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!
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
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.
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.