Jimmy and Linda Yip, Founders
Jimmy and Linda Yip have dedicated their lives to serving their community and growing the Nathan Yip Foundation since its founding in 2002.
Linda was born and raised in Taiwan and graduated from the Cultural College of Taiwan with a degree in political science. Jimmy was born in Hong Kong and came to the US in 1970 with two friends to pursue a college education in Iowa.
Jimmy owned and operated a restaurant in New York City before he and Linda, separately, moved to Denver in 1979 to pursue new restaurant ventures. Jimmy and Linda met, became friends, and later married in 1981. With food in common, Linda and Jimmy opened and sold their first Chinese restaurant, then opened two more simultaneously. In 1983, they welcomed a son, Nathan, to their family.
Following the sale of two of their restaurants, Linda and Jimmy partnered with Fred Miale and Al Alba in establishing the first Keller Williams Franchise in Denver, later acquiring the whole of Colorado’s Keller Williams region from Tom Coldwell. In 1991, the group bought their first building in Denver, The Alamo, at 17th & Market Street. They also owned the Mister Steak franchise and joined the Carlson family in building Country Inn & Suites.
Their growing businesses facilitated the merging of several service companies into one company, Peliton, a business process outsourcing company designed to help small business owners improve their efficiency and profitability.
In December 2001, Linda and Jimmy lost their only child, Nathan, in an automobile accident. Drawing on the support of family and friends, they founded the Nathan Yip Foundation in 2002, as a means to transform their personal tragedy into public good.
In 2007, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival honored the Yips as its Honorary Patrons, and in 2011, Asian Avenue Magazine recognized Linda and Jimmy as “Asian-American Heroes”. The same year, Forbes Asia named the couple “Heroes of Philanthropy.”
Tarika Cefkin, Executive Director
Tarika Cefkin returned to the Nathan Yip Foundation in 2016 after previously serving as NYF Program Coordinator from 2009 to 2012. Tarika has served as Operations Manager for the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival and Community Engagement Representative for Be The Match (National Marrow Donor Program) at Bonfils Blood Center.
Tarika attended St. Lawrence University where she studied Speech & Theatre and East Asian Studies. She studied at Shanghai’s East China Normal University in 2007. In 2011, Tarika received a Master's degree in International and Intercultural Communication, with an emphasis in International Human Rights, from the University of Denver.
Tarika continues to volunteer as the Public Safety Chair on the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival’s Operations Committee, the Secretary of Theatre Esprit Asia's Board of Directors, and as a member of the Denver Chorale. She was also a community liaison on the planning committee of the Denver Zoo’s Toyota Elephant Passage. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, traveling, exploring Colorado’s outdoors, and taking too many pictures of her cat, Sophie.
Mike Kalush, President
Mike Kalush is an Emmy award winning television producer and photographer who has produced the Nathan Yip Foundation videos over the past years. He has traveled to China multiple times, seeing first-hand how the foundation is positively impacting children's lives.
Mike owns his own company, Kalush Video Productions, and has more than 30 years of experience working for all the major TV networks and traveling the world producing videos for large corporations.
Mike is married to 7News anchor, Anne Trujillo, who is the emcee at the annual NYF Chinese New Year Gala. Mike and Anne have two children, Michael and Kira, who have also volunteered their time for the foundation. Mike is an avid mountain unicyclist and in 2013, rode his unicycle across Colorado from Kansas to Utah to raise awareness for single parents.
Okie Arnot, Vice President
Okie Arnot has over 30 years of top-producing experience in the real estate industry, serving thousands of clients including hospitals, schools and other nonprofit and corporate organizations. Past clients include Lockheed Martin, Merrill Lynch and Century Link. She received a Masters in Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. As a member of the South Metro Denver Realtor Association, Okie has served on numerous committees and was named President in 2003. Okie was honored as “Realtor of the Year,” currently serves as state director for the Colorado Association of Realtors, is a professional coach for small businesses, and teaches at local, state and national platforms on real estate.
