Meet the Alliance Staff, Contractors, and the Alliance Board of Directors
Alliance is administrated by a talented group of individuals who are dedicated to representing the best interests of our member agencies and the individuals they serve. Our professional and passionate staff and contractors are well-respected and well-known for providing timely and resourceful information on IDD matters. Learn more about Alliance staff and the Alliance Board of Directors below!
Josh Rael, JD, MPA
303-832-1618 x 11
Since 2014, Josh Rael has served as the Executive Director for Alliance, a nonprofit statewide association of comprised of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) case management and provider agencies, businesses serving the IDD community, and disability advocacy organizations in Colorado. Alliance members serve over 20,000 individuals with IDD and employ over 10,000 direct support professionals and IDD case managers throughout Colorado. Alliance is well-respected for their efforts in the areas of public policy, state legislation, developmental disability initiatives, best practices, and strengthening services and supports for people with IDD.
In 2022, Josh was elected to the ANCOR Board of Directors. ANCOR, is the nation’s largest IDD provider association representing 1,800+ organizations employing more than a half-million professionals who together serve more than a million individuals with IDD. Josh will be representing the 55 State Association Executives (SAE) in 44 states on the ANCOR Board of Directors and will also Chair the SAE Network and Co-Chair ANCOR’s Government Relations Committee.
Josh is a Colorado native and received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Colorado State University-Pueblo, a Juris Doctor from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management at the University of Colorado-Denver.
In 2023, the Alliance Board of Directors honored Josh with their highest honor, the IDD Champion Award. In 2020, Josh received the prestigious “40 Under 40” Award from the Denver Business Journal. In 2011, Josh was selected to attend President Obama’s White House Hispanic Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. And in 2007, Colorado's Governor Bill Ritter appointed Josh to the Colorado Creative Industry Board for two terms.
After law school, Josh worked as a lobbyist for the Capitol Success Group for almost 8 years. Josh also worked for the Colorado Public Defender’s Office, the Colorado Mental Health Institute’s legal access department, the Colorado General Assembly, the Walt Disney Company, Koncilja and Koncilja Law Firm and the Ritter for Governor Campaign. Josh is also a successful national recording artist and was nominated for a Grammy in 2004 in the “Best Pop Album” and “Best Male Pop Performance” categories.
Ellen Jensby, JD
Senior Director of Public Policy & Operations
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Ellen Jensby serves as the Senior Director of Public Policy and Operations for Alliance. In this position, Ellen provides leadership and direction in implementing Alliance’s public policy priorities, as well as analysis and monitoring on a broad range of state and federal public policy issues.
Ellen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma and a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas. Prior to joining Alliance, Ellen was the Policy Analyst at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities in Silver Spring, MD, the national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs). Her areas of focus included education, employment, civil rights, health care and long-term services and supports. During law school, Ellen worked as a law clerk at the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, the Protection and Advocacy Agency for the state. There, she assisted with cases related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act.
Ellen is a member of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and a graduate of the National Leadership Institute on Developmental Disabilities. She has a unique background in law and policy that she contributes to the work of Alliance.
Kylie has been with Alliance since 2009. She has over 15 years of volunteer experience working with nonprofit organizations, helping plan events and silent auctions in her free time. She remains eager to help Alliance and its members achieve their shared objectives.
Kylie holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing from Colorado State University. Her hobbies include golfing, snowboarding, scuba diving, and spending time with her friends, family and 14-pound tabby cat named Howard.
Director of Membership & Events
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Public Policy and Communications Specialist
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Maria Jasso serves as the Public Policy and Communications Specialist for Alliance. Her position provides leadership, analysis, monitoring, education and follow-up on public policy issues and assists in stakeholder outreach, social media content, administrative support, and management of Alliance committees.
While completing her undergraduate degree in Rehabilitation Psychology at UW-Madison, Maria began working as a direct support professional at a nonprofit that supports adults with I/DD. After moving to mountainous Colorado from frozen tundra Wisconsin, she still continued direct care work with children with physical disabilities and adults with I/DD, and also held administrative and research positions. She earned another undergraduate degree, a B.A. in Public Health from CU-Denver, in hopes of supporting the I/DD community at the macro-level.
