Our Team

Sharon Madison
Executive Director

Early on in her childhood, Sharon figured out her mind was a powerful engine if she fed it with the right words and actions. Her approach paid off! In her early adult years, she started in retail, finding herself being promoted as one of the youngest store managers at the Ralph Lauren shop in Cherry Creek. When she took up bike racing and put in the hard work it took, she became a top competitor. Because of her actions and thoughts that “she’s got this,” she found herself the winner of 2 gold medals at the Maccabi Games in Israel in 2013 and the Colorado Road Race State champion in 2014. Her positive energy caught the eye of a nonprofit wanting someone to build up the cycling club arm of their organization. Sharon took on the challenge and created a thriving community of cyclists who followed Sharon’s lead in supporting each other with their goals.

Not only does Sharon harness her thoughts and actions to make “it happen,” but she also knows how to “turn lemons into lemonade” when everyday life throws her curveballs. The pandemic caused the nonprofit to shut down her 6-year efforts of building up the cycling arm, where she put her whole heart and soul into its development. Yes, she was crushed by its closing, but her lemonade-making skills were put to the test—best lemonade yet, because she was determined to create a new nonprofit that would be even more robust than the previous one. We Ride 4 was born end of April 2020, where she is the Executive Director. She made sure to make her new nonprofit serve dual purposes: to build wonderful camaraderie amongst the membership, but, just as importantly, to have the organization give back to the larger community by riding 4 a local nonprofit supporting kids’ healthy lifestyles by getting them involved in outdoor fun. A round of applause for Sharon’s success with making We Ride 4 a reality!

 

John Genell
Director of Operations

Along with Sharon Madison, John is one of the founders of We Ride 4 and is principally involved in developing and executing its long-term strategic initiatives. He is a senior executive with over 35 years of business experience. Prior to co-founding We Ride 4; he spent the last 11 years of his career as the market sales leader for Grant Thornton in the Desert and Mountain States Region. He also has over 10 years of experience in Management Consulting working with Fortune 100 C-Level executives developing strategic business and technology solutions for their global operations.

He has a B.S. in Accounting from Villanova University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

To many members of the We Ride 4 community, he’s known as the Chief Ambassador.  To others, he’s known as Juan Jose Gigante, international roadie, gravel rider, and route mapper. To those that don’t know him very well, he’s often mistakenly referred to as Mr. Madison, Sharon’s plus one. For We Ride 4, he’s a ride leader, brand ambassador, strategic advisor, and curator to our operating model. For him, it’s not how far you ride, or how fast you rode it, but how many people join him for ice cream afterward.

His average Wordle score is 3.25 guesses. His daily NY Times Mini Crossword average time is 58 seconds. His best time for a medium difficulty Sudoku puzzle is 2 minutes, 12 seconds. That leaves a lot of time every day to work on We Ride 4 business initiatives and build his portfolio as a part-time real estate developer.

When he’s not dreaming up routes for our 3-day events in Colorado every Summer, you can visit him at his house in Tucson between the first and the last snowstorms in Colorado every Winter and he’ll show you all the best road and gravel routes in Southern Arizona while helping to grow the We Ride 4 Tucson chapter. But if riding isn’t your thing, that’s ok. He knows all the best authentic taco stands in the Tucson metro area…

His favorite line for We Ride 4…” Just come and be part of it, however it works for you!”

 

Prilla O'Connell
Chief Editor/Storyteller

Some people call her Prilla, some call her Ms. O'Connell, and some call her Caboose. Just recently, she added another name — Chief Editor, or for short, Storyteller, for the We Ride 4 non-profit.

For those who know her as Prilla, they probably knew she was a teacher, social worker, an avid tennis player (even ranked 5th in the State for 3.5 in 1993), and founder and Executive Director of Net Results non-profit.

Her wonderful students still call her Ms. O'Connell to this day. When Denver School of the Arts gave her an 8th grade English class in 2005, where she taught comma rules and a few other things that might not have been related to the curriculum, it never occurred to her she'd make lasting friendships with some of them. Billy follows her on Strava, and they exchange texts about their rides. Heck, he even gifted her some Rapha winter tights. Jake had asked her to be his ring bearer for his wedding. LOVE IT!

