Written by Krystal Covington, MBA
Career change isn’t just for twenty-somethings. According to AARP, 40 percent of people working at age 62 had changed their careers since they turned 55. Baby boomers are the first generation to break the norm and routinely change careers after 50.
Jonna Tellinghuisen is no stranger to switching careers.
Launching her own company at just 24, she began a career offering customized accounting software during a time when corporations had begun making the switch from manual bookkeeping to automated computer software. As a legacy entrepreneur, Jonna used her skills and business savvy to eventually build a team of eight who provided accounting software training to large corporations.
After becoming a wife and mother, Jonna joined her husband as the owner and operator of a 5000+ herd, family-run dairy farm in Iowa where they managed a team of 37 employees. She took the lead on maintaining employee files, payroll, loans and anything related to accounting for the business. At 49, Jonna and her husband made the decision to retire and sell the farm.
After just 3 years in retirement, Jonna felt the itch again and was led to start a new business. With 6 daughters, finding the right business was easy.
“Our daughters always loved shopping at the different Plato’s Closet locations. Plato’s Closet is the buying and selling of name brand, gently used apparel and accessories for teens and twenty-something girls and guys. However, we were introduced to Style Encore, the sister brand at Discovery Day and we were instantly hooked.”
Jonna opened her Style Encore franchise location in Centennial Colorado and added a philanthropic mission to support Hope’s Promise, an adoption and orphan agency. Her daughters have taken on roles in store management, marketing, customer service and personal styling. Her hope is that they will one day own their own stores in the future and become successful entrepreneurs themselves.
When asked about the journey of entrepreneurship, Jonna told us, “Being self-employed is hard work and might not be the best route for everyone, but if you’re motivated and dedicated, it’s a path that can lead to great success and financial independence.”
Jonna’s Style Encore store is located at 8223 S Quebec St, Centennial, CO 80112.
By Nina Sonovia Brown, MS, LPC
Gain control over your life and go after your goals by controlling your breath. According to a Frontiers in Psychology study, belly breathing triggers the body’s relaxation responses, which can aid in improving mental and physical health. In just twenty sessions over an eight week period, participants in the study were able to reduce their stress levels and improve their attention span significantly. This breathing technique is also called “diaphragmatic breathing” or “deep breathing", and is considered to be an integral part of yoga practices.
Try it now: While sitting or standing, image a balloon is attached to your head and extend your spine. In as little as five breaths or as long as five minutes, relax your jaw, neck, and shoulders. Begin to breathe from your chest to fill your lungs with air. Relax and push the air out from your belly. You can also place your hands on your chest and abdomen to feel motion as you inhale and exhale with each breath.
There are multiple forms of diaphragmatic breathing. The use of one in another study seeking to treat anxiety found that this method is less invasive than drugs because it doesn’t involve using neurotransmitters in the brain. Controlled breathing has been shown to offset the harmful effect of stress and negative thought patterns.
Try it now: While sitting or standing, image a balloon is attached to your head and extend your spine. In as little as five breaths or as long as five minutes, relax your jaw, neck, and shoulders. Breath out a specific color and breath in a different color. Chose colors that represent things that you would like to get more of (breath in) and get rid of (breath out). Try this for one to five minutes daily.
Nina Sonovia Brown, MS, LPC is an Emotional Intelligence Expert for corporations, schools, and individuals. She is also a Mindfulness Teacher, College Professional, and CEO of Solonco, an emotional intelligence, and mindfulness training company.
Written by Joce Blake
The Women of Denver Podcast has interviewed eight badass women over the past few months. Here's an overview of the biggest lessons I learned interviewing each woman and why you should go back to hear these stories.
Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne
Service - Donna Lynne talked about her dedication to helping others. She learned this from her family and it fueled her passion to fight for justice.
Melanie Ulle and Virginia Santy, co-founders of Women in Kind
Difference isn’t deficiency. - These WinK founders highlighted the value in difference and how it makes workplaces more successful.