In her free time, Maria and her partner enjoy all things Colorado has to offer, playing with their dog, Andy, traveling, playing soccer, and watching mockumentaries.
Alliance Expert Consultants
Lobbying and Government Relations Consultant at
Emma Hudson, MPH MPA, is the Owner and Principal of Emma Hudson Consulting LLC, a bipartisan communications and public affairs firm. Emma has nearly a decade of experience lobbying at the state level. Emma’s background spans work on behalf of nonprofit and government entities as an advocate and a government relations strategist with specialization in health care and social justice policy arenas.
Prior to opening her business, Emma served as Alliance's Director of Government and Community Relations. Emma provides unique insight into the policy-making process for Alliance members. She serves as a voice for members to express critical IDD issues to legislators and as a translator for members to learn about important legislative developments.
After earning a two masters degrees in public health and policy policy, Emma went on to hold roles at the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Wisconsin Population Health Institute. In these positions, Emma worked on a variety of state and federal policies with an emphasis on women's health policy and low-income health insurance policy. Emma worked on legislation ranging from sex education in schools to the nuances of the Affordable Care Act and employer-sponsored health insurance. Emma also has an extensive background working on state budget analysis and advocacy in Wisconsin and Colorado, where she fought to mitigate the negative impact of budget cuts on low-income women and girls and increase investments in disability services.
Alliance Board of Directors & Officers (2023-24)
Alliance Board President
(Term Ends 6/30/24)
& Executive Director of Envision (CCB)
Celeste Ewert is the Executive Director for Envision, serving Weld County. She has been with Envision since 1992 in a variety of roles and has been the Executive Director since 2017. Celeste has an Associate of Arts Degree in Paraprofessional Counseling from Aims Community College, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a minor in Community Health and Human Rehabilitation from University of Northern Colorado (Go Bears!). She is a graduate of the University of Delaware Leadership Institute, as well as the Weld County Leadership class of 2013. Celeste has been an active member of Alliance, participating with many committees including Government Relations, Annual Summit Committee, Family Support Services Program Workgroup, Person-Centered Thinking Committee, Member Services Committee, and Executive Committee. On a personal note, she was born and raised in Weld County. She is married to Jonathan, and they have a daughter, three sons and a daughter-in-law, all in their mid- twenties, two grand dogs and two grand cats. When she’s not working, Celeste enjoys spending time with her family/friends, cooking/baking, gardening, hiking, reading, volunteering/serving, and participating in church activities.
Alliance Board Vice-President (Term Ends 6/30/24)
& CEO of North Metro Community Services (CCB)
Randy Brodersen started at NMCS in July of 1995 as the Assistant Executive Director and was appointed the Executive Director in March of 2013. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Hastings College, Hastings, Nebraska and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Colorado School of Law. Prior to working at North Metro Randy spent 10 years with Adams County, Colorado including three years as the County Administrator. Randy never intended to make a career in the IDD field but so enjoyed the people we support and his new colleagues that he decided to stay and is certainly glad that he did. He is a past President of Alliance and has served as chair or co-chair of the Government Relations Committee (GRACE) for seven years. A resident of Brighton, Colorado Randy is an avid bicyclist and also enjoys canoeing. Randy is married to Shari (Swinton) Brodersen who retired after nearly 30 years in the IDD field.
Randy also serves as the Alliance Government Relations Committee of Excellence (GRACE) co-chairperson.
Alliance Board Treasurer
(Term Ends 6/30/25)
& Executive Director of Mosaic in Northern CO (PASA)
Sally has committed her professional career to building quality services for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. After completing her degree in Social Work Sally moved from Illinois to Colorado in 1981. Shortly after arriving she decided to take a job at a Mosaic group home until she could get a “real social work job”. She fell in love with the people she supported and their families! Sally will be celebrating 41 years of service with Mosaic this coming August. She has had the opportunity to serve in a variety of positions from a DSP to an ED at the agency level and as a regional and division level director for Mosaic’s national network. Returning to an ED position in 2009 brought Sally back to her most cherished role as an Executive Director for Mosaic in Northern Colorado. Working with individuals and families while developing agency leadership teams aligns with Sally’s passion for working with people and growing Mosaic’s mission. Sally has been active in Alliance dating back to the beginning of the organization serving on the Executive committee and chairing both the Focus on the Future and PLAN committees. Sally has lived in Fort Collins for the past 40 years with her husband Earnie. They have a daughter, Sidra, who is a policy researcher and lives in the DC area.
