We had the good fortune of connecting with Maureen Maycheco (she/her) and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Maureen, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
In October 2020, I lost my dad, Oscar (he/him/his), to pancreatic cancer. The year ending felt bittersweet as I set off into the unknown of 2021, the first year of my life without my dad’s physical presence. There have been many moments since my dad died that I imagined giving up, especially against the backdrop of a pandemic and being separated from my family (they live in California). I want to extend my deepest condolences to all who suffered a loss during Covid-19 times (and ever). I am sorry. Loss in a pandemic sucks and is incredibly unfair. I am carrying my grief like an anchor of aloneness. In an act to keep moving and breathing, I built Colorado Nonprofit Association’s digital community memory altar to hold space and memories because, in my experience, obituaries are wildly expensive and inaccessible to many. Submissions are open to anyone working or volunteering in the Colorado nonprofit sector who would like to contribute the name of someone they lost this year (family, friend, colleague, neighbor, loved one, beloved pet, etc.), a story, a memory, a poem, a song, or other remembrance. The power of community and the shared experience centered in this project has been overwhelming and beautiful. The community altar was met with an outpouring of love and emotional response. Harnessing my grief and love, inspired by dad, ended up being the moment I knew I could keep moving forward without him. For me, healing means honoring all of my emotions and making space within myself for my experience.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a straight, able-bodied, cis-gendered, multiracial woman. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I am also an award-winning strategist and storyteller. I am a creative at heart. I love dynamic brainstorming sessions, board games, and craft coffee. I am outside as much as possible, adventuring on dog walks, gardening, or playing volleyball. I live in Aurora, Colorado, with my partner, Nate, and my two rescue doggos, Lupulin and Dodge. I approach my communications work by grounding in humanity because pain, trauma, and oppression aren’t products to be traded for reputation, revenue, or credibility. I prioritize listening to and showing up for my audiences. As a multicultural leader, I try to embody and live my values in all the ways I show up in my workplace, home, and community. As a marketer, I believe I hold power to control narratives, set language, and define values. My contributions as a communicator can influence the way people move and interact. I have opportunities to catalyze movements and demand equitable and inclusive systems, but only if I acknowledge and challenge the structures from which I derive my power, whether tied to my identity, title, position, or platform. As a result, I always try to wield my keyboard and voice to shift dialogues, dismantle structures, and share truths.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Coffee, breweries, and food are always my recipe for a badass local experience. I am gluten- and dairy-free so here are my current list of must-visit local spots: Breweries: Comrade Brewing Company @ Denver, Colorado Superpower IPA is my go-to and is also gluten-reduced, along with the other three beers that make up the Rank and File. Holidaily Brewing Company @ Golden, Colorado Features locally sourced, malted, gluten-free grains as the base for all of their beers, most of which are also vegan. Odell Brewing Company @ Denver & Fort Collins, Colorado Visit either OBC location and get yourself some Allkind Hard Kombucha, gluten-free, organic, soooo delicious. Tropical Turmeric is my flavor of choice. Coffee: Sonder Coffee and Tea @ Denver, Colorado Whittier Cafe @ Denver, Colorado Food: City O’ City @ Denver, Colorado Vegetarian menu, allergy friendly. Vital Root @ Denver, Colorado 99% vegan, 100% gluten-free. The Gluten Escape @ Centennial Colorado Big 8 allergy free. No gluten, dairy, peanut, treenut, soy protein, fish, shellfish, and egg.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am currently feeling tremendous love and appreciation for Jenny Medrano (she/her/they/theirs) and Amara Hobbs (she/her/hers) at Building Bridges. Amara and Jenny are powerful, beautiful, bright shining humans. Amara created Building Bridges’ first-ever Multiracial/Biracial Groundwork (I was there) and Jenny co-facilitated. Sign up for groundwork, y’all. I am also sending vibes and good energy to Juliette Lee (she/her/hers) and Barclay Jones (he/his/him), and the entire Chinook Fund team, for their leadership and facilitation of the Giving Project. I was fortunate to participate in the Fall 2020 Cohort. The Giving Project is a community leadership program for a diverse cohort of humans (race, class, gender, religion, etc.) to fundraise and learn more about community organizing, social change, class privilege, and philanthropy. Rolling applications so check it out, friends.

Website: https://www.coloradononprofits.org/news/memory-altar

Instagram: @mopachec

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maureenmaycheco

Other: https://buildingbridgesshift.org/ https://chinookfund.org/givingproject/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.