Piton Fellows: Early Career Cohort


Early Career Cohort

Calling all Metro Denver leaders with approximately 2-5 years of experience. Apply by July 21!

The Piton Fellowship is designed to help leaders in business, policy and philanthropy leverage dedicated financial and strategic support from Gary Community Ventures to expand their knowledge, network and potential to drive positive change for themselves and their communities. An emphasis is being placed on leaders of color as part of an ongoing effort to bridge the historic gap between diverse talent  and access to leadership opportunities.

Early Career Cohort

Learn, connect & develop with a network of peers and experts

The Early-Career Cohort is a 9-month fellowship predominantly for leaders of color that creates a path-changing experience for those who are approximately 2-5 years into their careers and work.

Fellows will deeply engage in individual and collective work that centers personal and professional development, racial equity, expanded social capital, knowledge as well as understanding of key issues faced by leaders throughout metro Denver. 

Don’t have 2-5 years experience? The Piton Fellowship has two other cohorts that may be for you. The Youth Cohort is comprised of Metro Denver leaders age 14-20, and the Mid-Career Cohort is recruiting leaders from the same area with 10+ years of experience.

Featured Fellow: Perla Bustillos

Perla Bustillos was a member of the inaugural early career cohort. Among various professional and community leadership roles, Perla co-founded Ednium: The Alumni Collective, a non-profit organization with a focus on mobilizing public school alumni as a powerful force to change the way cities educate and reinvest in its homegrown talent.

Cohort Experiences & Dates

The Piton Fellowship is designed to fit into the busy lives of working professionals

This 9-month program will run from September 2024 through May 2025. Fellows can expect to commit 1 full work day per month to the program, in addition to the overnight program kick-off and 1 overnight venture experience.

Overall, the cohort is designed to allow fellows to:

  • Continue working while building their leadership skills, networks and potential to create community impact.
  • Participate in a kickoff, various cohort meetings and two overnight venture experiences out of town to learn from and connect with other changemakers.
  • Receive a $1,000 payment to use towards professional development and career-building upon completion of the program.

The 2024-2025 fellowship is planned for these dates:

  • Kick-Off: 9/25-9/27
  • Session 1: 10/24
  • Session 2: 12/5
  • Session 3: 1/23/2025
  • Session 4: 2/20
  • Session 5: 4/24
  • Session 6: 5/22
  • Venture: 3-day, overnight venture to New Orleans, Louisana scheduled for Spring 2025 — dates in March to be confirmed

Universal Piton Fellowship Applicant Requirements

Certain attributes are required across cohorts

We’re looking for leaders who are:

  • Committed to leading changes that impact their local communities.
  • Enthusiastic about expanding their knowledge and advocacy of justice, racial equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Innovators, creative thinkers and change agents who are constantly thinking about how to build breakthrough solutions that will support their communities.
  • Empathetic leaders with a strong willingness to learn and collaborate with those who have diverse perspectives.
  • Living in Metro Denver (specifically Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Jefferson counties), as this is a place-based fellowship

Why Join the Early Career Cohort?

The Early Career Cohort is uniquely designed for aspiring leaders that are 2-5 years in their career journey. Early Career Fellows will:

  • Experience opportunities to explore and expand their personal and professional skills and talents to advance current and future career aspirations 
  • Interrogate how the intersection of their identities, and especially racial identities, impact their leadership journeys
  • Participate in consultancies alongside fellow fellows, where you will have the opportunity to bring your own problem of practice and also lend expertise to issues others are facing 
  • Explore to understand key issues faced by leaders in Metro Denver 
  • Ignite and expand their own personal networks while leveraging and supporting the Piton Fellow and Gary Community Venture networks

How to Apply & Nominate Fellows

The Early Career Cohort application window is open June 10 through July 21, 2024.

Nominations for all cohorts remain open year-round. Click the button below to nominate a fellow. To apply, use the application below, and please submit by July 21.

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Let us get to know you! Please answer all of the questions below, in either a two page written response or a four minute (max) video or voice recording. You may answer questions one by one or through telling a personal story:

  • Why do you want to be a member of the Early Career Piton Fellowship Cohort?
  • Why are you committed to being a leader in the Denver Metro area?
  • What do you hope for the future of your community?
  • What does racial equity mean to you? What ways has your racial identity shaped your journey as a leader?

Demographic Information: Note: We are using this information to ensure we have a representative group of applicants that reflect the demographics of the Denver Metro area to help us target our outreach when we do not.

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Meet Previous Early Career Cohorts

Below are our previous cohorts

Previous fellows in this cohort have included a TechStars alum, leaders from food and climate justice nonprofits, LGBTQ+ mental health advocates, a hip hop artist who doubles as a Rocky Mountain PBS radio host, a representative from one of our state’s most-awarded healthcare centers, a policy analyst focused on economic mobility for Coloradans, and up-and-coming leaders from our public education system.

2023-2024 Cohort

Abdul Ali
Alondra Flores
Alyssia Chinda
Amadou Dieng
Ambria Merriex
Ashle’ Tate
Bianca Gonzalez-De La Rosa
Brad Gonzales
Charlyn Moss
Crystal Ayala-Goldsteim
Jenessa Wrigley
John Owsley
Jorge Palacios Jr.
Kayla Hardin-Lawson
Mackenzie Langley
Marissa Casimiro
Montgomery Jones
Nick Cole
Nikki Giron
Reilly Torres
Tiasha Fernando Bachrach
Uriel Berrum

2021-2022 Cohort

Monica Amador
Luis Antezana
Perla Bustillos
Gabriella Carrethers
Ca’la Connors
Anya Dickson-Arguello
Bre Donnelly
Maleman Dotson
Abril Fuentes Guevara
Doen Lee
Sterling Loza
Carolina Luna Casas
Brenda Ortiz Torres
Demetrius Parker
Saaj Patel
Evelin Preciado
Xochitl Ramirez
Gabriela Rodriguez
Morgan Schmehl
Laura Valle-Gutierrez
Amanda West

Learn More About the Piton Fellowship

Although our initiatives now live under the Gary Community Ventures name, we intentionally chose to honor our history as The Piton Foundation in selecting The Piton Fellowship as the title for this program. We did so because we believe this name tells a perfect story about the idea of ascendency in leadership that Piton has long represented.

There are three cohorts of the fellowship for Youth, Early Career and Mid-Career Professionals. Designed to accessibly fit into the busy lives of fellows, this free experience allows fellows to continue working and learning while building their leadership skills, networks and potential to create community impact. Upon completion of the program, Gary provide continuing professional development and career-building support for all fellows

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