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/
Believe it or not, your geographical location has serious impacts on your happiness and health. Numerous studies have proven how the city you live in can affect your well being and health in many different ways. The way a city (or state) has been designed influences the willingness of individuals to partake and revel in the many glories it has to offer. With more places to go, more scenery to see, and experiences to have, your well-being will be positively affected as compared to if you are living in a dull place with little to do.
Amongst many beautiful places around the globe is Colorado. From cosmopolitan cities to adventure filled activities to historical monuments and richness in arts and culture, Colorado is the place to be all year long. The best part is that there's so much to do that no individual will ever feel left out of the endless benefits to their well-being.
For people that have recently moved to Colorado, it is important to know that the locals of the state are extremely friendly and welcoming. As compared to the welcomes in other states, Colorado makes sure everyone feels comfortable at all times. Whether you are talking to your neighbor or someone on the street, you will always be in for a good conversation. Moreover, the type of people you surround yourself with will indeed benefit you in all aspects of life.
From modern sky scrapers to exotic art museums and large shopping malls to the great mountains, endless green trails and natural springs, Colorado is the state that will give the taste of all experiences in one boundary. While some can go to the mall as a getaway, others can hop on their bikes and go on hiking trails without having to worry about anything. Within this one state, every individual (resident or not) can unlock ample experiences.
Colorado is known as the state that has 300 days of sunshine, mild temperatures, and some rainfall, which is why there is no “bad time” for this state. Whether you like to enjoy the – somewhat - chilly breezes or the occasional rainfall, when the sun is out and about, it is important to take full advantage. With the fresh smell lingering in the air, trees greener than ever, and the breeze hitting your face, the national parks featured in this state are not to be missed.
Colorado is full of greenery, natural beauty, and wilderness but attractions do not stop there. This state has historical significance and monuments, art and culture along with shopping malls and thrift stores. Since there is so much to do, you have the freedom to mix things around. One day you can be soaking up sun at Mesa Verde National Park or dipping your feet in Strawberry Park Hot Springs and the other you can be at the mall buying your favorite purses.
How it Affects Us
Studies suggest, “where we live is a matter of medical interest.” The study of geospatial medicine explains how a person’s location can influence their health and well-being in both positive and negative ways. Alongside bearing genetic DNA, people also bear environmental DNA. Biologist and geographer Amy Blatt states, “I don’t think people take into account how importantly a place impacts their health until it’s too late.”
Dan Buettner wrote in “The Blue Zones of Happiness,” that people live happier, longer and healthier when they are surrounded by sunshine, green spaces, and access to whole foods while also taking fitness in account. The geographical location of an individual determines their happiness more than anything else.
Researchers have proved that sunlight is the “natural antidepressant” for the brain. Recent and past studies have proven that spending time in the sun produces serotonin (mood regulating) so an individual’s mood can be great even on darker days. If someone does not spend quality time in the sunlight, it can lead to SAD (seasonal affective disorder). With this disorder, it becomes hard for individuals to function as they become becoming lethargic, and physical activity can then be lowered.
All in all, your geographical location plays a big role in your happiness, health and well-being. If you plan to move to Colorado, then you can rest assured that your happiness, health, and well-being will be as high as possible.
by Ashley Lipman
Perhaps it’s the beauty of the mountains. Maybe it’s the diversity of the modern cities just a few miles from beautiful mountains, clear mountain streams, fishing, and more, but Colorado is a lovely place to live. You can find great colleges and universities in the state, along with world-class medical facilities and specialists. What can’t be found in Colorado?
Festivals and fairs
It is probably safe to say that Colorado is in the top few states for the number of festivals and fairs that are held. Some of these festivals date back for many decades, and there is likely a festival for anything you are interested in. There are festivals of music that go on for days. There are beer festivals, wine festivals, old-fashioned carnivals, and even hot air balloon festivals. Selecting the top three would be impossible! Here are our favorites.
Perhaps it’s the beauty of the mountains. Maybe it’s the diversity of the modern cities just a few miles from beautiful mountains, clear mountain streams, fishing, and more, but Colorado is a lovely place to live. You can find great colleges and universities in the state, along with world-class medical facilities and specialists. What can’t be found in Colorado?