Jordan Casteel, Painter and Assistant Professor
Being a voice to the voiceless. - Jordan watched her mother, Lauren Casteel, hold and create space for community and justice. Her ancestry energized her to marry her message with her art to create timeless paintings.
Gail Lindley, CEO of the Denver Bookbinding company
Perseverance - Gail faced many challenges as a womanpreneur but yet she persisted. She always showed up for the race even when she was out of her league.
Vanessa Longseth, founder of Adventure Generations
Adventure - This theme has been a driving force in Vanessa’s life for years. It has helped her find a lesson in every experience.
Colorado Senator, MD, and mother of 3, Irene Aguilar
Selfish vs Self-full - There is power in being fulfilled without feeling like you aren’t meeting others expectations. Irene spoke passionately about being intentional and careful about what’s best for you. It made me think of Iyanla Vanzant’s quote, “My cup runneth over.’ What comes out of the cup is for y’all. What’s in the cup is mine. But I’ve got to keep my cup full.”
Makisha Boothe, Founder of Sistahpreneurs“Queen of the Quickstart”
Grace will take you places hustling can’t - Growing up in Harlem, Makisha was surrounded by hustlers but she found that softening up was the key to extending compassion. Through her view of success, she found unshakable faith and learned the meaning of perseverance. “Your past prepares you for your purpose,” Booth said.
Take space for yourself - My co-host taught me the most throughout this journey of season two. She taught me the vast importance of slowing down to speed up. As women, we want to take on everything but there’s power in “no.” I have to take care of me because if I don’t, I can’t create and be my best self to live my best life.
by Krystal Covington, MBA
Every Sunday like clockwork I'd grab my supplies, commandeer the bathroom, and begin my process.
Shampoo -- 2 minutes
Conditioner - 10 minutes with a plastic cap
Heat protectant - 3 minutes distributing throughout with a paddle brush
Blowdryer - 30 minutes while paddle brushing straight and fanning away the smoke
Flat iron - 90-120 minutes with an iron and a rat-tooth comb
Total time -- 135-165 minutes
I was a pro; whipping the flat iron like a cowboy in an old western while watching a movie on Netflix. Long strands of hair and tiny pieces of broken ends fell all over the floor around me, but never did I consider the ramifications. This was the ONLY way, so I had to keep pressing.
I could only exercise on Sunday morning or maybe Saturday evening if I didn't have anywhere to go the next day, because sweating caused my hair to puff up in the roots. My hair was a weekly chore, but I did my duty happily to fit the appearance I was told was beautiful, professional, and kempt -- anything else was considered unattractive, unprofessional and unkempt.
It wasn't until moving to Denver that this process came to an end.
When I left Detroit I chose to leave my car behind and embrace Denver's incredible public transit system. I had a place right in the city just a 20 minute walk from the light rail, and my job was about a half mile from the stop. Uber was everywhere and other tools such as ZipCar and Car2Go made it easy to grab a vehicle when I needed one.
The only issue is, Denver's weather is unpredictable to say the least. After being rained on, sweating due to the sun's hot rays, and even splashed by vehicles while crossing the street I knew something had to change. I spent nearly everyday straightening my hair and I knew my strands couldn't take the heat, so I found a curly hair expert to support my transition.
Why was going natural such a big deal?
Hair is not only emotional, it's also political. We receive tons of messages growing up about what represents professionalism and beauty and we take those in as truth we live our lives by. My mother wore straight hair and she was the epitome of a beautiful, professional woman. I looked to her as the model for how I should look.
I also learned in school tips for a polished appearance for interviews and job progression. All of the photos they showed us featured straight hair, pulled back or curled.
And the biggest challenge of all was the actual reactions of people I worked with during the few times I did dare to wear my natural texture out to the office. Rarely did I receive a compliment; my look was typically met with stares, comparisons with early images of Whitney Houston, or comments such as "you should wear it kinky more often, it suits you." I never quite felt kinky was the word I wanted to hear when it came to my hair, so I avoided my natural look at all costs.
