Shara Smith, she/her/hers
Shara is the executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. She brings over 10 years of nonprofit management experience to Interfaith, including advancing interfaith initiatives in Delaware, managing money in politics programming in California, and overseeing national affiliates for cancer research. Shara began her career in academia, overseeing programs at institutions like MIT, Boston University, and a teaching affiliate for Harvard Medical School. She later began her own consultancy aimed at helping social justice oriented nonprofits enhance their operations, programmatic work, communications, and fundraising. Shara also brings solid media experience to Interfaith, having managed various communications initiatives across multiple organizations, as well as having previously run one of the fastest-growing independent media companies in the US. Shara is an animal lover and self-described March Madness fanatic. She can be reached at shara(at)interfaithallianceco(dot)org.
Carl Gibson, he/him/his
Communications and Public Policy
Carl has more than a decade of experience in public policy and advocacy. In 2010, he assisted the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance in their successful effort to stop a racial profiling bill in the Mississippi legislature. In 2012, Carl helped the Working Families Party pass a minimum wage increase in the Connecticut legislature. That same year, he led a successful direct action and social media campaign to block a bill in U.S. Congress championed by coalition of Fortune 500 corporations that would have granted a costly corporate tax holiday. Carl is also a journalist whose work has been published in CNN, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Barron’s, Business Insider, The Independent (UK), and NPR. When he’s not working, Carl enjoys playing drums, going on long walks, and catching Pokemon.
Emma Hudson, she/her/hers
Emma Hudson is the Owner and Principal of Emma Hudson Consulting, LLC, a mission-focused communications and public affairs firm, and serves as Interfaith Alliance of Colorado’s contract lobbyist. Emma’s background spans nonprofit and government experience as an advocate and a government relations strategist with specialization in business, health care, and social justice policy arenas. Emma holds a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Wisconsin-School of Medicine & Public Health and a Master’s of Public Affairs from the La Follette School of Public Affairs, with a graduate certificate in consumer health advocacy. When Emma isn’t advancing meaningful policy solutions at the State Capitol, she spends her time teaching yoga at a local domestic violence shelter, hiking in the mountains with her dogs, and gardening in her yard alongside her chickens and bees.
Megan Ives, she/her/hers
Megan is a community-serving problem-solver with Colorado equity-focused legislative and policy experience. She has spent her career in a multitude of organizing, legislative, and research roles centered around advancing justice through systems-change. These roles include experience in immigrant rights, youth education, affordable housing, civil rights protections, and criminal justice. Megan is a systems-level thinker with a deep foundation in racial and economic equity supplemented by facilitation training. Outside of her professional roles, she believes her experience with grassroots advocacy in the Denver community has shaped her immensely. She is guided by her belief that we all have a responsibility to create the world we want to live in.
Nathan Wellman, he/him/his
Media and Communications
Nathan Wellman is a video producer, journalist, actor, and playwright. Nathan’s writing has been published in USUncut.com and GritPost.com, and cited by The New York Times and The Intercept. Nathan is the creator of a popular film analysis YouTube channel, which currently boasts more than 123,000 subscribers and over five million views. He was raised in Kentucky, where he studied at Morehead State University. Nathan has also performed in television, reality shows, local PSAs and national commercials, along with the critically acclaimed Sacred Fools and SkyPilot theaters.
Board of Directors
Jennifer Carty, Esq., she/her/hers
Jennifer Carty is an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Appeals Section of the Colorado Office of the Attorney General handling felony convictions for crimes against persons and property, crimes of violence, fraud, computer crimes, wrongs to children, domestic violence, drug offenses, and organized crime, as well as sentencing appeals on behalf of the State of Colorado. Prior to becoming an AAG, she worked as a family law attorney at Robinson & Henry, P.C., as well as a law clerk for the Honorable Steven Bernard on the Colorado Court of Appeals. In her pre-law school life, Jen spent five years as an active duty maritime inspections officer for the United States Coast Guard conducting regulatory compliance on the shipping industry, overseeing search and rescue operations, and responding to maritime disasters. Jennifer continues to serve as a JAG Officer in the Coast Guard Reserve. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the Board of Governors for the Colorado Bar Association, and as a member of the LGBT Bar Association. Jennifer is excited to start working on a Masters of Divinity in the near future.