Festivals and fairsIt is probably safe to say that Colorado is in the top few states for the number of festivals and fairs that are held. Some of these festivals date back for many decades, and there is likely a festival for anything you are interested in. There are festivals of music that go on for days. There are beer festivals, wine festivals, old-fashioned carnivals, and even hot air balloon festivals. Selecting the top three would be impossible! Here are our favorites.
Keystone Mountain Town Music Festivals
If you are a music lover, this is the festival for you. The party goes on for the entire festival, but that is not all. The festival has attractions for everyone, including carnival rides and fantastic “fair food”. You will find vendors that literally prepares hundreds of pounds of bacon that are cooked to perfection! There are over 300 types of wine and hundreds of craft beers. Keystone Colorado should be on your summer list.
Capitol Hill People's Fair
This is the festival that begun all festivals in Denver. It began in the late 1700’s. This year it begins on June 1, 2018, and runs through July 3, 2018. This is an old-fashioned fair, but there are events for all ages, with literally hundreds of arts and crafts. There is every kind of food you could want.
There will be live entertainment in the forms of shows and concerts, with a large amount of the musical bands, ensuring that a good time.
2018 Donkey Derby Days - Cripple Creek Colorado
The Donkey Derby Days is a tradition in Cripple Creek which began in 1930. This year will be year 87. There is a special race track built just for donkey races, and people come from around the world to see this event. There are rides for children and food vendors line the streets.
Bring your dog for the dog show. Admission is FREE! By the way, stop by the jail museum and take a look at the outlaws and the lawmen that made Colorado the state it is today.
We cannot possibly list everything that is going on in Colorado this spring and summer. For a full list of events and festivals for spring and summer 2018, click here.
We encourage you to route your trip. You can try to hit the best of several, or you can make plans to go for a week-long trip and see all that you can. Even if festivals are not your thing, between the music, art, shopping, food, and adventures that the cities offer will be enough to give you a vacation you will never forget!
by Jayne Sanders, Purpose Coach & Master Scientific Hand Analyst
Purpose here, purpose there, purpose everywhere! What’s the fuss about purpose?
The planet is evolving. More and more people are called to discover and live their life's innate purpose, to make the difference they are meant to make in the world. Increasing numbers of children are being born connected to their spiritual selves, as Crystal or Indigo children. It’s exciting!
All the fuss about purpose is divinely guided. It's time to step up, step out, stop procrastinating, discover your purpose, and take action. It’s time to love your life and contribute in ways that both light you up and deeply fulfill you.
If you are not currently in alignment with your purpose, what does being called to do so look and feel like? Feeling stuck, bored, unfulfilled, depressed, angry, or procrastinating can often be symptoms of living an unfulfilled life. It can feel like frustration, result in relationship or money problems, health issues, or feeling like something is missing.
The Divine will do what it takes to get your attention, perhaps by starting with a small kick in the butt. If that doesn’t work, the calling will get bigger, louder, and more painful, potentially with a large shove . And if that doesn't get your attention, yikes. Here comes a cosmic two-by-four!
Your innate purpose is your soul's agreement as to how you are meant to make a difference on the planet. Because it is your soul’s agenda, you will not feel complete, nor fulfilled, unless you bring this purpose into your life and work.
What does that feel like – living your purpose? Doing so is the only way to the more consistent, deeper joy and meaning everyone craves. The fulfillment from living your purpose is unparalleled peace of mind, relief, confidence, meaning, joy and empowerment. Will you still have challenges? Of course. But they are easier to cope with and manage because you are on purpose!
How do I know this? Personal experience. As an MBA and former corporate executive, I spent decades trying to find my ideal work. As a child, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I ended up just following my nose, and for the most part I was miserable. For me, career coaches and books didn’t help. I knew that the articulation of my purpose was what I was missing. I tried other modalities, which were helpful, but not helpful enough. Finally I did a Google search (really!) on ‘how to find life purpose’ and ran across a headline for a teleseminar promising the key to finding your purpose. My eyes widened.
