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Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation announces 2021 9NEWS Leader of the Year finalists

This year marks the 21st year that 9NEWS will honor a Colorado leader for contributions to the community.
Credit: Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation

DENVER — 9NEWS and the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation are proud to announce the three finalists for the 2021 9NEWS Leader of the Year award.

  • Adeeb Khan, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Executive Director of the Delta Dental of Colorado (DDCO) Foundation
  • Jesse Ogas, CEO and Executive Director, Firefly Autism
  • Lorii Rabinowitz, CEO, Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF)

This year marks the 21st year that 9NEWS will honor a Colorado leader for contributions to the community. 9NEWS again partnered with the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation to select and honor this individual.

The 2021 9NEWS Leader of the Year will be announced live at the Leadership Foundation’s Leading Colorado virtual event on March 10. This event, presented by BBVA, recognizes exceptional community leadership while raising scholarship funds to ensure professionals from all sectors can develop their skills and enhance their impact in the community.

“These nominees for 9NEWS Leader of the Year have stepped up to create pathways for others to navigate through a challenging year,” said Dan Lewis, executive director of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. “In a trying year for us all, they have shifted how they work to accommodate their teams, taken action towards racial equity and worked each day to make their communities better.”

Alumni of the Leadership Foundation and members of B:CIVIC and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce will have an opportunity to vote to select the 2021 winner. Voting will officially open on Jan. 27, 2021, following Meet the Finalists, a virtual opportunity to hear from each of the nominees.

“The selection committee had its work cut out for them and I am happy to see such quality leaders being recognized. Each of these finalists has made an incredible impact in the community,” said 9NEWS President and General Manager Mark Cornetta. “We can’t wait to see who is named the 2021 9NEWS Leader of the Year. “

Get to know the finalists:

Adeeb Khan

Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Executive Director of the Delta Dental of Colorado (DDCO) Foundation

Adeeb Khan has dedicated his career to bring voice and attention to the issues of equity. He channels his passion for providing equal opportunities for all Coloradans through his work at the DDCO Foundation, and his past roles at TIAA, Mile High United Way and the American Red Cross.

Outside of work, Khan was appointed by the Governor to the Colorado Early Childhood Leadership Commission and serves on the University of Denver Daniels College of Business Executive Advisory Board and the boards of College Track, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation and B:CIVIC. He has been recognized as a Downtown Champion by the Downtown Denver Partnership and one of Denver’s Top 40 Under 40 by the Denver Business Journal.

Jesse Ogas

CEO and Executive Director, Firefly Autism

Jesse Ogas increases access to medical care for all communities by bridging language and cultural gaps. In his role as CEO and executive director of Firefly Autism, Ogas has increased outreach and autism treatment to previously underserved Latino and Black communities. He extends this mission through his membership on the boards of many charities, including Clinica Tepeyac, which provides medical care to those who may have otherwise been unable to access it due to monetary or language barriers.

Ogas was also appointed by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock to the Mental Health Center of Denver Board and the Mayor’s Latino Commission, where he served for six years as a liaison to Mayor Hancock on issues that impact the Latino community in Denver.

Lorii Rabinowitz

CEO, Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF)

Lorii Rabinowitz leads authentically, approaching challenges with curiosity and collaboration in mind. At DSF, Rabinowitz is known as a leader with a deep commitment to her team and community. She forges connections across sectors and is passionate about fostering equitable opportunities and outcomes with students who reflect historically underrepresented communities in higher education, including students of color, first generation college students, and students with low income. In her work at DSF, Rabinowitz collaborates with the DSF team to make college possible, empowering and inspiring Denver students on their journeys to and through college and building the future of our community. 

Outside of DSF, she is the former chair of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation Board of Directors, served on the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is a trustee of the Rose Community Foundation. She volunteers for numerous organizations including Project Angel Heart and Big Brothers Big Sisters and was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Business of 2019 by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on Meet the Finalists on Jan. 27 and Leading Colorado on March 10, visit denverleadership.org/leadingco.

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