Advisory Council


Advisory Council

The Jake Jabs Center’s advisory council includes some of Denver’s — and Colorado’s — most recognized entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, attorneys, and other industry experts. Click on the names of our Advisory Council Members below to read their bios.

Joel has been an entrepreneur and business manager most of his life. After attending Claremont McKenna College and Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Joel worked at the Quaker Oats Company for 8 years. He then founded Orange Glo International, marketers of Orange Glo, OxiClean, and Kaboom, with his parents. Joel helped created the famous television ads feature the late Billy Mays. In 2006 Joel and his family sold Orange Glo to Church & Dwight/Arm & Hammer.

A year later Joel co-founded Launch Pad LLC, a marketing company that backs and supports several consumer products companies such as Tortle, Base Education, Zaidy’s Deli & Bakery, and several other ventures. In addition to the Jake Jabs Center’s Advisory Council, Joel sits on the boards of First Descents and the Hoffman Institute. Joel has two grown kids, a 4.5-year-old, and they all love the outdoors.  Joel has tremendous passion for personal and spiritual growth.  Joel is married to Tiffany Appel.

Janis Bergs is one of the best-known technology entrepreneurs in Latvia with more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry. From 2000 until 2006, he served as board member and later as CEO of the Baltic’s largest IT company, Microlink. Microlink has started successful companies including Delfi newsportals, SAF Tehnika and Doclogix. In 2006, Microlink was sold to TeliaSonera group for over €40 million Euros. After leaving Microlink, he (with other partners) started FMS – a company that became a leader in the Latvian ERP market with its proprietary ERP software package “Horizon.” FMS provides accounting, payroll and HRM software to the largest public and private sector organizations.
In 2014, FMS was sold to the largest ERP software company in Nordic VISMA. After the acquisition, FMS was renamed to Visma Enterprise where Janis worked as Managing Director until January 2015. In March 2016, Janis served as Member of Board and Vice President of Sales and Marketing at SAF Tehnika, a publicly traded technology company based in Riga, Latvia. SAF Tehnika is among other world leaders in design and manufacturing of radio communication equipment, which is sold in 130 countries. In August 2016, Janis moved to Denver, Colorado, where he serves as President of SAF North America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SAF Tehnika. He also continues to invest and advise privately held companies including Mobilly, BKA and several other technology and internet-related startups that operate in the USA and Baltic markets.
Janis has been teaching entrepreneurship at the Riga Business School and actively supports the startup movement by mentoring young entrepreneurs. He graduated from Riga Technical University as radio engineer and holds an MBA degree from Riga Business School. He is married and has two daughters and a son.

Doug has more than 38 years of experience in global financial and business management. He recently retired as the Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) and Chief Operating Officer of Crestone Capital LLC (“Crestone”), a Boulder-based independent wealth management firm with over $2.2 billion in client capital under management. Doug was a founding partner of Crestone in 2001 and continues to serve on the Advisory Board for Crestone.

Prior to joining Crestone, Doug was Vice President of Finance at Rental Service Corporation, an $800 million annual revenue NYSE-listed equipment rental and sales company. He led merger and acquisition valuation and accounting for over 35 transactions valued individually at up to $100 million and was also responsible for various investor relations activities, secondary stock offerings, and debt financing transactions.

Prior to his tenure at Rental Service Corporation, Doug was CFO for Center Rental and Sales, a $48 million annual revenue privately held construction equipment rental and sales company headquartered in Denver, and CFO at Guerdon Industries, a $120 million annual revenue privately held manufacturing company. He started his professional career at Ernst & Ernst in Denver in 1979.

Doug is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Colorado Society of CPAs. He is also a member of the board of directors of Colorado UpLift, and serves as a student mentor through the Greenhouse Scholars program. Doug is also a member of the Advisory Board for Banner Signs and Decals, a small Denver-based privately held company.

Doug received his BS degree in Accounting from Miami University. He held a FINRA Series 27 license as the Financial Operations Principal for Crestone. Doug is a CPA licensed (inactive) in the State of Colorado.

Sarah delivers customized wealth planning solutions to families and business owners. Previously, she spent 17 years at Michael Best & Friedrich, where she served as a partner in the trust and estate planning group. The foundation of her practice is the strong relationship she forms with her clients. Her wealth management practice includes the preparation and implementation of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, business succession planning, asset protection planning, marital property agreements, and charitable planning.
Sarah has been recognized for her work by professional organizations, including the Financial Planning Association of Southern Wisconsin, which presented her with its Leadership Excellence Award, and inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in Trusts and Estates. Sarah received her BA in Psychology and Sociology, cum laude, from Hanover College, and her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin.
Sarah is a huge Green Bay Packers and Nashville Predators fan (if she wasn’t an attorney, she would have attempted to be a hockey player).

Robin is an accomplished therapist with over 18 years experience in working with at-risk teens. Robin’s history includes roles as a School-Based Therapy Specialist for at-risk teens, private practice therapist for adolescents and their families, Treatment Coordinator for intensive in/outpatient teen programs, and Research Specialist in clinical trials for adolescents with addictions.

