Kelly’s Experience

Kelly has the passion, leadership, and experience Denver needs to hit the ground running on day one and start making an impact on the city’s most pressing issues.

Kelly’s Career & Leadership


Chief Strategy Officer, Metropolitan State University of Denver (2020-21)

  • Helped create free tuition for indigenous students.
  • Maximized student financial aid.
  • Developed master planning process, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Created accountability in planning with goal setting and tracking.

President and CEO, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce (2009-21)

  • First woman to run 150-year-old business organization.
  • Advocated for policies that improve the lives of Coloradans.
    • Helped pass Prosperity Denver, creating college scholarships for all Denver Public Schools students.
    • Led the successful effort to allow unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections in Colorado.
    • Improved the state’s financial stability by addressing the state’s retirement fund, PERA.
    • Advocated for increased funding for transportation.
  • Fought for equity and inclusivity:
    • Created Prosper Colorado, an arm of the Chamber, to address inequities in our economy based on race, ethnicity, and gender, focusing on income, housing, and entrepreneurship.
    • Opposed bills intended to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community posed as religious freedom.
    • Submitted an amicus brief in support of the LGBTQ+ community and opposed discriminatory business practices (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et al.).
    • Established paid family leave plan for employees.
    • Diversified board and staff.

Chief of Staff, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (2006-09)
Previous role: Deputy Chief of Staff (2005-06) 

  • Balanced budgets through the Great Recession (2009 and 2010).
  • Supported the development of a CFO and auditing oversight for Denver’s Auditor.
  • Increased elections accountability by overseeing elections move from commission to Clerk & Recorder role.
  • Delivered Denver’s 311, a phone and chat system that provides residents with an effortless, accessible way to navigate city services.
  • Managed the city through the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
  • Supported successful re-election of Hickenlooper in 2007.

Director, Career Service Authority (2003-05)

  • First woman to be hired as director, overseeing more than 8,500 employees in Denver’s career service (human resource) system.

Director, Center for Public-Private Sector Cooperation (1997-2003)

  • Ran leadership program at University of Colorado Denver focused on improving public operations. 
  • Provided dispute resolution and facilitation services to clients.

Founder and Principal, Brough and Associates (1997-2003)

  • Led facilitation and mediation company.

Legislative Analyst, Denver City Council (1990-97)

  • Worked for all 13 members of Council on their central staff in both the Peña and Webb administrations.

Personnel Analyst, City and County of Denver (1989-90)

  • Developed the city’s first pay-for-performance evaluation system.
  • Received commercial driver’s license and plowed snow on-call at Stapleton International Airport for three years – the first woman to do so.

Counselor and Assistant Admissions Director, Excelsior Youth Center (1986-89)

  • Worked with young women who had been adjudicated.Br


M.B.A., University of Colorado
B.S., Sociology, Montana State University

“I came to Denver 36 years ago because I believed in the promise of a better life for me and my family – and it was true. Since then, I’ve worked to keep that promise to the community that has given so much to me. I’m running for mayor because I believe in the people of Denver. Together, we can fulfill that promise – of good jobs, safe neighborhoods, great schools, and housing that’s affordable.”

Community Service

Kelly has proudly served the community as a board member for these organizations:

  • Colorado Brain Injury Advisory Board
  • Delta Dental of Colorado and Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation 
  • Denver Civil Service Commission 
  • Denver Public Schools Foundation 
  • Denver Scholarship Foundation
  • Denver Zoo 
  • Goodwill Industries of Denver
  • Habitat for Humanity for Metro Denver 
  • Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado
  • Visit Denver 

Kelly has been recognized by the community: 

  • Allied Person of the Year, Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce – 2021
  • ATHENA Leadership Award, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce – 2021
  • Black Cannabis Equity Initiative Honoree – 2021
  • Partner of the Year Award, Pro 15 – 2019
  • Outstanding Woman in Business, Denver Business Journal – 2018
  • Community Leader Award, Goodwill Industries of Denver – 2015
  • One Colorado Ally Award – 2015
  • Women Making History Award, Colorado Black Women for Political Action – 2015
  • Most Powerful People in Denver, 5280 Magazine – 2014
  • Woman of Distinction, Girl Scouts of Colorado – 2014
  • Top 25 Most Powerful Women, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce – 2013
  • Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City honoree, Denver Rescue Mission – 2013
  • The Denver Post’s 10 Most Influential Colorado Women – 2012
  • University of Colorado Denver Alumni Recognition Award – 2012
  • Colorado “I Have a Dream Foundation” Roast Honoree – 2011
  • Marshall Memorial Fellow – 2001

Believe in the promise of Denver

Join Kelly Brough to bring promise and possibilities to our city.