Meet Our Team

Executive Director

Linda Appel Lipsius

Linda joined the DUG board in 2020 and stepped into the Executive Director role in 2021. She brings strong business and entrepreneurial experience to the role as well as a commitment to regenerative business and living.
She is the Co-Founder & former CEO of Teatulia Organic Teas, a universally-respected brand known for doing things better: From the 3,000-acre regenerative garden itself to Teatulia’s stunningly sustainable packaging, Linda's focus has always been to use business as a force for good. In 2012, Linda also started the mama 'hood (a resource for new & expecting moms & their families) and opened Teatulia Tea & Coffee Bar, next door to Teatulia’s Denver Headquarters.
A Denver Native, she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Columbia University in New York City and her MBA in finance and organizational management from NYU’s Stern School of Business before moving to Washington, DC, London, Los Angeles then back to Denver. She also completed her Permaculture Design Course with the Denver Permaculture Guild in 2019.
Linda currently lives in Downtown Denver with her filmmaker husband and her 14 & 12 year old children. In her spare time, Linda hangs with her kiddos, escapes to the mountains, devours movies & books and runs, practices yoga and gymnastics to keep her head & heart clear.

Email: linda@dug.org
Ext: 100

Grants & Data Manager

Hannah Buchenau

As a Denver native, Hannah’s long-standing love for DUG began when she was young, watching her dad design and build new DUG community gardens. Being part of the DUG team has always been her dream, and her journey with DUG began in 2017 when she started as a Research Assistant for the Community Activation for Prevention Study (CAPS).

Between 2017 and 2019, Hannah worked as DUG’s Food Access Intern and Administrative Assistant. She joined the DUG staff full-time as Project Coordinator in 2020, and started in her current role as Project Manager in 2021.

Hannah earned her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Tulane University’s School of Science & Engineering in the culturally-rich city of New Orleans. She brings a strong background in research, customer-relations, neuroscience, and mental health.

Hannah has a love for all-things gardening and the microcosms of community and meaning it creates. Storytelling is her passion, and she loves exploring the importance of place-making, mental health and wellbeing, and other life-enhancing benefits of community gardening. Hannah enjoys spending time with her large, blended family and little brothers, traveling, skiing, cooking new gluten-free recipes, trying new restaurants, and reading to expand her knowledge. She loves animals, and is searching for a puppy to call her own.

Email: hannah@dug.org
Ext: 110

Program + Volunteer Coordinator

Laura Calderón

Laura has been in Colorado for over 2 years now, and joined the DUG team in early March 2020. Laura grew up and studied in Bogotá, Columbia, where she obtained her degree in Environmental Engineering. She lived in Sweden for 3 years where she completed her Master’s in Sustainability Science & Environmental Studies.
Laura is always finding ways to reduce waste and loves engaging the community in environmental projects. She loves traveling and adventures! 2020 was her first season gardening at a community garden and she and her family are loving it! Her 3-year-old daughter is a master weed-puller already!

Email: laura@dug.org
Ext: 110

Director of Growth & Strategic Partnerships

Elaine Duncan

Senior Education Specialist

Judy Elliott

Judy has been with DUG for over 20 years and has a background in social work and horticulture. Aka ‘Jungle Judy’, she is passionate about involving youth and adults in utilizing garden - based education as a way of becoming deeply rooted in their communities and learning fun ways to actually eat the produce they grow. She is about all things of the earth and spends any free time with her grandkids (who meet her with a garden trowel to dig worms), great pyrenees dog, Maine Coon cat and extensive veggie & perennial beds & indoor tropical sunroom.

Email: judy@dug.org
Ext: 906

Senior Director of Gardens

Lara Fahnestock

Lara first joined the DUG network in 2011 as a Master Community Gardener Program student and as a volunteer Garden Leader at a local elementary school garden, the Charles Hay Community Garden.

Lara joined the DUG staff as the Director of Garden Support in 2015 and brings her passion for giving back to the community to her role supporting DUG’s over 500 volunteer Garden Leaders.

Lara earned her BA at The Colorado College in Colorado Springs, she completed Naropa Institute’s Authentic Leadership Program in 2018 and the Sustainable Leadership Program with Alexander Association in 2019. When not gardening at Rosedale, her current community garden, Lara enjoys playing outside with her family, doing taekwondo, and drawing.