I couldn’t click that link fast enough. The first words I saw were ‘hand analysis,’ and my heart sank. I was serious - I wanted my true purpose! I considered palm reading fun and helpful, but suspected it wouldn’t identify my innate purpose. I saw the word ‘scientific’, and for the moment, my anal MBA skepticism was appeased so I listened to the teleseminar. The science, credibility, and reported accuracy convinced me to get a Scientific Hand Analysis, and it changed my life!
Discovering your purpose is validating, empowering, and inspiring. It provides guidance, clarity, confidence, and permission to take action and step into your gifts to contribute to the world in your unique way. It can be scary as well. Once you know your purpose, ignoring it can bring more nudges from Divine, and wow are we good at excuses and reasons for not living our purpose!
I implore you to discover and live your purpose. There are options available out there to help you articulate it to bring it into your life and work. If you are committed to making the difference you are meant to make, to feeling joyful and fulfilled more consistently, and to achieving the success you desire on your terms, purpose is the way through.
My mantra? Live your purpose, love your life!
by Saralyn Ward
I am a working mother, with two children in full-time, center-based daycare, and I’ll be honest: Every month I wonder if it’s worth it.
When I was first pregnant, I was working full time as a project manager. I liked my job, but I knew it was only a step on my career path. I had many more goals to pursue, and I remember feeling nervous, unsure how having a child would impact my career. I wondered, would I want to keep working? Would I be able to find daycare? Would I suddenly become irrelevant in my industry? How would I balance my aspirations with my new, cherished role as mother?
But something unexpected happened after I gave birth: While my heart expanded exponentially with infinite love for my child, my personal goals and priorities came sharply into focus. Not only did I want to continue my career, but doing so became a matter of self-preservation. With little eyes watching me, I felt a renewed drive to succeed and live a life of purpose. I wanted to work, and I needed to do it efficiently. With dreams to chase and a daughter along for the ride, I was determined to continue my career.
Little did I know the biggest challenge I’d face was be the astronomical cost of daycare.
My husband and I both have good jobs, but still, our daycare costs surpass our mortgage payment. Currently 93 percent of my personal salary goes to paying for childcare. In the 4 ½ years since having my first child, I have tried almost every working situation imaginable. I’ve stayed home. I’ve worked remotely. I’ve freelanced. I’ve started my own business. I’ve worked part-time. And I’ve worked full-time. I even tried network marketing. Every one of my moves was heavily influenced by our childcare options at the time—or perhaps more accurately, lack thereof.
And I’m certainly not alone. Working parents across Colorado are trying to navigate the rocky waters of costly and limited childcare while minimizing the impact on their careers. Single parents and families living below the poverty line are hit the hardest by the lack of quality, licensed childcare in the state, and while there are resources available to help, they are hard to find.
As operational costs continue to rise and with limited federal and state support, childcare centers are forced to raise prices or sacrifice the quality of care. Often, this equates to hiring underqualified employees and paying them less than a living wage. In a September 2017 report written by the University of Denver’s Butler Institute for Families in partnership with Brodsky Research and Consulting, it was noted that “families are unable to pay the full cost of the quality care and education that they want and that society benefits from. However, society is not picking up the marginal costs between what families can afford and what quality services cost. The result is that the early care and education sector is in market failure.”
In the same report, the facts are laid bare:
According to the National Women’s Law Center, 7 in 10 mothers today are in the workforce. Yet a 2015 Washington Post survey reported 51 percent of parents stopped working or took a less challenging job for caregiving reasons.
Because women typically make less than men, mothers are often the parent to put their career on hold. Then, when their children enter school, women often struggle to find work because of the “mom gap” on their resume. Lack of affordable child care isn’t just affecting women in the years when they rely on it; their long-term career trajectory and earning potential may be affected for years to come.
The repercussions don’t end there. Companies are faced with the cost of high employee turnover, the economy suffers as disposable income diminishes, and society loses the long-term economic benefits associated with early childhood education. Yet there is hope: These socio-economic consequences are proving to be catalysts for innovative solutions.
For example, WorkLife Partnership is a Denver-based nonprofit partnering with Care.com in a pilot program to invest in family childcare settings. They aim to increase the availability of affordable, licensed care by providing grants to at-home daycare providers. This, in turn, serves the companies with which they partner.