After saying "adios" to her 35+ year public education career in 2012, she opened a small private college counseling business. Her clients called her Prilla. She still giggles about giving Cameron the directive, "Write the b*tch paragraph, and we'll go from there." He got into his top choice college because he got past his b*tching and discovered new insights about himself. Priceless!

She was Prilla for the first rides with WR4. But, it became very clear, very fast, that if she wanted to be part of this wonderful group, she would have to embrace her "cabooseness." Her solution was to name herself Caboose. She loves to flashback to when many members were speeding down Jamestown while she was dredging up the climb, and them shouting, "Go Prilla, go!" She will never forget that day, and she will never take for granted all the love and encouragement that comes from this club! Embracing her "cabooseness" has paid her big dividends!

As the saying goes, "If you can't lick them, join them!". When Sharon offered her the Chief Editor/Storyteller position, she exclaimed, "I'm thrilled to JOIN the team." Yes, she gets to use her A+ "writing" skills for her A+ "riding" club.

Board of Directors

Keith Ober

For decades, Keith's passion has been sharing his enjoyment of the outdoors and cycling with his community. His path to becoming a ride leader and founding member of the We Ride 4 board started with an early love of sports. He discovered a passion for the outdoors, especially cycling on dirt, in the late 1990s. His cycling took him to NORBA races; a honeymoon in Moab; multi-day tours in many countries; 24-hour races; year-round, full-time bike commuting; and, countless bike-centered adventures. Keith's excitement when sharing cycling comes from the experiences that the sport has allowed him. Just ask him about vectoring a French Air Force helicopter with a flashlight, the joy of seeing the sunrise in the saddle, or what it is like to rent a bike from a chainsaw repair shop.

Keith's professional career in Aerospace manufacturing brings a unique perspective to the leadership of We Ride 4. He brings his rich business acumen from a background as a US Air Force Officer, Program Manager, and Quality Assurance Manager. He offers insights into industry best practices to the We Ride 4 strategic leadership, including cost accounting and financial planning, personnel management, and process development and control.

As a member of strategic leadership teams in multiple small and large manufacturing companies, Keith has gravitated to roles that allowed him to make a direct impact on processes and flight hardware for aircraft and spacecraft that are still flying today: in the air, in earth orbit, on Mars, and beyond Pluto. The same business management tools that allowed Keith to help US Aerospace manufacturing succeed are now at work, helping We Ride 4 achieve new heights.

Ultimately, Keith loves teaching, leading, and learning on and off the bike. Come see for yourself how much fun he has leading rides and supporting events year-round as part of this terrific community.

 

Katie Hecker

An unlikely athlete, Katie came to cycling by way of a four-year detour to Alaska after college and before law school. A dear friend - a friend who nearly made Katie miss her flight because a last-minute mountain bike ride just had to happen - encouraged her to try a women's only sprint triathlon in Anchorage. That 10-mile ride was just the beginning; Katie commuted through Boston by bike during law school. She loves road and gravel cycling and is slowly learning to be a good mountain bike rider. If it's on two wheels, she's into it. Katie firmly believes that bikes are essential for healthy communities and that the cycling world should be friendly and welcoming to anyone who wants to give it a spin; she thinks beginners are true heroes.

Katie makes a living as a juvenile law attorney but makes a life laughing with her beloved husband, reading novels, hanging out with her dog Sushi, making and listening to music, enjoying patio beers with friends, lifting heavy stuff, tidying her house and yard, and spending time in northern Michigan with her family (the roads and trails of the Leelanau Peninsula are some of the loveliest cycling in the country and you can't convince her otherwise). She never finishes a crossword puzzle and will always have another cup of coffee.

