Scholar Profiles

As a journalism major at the University of Colorado Boulder, Kelly Graziadei didn’t know she would one day build and lead critical functions from sales to product marketing for the world’s largest media company. “If you had asked me then about doing work in tech (or what I thought of as working with computers back then), I would have replied ‘absolutely not,’” she said. The 1993 Boettcher Scholar, however, always felt drawn to places with abundant opportunity where she could create and define her own path. Such was the feeling she encountered as a recipient of the Boettcher Scholarship. “I knew I had the Foundation behind me, believing in me and my ideas. That pushed me to work hard and gave me a vote of confidence to go and do big things,” she said. After graduating and starting in a leadership development program at a phone company in San Francisco, Kelly saw the opportunity to be a pioneer in the digital sector and made the leap. She worked at numerous companies, including Yahoo, before embarking on a seven-year career at Facebook, where she successfully led monetization strategy and go-to-market functions as the director of global marketing solutions. Today, Kelly is an entrepreneur-in-residence at Foundation Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. She’s taking the time to explore opportunities in start-ups and venture capital, a season the fast-paced technology executive called “a true gift.” For Kelly, making thoughtful decisions and taking action are fundamental to entrepreneurship and leadership. While all people have the potential to be entrepreneurs, Kelly notes it’s not just good ideas that lead to success. “We all have good ideas. What sets an entrepreneur apart is they are driven to build. They cannot not act. There’s no plan B or option of sitting back.” In her own right Kelly is a builder and successful entrepreneur, working in companies from three people to 20,000; In her tenure at Facebook, global advertising revenue grew from $3 billion in 2011 to more than $39 billion in 2017. Grounded in her experience, Kelly shared the key qualities she encounters among thriving entrepreneurs, and advice for would-be entrepreneurs: Grit: “Know that if you’re going through something difficult, it will help you later.” Commitment and passion: “Lean into what you love. You can learn a lot of skills but you can’t manufacture passion.” Hustle: “Work really hard and creatively solve problems that others won’t.” Leadership: “Communicate a clear and bold vision to enroll the right people.” Authenticity: “Truthfully answer the question of which issue you are uniquely positioned to solve.”   For Kelly, part of authenticity is also knowing what opportunities to pass up: “It’s just as important to know when to say no. You need to understand your values and let those inform your decisions and priorities. The opportunity cost for entrepreneurs is really high.” Knowing how to spend her own time is critical for the relationships she maintains as a mother of two and a mentor. Mentoring young people, especially women in the tech and entrepreneurial sectors, is something she is deeply committed to. “I love spending time with people looking how they can step up as a leader and take their impact or organization to the next level. Anytime I can be a coach or a sounding board, I do,” she said. “But it’s hard to classify this as giving back, because I gain so much myself.” In addition to mentoring, Kelly gives talks to groups across the world on numerous topics surrounding leadership and innovation. She was also the speaker at CU Boulder’s 2016 spring commencement, where she live-streamed grads singing the university’s fight song. In daily life, social media is ubiquitous. Like television in the 1950s, it fundamentally changed the way we connect with each other and consume information. And while social media has opened new doors to participate in each other’s lives and the market, it has also produced troubling isolation and misinformation, especially among young people, she noted. “My hope is with this mobile transformation, the pendulum swings back a bit towards deeper connection,” said Kelly. “People are hungry for meaningful connection. My wish is we’ll see more entrepreneurs willing to build spaces that better span and connect the physical and digital world from health and wellness to shopping and entertainment and more.” From building the social media advertising world to paving inroads for her mentees, Kelly is a builder and a thought leader who continues to pay forward the investment of the Boettcher Scholarship. When asked to share advice for Scholars building their own paths, Kelly shared a final bit of advice. ”Don’t live someone else’s dream. There’s no replacement for passion – you can’t fake it. Pursue the thing that makes you so excited you can’t imagine doing anything else.”  ...

