CYC Leadership Team
The four members of our leadership team bring a wealth of experience in the nonprofit sector to CYC. Together with our board, our Leadership team ensures that CYC is doing all it can to improve educational outcomes for Colorado students.
Mary Zanotti, she/her Executive Director
Mary started working at CYC in 2008. Her experience in the nonprofit sectors spans from direct service, program management, operations, and HR. Before coming to CYC she worked for eight years at Urban Peak, where we worked closely with CYC’s eventual founder. She has held many roles within the organization since 2008 and has been Executive Director since 2015.
Fun fact: I love to garden! Each year I plant way too many things and have to give away tons of vegetables.
Favorite subject or teacher in school: I loved taking typing in high school. It was so rewarding to learn an actual skill and I had no idea at the time how useful it would be throughout my life!
Why CYC?: I love knowing that we can have an impact on so many levels. We can support students in their learning and access, and can also affect change on a larger systems level. The many staff and AmeriCorps members that come through our organization take what they learn from their time with CYC and it trickles out into the larger education landscape.
In the community: I volunteer at the food pantry at Brent’s Place, am the past Board Chair of the Community Resource Center, and am involved in my sons’ education and interests.
Vanessa Notman, she/her Senior Director of Programs
Vanessa started working at CYC in 2011. Vanessa has held many roles within the organization including direct service with students and starting our first AmeriCorps program, Corps for a Change, in 2015. Vanessa is an AmeriCorps alum and has loved being a part of bringing and expanding national service through CYC across Colorado.
Fun Fact: I am better at parallel parking than anyone I know.
Favorite subject or teacher in school: I loved any art or writing classes and in college was the Opinion Editor for the school newspaper.
Why CYC? So many reasons! I appreciate our ability to adapt to the changing needs of our communities while maintaining a strong lens of equity in how we approach our work. I love our commitment to learning and unlearning, our focus on professional development for our staff and members, our understanding of how we can improve access for students, and our willingness to get creative in how we solve problems.
In the community: I volunteer with my neighborhood association, am an active member of my kids’ school community, and co-facilitate an equity-minded parenting group.
Julia Hughes, she/her Senior Director of Development & Communications
Julia started working at CYC in 2018. Her experience in the nonprofit sectors spans from program and volunteer management to development at Urban Peak, Mile High United Way, and the Y of Metropolitan Dallas.
Fun fact: While working at the Y, I received my commercial driver’s license and my group fitness certification – all in the same year. Other duties as assigned?
Favorite subject or teacher in school: I loved my 5th grade teacher, Ms. Brennar, who was tiny woman that overflowed with kindness. She read aloud to us every day after lunch, and I remember how much I enjoyed being transported to different times through books.
Why CYC?: I appreciate the multiplier effect of both national service and education, and I love that my work supports this each and every day.
In the community: I’m proud to serve on Steering Committee for the Institute for Leaders in Development, volunteer with kids’ swim team and schools, and be the mom to Austin and Avery.
Twanisha Parnell, she/her Senior Director of Finance & Administration
Twanisha joined CYC in 2009. Her passion for the nonprofit sector started at an early age, while volunteering in the Five Points community. Prior to CYC she spent 16 years at Hope Communities where she had a lot of hands on community engagement. Twanisha’s experience spans from finance, administration, property management, development and program creation.
Fun fact: I cannot resist fresh bread! I love to travel to Lambert’s Café in Sikeston, MO as they are known for the, “home of throwed rolls!”
Favorite subject or teacher in school: Eric Johnson was my favorite professor. The amount of joy and interesting teaching techniques that were brought forth made learning fun and exciting.
Why CYC?: My Why is because I know that with each student/youth that we work with, I have a part to play. I enjoy providing the tools and financial outlook for the company to continue to make a difference one by one. I value the mission and the hundreds of hours that are dedicated to our clients.
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