Board of Directors

Colorado Network of Women Leaders / AMI


Dr. Lia Franklin

Academic Management Institute Board Chair, 2021 - 2024

Past-Institute Director, 2019-2020

Institute Director, 2017-2019

Director Elect, 2016-2017

Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Student Life, Colorado School of Mines

Dr. Lia Franklin values the magic of connecting women across higher education.  AMI changed my life as a participant, and since then it has fueled my passion to continue to support women in higher education.  I love the Colorado and Wyoming connections, the ability to be real and have the tough conversations, and sitting in a room with women who get it – priceless.

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Dr. Kristina Quynn

Institute Director, 2021-2022

Past Institute Director, 2019-2021

Assistant Professor, Director of CSU Writes, Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Kristina Quynn is an Assistant Dean in the Graduate School at Colorado State University and the founding director of CSU Writes. She joined the Board of AMI in 2018 after attending the 2017-18 AMI as a participant, where she learned vital leadership skills.


Dr. Donna Souder

Past Institute Director, 2021-2022

AMI Director, 2020-2021

Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Director of Organizational Development, Colorado State University-Pueblo

Dr. Souder was a member of the AMI 2011-2012 cohort where she first attended a Real Colors training. Today, Donna is a certified Real Colors facilitator and has taught, presented, and consulted on topics including women in higher education, P-20 and external partnerships, workforce development, and strategic planning. Donna is actively involved in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and is committed to supporting women and underrepresented leadership across academia through her board membership for the Colorado Network of Women Leaders.


Dr. Mary Ontiveros

Secretary, 2018-2022

Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion, Colorado State University-Fort Collins

As Vice President for Diversity, Mary Ontiveros leads Colorado State University’s diversity efforts and reports directly to the President. Ontiveros has been an employee of CSU since 1974, working in leadership positions in Admissions, as a faculty affiliate, and special assistant to the president of CSU-Pueblo.


Lisa Kinzel

Treasurer, 2020 -

Director of Research Development, Colorado School of Mines

Lisa has been with Colorado School of Mines and the office of Research & Technology Transfer since 2006. As director or research development, she creates and implements strategies that help increase institutional competitiveness and raises awareness of our research strengths. She also develops strategies that support our faculty, providing them with funding opportunities and facilitating research events that promote collaboration and foster team connections.

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Dr. Michele Haney

Board Member

President Red Rocks Community College

I attended AMI in the 80’s and Judy Powell and myself were the first to join from Wyoming.  I cannot tell you just how beneficial it was to connect to women leaders through AMI.  Wyoming in those days, was a bit isolating for women in higher education.  From 2001 to 2003, I directed the Institute, and again enjoyed the opportunity to support the growth of women in our field.


Lori Ridgway

Communications Director, 2020 -

Director of Operations, Fremont Therapy Group

After starting her career in the pharmaceutical industry, Lori spent many years working for Central Wyoming College in the Customized Training Department, designing and delivering leadership, management, and strategic planning training to local businesses in Fremont County and the state of Wyoming. She also served as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for seven years with a fabulous team that launched a new website and brand for the college. She has recently transitioned to the position of Director of Operations for Fremont Therapy Group where she has the opportunity to work with highly skilled physical and occupational therapists who assist individuals in six communities throughout Wyoming with improving their quality of life.

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Christi Carter

Academic Management Institute Vice Chair, 2021 - 2024

Board Member, 2020 -2021

Manager of Inclusivity, ADA 504 Coordinator, University of Wyoming

Christi Carter attended AMI and was part of the cohort during the 2019-2020 year. She was deeply impacted by the sharing of experiences and networking to support the professional development of women in higher education. She has worked in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Wyoming as the Diversity Analyst, Recruitment and Training Facilitator since January 2019 and has been recently promoted to Director of Strategic Inclusivity Initiatives. She brings many experiences especially in hiring practices and compliance to UW. She manages the Employee Networks, has chaired the Accessibility Committee, and oversaw the successful Self-Identification Campaign along with serving in other committees and initiatives on campus. She served on WYAPSE’s board of directors, a state chapter of a national organization called APSE that supports the employment of individuals with developmental disabilities. Christi is very excited to be a part of CNWL/AMI’s board of directors and to serve as Vice Chair for 2021-2024 to promote and continue advocacy for the professional development of women in higher education.

