President and CEO
Mile High United Way
Location: Denver, CO
Christine Benero may be the boss at Mile High United Way, but she has no interest in being the smartest, strongest or most skilled person in the room.
“Surround yourself with people who are stronger than you, smarter than you, will challenge you and inspire you,” she said “If you truly listen and learn from them, you will become a stronger and more impactful leader. If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that we need a united effort to face the deep challenges throughout our community. Not one person, nor one leader, nor one organization can tackle the complex problems that face our communities.”
Benero is president and CEO of Mile High United Way, the first United Way organization in the world, founded in Denver in 1887. The nonprofit takes on critical human services issues in the Denver, Boulder and Broomfield communities. It prioritizes neighborhoods, giving children a strong start in education and creating economic opportunities for adults, and the organization supports diverse and inclusive voices.
Benero has led Mile High United Way for the last 14 years, helping transform the way the organization serves the community. She oversaw the launch of a new headquarters with conference space for nonprofits. During the pandemic, she transformed the conference center into a warming shelter for the homeless.
Benero previously served as CEO of the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter. She was director of the Office of Public Liaison for the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington, D.C., serving in both the Clinton and George W. Bush administration. She also served as vice president of the National Civic League and as a community affairs corporate program officer for Target Stores.
“She creates a seat at the table for everyone, and brings people together to solve complex problems,” Benero’s staff said. “She understands that one person cannot solve these problems alone. It takes a group of the most innovative and titan thinkers to serve our community. That is how Christine leads.”
Benero serves on the boards of: HealthONE, National Domestic Violence Hotline, Denver Public Schools Foundation and Executives Partnering to Invest in Children. She was appointed by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to the Denver Education Compact Board. Benero has been recognized with numerous honors and achievements. Most recently she was recognized as Colorado’s Most Admired CEO by the Denver Business Journal (2019). She also received the ATHENA award from the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and the 2021 MLK Community Leader Award from the Community College of Denver.
“Continue to show up,” Benero said. “Colorado is a community of relationships and connections — and you never know when you are going to meet someone who will change your life or the path of your organization. We have all been kept apart the last two years, and I believe have a deep desire to reconnect and rebuild those relationships beyond a Zoom link. It has always been what makes Colorado such a special place — the desire to work together.”
"Surround yourself with people who are stronger than you, smarter than you, will challenge you and inspire you. "