Kelly Jean Brough, Urban Development Fellow

Kelly Jean BroughKelly has deep experience in the public and private sectors with specific expertise in workforce development, health care, housing, public policy/regulation, and energy.

Kelly served as chair, vice-chair, and as a member of the board of directors for Delta Dental of Colorado from 2012 to 2022. Delta Dental of Colorado is the largest dental insurance company in Colorado with 1.3 million members and annual revenue in excess of $425 million. During her time with Delta, Kelly served on every committee and was a member of the Finance and Audit Committee for the duration of her tenure. Kelly served as chair of the board through the hiring and on-boarding of the new CEO. She also had the opportunity to guide the development of a new parent company for Delta Dental of Colorado to allow diversification of the mission and invest in ventures that can help drive innovation and improve health care outcomes. Kelly now serves as an advisory board member for that fund — Ensemble Innovation Venture Fund.

Since 2021, Kelly has also served on the board for Haselden Construction, a privately owned construction company with almost $500 million in annual revenue working primarily in the K-12 school system, higher education, health care, multi-family and office construction.

From 2018 to 2021 Kelly served on the board of directors of the US Chamber of Commerce and has served on numerous community boards including Habitat for Humanity for Metro Denver (chair, vice-chair and chair of the policy committee), The Denver Zoo and Colorado Mesa University board of trustees.

Kelly’s professional development has been extensive including: a fellow with the National Association of Corporate Directors, a graduate of Harvard’s Five-day program on the Role of Directors of Publicly Traded Boards and the JFK School of Government’s programs on conflict and negotiation and leadership development.

Kelly also has significant international experience with the German Marshall Fund (GMF). She was selected as a German Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2001 and served on the Trans-Atlantic Network for GMF, 2000 to 2010. Kelly explored public-private partnerships and identified best practices for application in the U.S. including implementing the use of social impact bonds in Colorado and the first bike share program in Denver. Countries of focus were Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Netherland, Poland, Slovakia and Spain.

Kelly has developed her expertise in key leadership positions in her career:

  • President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
    Kelly led one of the largest business advocacy organizations in Colorado with over 3,000 members, leading its growth in revenue from $17 million to over $30 million annually and raising more than $40 million ballot issue campaigns, defeating anti-business measures, advancing access to post-secondary education, opening primaries and funding Colorado’s future water needs.
  • Chief of Staff to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.
    Kelly was responsible for over 12,000 employees and over $2 billion in budgets. Kelly oversaw the day-to-day operations for the city including managing the city through the Democratic National Convention and balancing the budget in response to the great recession.
  • Director of Human Resources, City of Denver.
    Kelly oversaw more than 8,000 employees, negotiating numerous union and health insurance contracts in her career.
  • Entrepreneur.
    Kelly led the formation of Prosper Colorado in 2018, an organization dedicated to addressing the inequities in our economy based on race and gender. She was also instrumental in creating the Ensemble Innovation Ventures Fund while at Delta Dental.

In her free time, you can find Kelly outdoors. She loves hiking, biking, paddling, traveling and skiing! She thru-hiked all 500 miles of the Colorado Trail in 34 days and hiked into Machu Pichu with her daughters. She has ridden over most mountain passes in Colorado on her road bike and has commuted to work on her bike for over 30 years. She has paddled class three rapids, traveled all 185 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and paddle boards many lakes throughout Colorado. She is AIARE certified and loves ski touring the Colorado back country.

Kelly has traveled to 45 states and 54 countries. She loves being challenged physically and mentally and is always seeking opportunities to learn and grow. Her personal goals are as inspiring as her professional achievements.