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and coaches privately with his coaching business Mondo Coaching Results. Armando is a very happy husband, father, grandfather and avid outdoorsman.


Effley N. Brooks III, MBA

Tiger Bee Consulting, LLC – President

effleybrooks-80x80Effley Brooks is President of Tiger Bee Consulting, LLC a company that he established in order to expand his opportunities in working toward positive social change. Effley specializes in leadership development workshops and seminars. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Business Administration. He is also certified in two models of Emotional Intelligence: Mayer- Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) and the BarOn EQ-i. He is also certified in the Intercultural Development Inventory instrument (IDI) – a developmental model of intercultural sensitivity.

Effley Brooks honed his public speaking and motivational talents through his work in the non-profit industry. During his tenure as program director for the Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth, a youth suicide prevention organization, Effley became one of the most sought after speakers on teen suicide prevention in Colorado. In addition, Mr. Brooks has been the keynote speaker at graduations, as well as national and international conferences. He has also appeared as a guest on local television talk shows and the local news.

Effley has acted as Master of Ceremony at PeaceJam conferences throughout the United States and in South Africa. Mr. Brooks has also conducted workshops on communication, suicide prevention, and story telling at the PeaceJam conferences. He has had the honor of sharing the stage with inspiring individuals such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jose Ramos-Horta, Dr. Oscar Arias, Jody Williams, Willie O’Ree, Betty Williams, and Rigoberta Menchu Tum.

Through his work with the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, the Anti-Defamation League, NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force, Tiger Bee Consulting, LLC, and other local and national organizations, he has facilitated workshops on intercultural sensitivity and development for corporations, government agencies, universities, and schools.

Effley’s achievements have been recognized by honors and awards from Denver Mayor Wellington Webb for “fighting hate and discrimination and endeavoring to make Denver a Safe City;” Human Rights Award 2000 from the Cherry Creek Diversity Conference for promoting the ideals of peace and understanding to the youth of Colorado; from the Colorado School Counselor Association for “Outstanding Service,” and from the Contemporary Learning Academy for his volunteer work and commitment to children.

Effley uses humor, personal experiences, story-telling, and poetry in his messages to inspire others.


Franco Marini, MA, CNL

Daniels College of Business, University of Denver – Adjunct Professor

francomariniFranco Marini is president and creator of The NeuroTransology Institute which is dedicated to supporting individuals and organizations in enhancing their success. He is also Affiliated Executive Faculty at the Daniel’s College of Business at the University of Denver where he is involved with several educational experiential projects. He is the owner and director of Peak Empowerment, an organization committed to empowering individuals and organizations through exciting programs, activities and unique group challenges. He also created and operates Global Journeys Inc., a travel-based company providing personal and professional growth through specialized travel offerings.

One of Marini’s strongest attributes is his ability and knowledge of how to empower human development as it impacts the productivity and results of an organization. One of his primary focal points is working with the strengths and contributions of individuals and empowering each participant to effectively communicate and powerfully work with each other in ways that support highly productive and healthy organizations. Franco is a certified trainer of Insights Discovery, a communications and personality preference assessment. He is also Certified in NeuroLeadership, a certified Yoga instructor in the Sampoorna tradition, a ceremonialist, a wellness coach, a massage therapist, a drum-maker, and a consultant.

As director and president of Peak Empowerment for the past fifteen years, Marini has a distinguished record of providing quality training to thousands of individuals. Some of the clients he has worked with include: Phillips Petroleum, McREL, BP, Kaiser Permanente, Novartis, Intermountain Health, Colgate Palmolive, F.M.I., Daniels College of Business, the U.S. Air Force and Army, DeVry University, BNP Paribas, South Pole Expedition Team, Spectrum Health, Rocky Mountain Orthodontists, Castlewood Fire Department, Vital Yoga and others.


Judy Baxter, MA

C3 Research Partners
Retired Associate Professor, University of Colorado

Judith (Judy) Baxter, retired at the end of 2022 from the University of Colorado- Anschutz Medical Campus, School of Medicine and Colorado School of Public Health, after 40 years, where she was an Associate Professor focused on teaching and research.

As part of the RIHEL team since its inception, Judy continues to learn from participants, alumni and colleagues. Her most recent foci in RIHEL programs has been on leading the collaboration thread and supporting the emotional intelligence and coaching threads in ALTP, as well as co-leading workshops in Team Intelligence, Leading Team’s Virtually and The Emotionally Effective Leader. Her growth edge is to look critically at how our leadership workshops can be infused with thoughtful application of a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) mindset.

In her Life Part 2, Judy continues to be part of the RIHEL team, as well as her established coaching practice focused on supporting individuals and organizations to find their highest goals and build/sustain high performance teams. Her coaching philosophy embraces practices that support the development of mindful awareness, positive intelligence and emotional/social intelligence. She is active in the Denver community by serving on several boards and working as a volunteer therapy team with her dog Piper. Judy hopes to further her cooking, writing and fly-fishing skills that will combine with new travel adventures, all with family and friends.


Sarah Roberts

image of Sarah RobertsCEO
Clarity Matters Consulting LLC

Sarah Roberts is CEO of Clarity Matters Consulting LLC where she works as a process facilitator, coach, and trainer primarily for the public health workforce. Her coach training is through the Center for Coaching Certification (an approved program through the ICF, International Coaching Federation) where she earned her Certified Professional Coach, Certified Master Coach, and Certified Executive Coach Specialist certifications. She has additional training and certification in Conversational Intelligence and Positive Intelligence for coaches, and is certified in Emotional Intelligence and DiSC. She is actively working toward her ICF Professional Certified Coach accreditation and coaches to the ICF competencies. She also trains coaches for the Center for Coaching Certification. Her mission is to partner with leaders and their teams using assessments, training, and coaching to create and support culture change and increase retention of talent in the organization. She is a direct communicator and loves to elicit and celebrate the aha’s people experience through coaching!

For twelve years she served in the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, most recently as Deputy Director of Long Term Services and Supports. Sarah is a graduate of the RIHEL 2014 Advanced Leadership Training Program, a past RIHEL Board member, and holds a Bachelors in Communication Arts and Sciences and a Masters of Health Administration