In her role as Executive Director, Lori Vaclavik oversees all Bridge of Life (BOL) operations, including partner selection, fundraising, chronic kidney disease screening, mission success, and partner sustainability. She works closely with the Board of Directors to lead the organization in expanding access to care for chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease patients in the United States and abroad.
Lori has 18 years of nonprofit leadership experience, and before her role at BOL, she was the Vice President of Development and Community Relations for Project C.U.R.E where she managed national fundraising activities.
Prior to joining Project C.U.R.E, Lori worked for Habitat for Humanity International as a global engagement officer where she executed a national strategy to grow the organization’s partnerships with 84 developing countries. She also served as the Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver where she led fundraising, communications, volunteer outreach, and community relations activities for 12 years. During her tenure, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver was selected as “National Affiliate of the Year” from more than 1,200 affiliates.
Lori also has 11 years of marketing and management experience in the private sector. She received her bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College, a Masters degree from the University of Denver, and completed Harvard Business School’s “Strategic Perspectives in Non-profit Management” executive education program.
Senior Program Director
Sara Hendren is the Senior Program Director for Bridge of Life. Sara is responsible for overseeing the overall management of programming and implementation, including project selection, budget management, operations planning, metric management, program planning, partner management, clinical education, biomedical management/planning, facility planning/recommendations and creation of sustainable local change. Sara leads and manages the programming team, provides direction to assure thoughtful execution of programming, and builds effective partnerships through collaboration with local resources.
Prior to her role as Senior Program Director , Sara was Director of Operations for Bridge of Life DaVita Medical Mission. Sara came to Bridge of Life from Project C.U.R.E. where she was Director of C.U.R.E Clinics and International Travel. Sara directed their clinics department, which recruits and assembles teams of medical professionals to travel to many of the developing countries in which the organization works. Sara was also responsible for all international travel for the organization.
Before joining the non-profit sector, Sara spent 15 years as a marketing and advertising professional working with a variety of retail businesses and national restaurant chains. Sara holds a degree in Marketing and Journalism from the University of New Mexico.
Senior Director of Donor Relations and Communications
In January 2014, Greta Walker joined Bridge of Life as the Senior Director of Donor Relations and Communications. Greta is responsible for directing all philanthropic funding objectives, internal communications and public relations initiatives.
After attending Baylor University on a full tennis scholarship, Greta began an extensive career in the nonprofit industry. She spent 14 years at the Denver Rescue Mission as the Director of Public Relations before joining Mile High United Way as the Senior Director of Strategic Relationships where she managed major giving programs. Greta spent eight years on the Board of Directors for Jeremy Bloom’s Wish of a Lifetime, an organization that fosters respect and appreciation for senior citizens by granting life-enriching wishes. From 2005 to 2011, Greta participated on communication and marketing committees for Denver’s Road Home, the city’s 10-year plan to end homelessness, and their annual fundraiser, PJ DAY.
Greta lives with her husband, Clark, and son, Connor, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Connor is 18 and will head to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to sabre fence in fall 2015. She enjoys skiing, obeying her Cairn terriers Colfax and Max, and watching Connor at his fencing tournaments.
Director of Technical Operations
Chris Atwater’s role is to assess partner needs for future medical missions; advise Bridge of Life on technical components needed for the safe and successful start-up of dialysis clinics; create infrastructure to streamline mission completion; and build a solid corps of biomed teammates who will participate in future medical missions.
Chris has been working with Bridge of Life since 2006 and has been on 21 separate missions and assessments with the organization.
Program Director - Chronic Kidney Disease Screenings (CKD)
As Program Director of Chronic Kidney Disease Screenings, Gloria Upchurch develops and maintains partnerships with potential and existing screening partners to promote CKD awareness and education. She also manages Bridge of Life’s rapid-screening program.
Prior to joining Bridge of Life, Gloria worked as a contractor designing and producing conferences, trade shows and special events that focus on client needs assessments. She also served as program development director for A Global Connection where she managed team building and incentive events and was responsible for operational and fiscal oversight of the annual budget and domestic and international volunteers. She was also responsible for executing strategic plans that resulted in the construction of the Olmoti Women and Children’s Clinic, The Kids With Camera program and Clean Delivery Kits program.
Gloria has more than 11 years of national and international experience in various healthcare, hi-tech and business settings as a project manager. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business with a Communication Emphasis from Metro State College in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals.
Katie Chandler joined Bridge of Life in September 2014. She is responsible for supporting the development and implementation of health programs, monitoring and evaluating project outcomes, tracking inventory, and assisting with administrative functions.
Katie attended the University of Wisconsin where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in both Behavioral Science and Law and Spanish. Subsequently, she received a Masters of Science in Organizational Management with a focus in Development Management and Sustainable Development from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Katie brings a decade of international development experience to Bridge of Life. She spent seven years with Etta Projects, a WASH NGO based in Washington. Her tenure included positions as Project Director for their Bolivia Operations where she lived for four years and Program Director in Tacoma, Washington. Katie was responsible for fund development, monitoring and evaluation, program design, staff training and hosting donor trips. Katie also served as the Director of Training for Healing Waters, a nonprofit that serves the poor globally through safe water solutions and health and hygiene education.
Manager of Donor Relations and Communications
Jessica Dankert joined the Bridge of Life team in March 2015. As the Manager of Donor Relations and Communications, she is responsible for coordinating and supporting all philanthropic funding objectives, internal communications and public relations initiatives under the Senior Director of Donor Relations and Communications.
Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and a minor in French from Gonzaga University and has nine plus years combined experience in marketing, communications, account management and administration. In addition, she has a strong background in account/program management and worked for two separate continuing medical education (CME) companies where she coordinated CME certification for a variety of educational partner programs in addition to maintaining regulation compliance and managing grant funding for partner activities. Her personal experiences and background in the healthcare industry have led to her strong interest in and passion for helping others, in addition to her previous community service and volunteer experience. Jessica seeks to aid both local and global healthcare communities through her communications skills and knowledge and her desire to help others achieve accessible healthcare.
Jessica lives in Littleton, Colorado with her husband Mike and their two furry canine “kids” where they enjoy hiking, camping, traveling and all the natural amenities of their beautiful state.