 

Todd Lancaster

Todd is a proud third-generation Colorado mountain pioneer, born and raised in Idaho Springs. As much as Todd loved his Idaho Springs digs, he knew he needed to leave the nest to go to college. He made a point to look for colleges close to skiing and were cheap. He attended Air Force Academy, and upon graduation, he was offered a pilot training slot. This training led him to fly jets as an instructor for 5 years. Always trying to find the next most unorthodox way forward, he transitioned to special forces helicopters. Todd explains that trying to keep skiing in the beautiful state of Colorado as the main criterion for his college search was the “best mistake” he’s ever made because he ended up in a 26 year Air Force career, retiring in 2011 as a colonel and with over 300 combat hours.

Always up for the next challenge, Todd found himself working in an even more demanding role than combat when he became a 2-time superintendent of public schools for Clear County. Todd was recognized in the education field within 2 years of service with Colorado’s Excellence in Education award and was invited to attend Harvard University’s course in public education.

Todd left public education and became an executive coach and leadership consultant. Initially, he focused on public education but soon expanded his work to include corporate, non-profit, government, and higher education.

Todd has two amazing daughters, one a nurse in Colorado Springs and another a newly minted Air Force officer training to become an Air Battle Manager and eventually an Air Force pilot. His family was always involved in cycling when he was growing up. A portion of the Clear Creek bike path is dedicated to his younger brother, Scott Lancaster, who was killed in Clear Creek County by a mountain lion. Todd and Scott rode together on the first Ride the Rockies, where Scott was the youngest rider.

Todd met Sharon when she was leading another non-profit cycling club. She captured his heart and soul. When Todd learned Sharon had started her own non-profit, he jumped on board to support her. He wants to help build We Ride 4 into a scalable model so she can realize her vision of taking WR4 nationally with individual chapters interconnected across the United States.

 

Rob Burton

Rob Burton comes from a long career in public and private accounting, with his latest gig morphing from a CFO of various medium-sized, privately held companies to going out on his own in 2019 with an office manager and 2 other CPAs. It didn't stop there. Instead, he established an excellent relationship with his office neighbors, another CPA firm. Before the end of the year, Burton and Company went from a 4-person operation to a partnership with Flewelling and Mitton PC, becoming a 13-person operation with a new name - Tandem!

Rob lives with his wife, Megan, an accomplished poet and author, and a beautiful yellow Labrador named Cowboy, who has captured the hearts of mom and dad, along with Rob’s dear old dad, who has taken up residence in the barn that has been converted into the "barn apartment." The clan moved to their 3-acre property in rural Larimer County in 2020. Rob has already hosted a barn concert and plans on many more - especially because Rob is taking up the mandolin and plans to be part of the show in due time. Rob and Megan have two adult daughters living in Dallas, Texas and Singapore. As he gets more settled in on his property, he plans to start a hobby farm where he will grow vegetables and wildflowers. He also wants to get Cowboy certified so the two can make regular visits to nursing homes in the area.

Rob's CPA background and his love of biking have benefitted WR4 tremendously. Rob has been a sponsor of the club since its inception as well as keeping WR4's financials in order. Rob loves riding all his bikes - yes, he's got the n + 1 formula down to a tee! He's been the club's "go-to” guy for mapping rides in Northern Colorado and leads rides when he can. His background makes him an excellent addition to the Board of Directors in his role as Treasurer.

 

Erin Silver

Erin gained varied industry exposure and policy experiences from her time as a leading public policy consultant in Colorado. As a full-time lobbyist, Erin worked on almost every piece of significant policy in the State of Colorado for 20 years. She cultivated policies ranging from economic development and workforce programs to facilitating the creation of the state's health care exchange, advocating for children and youth development, to renewable energy standards. She left the Capitol in 2018 in search of peace and quiet! Now, she spends most of her time in the nonprofit strategy space assisting programs as they interface with state government agencies and programs.

Erin's introduction to biking was the infamous day when she got on a bike with no training wheels at Airplane Park in Littleton and was pushed down what seemed like an enormously big hill at the time. She had to get the hang immediately. That day started her love affair with cycling. She joined WR4 in 2020 in hopes of finding people who like to ride so she could join in on the fun and the challenges group riding brings.

Erin joined the WR4 board in January 2022. She hopes her collaboration on the board will grow what already exists in the WR4 community – challenging physical boundaries, making new friends, and "riding to give."