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Scholar Year: 1984 Hometown: Yuma College(s) and degree(s): CU-Boulder, BA English 1988; CU-Colorado Springs, MA Education 2000 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I teach elementary gifted and talented students in Colorado Springs School District 11. I’m finishing my 30th year as a teacher, and I plan to teach 40 years or maybe even more. I have published more than 200 units and lessons for gifted learners, and I consult and teach teachers through professional development as well. I love my job, love the kids, and have a passion for gifted education. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? Like most Boettcher Scholars, I have a passion for learning. I always loved school. My dad was a teacher, and growing up in a small town I was a "school rat." I didn't want to miss anything, and I was involved in practically everything. If I wasn't in classes, I was at a ball game, at a sports practice, attending a concert at the school, in a play, at a school potluck, or playing around on the school playground or in the gym. It was natural for me to become a teacher. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. I am the president of the Pikes Peak Association for Gifted Students and a state board member for the Colorado Association of Gifted and Talented. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? The best advice I've received is never stop learning and growing. I would advise current Scholars entering education to lead with their heart, but I wouldn't need to say it. If they are considering being a teacher, they've already decided to do just that. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? I would have dinner with my grandparents, and that's an easy one for me – if not such an interesting choice for this question – because I love my grandparents and miss them. I want to hear all of the old stories again....

Boettcher Scholars have the opportunity to expand their educations by using international education grants or educational enrichment grants offered as part of their scholarship package. Through their travels, Scholars have learned new languages, experienced diverse cultures, or honed their skills through internships and classes. Many Scholars tell us that these were among the most impactful aspects of their college careers. Here’s one of their stories. Cesar Caraveo 2016 Boettcher Scholar International Education Grant: Brazil The US-Brazil Connect Conexão Mundo program gave me the opportunity to become an English coach for Brazilian high school students. There were three other English coaches, and we each worked with 11 students. For the first eight weeks of the program, I hosted two, 30-minute video calls per week with my students and posted Facebook assignments for them to complete. The second phase of the program was the cultural immersion phase. We traveled to Campina Grande, Paraiba, Brazil for three weeks to continue supporting our students with English through face-to-face interactions. The final phase resumed with the video calls and Facebook assignments for six weeks. This program truly changed my life. It made me realize the passion I have for education, and I am now pursuing a master’s degree in education because of it. The culture in Brazil was so amazing, and the way that the students and Brazilian coordinators treated and welcomed us was incredible. I was able to establish strong relationships with people that I know will last a lifetime. My students are honestly some of the most important people in my life now, and I care very deeply for them. Without a doubt, I would recommend this program (or any program similar to this) to anyone, especially those who have the slightest thought about doing something in education. Cesar is returning to Brazil in the summer of 2018 to teach English with the program. ...

Boettcher Scholars have the opportunity to expand their educations by using international education grants or educational enrichment grants offered as part of their scholarship package. Through their travels, Scholars have learned new languages, experienced diverse cultures, or honed their skills through internships and classes. Many Scholars tell us that these were among the most impactful aspects of their college careers.  Several Boettcher Scholars volunteered to blog about their travel experiences. Here’s one of their stories. Ginny Creager 2014 Boettcher Scholar Educational Enrichment Grant, Governor’s Residence Preservation Fund Last summer, I interned with the Governor’s Residence Preservation Fund (GRPF), whose mission is preserving the home of the governor (the former Boettcher family home) and bringing it into full use and enjoyment for Coloradans. One of the most rewarding accomplishments of my internship was helping to pull off the successful fundraiser, Brews and Bites. This creative event, the largest fundraising mechanism of the year, gave visitors a way to explore the mansion and learn about the GRPF. This sold-out event was crucial to our funding and exposure. I worked for weeks on this project with staff, vendors, and volunteers to ensure that every aspect of this popular event went off without a hitch (and I even enlisted my entire family day-of). An event of this magnitude showed me that I am capable by teaching me dedication, patience, hard work, and communication skills. By participating in the Educational Enrichment grant program, I gained personal and professional contacts who have given invaluable advice about getting into politics, especially as a female. I also continued to learn about our state’s and the Boettcher family’s history, which I have been able to share with other young people. Perhaps more important than my internship was the experience I gained from applying for this enrichment grant. Tiffany Anderson was a great resource as she guided me through the grant-writing process and taught me how to set and measure SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely) goals. I thank Tiffany for helping me acquire the valuable skills I need to write successful grants for a future in government work. Finally, I enjoyed this experience so much that I have already committed to volunteering during my entire senior year to help the GRPF with projects, including educational and community engagement programs and preparing the residence for the festive holiday season and the many visitors it will host. I am proud to continue my work for Colorado and the Boettcher family history, and I know I will always remain connected and dedicated to the GRPF’s mission....