“Our goal is to partner with businesses in Colorado to fill the need of their employees’ childcare. We hope this leads to less turnover,” says Cathy Fabiano, Childcare Business Manager for WorkLife Partnership. “What we’re doing is literally one-on-one [training for childcare providers]. I’m going to their house, looking at their space, helping them realize they could have 5 more children and saying ‘What do we need to do to make this work?’ We have used grant funding to replace fences and windows, given them equipment, bought curriculum. For one of our providers, we will pay for her Director certification. We are building these providers’ self-confidence [as] small business owners to increase their enrollment, which, in the end, helps employers.”
Fabiano sums up the problem we face in Colorado with one simple statement: “Colorado is known as a ‘childcare desert’ because there are more people who need care than the state can hold.” As our state continues to attract more residents and the cost of living increases, I hope this is just the beginning of our collective brainstorming session on ways to make the desert flourish with more opportunities for affordable, quality care. The women of Denver—and the country as a whole—are counting on it.
Saralyn Ward hosts a parenting segment on Colorado’s Everyday Show, and is the founder of The Mama Sagas, a community of women sharing their stories in video and blog form. For more stories of local Colorado women balancing a career and family, visit The Mama Sagas blog every Wednesday.
Heidi, works full time with 2 kids in daycare, $2400-3000 per month in childcare:
“Daycare eats a lot of our disposable income—$30k of it each year. That’s money that can’t be saved for college or put to other uses. But the other day I said to my husband, even if we were eating mac & cheese for dinner every night, I’d still keep my kids in school. When you find somewhere you love with people you trust, you don’t doubt what you’re doing. You just make it work.”
Jacquelyn, left full-time corporate job to move to part-time work, spends $1600 a month in childcare:
“The most challenging aspect to this situation is that as a mother I innately put my children’s needs first. Having to acquiesce to my financial situation is torture. Knowing your family needs you in a very close and personal capacity AND knowing that you have to sacrifice that to provide financially causes an intense emotional strain.”
Meggan, single mother working a demanding job with an airline, $2000 a month in childcare:
“The most challenging part of my move to Denver has been finding reliable childcare. I need child care consistently from 5 AM to 5 PM, but someone who is flexible enough to sometimes come earlier, stay later, and do overnights because my job requires a fair amount of travel. I was not able to be promoted as quickly as I could have been due to the lack of flexibility in my schedule due to unreliable child care. Having to call in on short notice and missing meetings because my child is sick, or I don’t have someone to pick her up from school means I need to take PTO, and impacts my performance at work. The amount of stress and worry is a huge distraction.”
Alima, made a complete career change because she couldn’t find childcare, $120 a month in childcare:
“I was an elementary teacher, but after scrambling for childcare constantly and going through 6 different childcare situations in one school year, I decided to quit my teaching job. It was too stressful! Trying to find a job that would work around my husband's constantly changing schedule was nearly impossible, so I created my own. I decided to take a year to fully pursue my passion in photography and see if I could make a part-time career out of it. It has been so much fun and manageable being a family photographer.”
Camille, works part-time in the fitness industry, juggles childcare between both parents and a kids’ club onsite at work, $150 per month in childcare:
“We began the process of looking for daycare when we found out I was pregnant. We toured many places, but they were ALL waitlisted. Even if they did have room, I wasn't sure we could afford to put him in daycare. We used a nanny two days per week for his first year because there was no room in any daycare facilities we researched. Also, most we found did not offer part time and because of the nature of our jobs, we did not need a full-time daycare.”
Celeste, single parent who works an hourly manufacturing job, pays $400 per month in childcare and drives 40 minutes each way for a friend to watch her child:
“My biggest challenge is not being able to have a stable babysitter. You don’t know if suddenly they’ll say they can’t watch kids anymore for whatever reason. It has happened to me before, to where I have to find someone the next day. It makes it really hard because I have to miss work or have to be late. I always panic. I don’t have the opportunity to do as much as I’d like to, like stay for overtime or go in on weekends if needed. Even if I wanted a second job for the extra income I’d have to find a night babysitter and that’s twice as complicated and I’d have to pay twice as much. I would prefer to work in a different department than where I’m at, where there’s better pay, but it’s a 12-hour shift with a rotating schedule and I can’t do that. I’m very limited in what I can do.”
This article was originally published in Women of Denver magazine.