Chamber Presidents

Clarence Low

Asian Chamber of Commerce

Clarence LowClarence Low is the President/CEO of the Asian Chamber of Commerce in Denver, Colorado. He oversees the management of daily operations, programs and strategic partnerships of the organization. His local AAPI business development and advocacy efforts has raised the Asian Chamber’s profile in the Denver Metropolitan region and has created fruitful relationships with national and international agencies. His passion for community partnerships has helped create the Asian Chamber’s Scholarship Fund, assisting 1st-generation Colorado students and the Scholar’s Program to Washington, D.C.

Mr. Low believes in the multiplicative power of partnerships, particularly reaching across various Asian ethic groups to strengthen alliances. He recently participated in delegations of U.S. business leaders hosted by Japan and Taiwan, deepening diplomatic and cultural relationships. He has also worked with national business and advocacy organizations to give voice to the growing economic strength of the Asian community in the U.S.

In addition to his role at the Asian Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Low is a small business owner and respected community advocate whose leadership is making an impact on future generations of leaders and young professionals in the Rocky Mountains. For his efforts, Mr. Low has received recognition from community organizations. He has been recognized as an Asian American Hero of Colorado by the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network, and awarded the 2015 Rosa Parks Diversity Community Award by the University of Colorado, Denver for his outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion in the community. Mr. Low lends his support to educational institutions, community organizations and various business groups. He served as Chair of the Denver Minority and Women’s Chamber Coalition, and currently serves on the Small Business Advisory Council of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Mr. Low earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and master’s degree in marine sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Lee Kathryn Gash-Maxey

Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce

Lee Gash MaxeyA Denver native with more than 30 years of corporate, business and non-profit organization experience, Gash-Maxey is an award-winning television, cable and film producer.  Her experience includes cable, film and television production, production management, marketing, business management and small business ownership. She is a founding partner of Three Sistahs, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  She has served on the Education Advisory Council for Denver Public Schools, the Task Force for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Five Points Media Center Board of Directors and is currently a member of the Denver County Cultural Council.

Most recently, she was Producer of the 2010 Census Road Tour for the Denver region.  Gash-Maxey is also the owner of Maxey Media Production Group.

As vice president of documentaries and special projects for Black Entertainment Television (BET), Gash-Maxey served as the executive producer for the network’s signature biography program, Journeys In Black, a series of in-depth biographical profiles of leading African American men and women of historical, popular culture, business and social importance.  Gash-Maxey was also the executive in charge of production for the award winning, Teen Summit; a weekly newsmagazine geared toward BET’s younger audience aged 14 to 18.

Gash-Maxey joined BET in February 1997, as the Managing Producer of BET Movies, a joint venture with the Starz Encore Group.  As Managing Producer, she was responsible for the production of all on-air interstitial material for cable’s first Black premium movie channel and management of a production team of seven people.  Her other duties included administration of the production budget, strategic planning, consultation for external marketing, scheduling, acquisitions and interaction with senior management.  Under her guidance, the creative efforts of BET Movies have been recognized with Telly Awards, the NAMIC Excellence Award and the Colorado Association of Black Journalist Scribes in Excellence Award.

From 1988 – 1997, Gash-Maxey was an award-winning independent writer and video producer.  Her projects included Footsteps Following the March, the 1996 winner of the Excellence in Journalism Award for Best Documentary and Dearfield: The Road Less Traveled, winner of the 1996 Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Award for Best Documentary.

Gash-Maxey’s professional experience also extends beyond the television arena.  From 1990 – 1997, she worked with the Governor’s Office of Energy Conservation (OEC) in Colorado as the Youth Energy Program Manager (1993 – 1997) and Public Information Officer (1990 – 1993).  In these positions, she was responsible for the administration of the OEC’s $3.5 million youth employment program created to address the growing issue of youth violence and the agency’s principal external communication piece.  She was also a writer for the Denver Public Schools, a PR Associate for Cordy & Company, AM/FM Continuity Director for KOA/KOAQ Radio and Executive Coordinator for Odell Barry MS Sports Celebrity Dinners.