She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University in Ohio, a voice scholarship recipient, and studied under Metropolitan Opera Soprano Professor Myra Merritt. Christi made her operatic debut in Cavalli’s Gli amori d’Apollo e di Dafne, a North American premiere conducted by Paul Odette. Her professional operatic debut was in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’ulisse in patria at Chicago Opera Theater. She would go on to appear in John Adams A Flowering Tree and in Handel’s Orlando with the same company.

When Christi left the operatic scene, she went to work in the private sector and gained experience in finance, management, human resources, and administration. After years in the private sector, she joined higher education to be able to give back to others what has been given to her by way of mentorship, outreach, role models, leadership, training, and community service. “What good does it do if we keep our wonderful experiences to ourselves and neglect to share them with others? I want to invest in others just as others have invested in me.”

Dr. Kim Dale

Dr. Kim Dale

Academic Management Institute Board Member 2021 -

Dr. Kim Dale became Western Wyoming Community College’s 8th president in 2019. She attended a large university after high school and left after one semester to go to work and ski. She later returned to college and never stopped, finding her love for learning and serving students.

Kim received a bachelor of science degree in business education from Metropolitan State University of Denver, a master’s degree in management and organization from the University of Colorado Denver, and a doctorate degree in educational leadership and human resource studies from Colorado State University.

Kim began her academic career as an adjunct business faculty and worked within the Colorado Community College System for over 20 years, serving as a faculty department chair, dean of instruction and outreach. She also taught as an adjunct professor in management and organizational development at the University of Colorado Denver. Prior to coming to Western Wyoming Community College, Kim served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of Western Nebraska Community College.

Having taught and practiced management and leadership for many years, Kim is passionate about helping build and support future women leaders in higher education.  She is excited to contribute to this important outcome.

Kim and her husband Randy love biking, hiking and kayaking in beautiful Wyoming and Colorado, as well as spending quality time with their children and (especially) grandchildren.

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Deborah Vinnola

Secretary 2022 -

Currently serving as Assistant Director of Registration, Deborah oversees the systems and processes associated with the automated registration structures at Regis University.  Deb has been a part of the Regis community since 1989 serving in numerous roles in Admissions, Academic Records, and Student Services.  Deb had the unique opportunity to coach through the Regis Leadership Institute in 2018 and 2019 as well as attend AMI as a member of the 2019-2020 cohort.  Deb has learned to make a difference in any role or situation and to understand the importance of self-development and self-worth in leadership development.  She is currently working on her Master’s in Organizational Leadership in the hopes of fostering these beliefs in others in higher education.

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Sue Samaniego

Academic Management Institute Board Member 2021 -

Sue Samaniego leads fund development, grant writing, public relations, marketing, and branding efforts at Colorado Northwestern Community College as part of the Executive Leadership Team. She was a member of the AMI 2013-2014 cohort, an experience that expanded her leadership skills and encouraged her to reach higher. Service to the AMI Board and CNWL provides her a chance to give to others the gift of AMI.


Dr. Colleen M. Schaffner

Academic Management Institute Board Member 2021 -

Dr. Schaffner was a member of the AMI 2020-2021 cohort where she was moved by the unparalleled experience of women fostering the development of other women in higher education – despite a remote environment! Dr. Schaffner has spent most of her academic career abroad. Eleven years in England, where she served as Director of the Graduate School at the University of Chester. Then she moved to Mexico, where she worked at the Universidad Veracruzana researching the behavior and ecology of wild spider monkeys and co-founded an NGO for the conservation of the two monkey species endemic to the Yucatan Peninsula. As a newbie to Colorado, Dr. Schaffner found AMI invaluable for building a network with amazing women and further developing as a collaborative and compassionate leader.

Prior Board Members

With gratitude for dedicated service, we recognize prior serving board members.

Deb Lasich

Dr. Elena Sandoval-Lucero

April Menzies

Dr. Judi Diaz Bonacquisti

Cindy Underwood-Anderson

Dr. Heidi Loshbaugh

Dr. Melinda Piket-May

Susan Genaro

Reniece Jones

Angelica Rueda

Kristina Binard Carlson