Sally also serves as the Alliance Planning for Legislative Asks Now (P.L.A.N.) Committee chairperson.
Tara Kiene started at Community Connections in 2001, shortly after moving to Durango to live in her great-grandmother’s home. She served in the case management department and as the Director of Case Management before becoming the President/CEO in 2016. In the meantime, she got evicted from her home (or her parents retired into the ancestral home, depending on your perspective), joined a belly dance troupe, learned to play the ukulele (sort of) and became a leadership training addict. She has a background in early childhood education and a Master of Theological Studies because…why not? Her goals in life are to publish a truly awful novel that no one reads during her lifetime but becomes a posthumous cult classic, and to create a world where people with disabilities fully belong, contribute, and thrive.
Tara also serves as the Alliance Emergency Response in Communities (ERIC) Committee co-chairperson.
Alliance Board Member
(Term Ends 6/30/24)
& Executive Director/CEO of Developmental Pathways (CCB)
Matt brings more than 20 years of executive leadership and management experience to Developmental Pathways. He served as the 2020-21 Alliance Board President and participates on the Executive Committee and the Government Relations Committee. Matt has served in several state and local capacities to advance services for people with I/DD in Colorado, most recently as a Governor-appointed member and President of the Colorado State Board of Health from 2015-2019 and as a senate-appointed member of the Healthcare Policy and Financing’s Medicaid Provider Rates and Review Advisory Committee. Matt also serves as the Colorado Board Representative for the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) and the nationwide trade association for service providers.
Matt is a former El Paso County Human Services Advisory Committee chairperson and a former Board member for the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Previously, he worked as the Director for Children, Youth, and Families for Jefferson County Human Services after transitioning from a career in the restaurant industry, including executive roles for Hard Rock Café and Olive Garden. He has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Management and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management from Western Governors’ University.
Matt also serves as the Alliance CCB/CMA Policy Committee chairperson.
Alliance Board Member
(Term Ends 6/30/26)
& Executive Director of Mountain Valley Developmental Services (CCB)
After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Science at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Sara moved to Colorado in 1994. She worked for a short time with adolescents in a residential treatment facility, and then joined the family at Mountain Valley Developmental Services, as an adult case manager in 1996. Sara worked in that capacity for 5 years and then moved into the position of Director of Child and Family Services. In the spring of 2015, she was promoted to the Associate Director. In July of 2018, Sara became the Executive Director, a position she currently holds. Sara relishes time spent with dedicated employees and enjoys getting to know families whom the agency supports. She likes spending time with individuals who receive services from MVDS and is eager to celebrate their accomplishments. Building community partnerships is also something she looks forward to doing. Sara feels that the culture of Mountain Valley is an extension of her personal life: flexible, understanding, expectant, and persevering. When not working, Sara cherishes time spent with her family, friends, and animals, watching sports, cooking, and enjoying the outdoors.
Alyse Preston grew up in Florida and moved to Colorado after graduating from Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in Anthropology and Journalism. After contracting as a photojournalist for the Rocky Mountain News, Alyse pivoted her career into a different direction and started working with youth in various residential treatment centers throughout Colorado in 2000. Alyse started with another established PASA in Colorado in 2005 where she was able to merge her passion for working with children and her newfound passion of working with people who had intellectual and developmental disabilities. Throughout the years, Alyse held various positions with another PASA in Colorado, ultimately assuming the role as the agency’s State Director in August 2018. She recently joined the team at Overture as their Associate Vice President and will oversee operations in both Colorado and Montana. Alyse lives in Conifer with her husband, two kids, dog, and guinea pigs. In her free time, she enjoys coaching her daughter's soccer team, trail running, yoga, and traveling.