Making the transition
To get through this transition I needed support. I talked with lots of women who went through the same journey, and who encouraged me along the way. I joined local groups centered on discussing natural hair solutions and found a hairdresser specially trained to make my hair look its best, but emotionally I probably needed a psychologist to join the party too.
I was going against the standards I was taught, challenging my old belief patterns, and needed to completely rewire my brain in order to make this work.
Every photo I took looked hideous, I was afraid of what others thought at work, and I was nervous to get behind the camera as part of my job of recording short news and interview segments for my role in internal communications. I was kind of a wreck.
The only thing that gave me courage was knowing that this was the only way to save my hair from ultimately falling out. Wearing a wig for me was simply not an option. With that in mind, I continued on.
Becoming unexpectedly free
I remember hearing a story of a woman who'd cut off her long hair and went natural for the freedom of living her life uninhibited. I thought it was an exaggeration. How could hair change your life that much?
What I didn't expect was the true feeling of authenticity and freedom that accompanied the journey.
It did take people at work some time to warm up to me and my new look, but I was still treated with the same level of professionalism and respect I was accustomed to, which quickly eased my fears of being viewed as unkempt.
The most incredible part of the transition was finally being able to escape all of my fears. I could handle a few drops of rain, get sweaty during the week, and even shower without being worried about water touching my head. Best of all, my weekend routine wasn't filled with hours of smoke inhalation as I burned by hair unnaturally straight.
Once I began to start appreciating my new look, I felt more confident and happier with my appearance simply because people were accepting me and what I felt was my true self -- the self I'd been hiding for so many years.
The value of authenticity
There's so much we could unravel here, but for many of us we spend so much of our time at work playing a role that's far from our reality. The very nature of work invites us to build a facade, put on a show, and fit the mold of what we believe is a good corporate woman.
Whether you're being inauthentic with your hair, pretending to be an extrovert (guilty) or using masculinity as a tool for rising the ranks as a woman, all roads lead to feeling uncomfortable in our own skin.
How powerful would you feel if you rose up the ranks playing the role of yourself?
You'd know that it was only what's inside of you that got you there and you can release yourself from the added burden of trying to cover up the real you at all times. That's true power.
How we can support each other.
Here's a few ways you can support women going through the transition I did. These can be translated to other aspects of life at work in addition to hair.
by Krystal Covington
For startups, gaining the capital to scale through hiring great talent, investing in marketing, and revving up development efforts can be the difference between a 3-year stint or becoming the next Uber.
Equity funding has been instrumental in helping many great companies succeed in their growth efforts because it offers owners an influx of cash to invest in the business in exchange for ownership rather than a debt + interest relationship. This means the investors financing the business get paid only if the company does well, so they have an interest in the company's success and often play a supportive role in helping that company success.
Today, men receive about 9 times more equity funding than women do, which means they are more likely to get the cash they need to scale a business and reach a high level of financial success.
In honor of our upcoming Denver Startup Week Panel event we asked our panelists to share what they think was their #1 key to there success. Here's what they shared.
Jaclyn Fu, Co-Founder and CEO of Pepper (Currently closing her pre-seed round) - Being passionate and infectious with our mission.
Amy Baglan, CEO & Founder of MeetMindful ($8mm) - My commitment to authentic communication, no matter who I’m talking to.
Jennifer McMillen, Co-Founder of Tripcents ($550k) - Honesty - in all aspects - being honest with myself when something's not working, being honest with celebrating both the small and big wins even when others have doubts, and most of all, being honest with my co-founders and team by making transparency a priority
Investors on our panel also shared their insights on how women can start earning a greater share of the capital.