While serving in her various roles, Robin served on panels and boards for various teen organizations. She has and continues to train law enforcement, school administrators and faculty, medical professionals, and members of the community through various speaking engagements and seminars on issues pertaining to at-risk youth. Robin earned her MA in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology from the University of Colorado, Denver. She is a licensed professional counselor, certified school counselor, and a master addiction counselor.

In her free time, Robin spends time with her littles hiking, skiing, and doing anything outdoors. Her coping skill is humor and friends.

Jake started American Furniture Warehouse with one store in Denver, CO in 1975, and under his leadership, AFW has expanded into a 15+ store operation that has experienced a remarkable growth trend over the years. Jake is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company and oversees the company’s team of buyers. Today, American Furniture Warehouse is one of the top retail furniture companies in the U.S. and one of the largest privately-held businesses in Colorado. Jake pledged $12 million to the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship (renamed the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship) at the University of Colorado Denver in 2013. He continues to be actively involved.

Matt Jonsen is a partner in Dorsey & Whitney LLP’s chem/bio practice. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Utah School of Medicine, and a B.A. in Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His graduate work was directed toward understanding protein regulation through biophysical studies of DNA:protein interaction. Matt has extensive post-doctoral experience in human genetics and mammalian transcription factor regulation, most recently in the Department of Endocrinology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He received his J.D. from The University of Denver College of Law.

Matt’s practice focuses on emerging biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, especially in the West. His practice includes strategic patent counseling and preparation of United States as well as international patent applications.

Matt is the president and CEO at Kaspo, Inc., a full-scale marketing agency that started in 2003 in Denver, CO. Building brand loyalty for amazing companies that are making a difference in the world is why Kaspo exists. Matt’s team creatively connects people to the why behind a brand using event, social media, and cause marketing to build loyal customers for our clients.

Matt’s goal in life is to empower as many people as possible. If he is not working on Kaspo, he can be found volunteering or hanging out with friends and family. Youth empowerment, education, entrepreneurship, and the environment are some of his passions.

Sam sold NewCloud Networks, a global cloud computing company, to Otava in August 2021. He carved out a IT security business from Newcloud and started a new company called Cyber Sainik which specializes in: 

  • Security information and event management
  • Vulnerability assessment and remediation
  • Endpoint detection and remediation
  • Managed detection and remediation
  • Firewall monitoring and management
  • Email security
  • Dual factor authentication
  • Security training
  • 24x7x365 security operation center
  • Managed services for security

Cyber Sainik are narrowly focused on midsized business to midsized enterprises with revenues ranging from $10 million to $2 billion. They are developing original intellectual property based on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics to protect their customers. They are also developing security solutions for vertical markets like healthcare, financial services, and retail business.

James is an accomplished U.S. and international healthcare business executive with over 25 years of experience. He has held leadership positions in several medical device and technology startups as well as global companies, such as Johnson & Johnson®, Cordis®, Guidant Corporation®, Edwards Lifesciences® and Sorin Group®. With a strong background in executive roles such as sales, global training, corporate accounts and healthcare economics, he created his first consulting company in 2008 and has built several others since. In addition to his consulting engagements, James also sits on several boards of medical and digital health companies as an advisor.

Jung currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at the Cherry Creek School District, as an adjunct professor at CU Denver, and as an advisory council member for the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship. He has over 25 years of consulting experience in design, branding, marketing, user experience, organization development, strategy, and business development. He has over 15 years of experience as a startup entrepreneur. Jung also delivers keynotes, seminars, and workshops on the subjects of corporate/personal branding, professional/personal development, equity, inclusion, diversity, leadership, Life ROI, value, culture, and Asian-American empowerment.

Denver native Joanne Posner-Mayer graduated from the Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado in 1973. Her first job took her to Switzerland, where she was exposed to exercises using the Swiss Ball and learned from pioneering therapists Mary Quinton, Susanne Klein-Vogelbach, and Maria Kucera in hospital settings. In 1978 in Copenhagen, Denmark, she began lecturing other therapists on using the ball for rehabilitative therapy. She brought her newly developed expertise back to Colorado clinics in 1980 and in 1988 began teaching her expanded exercise techniques in the surrounding mountain states.

Posner-Mayer founded Ball Dynamic International, Inc. in 1991 and Fitball, Inc—intended to transform ball exercises for worldwide fitness use in health clubs, gyms and sports training programs—in 1993. As a result, she soon became an internationally recognized author on the therapeutic use of the Swiss Ball, with speaking engagements on three continents. She has produced three instructional videos and authored two books on exercises using the balls, one of which has been modified by Physiotools, a Finnish company, into a computer program and translated into 20 languages. Posner-Mayer continues to lecture and spread awareness of the importance of good posture and core control in spine health, as well as the benefits of integrating the ball into exercise programs for strengthening, stretching, cardiac wellness and relaxation.A former ballerina with the Colorado Ballet, Posner-Mayer serves on the boards of the Colorado Ballet, the University of Colorado Physical Therapy Program, and the Jimmie Heuga Endowment for Multiple Sclerosis, and is an honorary Board member of World Denver. She helped fund the Posner Center for International Development, which houses 50 Denver-based, international nonprofits. Her parents were foreign immigrants to America, and her mother was a Holocaust survivor. Her entire career has focused on helping and serving people, and she continues that mission today through her charitable work.

