Staff

Elena Wilken
Executive Director
(303) 863-0124
elena@housingcolorado.org

Background: Elena brings 15 years of Colorado politics and association management to the Housing Colorado team. After graduating honors from Penn State University with a bachelor's in Political Science, she managed logistics for a traveling bugle corps, baked bread, ran phones for a mutual fund company and produced title reports. Much to her parent's relief, she was hired as Assistant Director for the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA) in 2002 and was promoted to Executive Director in 2007. She completed an MBA at CU Denver in 2017.

Her most significant accomplishments (to date) are working with a statewide coalition to pass transportation funding legislation, rationalizing financial systems, and managing more than 30 statewide and 2 national conferences with steadily increasing sponsorship and registration. She is an unconventional strategist, builds strong and lasting relationships, and is skilled at identifying and articulating core issues. 

Duties include: Leadership and expertise on affordable housing issues; directs advocacy and legislative work; reports to Board of Directors; executes financial and strategic management; public face of organization. 

  Emily Nilsen
Membership and Communications Specialist
(720) 744-2251
emily@housingcolorado.org

Background: Emily Nilsen has nine years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Most recently, she served as Communications Manager for a national association and nonprofit. Emily is dedicated to excellence in the nonprofit sector and is particularly well versed in membership communications, outreach and development. Emily Nilsen has a B.A. in History from Regent University and is currently working toward her Master's in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the School of Public Affairs at University of Colorado Denver. 

Duties include: Manages membership renewals and new member sign ups; directs outreach and sign up for sponsorship opportunities; manages all outgoing communications including Housing Colorado's emails and website and the Live Affordably Colorado campaign; supports the membership, sponsorship, editorial, and young professionals committees; and manages public relations.   


Rachel Massman
Conference and Event Manager
303-863-0125
rachel@housingcolorado.org

Background: Rachel moved to Colorado from Missouri in 2013 and started her professional career in the hotel industry. Including her hotel background, she also brings with her four years of event planning and membership experience in the non-profit and association sector. She is an active member of CSAE serving as a past co-chair of the Membership Committee and now as a member of the Professional Development Committee. 

Duties include: Manages all annual conference planning and logistics; manages all other event planning and logistics throughout the year; supports the conference, education, awards, and young professionals committees; assists members with event registrations. 


Rose Haag
Policy Analyst and Office Administrator
303-863-0123
rose@housingcolorado.org

Background: As a Masters Student at the University of Colorado-Denver studying urban and regional planning, Rose is exploring her passion for equitable development, community building, and affordable housing. These interests stem from years of experience coordinating volunteers at Whitman College focusing on community building and education for social issues like housing and homelessness, food and hunger, and environmental justice. After college, Rose worked as a Paralegal in Washington D.C. and saw the harmful effects of gentrification first-hand in some of DC's growing and segregated neighborhoods, further fueling her interest in affordable housing and social justice advocacy. Since moving to Denver, and beginning graduate school, she has immersed herself in understanding the local housing crisis and sees herself working at the intersection of housing policy and advocacy.

Duties include:  Supports legislative committee and advocacy work during the legislative session; creates bill reports, fact sheets, and legislative updates; supports other advocacy work and communications collateral. Primary staff maintaining our database; answers main phone line and assists with member services and event registrations; assists with event logistics; manages office needs and organizes financial documentation.

 

       

 

Sarah Riopelle
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
(303) 863-0123
riopelle@housingcolorado.org

Sarah Riopelle is passionate about association management and communications. She has worked for the Muscular Dystrophy Association where she marketed educational programs for the Northern Colorado community. Prior to Housing Colorado, Sarah worked for the Financial Planning Association as the chapter relations associate where she provided communication and support to chapters across the county. Sarah has a degree in journalism from Colorado State University with an emphasis in public relations.

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