Okie and her husband, Dennis, enjoy serving in their church and, when time permits, playing golf and attending the theater and Rockies games.
Martha Hussain, Treasurer
Martha Quinn Hussain is a business professional with over 30 years of experience in Denver. She was a CPA with Arthur Andersen in Denver with clients including nonprofits, real estate developers, oil and gas exploration companies, manufacturing and distribution enterprises and regional newspaper publishers. More recently, she worked as Director of Operations at Hitachi Consulting Company.
Martha is an enthusiastic community volunteer and has served on a number of boards. Originally from Rochester, New York, Martha is married to Irfan Hussain, a recently retired physician with Kaiser Permanente, and is the mother of two adult children, Zach and Asher. Martha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rochester and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Sam Bacon is a Denver native with a passion for providing educational opportunities for children and young adults here in his hometown. Sam attended Kent Denver School with Nathan before heading east to the University of Vermont, where he graduated cum laude with majors in Political Science and Economics. After a year off guiding fly-fishing and skiing, he attended law school at the University of Colorado and clerked for Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, Nancy Rice. Now with Welborn Sullivan Meck and Tooley, P.C. in Denver, he represents companies in a range of complex civil litigation issues, in fields of real estate, trade secret, contract and natural resource law.
In his free time, Sam can usually be found outdoors. He is an avid backcountry skier, cyclist and fly-fisherman, often sharing those activities with his wife, Emily (and soon with his new daughter). Sam also serves is President of Friends of Nathan Yip, which organizes the Nate’s Night concert every year, raising funds for music education projects in the Denver area.
Dr. Larry Chan
Dr. Larry Chan is passionate about helping the sick and the poor around the world. Dr. Chan grew up in Hong Kong and developed his passion for serving others under the influence of his mentor Reverend Howard Trube of the Maryknoll Mission.
Dr. Chan was educated at University of Hong Kong, Oxford, and Harvard University. He is the founding director of Transplant Nephrology Program at the University of Colorado, where he has been on the faculty for over 30 years as a professor of transplant medicine. Dr. Chan has trained more than 100 fellows and has published four books and over 300 articles in various medical and scientific journals. He was also a founding member of the American Society of Transplant Physicians and has served with numerous national and international organizations as committee chair and board member. In Colorado, Dr. Chan serves on the Board of Directors of Opera Colorado, the University Club, Asian Performing Arts of Colorado and the American Transplant Foundation.
Denise Gliwa is an independent communications and marketing professional with over 30 years of experience working in Denver and New York City. She represents clients locally and across the globe with an emphasis on media relations and creative strategy. Her clients’ stories have graced the pages of newspapers and magazines worldwide including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, China Daily, Al Jazeera USA, National Public Radio and hundreds of other major national online and print outlets.
Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Denise and her husband, Kevin, have two adult children, Catie and Charlie. Denise holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master’s degree in Public Relations from Boston University School of Public Relations. In addition, Denise is a licensed substitute teacher in Denver Public Schools. Denise is an avid community volunteer and served as a mentor at East High School for eight years through the A+ Angels program. She helped to found the local chapter of Children’s International Summer Villages and also serves on the Board of Asian Performing Arts of Colorado.
Agatha Kessler is Chairman of Fentress Architects, where she oversees the advancement of the firm’s strategic vision.
Agatha attended University of London, Warwick Business School, and Oxford University. As a professor of business at universities in Canada and the West Indies, Agatha earned accolades for her innovative teaching style. After transitioning to the business world, she spent many years with industry leading companies such as VISA and Hewlett-Packard where she took on leadership roles developing international opportunities for growth.
Agatha truly believes that the world is one country and mankind its citizens. She has lived in ten countries on four continents and worked for three years as a volunteer, educating children in Africa and the Caribbean.
Ann Maria Kirby was born and raised in Liverpool, England and received her nursing degree from the Royal Liverpool University. Following University, Ann spent three years in Bermuda and then came to Colorado to work with the Colorado Outward Bound School, living in a tent in Leadville for a year. Ann then took the Colorado nursing board exams and became a transplant coordinator for University Hospital in Denver. During her 25-year career in nursing, Ann served on the Board of Directors for the Donor Awareness Council and made numerous overseas trips to provide medical care in Bolivia, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Mexico.