Emily Winslow, CEO of Peak Impact Consulting (Investor) - Female-founded and led companies are more capital efficient and in the long term have more success with less capital. Women tend to be more conservative than men in their “ask," seeking only as much financing as they currently need. Such restraint has pros and cons for both individual female-run businesses and for the investment ecosystem. As women continue to build good businesses for their customers and employees while achieving high returns on investment, more capital will be attracted to their ventures. Moreover, when over $30 trillion is conveyed during coming years to women and millennials in “the great wealth transfer,” our current economic system will experience a dramatic shake-up, resulting in women investors gaining the capacity to direct more capital towards female entrepreneurs.
Heather Mackenzie, SheEO U.S. Launch Team (Investor) - I think one way is networking - strategically, not just a shotgun blast approach, or throwing noodles at the wall and seeing what sticks - but truly learning about the networks they wish to enter, finding allies in them and strategically building alliances. I firmly believe we need good men in the mix to help build those bridges to the men who just don't get it - so finding male allies with strong connections into investor networks is one way, and of course I believe in the power of women too, so start looking at all the female VC networks popping up
To hear from these women in person, visit our upcoming Denver Startup Week Panel on Thursday, September 27 from 4-5 p.m. at Capital One Cafe (1550 Wewatta Street) Register online here.
Contributed by Sunny Ackerman
From enthusiastic start-ups to established multinationals, businesses from all over the world have chosen to make Denver their home away from home. It’s no secret that Colorado’s tech sector is blazing the trail in terms of sustained growth, and that Denver really stands out thanks to its strong reputation for attracting (and retaining) the best talent in the tech industry. The city’s popularity with young professionals and seasoned entrepreneurs alike is undoubtedly linked to its high standard of living, robust commercial ecosystem and continuous governmental support and investment.
Frank Recruitment Group recently opened its 12th global base in this vibrant city as part of its international growth strategy. The office officially opened on September 17th, and currently services two of our biggest brands; Jefferson Frank, specializing in AWS recruitment, and Mason Frank, focusing exclusively on Salesforce staffing projects.
Now that the doors are open and we’re off to a flying start in our new home, I’ve had some time to reflect a little on our expansion into the city. Here are some of the most important points to consider if you’re thinking about bringing your business to Denver.
1. Richness of the talent pool
Denver has a long-standing reputation for attracting—and perhaps more importantly, retaining—some of the best talent the country has to offer; with employment in the sector shooting up by 74% over the last eight years alone, the city is now home to the third-highest concentration of tech professionals in the U.S. This point alone made the city a clear front-runner for Frank Recruitment Group; as niche technology specialists, having access to highly skilled, motivated professionals across a range of experience levels was a must.
The impressive concentration of tech workers in the Mile High is worth bearing in mind, no matter what industry you work in. We’re living in the digital age and operating in a city bursting with experienced tech specialists is a great way to ensure that your company has the IT infrastructure, talent and vision to work smart and stay ahead of the game.
2. Employment rates
A modern metropolis, Denver is famous for its high standard of living, supportive commercial ecosystem and, quite significantly, its low unemployment rate across all industries.
Translation: people looking to build a career want to put down roots here, and low unemployment rates means more support and stimulus for the local economy.
3. Quality of life
We’ve already mentioned the low unemployment rates, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Denver boasts low commute times and average annual rainfall, as well as breathtaking scenery everywhere you look, complete with views of the majestic Rocky Mountains. All of these factors, along with the city’s extensive entertainment and cultural attractions, make it a huge draw for those looking for a great work-life balance.
4. Competitor analysis
In 2017, an astounding 117,648 new businesses were registered in the state of Colorado, marking an increase of 7% against the previous year. While Denver is ripe with opportunities for businesses and professionals alike, its popularity and flourishing business landscape mean that your competitor analysis needs to be an even greater priority than usual.
Check out your competition and learn what you can about the faces behind the brand; look into customer reviews and read up on how they’ve performed over the last financial year and quarter. Use the internet to your advantage, and be sure to check public filings for information about company aims, strategies and tech. Attend industry conferences and any other events that give you a chance to get to know your competition and build your knowledge of the industry as a whole.