Alexandra Romeo is a Senior Vice President Private Banker for Citi’s Ultra High Net Worth Private Bank in Denver, CO. In this role, she provides individuals, families, and institutions with financial management strategies around investments, planning, banking, lending, and fiduciary services.

A graduate of SMU Dedman School of Law, Alexandra leverages her transactional training to deliver clients highly customized advice on complex tax and estate planning matters. Juxtaposing this skill set with her research in the fields of behavioral finance and consumer psychology while earning her Bachelor’s Degree from Tulane University, Alexandra is uniquely positioned to understand sophisticated clients.

Prior to joining Citi Private Bank, Alexandra was a Vice President Private Banker with J.P. Morgan. In addition to her work there with private business owners and families navigating the dynamics of multi-generational wealth, she also developed her passion for working with non-profit organizations, endowments, and foundations. She has extensive experience supporting the needs of these clients and appreciates the customized approach that must be taken when working with the fiduciaries of an Investment Committee or Board of Trustees.

Alexandra has been a competitive equestrian since grammar school. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their two dogs, as well as skiing and cooking. Alexandra holds her FINRA Series 7, 63, and 66 licenses.

Dr. Afshin Safavi is a founder, consultant, board member, entrepreneur, and investor in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, animal health, technology, and real-estate sectors with multi-billion-dollar turnovers in biological products and is responsible for multiple drug products in the market today. He has founded Colorado Health and Tech Centers (CHTC), Novel351k, and BioAgilytix Labs, one of the most successful multi-billion-dollar Contract Research Organizations known internationally. His last four consecutive exits delivered 7 to 200x returns in 5 years or less. He has extensive experience establishing and leading teams in pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies. Before founding Colorado Health and Tech Centers (CHTC), NOVEL351K, and BioAgilytix Labs, he worked for various organizations, including AAIPharma, Bayer Biologicals, Talecris BioTherapeutics (Grifols), Nobex Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline, and IGEN International. Dr. Safavi obtained his B.S. in Biochemistry from UCLA and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Kentucky Medical School. He completed a two-year postdoctoral assignment at the Emory University, Department of Pathology.

Manuel G. Serapio is faculty director of the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at the University of Colorado Denver’s Institute for International Business, and Associate Professor of International Business and Entrepreneurship, Business School, University of Colorado Denver.

Professor Serapio specializes in the design and development of global business education programs. He has designed programs and consulted for more than four dozen multinational companies, entrepreneurial ventures, and government agencies in the US and Asia.

These companies include Starbucks Coffee International, Western Union/First Data Corporation, Molson Coors International, Cisco Systems, IBM, Global Healthcare Exchange, Arrow Electronics, RE/MAX International, TVI (Singapore), ePLDT Ventus (Philippines), Jinling Petrochemical (PRC), Korea Banking Institute, Nokero International, and others.

In academia, Dr. Serapio led the development of the Faculty Development in International Entrepreneurship (FDIE) program for CU Denver’s CIBER. Working jointly with Drs. Patricia McDougall and Walter Kuemmerle, Dr. Serapio has offered the FDIE program to more than 200 faculty members since 2005 in Denver, Atlanta, Seoul, Istanbul, and Bangalore.Dr. Serapio has published in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Management International Review, Organizational Dynamics, Research Technology Management, Academy of Management Executive, IEEE Spectrum, and other publications. His research has been cited by, Investor’s Business Daily, Financial Times, Rocky Mountain News, and the Los Angeles Times. Together with Drs. Patricia McDougall and Marian Jones, Dr. Serapio co-edited a special issue on International Entrepreneurship for Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. He is co-author (with Drs. Antonella Zuchella and Birgit Hagen) of a forthcoming book in international entrepreneurship to be published by Edward Elgar Publishing and an international entrepreneurship courseware for

Professor Serapio received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and MBA from the University of Hawaii. He is the recipient of multiple teaching awards and has generated more than $4 million in sponsored grants and research from the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Naval Research, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, Japan-US Friendship Commission, and other organizations.

Chester Winter is a general partner at NewWest Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Denver, Colorado that focuses on small market buyouts, growth financings, and recapitalizations. Prior to co-founding NewWest in 1998, Mr. Winter was a general partner of Colorado Incubator Fund, L.P., a venture capital fund which invests in early stage high technology enterprises, including software, materials, medical and biotechnology. Winter has more than 30 years experience as a senior executive with small to medium-sized companies and has diverse financial, operating, and venture investing experience in a wide range of industries, including his tenure as vice president and later director of the consulting firm Paradigm Partners, LLC.

He also served as chairman of Highland Energy, Inc., a subsidiary of Eastern Utility Associates. Mr. Winter currently holds an appointed position on the board of the Boulder Urban Renewal Authority. Chet holds a B.A. in Economics and an M.S. in Industrial Relations and Economics from the University of Colorado, and has completed the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business.