Boettcher Scholars have the opportunity to expand their educations by using international education grants or educational enrichment grants offered as part of their scholarship package. Through their travels, Scholars have learned new languages, experienced diverse cultures, or honed their skills through internships and classes. Many Scholars tell us that these were among the most impactful aspects of their college careers.  Recently several Boettcher Scholars volunteered to blog about their travel experiences. Here’s one of their stories. Piper Doering 2014 Boettcher Scholar Educational Enrichment Grant, Brazil After studying abroad in the Dominican Republic, I was left with a desire to learn more about Latin America and what it’s like to be an American abroad. I decided to use my Boettcher Educational Enrichment Grant to work in Brazil over the summer because Brazil is a global player, but not one that is immediately thought of in the U.S. While living in São Paulo, I worked at Sidera Consult, an international trade consulting firm. There, I learned more about how international trade, and how the U.S. and other countries interact on a global scale. Brazil is one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world, so I also had the opportunity to see the Amazon, as well as mountainous beaches and secluded islands. My grant allowed me to grow, not only as a person, but also as a global citizen....

Will French has always loved horses, despite the fact that his parents were never really into them. He took riding lessons as a kid, and, in junior high, got horses of his own – but not in the most conventional way. “My dad is a lawyer, and he did some work defending ranchers in grazing fights,” Will said. “The ranchers couldn’t pay him all that they needed to in cash, so we got paid in horses, which I thought was pretty awesome.” As a fifth-generation Coloradan, Will grew up in Fort Collins and attended Poudre High School. After receiving the Boettcher Scholarship in 2003, Will chose a path that would allow for horses to remain a constant in his life. He attended Colorado State University to study equine science, continued on to attend veterinary school at CSU, then progressed to an internship at Littleton Equine Medical Center, a major equine referral hospital. “In the internship, we rotated through medicine, surgery, and emergency, and kind of got a taste of everything,” Will said. “After the internship, I was fortunate enough to be offered a job, and my wife was also offered a job there too — she’s a veterinarian also — so we both work at the same practice.” Will focused on lameness in sport horses, and performs various tasks such as chiropractic acupuncture, ultrasounds, general exams, and X-rays. “I really enjoy the puzzle piece of cases, and trying to put all the pieces together — so kind of that critical thinking part,” Will said. “I love working outside and getting to see my work in action. When the horse is lame, and then gets to go back and do its job successfully, that’s a lot of fun.” For Will, the most significant impact being a Boettcher Scholar has had on his life is the call to service and giving back. As president of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, Will spends plenty of time doing just that. The association is the professional organization for veterinarians in Colorado, focusing on advocating for veterinary practices in the state, providing educational opportunities for veterinarians, and creating outreach to the community. The organization also has a charitable branch called PetAid Colorado that works to provide access to quality care for pets in low-income communities. Will’s work of making contributions to the veterinary profession, supporting pet and owners in need, and bringing horses back to health has left its mark on Colorado, and he is thankful the Boettcher Scholarship has encouraged such service. “To him who much is given, much is expected,” Will said. “We’ve been given an incredible opportunity, and to figure out the ways to give back to our community is super important.”...

