RECEIVED LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD BY CHBA
Bárbara Brohl was born and raised in Denver. At a young age, she devised a career goal and fulfilled it. She got her education in her native City and graduated from Regis University with a bachelor’s degree. She later obtained a Juris Doctor (JD) at the Sturm College of Law –University of Denver. After obtaining her law degree, she gained experience in the judicial world. She worked at the Colorado Supreme Court, supporting judges Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr. and William H. Erickson.
This law professional also had a rich trajectory in private practice. She worked as a legal counsel for Qwest Communications, a telecommunications company. While at that post, she mentored young Hispanics who wanted to be attorneys. At the same time, she participated on the boards of the nonprofits Donor Awareness Council; Denver Employees Retirement Plan; and “The Gathering Place”, a homeless shelter.
Barbara had the opportunity to put her experience at the service of the community. She was elected to represent District D at the Regional Transportation District (RTD) Board of Directors. Other members of that boar remember that Barbara was vigilant to ensure that minority and women owned companies would be able to compete for competitive contracts with RTD. She mentored many women to form small competitive businesses with access to a diversity of contracts.
A new challenge
In 2011 Barbara was getting ready to retire. She was planning in enjoying her family after a long career as an attorney. But a new opportunity came before her. The then-new governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, invited Barbara to head the Colorado Department of Revenue. After accepting her new position, she made history. Barbara was the first Hispanic to head the revenue department in Colorado.
She worked at her post until mid-2017. During those six and a half years, she was in charge of supervising: the collection of taxes in the state; the issuing of Driver’s Licenses; the functioning of the lottery and gambling; and the regulation of alcohol and tobacco. She had an additional task. She led the team in charge of developing and implementing the regulation of production, sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
In November 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, that authorized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. This was the first time in the history of the United States and the world; therefore, Barbara and her team had to issue the recommendations that were the base of the legislation to regulate this emerging industry. Barbara became an international expert in the regulation of marijuana and since then, she advises governments in the U.S. and other countries in this area.
Barbara has confessed that her tenure at the Colorado Department of Revenue left her with another great human and professional experience. Her leadership and experience helped in the successful implementation of the SB-251, a law that allows immigrants without legal status to obtain Driver’s Licenses in Colorado. Barbara worked closely with the Colorado attorneys that evaluated every aspect inherent to the issuance of these new licenses. For the implementation of this law, she also worked with input from the community.
Barbara and her team also ensured the immigrant community was ready to use this program. She promoted activities of divulgation and training where questions from many people who qualified for these licenses were answered. Within the first 180 days from when this law was enacted (July 1st, 2014), her office had held 45 workshops throughout the state, with the support of a diversity of groups that represented the beneficiaries of the program.
Her work hasn’t gone unnoticed. She has received numerous professional awards. Recently, the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA), presented her with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The CHBA board voted unanimously to present her with the award for her important contribution to the community during her long professional career.