Email: lara@dug.org
Ext: 105

Manager of Human Infrastructure

Eliza Greene

Eliza joined DUG in the spring of 2021 as part of the inaugural DUG Corps, supporting the community gardens. In 2022, she transitioned to her role as Manager of Human Infrastructure, expanding her support in the gardens to work more closely with the volunteer Garden Leaders and co-lead the seasonal DUG Corps. Eliza grew up growing food in Massachusetts and worked in landscaping seasonally for over a decade. She brings her love for digging in the dirt and helping things grow with her to her role at DUG. With a BA in Sociology and an MA in Social Justice and Community Organizing, she also brings curiosity about the world around her and dedication to working with people to make it better. She is inspired by the skill-sharing, education, empowerment, and community resilience that gardening in community cultivates.

In her free time, Eliza is most likely going for a walk in nature with her rescue dog Jasper, lost in a good book, or attending a community event.

Email: eliza@dug.org

Director of Permaculture & Perennials

Creighton Hofeditz

Creighton grew up in the foothills of the Front Range and studied theater in college before later switching paths with a design course at the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in 2011. Since then he has designed and implemented home landscapes, public projects, four-season greenhouses, two school curriculums, and was a contributing author on the book The Forest Garden Greenhouse. He learned tree care from two years apprenticing at Bullocks' Permaculture Homestead in Washington State, and spent six years teaching farm- and place-based science to junior high students. He has been the lead facilitator of the Denver Permaculture Design Course since 2015, and spends his free time playing music, feeding chickens, and dreaming up new ideas for his backyard permaculture oasis.

Email: creighton@dug.org

Director of Marketing & Communications

Niko Kirby

Niko is a lover of all things design--from logos, websites, and brochures to houses, gardens, and social systems. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Communications with a concentration in Marketing and has been with the DUG team since April 2020. Before coming to DUG, she worked as a freelance designer focusing on non-profit and startup web design and marketing.

In her free time you can find her out on the water in her inflatable kayak, singing angsty folk music with her band, chasing butterflies with her kitties, or making a big dinner for her six-person intentional community house.

Email: niko@dug.org
Ext: 103

Director of Youth Education

Rob Payo

Rob holds a BA in Biology from the University of Colorado-Boulder and an MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of Colorado-Denver. He brings over thirty years of experience in education in informal settings, ranging from leading outdoor expedition trips for high school students to serving as an outreach and education manager for a large, long-term initiative under the National Science Foundation.

Before joining DUG, Rob was the teacher programs coordinator for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS), serving there for ten years in that role with an emphasis on bringing local and national partnerships to the museum and supporting teachers with trainings on the latest trends and approaches in effective science teaching. Prior to that, Rob also served as Outreach Programs Manager for DMNS, extending the museum’s reach out into the community.

Email: rob@dug.org
Ext: 101

Equity & Food Access Director

Brittany Pimentel

Brittany hails from the Great Lake state of Michigan. For the past 18 years, she's held a smorgasbord of non-profit and food-related roles; from restaurants and farm fields, to food policy and nutrition education realms. She holds a Masters Degree in International Development with a concentration in Food Security and Global Health from the University of Denver. Following her Peace Corps service in Mongolia, her relationship to food and culture took root and changed her life.

Brittany has worked extensively in shifting urban agriculture toward food justice and equitable food access for all, and seeks ways to deepen connection to community through growing good food. Brittany leads DUG’s metro-wide Grow a Garden program, water conservation efforts, community connections and public gardening classes. Mother to Willa and Indigo, Brittany enjoys trail running, yoga and supporting young families as a birth doula.

Email: brittany@dug.org
Ext: 108

Digital Marketing & Events Manager

Shelby Winter

Shelby is a marketing generalist and events manager. She's passionate about community-building, sustainability, food access, and art, and her experience includes leading integrated marketing initiatives from conceptualization through post-execution with tactical skills in content curation, website re-design, social media strategy, and targeted email campaigning.

Shelby holds a B.S. in Mass Media and Communications, with a focus on art criticism completed during studies at Florence University of the Arts.

Her portfolio of work includes Directing Marketing and Resource Development for Boys and Girls Clubs, Special Projects and Marketing at the Downtown Denver Partnership, Event and Marketing Management with Denver Startup Week, and PR/creative content for Great Outdoors Colorado and the Generation Wild movement.

In her free time, Shelby likes to find a way to be outside with a good book.

Email: shelby@dug.org

We work with a variety of contractors to ensure all our projects are staffed appropriately.

Please direct all finance inquiries to finance@dug.org.

If you are interested in working with DUG, please visit www.dug.org/employment.