Every piece of information you collect about your competition will help you understand how to position yourself in the city, and help you to establish whether or not it’ll be feasible and profitable for your company to operate here. Get lazy with your research, and you could end up like the 20% of companies that fail in their first year, or the 50% forced to close in their fifth year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
5. The legal side of expansion
When it comes to major milestones in your company’s lifecycle, expansion has to be one of the most exciting and significant. One surefire way of ruining that sense of enthusiasm is by neglecting to look into the legal aspect of expanding into a new country or territory.
If you’re looking to operate overseas, the red tape involved can be a bureaucratic nightmare, and you’ll need a legal team you can trust to lead the way through it all. Take the time to brief your legal team on the project, ensure that you have the right people in place for the job, and give them the time they need to check every nook and cranny for potential pitfalls, loopholes, and potential risk points.
Naturally, expanding to another city in the same country is not as gargantuan a task, but be aware that different states and territories do have their own laws and legal requirements that your company and employees must adhere to.
About the author: Sunny Ackerman is President of Americas at Frank Recruitment Group and called Denver home for 17 years. The city remains near and dear to her heart, and she was actively involved in the company’s most recent expansion to the Mile High City.
In a society where technology and social media have become a consistent part of life, many parents worry about the long-term impacts it might have on their child’s cognitive development and behavior. According to a report from Common Sense Media, “Kids younger than 8 are reportedly spending an average of 2 hours and 19 minutes per day glued to screens. Roughly 30% of that time is spent on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.”
As for younger adults, 91% of 16- to 24-year-olds use the internet for social network. They spend an average of 1,200 hours per year on social media apps. This amount of time spent on social media apps has altered teens’ communication and socialization skills. Social media apps also give teens the ability to indirectly communicate cruelly and bully in ways they wouldn’t do face to face. They also create a false sense of reality, potentially causing huge impacts on both mental and emotional health.
Donna Wick, EdD, founder of Mind-to-Mind Parents, says that for teenagers, the combined weight of vulnerability, the need for validation, and a desire to compare themselves with peers forms what she describes as a “perfect storm of self-doubt.”
Follow are the top four negative impacts of social media may have on kids and teenagers.
1. Anxiety and Depression
Research suggests that young people who spend more than two hours a day on social media are more likely to report poor mental health, including psychological distress – unpleasant feelings or emotions that impact their level of functioning – often in the same context of strain or stress. Parents can help combat their teens’ depression by modeling positive emotional behavior, as well as providing appropriate support without discounting their emotional lives. Showing empathy and asking open-ended rather than pointed questions are great ways to demonstrate this.
2. Loss of Sleep
When teens and younger children don’t get enough sleep, they may have reduced cognitive function and lower academic performance. Give your children a set hour before bed when they have to “unplug.”
3. Body Image
An eating disorders clinic in Chicago reported that 30 to 50% of their teen patients used social media as to support and develop their eating disorders.
Michelle Marie King, a Colorado-based positivity activist and former model and pageant winner, has used her own struggles with body image to create Positive Presence, a model-coaching and life-coaching company. She encourages parents to “keep an open dialogue with your children, and when they experience the times of low confidence, remind them of their strengths to help them overcome negative self-talk.”
Being victimized online can cause lasting effects into adulthood, and has led to suicide. There may be a link between the rise in suicide rates in the United States and cyberbullying. According to data from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Suicide rates for teens rose between 2010 and 2015 after they had declined for nearly two decades.”
Michelle Marie King advised parents to get to know their children’s friends, especially the ones they look up to and want to be like. “Host movie nights and fun get-togethers with their friends and their friends’ parents to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding positive engagement in the group.”
by Krystal Covington
Online rental marketplace, Hotpads, recently released an analysis of rental rates and child care costs throughout the United States. Their overall findings show that except in cities with exceptionally high rental rates, the cost of child care is almost as high as rent.
In Denver, median rent is $2,100 while average monthly child care costs are $1,535, a difference of $565. With a monthly cost of $3,635, a family will spend about $43,620 per year on both rent and child care. Denver's median household income is about $56,000, which means rent and child care account for over 75% of annual living expenses.