Boettcher Scholars have the opportunity to expand their educations by using international education grants or educational enrichment grants offered as part of their scholarship package. Through their travels, Scholars have learned new languages, experienced diverse cultures, or honed their skills through internships and classes. Many Scholars tell us that these were among the most impactful aspects of their college careers.  Recently several Boettcher Scholars volunteered to blog about their travel experiences. Here’s one of their stories. Eric Paricio 2016 Boettcher Scholar Educational Enrichment Grant, Singing in the Birthplace of Opera This past summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the La Musica Lirica Opera Program based in the small town of Novafeltria, Italy. Over the course of this five-week program, I was involved in two famous operas, Puccini’s La Bohéme and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and even portrayed the role of Benoit in La Bohéme. With these operas, my fellow cast members and I were able to travel to many places, including San Marino and Rimini, and perform these shows. In addition to these two operas, I took voice lessons, Italian language class, and Italian diction lessons from certified “Bel Canto” (the Italian style of singing) instructors. These lessons and language classes afforded me the opportunity to perform in recitals through La Musica Lirica for the general public as well as learning to converse in Italian with a number of locals. Outside of the program, I was able to travel for three additional weeks (two with my family and one on my own). My family and I first toured the historic city of Munich, Germany, then went south into the famous mountains of Innsbruck, Austria, where we hiked in the beautiful Austrian Alps. Next, we moved through Lichtenstein on our way to visit both Zürich and Geneva, Switzerland. Passing through France, we moved south to Italy, touring Florence and the history-rich Rome. After my opera experience, I spent a week walking around Venice, hiking through beautiful Cinque Terre, Italy, and finished off my excursion at some of the world’s most famous landmarks in Paris, France....

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Scholar Year: 2001 Hometown: Rifle College(s) and degree(s): CU Boulder, BA - Economics, 2005; University of Arizona, JD, 2009 Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation? I’ve been a lawyer for a little over eight years and I currently work at the law firm Spencer Fane in Denver. My specialty is organizing and representing special districts. Special districts are unique local governmental entities created under Colorado law, and are responsible for providing much of the public infrastructure and services necessary to support commercial and residential communities across the state. Whether you know it or not, you probably live in one. The best part about my job is working with the boards of directors who serve the various districts we represent and seeing the impacts these individuals and their efforts have on their communities. What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now? The Boettcher Foundation and the Boettcher Scholarship cemented in me the constant internal question, “Are you using your opportunities and abilities to benefit your community and the state of Colorado?” This question has played into just about every big decision I’ve made about my education, my profession, my career, my community service efforts, and where my wife and I wanted to start our family and raise our kids — right here in Colorado. Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work. Over the past few several years I served on the CU Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Jefferson County Community Development Advisory Board, and co-chaired the Presidents Leadership Class Alumni Board. More recently I’ve been involved with political organizations, and I’m serving on the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board. What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field? My advice: slow down. It’s so easy to be overeager about progressing in your career and wanting to move quickly from one set of tasks or responsibilities to the next higher level. But it takes time to learn and master certain skills, and sometimes you just have to slog through seemingly mundane tasks in order to do it. If you can slow down you’ll produce a better work product and will obtain a deeper understanding of what you’re doing and why. But it’s okay to struggle with this — I still do, every day. If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why? My clear first choice would be Jesus, for innumerable reasons that I don’t need to go on about here. But a close second would be to have dinner with both of my grandmothers. My grandmothers passed when I was in middle school and in high school. I was able to spend a lot of time with them when I was young, and I had great relationships with both of them. But now that I am an adult and a parent, there are so many stories, memories, and laughs I’d love to share with them, and questions I’d like to ask about their lives. Most importantly, I’d want to seek their advice, guidance, and observations on family, parenting, friendship, my career, current events, and so many other things. Of course, I’d have to be clean shaven, be properly dressed, and mind my manners for dinner with my grandmothers, or they’d let me hear about it....