Meet Our Board

Le'alani Boykin

Senior Associate at Connected Realities, LLC

Le`alani (Kanaka `Ōiwi) is a community planner.community planner, collaboration specialist, and Senior Associate at Connected Realities, LLC. She empowers stakeholders and promotes useful input for community planning & design projects and community resource programs through careful process design and facilitation. Since 2008, she has provided meeting facilitation, participatory planning, capacity building, strategic planning, and training services to local, regional, and federal governments, nonprofits, and community-based groups and organizations. In her previous work, Le`alani served with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, City Parks Foundation - Partnerships for Parks, and NYC Parks GreenThumb.

Le`alani holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design and a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado. She is a certified planner of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program.

Le`alani loves hiking, camping, gardening, playing piano and ukulele, singing, and dancing hula or anything that gets our hips moving. She lives in Denver with her husband and partner, Whitney, and kitten, Kamana`oulu.

Tim Craft

Founder, Craft Companies

Tim is the founder of Craft Companies, a Denver-based real estate development firm that is transforming the future of home building through responsible, sustainable, and innovative practices that set a higher standard for future development. This is achieved by creating clustered developments, preserving open space and starry skies, incorporating pocket parks, solar lights and energy saving practices.
Recognized for national design excellence, Tim and his team are currently working with five local counties and municipalities to deliver communities that maximize natural resources through responsible land planning, preservation of open space and green technology.
An active partner in the communities where they create neighborhoods, Craft Companies’ hosted the HBA’s 2021 Parade of Homes Industry Night at their conservation-focused Independence Community.

Andrew Feldman

Partner, Private Wealth Advisor at Legacy Wealth Partners

Andrew Feldman is a Private Wealth Advisor & Partner at Legacy Wealth Partners, LLC. Since 2006, Andrew has provided financial services to clients and specializes in personal wealth management for individuals and business owners. In addition to helping clients explore better ways of managing their current finances, Andrew equips clients to effectively manage their transition from asset accumulation during their working years to asset decumulation in retirement. His comprehensive financial plans address asset management strategies, retirement planning, business succession and estate conservation.
Andrew has called Colorado home for 22 years and currently lives in Denver with his wife, Allison. Together they enjoy traveling the globe, skiing, and anything else that takes them outside with their dog, Lilly.

Brooke Gabbert

Founder, Penn Street Communications

Brooke Gabbert is an accomplished communication professional with more than two decades of experience in marketing and communications under her belt. She has held leadership positions across a spectrum of companies including HomeAdvisor, Six Flags and, most recently, Guild Education, to name a few.

Throughout her career, Brooke has mobilized internal and external teams to produce small networking events to large-scale summits and media productions, from national media productions to HomeAdvisor thought leadership forums to Guild Education's inaugural FUTURE19 Summit.Presently speaking:In 2018, Brooke founded PennStreet Communications, a strategic marketing communications firm, specializing in public relations strategy and event management. Tailoring her expertise to the specific needs of her clients, she brings unmatched drive, unrelenting passion and a wealth of experience to every table.

Karen Good

Project Manager, City & County of Denver

Karen Good received a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts in 2000. She has been with the City of Denver for over 14 years and is currently in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. Karen
has worked on a variety of transportation projects including Corridor visioning and planning for Brighton Boulevard, Federal Boulevard and Washington Street, City coordination for CDOT’s I-70 East EIS, Federal Boulevard’s NEPA, 14th
Street Project as well as the Strategic Transportation Plan.

Karen serves on the 14 th St and Brighton GID District Advisory Boards in her role with the City and is a Garden Leader at the Shoshone Garden and Secretary for the Denver Urban Gardens board, as well as serving as Vice Chair of the WTS
International Foundation.

Jesse Ogas

Executive Director of Social Responsibility and Community Engagement at 9News

Prior to joining the non-profit sector in 2006, Jesse worked in the retail industry where he worked on Regional teams and as a GM leading several big box stores in Colorado and Utah. After a 17-year career as a GM, he decided to take his knowledge to help the non-profit industry to think about
philanthropy differently and to change an antiquated way of fundraising.
Under Ogas’ 9yr leadership, Firefly Autism has grown to serve families and children with autism across Colorado and is considered one the leading agencies in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy nationally and internationally.
Ogas is a proud member of one of the nation’s prominent Latino Theater companies, Su Teatro. He is a community advocate that has served on a variety of nonprofit Boards, including Colorado Aids Project, Tepeyac Community Health Center, Kemp Foundation, Latina Safehouse, Newsed Development Corporation, Adams Camp, Latina Safehouse, and the MSU President’s Cabinet. Currently he serves on Tepeyac Community Health, Firefly Autism, Newsed and 365 Health. He is a recipient of the Eric J. Duran Community Service Award, which honors a person of Latino descent who has made a positive impact in the Denver community.
Ogas was the 2021 9NEWS Leader of the Year, which is presented by the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. The award is peer nominated and selected and honors leaders in the community who have made significant contributions to the well-being and development of Colorado. Ogas also recently participated in 9NEWS’ Voices of Change initiative during Hispanic Heritage month. Voices of Change is an ongoing conversation that amplifies voices of community members who are provoking change toward building an equitable, inclusive, and flourishing Colorado.
Today Ogas leads the DEI efforts with 9News as the Executive Director of Social Responsibility and Community Engagement. He just successfully relaunched the 9Listens Community Voices event, is working on the relaunch of 9Who Care and rebuilding alliances in all the communities in which 9News
serves.