Gash-Maxey graduated from Colorado State University, where she studied Speech and Theater Arts/Radio and Television Production.  She resides in Denver, CO with her husband, Thomas Maxey.

Kristen Blessman

Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce

Kristen BlessmanKristen Blessman came to Goodwill Industries of Denver in 2008; having been drawn to the organization’s triple-bottom line business strategy of people, profit and planet.  Ms. Blessman was enthusiastic about helping to lead an organization with a sustainable business strategy driven first by serving people, having a business model that generates revenue to serve and ultimately preserving the planet by giving donors a place to recycle used goods.  Ms. Blessman was responsible for the complete re-branding of Goodwill’s image in 2009 and started Goodwill’s first customer loyalty program, Club Blue in 2012.

Having been promoted to Chief Marketing Officer at Goodwill in 2013, Ms. Blessman oversees marketing and business development; as well as new social enterprise and strategic planning.  In addition, she is The Executive Director of the organization’s new placement division “Joborado.”  Her position ensures both long-term organizational and economic growth of the local community by providing employment and training for those most in need of assistance.

Ms. Blessman has 20 years of experience creating successful marketing, public relations, and sales strategy campaigns for nonprofit and for profit organizations as well as through entrepreneurial efforts through previous ownership of a small business.  Her previous experience at Regis University produced record-breaking media coverage and campaign success; supporting an $83 million dollar fundraising campaign for the University. Kristen’s breadth of knowledge includes: traditional and social media relations, marketing ROI, branding, image building, website content development and search engine optimization, advertising, promotions, production, strategic planning and fundraising.

Ms. Blessman has served as a volunteer for the American Marketing Association, The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce marketing committee, and is a past board member for the Denver Press Club and The Women’s Leadership Foundation. She also volunteers for Goodwill Industries of Denver’s youth career programs in several metro Denver high schools and is a volunteer presenter at Metro State, Argosy and Regis University.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from The University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Business Administration Degree in Marketing from Regis University. She currently lives in Denver, CO with her 12 year old son.

Mike Ferrufino

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver

Mike FerrufinoMike is a self-described “serial entrepreneur” who believes “The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can’t learn anything from being perfect.”

Mike brings a strong understanding of the Hispanic community and the business issues of many Hispanic organizations to his work with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He has often used this understanding to help shape regulatory and legislative strategy.

Mike has gained this understanding through his significant experience developing complex business strategies and leading strategic partnerships while serving as the Vice President and General Manager of Latino Communications; a local, minority-owned Denver-based media company that owns and operates 4 Spanish Language radio stations here in Colorado (KBNO-1280 in Denver, KXRE-1490/98.5 FM in Colorado Springs and KAVA 1480 AM in Pueblo). Latino Communications’ radio stations reach over 200,000 Hispanic listeners weekly.

In addition to his work in Spanish language media, he also has been involved in companies that operate in the entertainment and hospitality industries. Mike formerly owned a 25,000 square foot event center and headed up a promotional group responsible for producing, planning and marketing entertainment events that primarily targeted the Hispanic market with attendance between 1,000 and 20,000 per event.

Most recently he created and led an investment group that successfully acquired spectrum in FCC auctions. In addition to previously identifying broadcast properties outside of CO and directing the acquisition strategy which lead to increased profitability.

Whether serving as a company executive, a volunteer on at a non-profit, or a political fundraiser, he recognizes that building coalitions with all stakeholders is paramount. Mike is a longtime and present member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, as such he is very experienced with non-profit board management. Mike has worked tirelessly in that capacity with numerous non-profit organizations, including: the Colorado Children’s Campaign, Robby’s Friends, Mi Casa, the Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation, Denver Health Foundation, Denver Public Schools Foundation, The Ohio Center for Broadcasting and Susan G. Komen Colorado and many others.

He is most passionate about empowering traditionally underserved populations to close educational achievement gaps, pediatric oncology, mental health awareness and the opportunities and challenges that the Hispanic business community as a whole.