Dr. Nabeeh Abdurrahim Hasan, he/him/his
Dr. Hasan is the director of the Colorado Muslim Speakers Bureau (CMSB), an affiliate of the Islamic Networks Group (ING). Nabeeh also serves on the Colorado Muslim Leadership Council and on the Steering Committee of Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism (MILA). He is active in speaking at and facilitating interfaith efforts, youth development and training speakers. These include speaking about Islam and answering audience questions at “Open Mosque” events, speaking in classroom settings to enhance student learning with regards to learning about Islam and Muslims, training and improving public speaking abilities of Muslims and non-Muslims, and discussing the relationships between science and religion for clergy and laypersons alike. Nabeeh is also a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council and a biomedical researcher at National Jewish Health, specializing in genomics of infectious lung diseases. Through speaking about Islam, health and science, Nabeeh has given cultural competency training and hundreds of presentations to primary schools, universities, churches, hospitals and professional societies. In his spare time, he enjoys amateur automobile racing, cooking and traveling with his family.
Rev. Dr. Brian Henderson, he/him/his
Rev. Dr. Henderson has been serving as minister of the historic First Baptist Church of Denver since 2012. Prior to moving to Colorado, Brian served for 13 years, the closest American Baptist Churches, USA (ABC) congregation to the denomination’s national offices in Valley Forge, PA. Along with ABC regional committee work, Brian also volunteers with a number of nonprofit boards. In addition to his current ministerial responsibilities, he serves as the National Coordinator for the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and quality time with his three children.
Rev. Dr. Valerie L. Jackson, she/her/hers
Pastor Jackson is an unapologetic, visionary faith and community leader, womanist, homiletician, author, and advocate for the sacred worth and potential of all human beings. She was ordained an elder in full connection in the United Methodist Church in 2018 in Ogden, Utah. On January 1, 2020, Dr. Jackson became the first African American and out queer lead pastor of Cameron UMC in Denver and congregational resource minister for the Mile High Metro District of the Mountain Sky Conference. She is also adjunct faculty at the Iliff School of Theology. Rev. Dr. Jackson has lived in Denver since 2009.
Arash Jahanian, Esq., he/him/his
Arash serves as Director of Policy and Civil Rights Litigation at the Meyer Law Office in Denver. He uses legal advocacy to protect and advance the civil rights of Coloradans, including immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, and other victims of discrimination and police abuse. Arash has also worked as a staff attorney at the ACLU of Colorado, an attorney for the Denver civil rights firm Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, a judicial clerk for the Honorable Wiley Y. Daniel of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, and a middle school teacher in Chicago through Teach For America. Arash has served as president of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association and chair of the Denver LGBTQ Commission. He is a Kansas City native who enjoys music, sports, and running.
Gulsum Katmer, she/her/hers
Gulsum Katmer was born and raised in The neighborhoods of Cappadocia, Turkey. In 2007 she moved to the United States to pursue her higher education. She is currently working as an IT at Firstbank in Colorado. Gulsum is a passionate advocate for interfaith dialogue. She has given many talks on Islam and women in Islam at various different institutions in Colorado. She is a proud member of Multi-cultural Mosaic foundation where she served as Community Outreach Director, Executive Director and board member. She is a cofounder of Shalom and Salam Sisterhood and founder of Empowering Muslim Women of Colorado. Gulsum and her husband Ahmet have two children and have been living in Colorado since 2013.
Jill Wildenberg, she/her/hers
Jill Wildenberg started working on campaigns in 1972 on the George McGovern presidential race, and continues helping campaigns. In addition to being an elementary school teacher and professional artist, Jill was the Neighborhood Team Leader for downtown Denver for the Obama 2012 campaign, then worked as Chief of Staff to Colorado State Representative Crisanta Duran (Joint Budget Committee Chair) from 2013 – 2014. In 2016 she led Colorado Faith Leaders for the Clinton campaign and was also the Co-Captain of House District 5A Democrats. The former Education Director of Congregation Beth Evergreen, Jill led the congregation for 22 years. She was the first Public Policy Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado and now serves on the boards of Cobalt (Pro-Choice Advocates), The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, J Street Colorado’s Executive Board, and Faith 2020. With a passion for “Tikkun Olam” (Hebrew for repairing the world), she’s fulfilling her dreams of making the world a better place for all.
Thomas Wolfe, he/him/his
Thomas Wolfe is President and CEO of the Iliff School of Theology His previous positions include, Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs, Syracuse University; Dean of Hendricks Chapel, Syracuse University; Interdenominational Protestant Chaplain, Syracuse University. He has served as pastor of United Methodist parishes in Moravia and Ithaca, in upstate New York. His community service includes, Appointment to Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s Commission on the Sand Creek Massacre Commemoration, President of the board of InterFaith Works of Central New York, President of the Vera House Board of Directors in Syracuse, NY. He is currently President of the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (IAMSCU).