Executive Director Announcement

WorldDenver Appoints John Krieger as New Executive Director

Successful Communications & Campaigns Director for ACLU Colorado To Lead Denver’s Growing World Affairs Organization

Krieger Brings Strong Non-Profit Advocacy, Membership and Operational Experience

DENVER, Colo. – October 11, 2019 - The World Denver Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has appointed John M. Krieger as its new Executive Director, effective October 28th. Krieger brings to the role strong communications and marketing capabilities, policy advocacy skills, as well as deep experience in engaging and growing non-profit membership. He will be succeeding founding Board Member, Laurie Hirschfield Zeller, who has served as Interim Executive Director since May of 2019.

Krieger joins WorldDenver following multiple leadership roles at national and Colorado-based non-profit organizations. Most recently, he was Director of Communications and Advocacy, as well as Director of Campaigns at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado, where he led the organization’s five-fold growth in membership and helped make the ACLU of Colorado one of the fastest growing and most effective affiliates in the country. While at the ACLU, Krieger launched the organization’s first-ever Campaigns Department in Colorado focused on membership recruitment and engagement, mobilization and policy goal advancement. Prior to his role at the ACLU, Krieger oversaw grant making at the Western Conservation Foundation and before that as a staff attorney, lobbyist, and Communications Director for the United States Public Interest Research Group in Washington, DC. Krieger is a graduate of Flagler College. He received his J.D. from University of Richmond and his LL.M. in International Law and Development from American University Washington College of Law.

Kim Savit, Board Chair of World Denver commented, “We are very excited to have such an effective and trusted, non-profit professional like John stepping up to lead our organization. His sustained civic focus, strategic mindset and deep passion for international human rights and experience with growing membership make him a great fit for us as we open the next chapter of WorldDenver’s story. On behalf of the entire Board, we look forward to working closely with John and the dedicated staff to continue to strengthen and expand the community of engaged global citizens and organizations.”

Laurie Hirschfeld Zeller offered, “It’s been a privilege to lend my added support over the past few months for the important cause of global literacy and cross-cultural exchange, and I look forward to working closely with John and the Board to ensure a seamless transition for our members, our staff and our partners.”

“I am very excited to be leading an organization with a mission that so closely aligns with my personal passion for international education, dialogue, and cross-cultural exchange,” Krieger said. “I look forward to leveraging my expertise to build an even more dynamic voice for WorldDenver and help expand the community of engaged citizenry that has been fostered so thoughtfully over the past several years by Karen, Laurie and the dedicated WorldDenver staff.”


WorldDenver is a non-profit community organization that promotes understanding of world affairs and cultures. Since its founding in 2012, WorldDenver's impact on the Colorado community has grown along with its reputation for unique programs that connect Coloradans with experts, leaders and ideas from all over the world. WorldDenver's reach is driven locally by 1,300 supporting members and more than 2,500 community members associated with the organization. On a global scale, WorldDenver brings about 600 international visitors to Denver annually through a partnership with the U.S. State Department. WorldDenver also hosts an International Women’s Day event, as well as about 20 expert speaker events a year, including such thought leaders as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, author Reza Aslan, Ambassadors Christopher Hill and Dennis Ross, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. WorldDenver Young Professionals host regular networking events, and the WorldDenver Travel Programs have visited five countries to date with more in the planning stage.

WorldDenver honors the profound impact of our Founding Executive Director, Karen de Bartolomé, as she retires from her role.

Many people have asked how to recognize Karen's retirement and her profound influence and leadership as the Founding Executive Director of WorldDenver. In response, the Board of Directors has established a special "Karen and Charles de Bartolomé Fund" in her honor. Karen has generously asked that gifts for her retirement be directed to this charitable fund which will continue to strengthen WorldDenver's mission and impact in the region by bringing the world to Denver through more opportunities for exchanges, international leadership development, and discussion on pressing global issues. After some well-deserved time off to travel, Karen is delighted to continue to engage with WorldDenver members, programs, and events well into the future. She also wishes to express her deep gratitude for your generosity and dedication to WorldDenver's mission during her tenure.

If you have been touched by Karen's passion for citizen diplomacy, youth exchanges, cross-cultural learning, and international affairs, you may send your charitable gift to
WorldDenver, 3607 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Denver, CO 80205
Please indicate "Karen's Fund" in the memo or call us at 720-330-9284 to donate via credit card.