Written by Krystal Covington
In sales, it's important to have access to the right information to help you achieve your goals of reaching your target customers and getting the sales required to propel your business forward. The tools below are great resources to help B2B consultants, coaches and service-providers create a prospect list.
1) The Denver Business Journal - The Denver Business Journal offers a weekly source of leads lists that include industry rankings with company revenue and owners listed, and even lists of recent real estate deals and lawsuits. Articles in the business journal often include the email address of the featured business person and subscribers can also download full contact information for those featured in the "People on the Move" advertorials.
2) Colorado Business Magazine - ColoradoBIZ offers business lists both in the monthly magazine and in PDF form on their website. While they don't include contact details, they are a solid resource for creating a target list of companies that meet the size requirements you're looking for.
3) Chambers - The Denver Metro Chamber along with the various other chambers in Colorado all offer a public member directory for the purpose of promoting their members. These lists can be searched to find categories of businesses that fit within your target along with contact details and a link to their website.
Do you have a resource I didn't mention here? Please add it in the comments below.
Women of Denver offers a marketing platform for women seeking to reach woman-owned businesses, and women in decision-making capacity throughout the city. The Power Women of Denver program provides members with a quarterly bio feature in Women of Denver's print/digital magazine. We mail copies directly to high-level executive leaders and owners at some of Denver's top businesses using the lists mentioned above as our reference. We also provide a digital bio that is shared regularly each quarter to continue promoting our Power Women throughout the year.
Meet Danella Soeka, a Creative Commander at the Open Door Marketing Group. With a start in rebranding casinos, Danella has now amassed an extensive knowledge of marketing and business which she uses to help small businesses rebrand and grow, to shape classes for those hoping to reach their full potential, and to help students discover their paths in life!
What unique impact do you make on the world through your work?
I "defrazzle" business owners by helping them strategically plan their marketing, branding and communication efforts so they can focus on what they are passionate about.
Tell us about a recent accomplishment you're proud of?
I was selected to speak at this years Credit Union National Association's Marketing and Business Development Conference this past March in San Francisco that over 600 C-suite marketing executives from all over the nation attended.
What actions do you take to support and empower other women?
I have supported young women through college mentoring programs, as well as other youth (both male and female) of all diversities during my work with the Child Welfare League and foster parent training programs.
How did your career take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
My career took off when the casino industry came to the Chicagoland area. I have opened or rebranded four casinos from scratch and lived to talk about it. After the first, I received the next three calls from property GMs who said "you have a reputation in the industry for getting things done. Our property needs your help." I contribute my success then, and always, to the amazing relationships I have made and nurture. Nothing is more gratifying personally or professionally.
How do you keep yourself passionate and driven regardless of how busy you are day to day?
I may have started in the corporate space managing $4M+ annual marketing/advertising budgets, but I'm happiest when I get a hug from a small business owner who is in the weeds everyday trying to run their business, and I've consulted with them and helped to clarify their brand, grow their business, and save them money.
What do you see as the future of your industry?
It's constantly changing with new digital technologies breaking ground everyday. Even though I've been at this since dinosaurs walked the planet, I never take for granted opportunities to continue learning. I feel it's important to find what helps businesses break through all the "noise" and tell their story.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
My dad . . . "It's NO until you ask, baby".
What's been inspiring you lately?
The desire to mentor and give back. I have developed and taught college-level courses and get no bigger high than working with students who are confused about what do to next to achieve their dreams.
What do you love most about Women of Denver?
I'm a brand new member so it's hard to answer that just yet. I'm very excited to get started meeting other amazing women, determining ways I can help the organization and getting involved.
What else would you like our readers to know about you?
I am a light-hearted, hard working person who believes any journey should be a fun one. I have high expectations for myself and others but you'll find me joking and smiling all along the way!
Get in touch:
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danellasoeka/