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova. Scholar Year: 2016 Hometown: Elizabeth College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver, International Studies and French, BA 2020, MA 2021 What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating? Thankfully, I will be pursuing my graduate degree in international studies from the University of Denver in tandem with my undergraduate studies, giving me a bit more time to discover where my many interests intersect in a professional setting, but I am very interested in spending substantial time abroad post-college. This could include joining the Peace Corps, using my bilingual skills in the Francophone world, or simply working in continental Europe for a period of time, but I definitely have no linear path for my future just yet. Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them. Being a member of the DU Debate Union has certainly been the most important part of my intellectual development since coming to college. Not only does it make me more intentional in my analysis of the daily news and conversations with others but demands a broad and deep exploration of so many varied topics that I’m always kept on my toes. I also love living with my sorority sisters of Delta Zeta, serving in philanthropic capacities in our own community and having a powerful support system of incredible women to rely on. Tell us about an important mentor you have had. My high school history teacher profoundly affected how I understand my purpose in life, both personally and professionally, and how I should adjust my daily behavior to reflect what I value most. He had an interesting dichotomy, living for your eulogy or for your resume, that has always stuck with me as I confront situations in which I am forced to ration my time into ever smaller pieces. Do I choose to do things that will make the lives of others better and more fulfilling, or do I spend my life chronically “competing” or “performing” without adding real value to my life or the lives of those around me? What's the best advice you've ever received? In the words of the great thought leader, Mr. Kanye West, “nothing in life is promised except death.” My family has always reminded me to stay grounded and remember my roots, to not expect anything, and to be grateful for everything. Everything I have earned is because I have had the support of those around me and been able to access incredible opportunities; therefore, I should always make the most of what I am lucky enough to have. If you could have dinner with one or more people from history, whom would you choose and why?  I would love to have dinner with Yves Saint Laurent, an iconic French fashion designer and revolutionary in haute couture. He not only normalized the wearing of suits and tuxedos for women, but consistently searched for new ways to improve his creative eye, his stitching technique, his experimentation with new materials and textures, and his craft. He empowered women to take on their new roles in society as active members of the workforce post-WWII while breaking down many of the barriers that exist in high fashion. He created opportunities for young talent to rise and consistently reimagined the modern woman through beautiful clothing....

Boettcher Scholars have the opportunity to expand their educations by using international education grants or educational enrichment grants offered as part of their scholarship package. Through their travels, Scholars have learned new languages, experienced diverse cultures, or honed their skills through internships and classes. Many Scholars tell us that these were among the most impactful aspects of their college careers.  Recently several Boettcher Scholars volunteered to blog about their travel experiences. Here’s one of their stories. Lindsey Paricio 2014 Boettcher Scholar International Education Grant: Massey University, New Zealand "Where ever you go, go with all your heart." This is one of my favorite sayings, but during my study abroad semester in New Zealand I discovered that it is impossible, and frankly undesirable, to go everywhere with a complete heart. In those six months, I have experienced more extreme joy, and yes, a little sadness, than I thought possible, in leaving home to go to New Zealand, and in leaving New Zealand to come home. Each place holds a piece of my heart. People in both places hold a piece of my heart. Memories of two different worlds and lives hold a piece of my heart. And they always will. In coming home to Colorado, I left a piece of my heart in New Zealand. But that's okay. I wouldn't trade my experiences for the world. That semester taught me that I need to live life by scattering pieces of my heart around the world, finding places and people that enthrall and love me. It's painful and sad, but also joyous and beautiful, and so worthwhile. My international education experience allowed me to continue to work towards my chemistry degree, take classes for fun (like theater!) and explore that incredible country. I have chased my Lord of the Rings obsession through Hobbiton and up Mount Doom. I climbed over, paddled through oceans, and floated my way down glowworm caves. And I made incredible friends, both Kiwi and international, that I know will always be there for me, both literally and in my heart. On a slightly less serious note, I have compiled a list of the top 10 things I miss most about living in New Zealand. MEAT PIES! My friends Ocean and mountain in the same place Good (seriously good) chocolate Kiwi sayings (“sweet as,” “sust,” “banter,” etc.) Saying the letter Z as "zed" The “if you do something stupid it's your fault” attitude Not having to wear shoes Not having to go through airport security Making jokes about kiwi birds and kiwi fruits all the time Yes, I'd say it was a "sweet as" run. Thanks, New Zealand, I will never forget you. And in the words of a great man, "I'll be back."...