MSU Denver

The former Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce president brings a strong track record of organizational leadership and decades of service to the local community.

Dec. 1, 2021

Metropolitan State University of Denver is pleased to announce that Kelly Brough, former Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, has accepted the position of chief strategy officer. She will officially join the University community today.

In her new role, Brough will lead the University’s newly established strategy team; guide the implementation of the 2030 Strategic Plan; assess new and existing programs, partnerships and projects; and oversee the development of data-driven structures and processes for operationalizing and tracking progress. Working closely with the University’s Government Affairs team, Brough also will engage with external stakeholders to promote city, state and federal legislative strategies that support MSU Denver’s strategic objectives, identifying opportunities for improvement and guiding the creation of actionable goals that embody the MSU Denver mission.

Additionally, as the University’s primary liaison to the Auraria Higher Education Center Strategic Planning Team, Brough will optimize opportunities with AHEC as well as corporate and community partners.

“Kelly has been an influential and widely respected leader in the Denver community and beyond for years, and we are so excited to have her experience and expertise at MSU Denver,” said President Janine Davidson, Ph.D. “At MSU Denver, Kelly will have the opportunity to continue her efforts to enhance education opportunities for students of all types in Denver and beyond.”

Brough served as Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce president and CEO from 2009 to 2021, representing more than 3,000 member organizations with 400,000 employees. In that role, Brough helped the organization nearly double its revenue and diversify its boards and teams. She also established a strong record of developing workforce-readiness strategies and successfully advocated for legislation and policies related to immigration, trade, workforce development, LGBTQ rights, health care, pension funding and housing.

Prior to joining the DMCC, Brough served the City and County of Denver as chief of staff for Mayor John Hickenlooper and as director of Human Resources. There, she oversaw an $863 million annual general-fund budget and $4 billion in total operations and helped to pass and implement a $550 million capital investment in infrastructure with voter approval in 2008.

Her higher-education experience includes directing the University of Colorado Denver’s Rocky Mountain Program, a nationally recognized leadership program, from 1997 to 2003. As director, Brough was responsible for achieving financial goals as well as curriculum development and execution. She oversaw a consultancy practice that mediated land-use disputes and human-resource issues; managed comprehensive planning efforts for Denver law enforcement and the Parks and Recreation Game Plan; and worked internationally to build capacity for public-private partnerships.

Brough earned a bachelor’s degrees in Science and Sociology from Montana State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from UCD. In addition, Brough has completed leadership and professional development programs at Harvard University and is a National Association of Corporate Directors fellow. She serves on the boards of Delta Dental of Colorado and Habitat for Humanity Metro Denver. She also is a former board member at the Denver Public Schools Foundation, the Denver Scholarship Fund, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Brain Injury Board of Colorado, Colorado Mesa University, the Urban Leadership Foundation and the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation.

"MSU Denver is a proven leader in social mobility," Brough said. “I’m eager to start this new chapter, working to make education accessible to all and equipping students to become engaged citizens and successful professionals.”