Ann now works in the bio-pharmaceutical industry and, when she finds a spare moment, enjoys hiking and working in the garden with the good company of her Welsh Corgi.
Jane Netzorg was born in Shanghai where her father, Jules Watson, was a pilot for China National Aviation Corporation, a subsidiary of Pan American Airlines.
After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in advertising, Jane worked in San Francisco and Colorado Springs in marketing and real estate development and was Vice President of Widefield Homes. Jane moved to Denver where she married her husband, Skip (Gordon) Netzorg, a trial lawyer with Sherman and Howard.
Jane gives back to the community through her church and has served with numerous community organizations and Boards including Colorado Ballet, the Vail International Dance Festival, the Kempe Center, Volunteers of America, Kent Denver School, the Denver Center Alliance, Welcome to Colorado and the Denver Ballet Guild.
Having traveled to Asia many times with her family and attending Flying Tiger/CNAC reunions, Jane was moved by the dedication and commitment of the Nathan Yip Foundation to improve the lives of children in China. Most recently, Jane and her husband, Skip, chaired the 2016 NYF Chinese New Year Gala.
Sharon Scott is a community volunteer who holds degrees in nursing and law from the University of Colorado. Sharon began her nursing career in pediatric and adolescent psychiatry at Children’s Hospital and University Hospital in Denver. She continues to participate in public health projects for Denver Health and University Hospital.
Since earning her J.D., Sharon has worked in research for the Kempe Center in Denver, as an in-house child advocate for Boston Children’s Hospital/Judge Baker Center, an administrator of child welfare grants for the Colorado Department of Social Services, and a nurse-legal counsel with the Western Center for Occupational Medicine. Sharon has also taught advocacy and individual responsibility skills in elementary, middle and high school classrooms for many years. Until 2014, she and a colleague operated White-Scott, where she coached students with learning differences to prepare for post-secondary school settings.
Sharon has been an active volunteer with Asian Performing Arts Council, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Denver Foundation, Safehouse for Battered Women, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Graland Country Day School, St. Mary’s Academy, Kent Country Day School, Colorado Ballet and the Handweaver’s Guild of Boulder.
With 25 years in real estate development experience, David Thomson has been featured in Who’s Who in Real Estate by the Denver Business Journal for many years. He was also selected for the Denver Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list in 2002. David was responsible for bringing the likes of GE, Arrow Electronics, and NBH to Colorado as the Director of Global Business Development for the State of Colorado under Governor Hickenlooper. As COO and a partner to East West Partners, David has been associated with large scale development projects that include the base village of Winter Park Ski Resort, River Run Village at Keystone Ski Resort, Riverfront Park in Denver, and Cordillera in Vail, Colorado.
David is a graduate of the University of Denver and Thunderbird University. David serves on various Boards including the Winter Park Ski Resort Trust, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, Denver Film Society and The Burns Society DU Real Estate School.
David currently serves as President of Etre Corporation, specializing in communications, investor relations, government relations and nonprofit services. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his sons, Zach and Connor, and is an active skier and runner.
KEVIN 董益宏 AND STEPHANIE 贺嘉怡 TUNG
Kevin and Stephanie Tung were both born in Shanghai, China. Kevin began his teaching career in Shanghai in 1979. In 1985, Kevin moved to Hawaii, where he worked for Hilton Honolulu. He and Stephanie married in Shanghai in 1986 and moved to Denver in 1991, where they established and operated three Golden Plate Chinese restaurants.
Kevin and Stephanie have been involved with the Nathan Yip Foundation since it was established in 2002. They have also volunteered with UNESCO and UNICEF.
Kevin and Stephanie spend much of their time in Shanghai, where they raise funds for Nathan Yip Foundation projects in China, facilitate NYF's teacher training program for over 200 teachers and plan and host the biennial Nathan Yip Foundation Shanghai Gala.