The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program (DFEI) at the University of Colorado Denver Business School is proud to announce Meshach Rhoades, managing partner at Crowell & Moring LLP and Co-Founder of the Latinas First Foundation, as the 2024 Bill Daniels Ethical Leader of the Year. 

The award recognizes leaders whose work and accomplishments mirror cable television pioneer Bill Daniels’ strong commitment to ethics. Leaders are chosen by a Business School student committee, which uses the eight guiding principles of DFEI to make their final selection. 

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program Principles

  • Integrity – Act with honesty in all situations.
  • Trust – Build trust in all stakeholder relationships.
  • Accountability – Accept responsibility for all decisions.
  • Transparency – Maintain open and truthful communications.
  • Fairness – Engage in fair competition and create equitable and just relationships.
  • Respect – Honor the rights, freedoms, views, and property of others.
  • Rule of Law – Comply with the spirit and intent of laws and regulations.
  • Viability – Create long-term value for all relevant stakeholders.

Pathfinder, Playmaker, Pioneer

Rhoades is renowned for her steadfast dedication to ethics and is a testament to strong leadership power. “She displays immense integrity, builds trust, holds herself and others accountable, she is transparent and fair, respectful of every viewpoint, has committed herself to the rule of law and understands the importance of viability in every professional endeavor.” – J.J. Ament, President and CEO, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. 

ELYA awardee Meshach Rhoades with Chancellor Michelle Marks and Daniels Fund President Hanna Skandera

Rhoades attended Regis University, where she was a four-year collegiate starting point guard on the basketball team. She incorporates her tenacity and determination on the court into her leadership style. “Whether she is defending large corporations in the courtroom, playing basketball, being a mother, or creating opportunities for other women, Meshach Rhoades has built a foundation of integrity, trust, and accountability.” – Scott Dawson, Ph.D., Dean, University of Colorado Denver Business School. 

In a previous role, Rhoades founded an Office of Diversity, where she served as Chief Diversity Officer. Now, she works as a managing partner of Crowell & Moring LLP, leading the office and building its bench strength. She is an active member of various organizations, including the Board of Trustees for Corporate Counsel Women of Color, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. 

In 2011, Rhoades co-founded the Latinas First Foundation, which champions and sponsors Latina scholars, creating a critical network of support that was previously missing. The foundation has awarded over 300 scholarships and has helped uplift the next generation of Latinas in Colorado. “[Rhoades] always reaches back to bring someone along, to ensure that the next generation will benefit from her skills and knowledge.” – Juanita Chacon, Co-Founder, Latinas First Foundation. 

Bill Daniels advocated for ethics and charity, and the Daniels Fund honors his legacy through grants and scholarships across Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The Ethical Leader of the Year Award is presented at Toward a More Competitive Colorado, and Rhoades, the ninth winner, is preceded by 

Stephen Goldberg, CEO and Co-Founder of HarperDB (2023); Kellye Gordon, vice president of Ethics & Compliance and Legal Operations at VF Corporation (2021); Giovanna Carriero-Contreras, CEO and founder of Cesco Linguistic Services (2020); Bob Hottman, partner at Plante Moran (2019); Gregory Anton, chairman and CEO of Anton Collins Mitchell (2018); Patrick Hamill, CEO of Oakwood Homes (2017); Kate Paul, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Colorado (2016;, and Evan Makovsky, managing partner at NAI Shames Makovsky (2015).

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