Eric Eno is a financial professional with over seven years in the banking industry. He is a branch manager for First National Bank, focusing on the expansion of his market by building relationships with consumers and business owners while guiding them to financial success. As part of the Community Reinvestment Act, Eric donates additional time to the surrounding communities, on behalf of First National Bank, by providing financial education through presentations and seminars in hopes of literacy development. He holds an Associate of Arts Degree from Front Range Community College and is currently working on his Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication with Colorado State University-Global Campus.
With any additional spare time, Eric enjoys hiking, camping, snowboarding, and any other outdoor activities Colorado has to offer.
Jennifer has a doctorate in psychology and has worked as a consultant and in higher education. As a first generation student positively influenced by a few key teachers along her path, Jennifer is committed to paying forward the guidance she received and is an adjunct instructor at Front Range and Pikes Peak Community Colleges.
Jennifer is the Director of Research and Program Development with Realizing Aptitudes Foundation, a nonprofit that provides career guidance to adolescents and young adults. RAF helps students identify career pathways that might be a good fit based on what they are good at and interested in as well as exploring possible careers.
As a Wyoming native and living in CO on and off for the last 10 years, Jennifer loves being in the mountains and enjoys hiking, xc skiing, snowshoeing, and climbing Colorado’s many 14ers.
Jeff Lewallen leads a technical consulting firm focused on bringing new technologies to industries and organizations that are traditionally technology challenged. His expertise is balancing strategic and tactical goals within large organizations. His diverse experiences from very small businesses to large multi-national corporations has provided a foundation which allows him to merge technology and culture. Jeff holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Missouri University of Science & Technology and a MBA from Regis University. Currently, he serves as a mentor to young engineers and assistant soccer coach. During his childhood, his parents helped their small community by bringing many foster children into their home.
Jeff lives in Arvada with his two children and a rescue dog named Helton.
Alex McFarland is a young activist passionate about change. As an alumnus of Ohio’s foster care system, he leverages his first-hand experience to advocate on behalf of young people currently living in out-of-home care. He has served as president of Ohio’s Statewide Youth Advisory Board, an inaugural member of the National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council and participated in the founding of Ohio Reach, an organization tasked with increasing the enrollment and retention of out of home youth into post secondary education. He has also worked in policy and programming for both the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and FosterClub.
Alex graduated with honors for his research on orangutan behavior from Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in biological anthropology and zoology and is an accepted student in Colorado State University’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program where he intends to work on wildlife conservation and global health initiatives.
Jeff Mendel has been a member of the Forward Steps Advisory Board since its inception in 2008. Jeff’s experiences in many aspects of small business, entrepreneurship, non-profit and social services suit him well for the Board. Jeff is a veteran of 25 years in the exciting craft brewing industry, the last 14 years as a shareholder and member of the Board of Directors at Left Hand Brewing Company of Longmont, Colorado. He previously participated as co-founder of Tabernash Brewing Co., Indian Peaks Distributing Co. and the Colorado Brewers Guild. In addition, Jeff worked six years at the non-profit Association of Brewers, served three years on the non-profit Boulder County Head Start Pre-School Policy Council, and most importantly took two years to be a stay-at-home foster father.
Jeff lives in Boulder with his wife, Daphne, and their two dogs (rescues, of course). He currently serves as a consultant in the craft beer industry and teaches adult continuing education classes for the Boulder Valley School District.
Scott Papich brings almost two decades of business experience as a trusted financial & market analyst and strategic advisor. He has served companies across numerous industries, from biotech & pharmaceutical, to hospitality & entertainment, to retail, to software development, to online marketing technology & services. His activities have been largely focused on identifying and evaluating risks and opportunities, and in providing clear, concise recommendations that facilitate executive decision making.
Scott also enjoys volunteering in his community, most recently with the National MS Society and Community College of Denver.
Scott is degreed (Summa Cum Laude) in Managerial Finance from the University of Nevada.
Brenda entered foster care when she was 14 years old, lived on her own her senior year and emancipated from the system in 1988 after she graduated from high school. Following a year of working and searching for family members she entered Mesa State College where in 1994 she received her degree in Counseling Psychology. Brenda returned to college and received her MSW from Colorado State University in 1998.
While a college student, Brenda had the opportunity to work as a youth advocated at the local mental health center. She also had a practicum with a local independent living program, one that allowed youth to move out on their own before their child welfare case closed. It was from this experience that she started her career working with youth in foster care who emancipate from the system. In 1998, Brenda began working with the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program in Larimer County and now works with the same program in Adams County where she has been for over 8 years.
Representing the Community College of Denver (CCD), Shannon Webber brings years of financial aid expertise to the Forward Steps Advisory Board. She infuses her passion for social justice in everything she does and serves as CCD’s single point of contact for homeless, unaccompanied and foster youth, actively working to break down barriers to higher education for foster youth both through direct work with youth at CCD and through statewide collaborations with key stakeholders. Shannon is the elected two-year public sector representative for the Colorado Association of Financial Aid Administrators (CAFAA), is an active member of the Pathways to Success Educational Opportunities Workgroup and serves on committees throughout the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). She is committed to leveraging these roles to ensure that the dynamic needs of Colorado’s foster youth who are working to accomplish their goals in higher education are met, both at the ground level and systemically across the state. For fun, Shannon performs in two local bands and volunteers with Girls Rock Denver, a rock and roll summer camp for girls.