A native of Colorado, Alexa discovered at an early age her passion for helping others achieve their goals. This passion stuck with her through college, where she earned a BS in Psychology from Colorado State University. While at Continuum, Alexa has witnessed tremendous changes to the services and supports delivery models. She has served on many state committees that have been a part of shaping a more inclusive community-based life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While Alexa has held several positions within Continuum’s management team over the past 25+ years, her focus has remained on providing creative supports to assist people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to thrive in their community. During her free time, Alexa enjoys traveling with her daughter and attending meditation retreats.
Alliance Board Member
(Term Ends 6/30/26)
& Senior Director (Colorado) at Integrated Life Choices (PASA)
Shanda McClaren has been working in the I/DD field for over 24 years. She was born in Denver, Colorado but grew up in Nebraska, attending Kearney State College. Shanda has held various positions supporting people with developmental disabilities throughout her career and was promoted to Area Director for Integrated Life Choices in Nebraska in 2011.
In 2015, Shanda was transferred to Colorado and assisted in developing and growing the ILC’s Colorado operations. Shanda has worked with children and adults throughout her time in I/DD, both in the entire array of home and community-based services (Comprehensive Life, Residential, Vocational/DVR, Day Program services, and Intermittent Services comparable to SLS/CES waivers in both states).
As Senior Director for ILC in Colorado, Shanda is responsible for the development and oversight of services for people that ILC supports across Colorado. She is passionate about assisting others in attaining a fulfilling and meaningful life.
In her free time, Shanda enjoys spending time with her two sons and their families, dogs, volunteering, and anything to do with music or sports.
David B. Hatfield, Ph.D
Alliance Board Member
(Term Ends 6/30/25)
& Chief Executive Officer at Oliver Behavioral Consultants (PASA)
Dr. David Hatfield is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst who specializes in child, adult, and family practice issues, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, intellectual disabilities, disruptive behavior disorders (e.g., ADHD, oppositional, and conduct issues), anxiety disorders (e.g., trauma, social anxiety, panic, and school refusal), mood disorders (e.g., depression and bipolar issues), and pediatric psychology (e.g., medical complications, adjustment to diagnosis, medical adherence and compliance, and traumatic brain injury).
Dr. Hatfield is one of very few practitioners in the state of Colorado to be a Licensed Psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-D. He was appointed the only service provider on the Autism Commission for the State of Colorado in 2008, received the Autism Society of Colorado Outstanding Autism Service Provider Award in 2011, and was an invited content expert for the BACB in 2013-2014, 2019-2022. He helped write both the HIMAT (Autism Mandate) Law and Medical Services in Schools Law. He obtained his master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from the Florida State University, and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Alliance Board Member
(Term Ends 6/30/25)
& Chief Executive Officer at Cottonwood Community Alternatives (PASA)
Cindy Opheim is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cottonwood Community Alternatives, Inc. Cottonwood was established in 1991. Cindy started with the organization in 1992 and was appointed CEO in 1997. Cottonwood is a private, non-profit agency established to provide a broad spectrum of supports and services to individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Cindy is a Colorado native and has lived in many areas of the state, but lived in the Parker area for the longest stretch of her life. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado and has been working with children and adults with developmental disabilities since 1987. Cindy has been an advocate for empowering individuals with choice, independence, and quality of life. Throughout her career she has served on many county, state, and legislative workgroups. Cindy currently resides in Elbert county with her husband and teenage daughter. She and her family frequently enjoys camping, fishing, boating, and traveling.
Cindy also serves as the Alliance Housing Committee & Alliance Member Services Committee chairperson.
Jodi Walters started at PPCH in May of 2015, and was appointed as the Executive Director January 1, 2017. Jodi has been working with children and adults with developmental disabilities since 1993. She began her career in 1993 by teaching blind and disabled school children in Taiwan. She worked with Imagine! for nearly 20 years before joining PPCH. Jodi has served on several commissions and boards including the executive board of Fostering Colorado, the President of the Board of the former local Part C entity for Boulder and Broomfield counties, and the Human Services Advisory Council for the City and County of Broomfield. Jodi is most excited by developing services, polices or rules that help make the system more accessible for individuals and families. In her free time she loves hiking and biking with her family.