Melissa Rosas

President at Apex Design

Melissa Rosas was born and raised in west Chicago to immigrant Mexican parents. She attended Marquette University and received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree. She moved to Denver in 2003 after her company sent her out here towork on the T-REX transportation project in which she fell in love with Denver. After receiving great experience at two companies, she was asked by Apex Design to join as a partner and in 2008, she did so.

In 2013, she became the President of this growing transportation consulting business and they are thriving at over 50 employees. She is married and a mother to two children, ages 15 and 12. She enjoys traveling with your family, reading and is a houseplant hobbyist. In terms of community and civic engagement, she believes strongly in community involvement and her passion lies in education as shown in her volunteer work for various organizations.

Chris Shaffner

Senior Vice President at CoBank

Chris Shaffner is the senior vice president and director of business operations for CoBank, a cooperative bank that provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states.
Chris responsible for the development and execution of bank-wide strategic initiatives impacting loan and investment portfolios, including legislative and regulatory issues, portfolio growth, and customer initiatives. He also leads CoBank’s $3 billion water infrastructure finance business. In 2020, Chris also served on President Biden’s Infrastructure Policy Committee, co-chairing both water and rural subcommittees.
Prior to joining CoBank in 2015, Chris held various leadership positions in both public and private organizations, including private equity funds management in excess of $1 billion. He also headed borough operations for the New York City Housing Authority, where he led a team of 1,500 responsible for operating Manhattan’s 60,000 public housing units.
Mr. Shaffner earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, a juris doctor degree from Valparaiso University School of Law, and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He lives in Denver with his wife and two kids and also serves on the Board of Directors of Colorado Youth for a Change.

Melinda Warner

Garden Leader at Golden Community Garden

Melinda Warner is a seasoned gardener and has been a leader at the Golden Community Garden for nearly 10 years.

She volunteers her time and effort as lead of a donation based garden. This multiple bed garden space in Golden grows fresh produce
and donates all the harvest to the local food bank. Each year presents both challenges and successes. This garden space has provided hundreds of pounds of food each year.

Melinda Was born and raised in rural Iowa spending her formative years enjoying the lessons learned from living the midwest lifestyle of hard work and love of community. Melinda graduated from the University of Iowa with a BBA in Finance and Economics. She worked as an accountant and leasing agent for many years. She then found herself enjoying the restaurant industry learning the tricks and tips of customer service. Melinda met her husband, Chris, while living in Annapolis, MD. Melinda and Chris moved to the west Denver area 10 years ago. They have a daughter, Wendy. Melinda loves to garden, spend time outdoors hiking, walking, and jogging, doing yoga and other fitness, reading books listening to podcasts, and simply sharing time in community with others. Melinda believes the community garden is a space that can bring peace, calm and friendship.

Zane Way

Relationship Manager, Well's Fargo Middle Market Banking Office, Colorado

Zane Way, a 21-year Wells Fargo veteran, is a relationship manager for Wells Fargo’s Middle Market Banking Office in Colorado. Active in the community, Way serves as board treasurer for Denver Urban Gardens. He is also a board member for The Challenge Foundation where he assists in helping smart, ambitious students break the cycle of poverty through education opportunities in theDenver area.

He has participated in various programs within the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, including Leadership Denver, the Public Affairs Council, Impact Denver and the Chamber 100 Program. In 2009, Way was named one of the Denver Business Journal’s annual Forty under 40 winners. This award recognizes dynamic business leaders whose efforts in the office and in community are shaping the future of the Denver area.

Way served as an officer in the United States Army Reserves for 13years. He was deployed to Afghanistan from 2005-06 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.Way has a degree in marketing from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Colorado State University. He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society for graduating in the top 20 percent of his MBA class.

Interested in joining the DUG board?

We accept applications year-round.
Email us to learn more.