Written by Kelsey Krahn
The global pandemic has shaken society as we know it. Our economy currently rests in a state of unpredictability, uncertainty, and unease, making it tough for many employers, employees, and non-essential businesses to generate income and stay afloat.
However, numerous working ladies in Denver have used innovation to turn adversity into impact. Several have taken this opportunity to get creative and expand their network by reaching out to new customers and clients. While others have pivoted their business to make an impact on the community.
The following eight ladies have creatively swiveled their business to help out others during the coronavirus pandemic:
Adriana Giorgetti: Content Creator and Social Media Strategist
Adriana Giorgetti, the founder and CEO of Posting Bee, is an experienced social media consultant and content creator who has ditched charging fees and is giving out her expertise for free. She has been working with businesses to help them brainstorm, bounce ideas around, and aims to do whatever she can to keep companies from closing doors.
On the side, the innovative strategist and creator is sewing masks for whoever needs them.
Erika E. Righter: Agitator, Advocate, Mom
Erika E. Righter, founder of Hope Tank, has fearlessly developed an idea that has helped small businesses during COVID-19. The agitator, advocate, and mom developed Hope Tank in 2012, a local Denver retail store that sells gifts that give back. Ever since day one, Erika has taken a percentage of Hope Tank’s sales and delegated it to a nonprofit chosen by the creator of the product. And she has continued her streak of goodwill by starting a unique fundraiser!
The fundraiser aims to raise money for now-closed small businesses that may be subject to robbery and vandalism during COVID-19. Several storefronts have been covered with plywood to hinder damage and break-ins, but some can’t afford to do so. Erika’s fundraiser will bring in money for businesses that need extra help, but it gets better.
Poets and artists will get the chance to write and draw visuals of hope on the boards, and she will pay them to do so.
Sydney Jackson-Clockston: Business Strategist, Responsible Travel and Retreat Coordinator
Sydney Jackson-Clockston, founder of Sydney Starr Travel, a company that helps clients plan ethical and sustainable travel, has experienced a significant dive in business due to COVID-19.
When Sydney started her business, she knew something like this could happen based on history: September 11th, Bird Flu, Recession of 2008, etc. But the outside-of-the-box thinker had no idea that the hospitality and tourism industry would get hit this hard.
With all that being said, she had to become strategic and savvy to ride this wave out, which is where the Business Strategist within her shines through. With COVID-19 showing limited signs of slowing, she decided to jump right into marketing virtual travel opportunities. She is now offering four weeks of free virtual travel to inspire and educate folks. This offering has been great for all ages as it gives clients something to do, is free, it inspires people to want to see the virtual destinations in real life, and it keeps her name and business relevant.
She notes that “Business will pick up again and I want to be the first name people think about when they are ready to travel again. This is just one example of how I have personally been strategic during COVID-19.”
Abby Gardner: Owner of Abby Cooks Wild
Abby Gardner, busy mom, wife, and owner of Abby Cooks Wild, alleviates the stress of mulling over dinner choices (and the thought of cooking, in general) by offering full-service, in-home meal prep to those who are time-strapped but want to consume healthy home-cooked meals. She takes orders from clients and shops for ingredients and portions the meals for them. Unfortunately, frequent grocery shopping and face-to-face interaction is no longer an option due to the pandemic. Therefore, Abby has had to pivot her business model.
She now spends a lot of time using her Facebook page to share kitchen tips and tricks with viewers—Abby rarely used her business Facebook page before COVID-19.
Since March 21, the helpful chef has gone live on Abby Cooks Wild every evening at 5 pm from her home kitchen, where she shares what she’s concocting for dinner each night. Abby aims to show her viewers that cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. She wants those tuning in to feel empowered!
In addition to sharing recipes, Abby has been engaging with her viewers by providing tips on ingredient substitutions, discussing kitchen hacks, and detailing unique ways to use the food already in the fridge or pantry.
Danielle Smith: Photographer and Personal Development Coach
Danielle Smith, founder of Lotus & Lily Photography, has had to change her work drastically due to social distancing measures. The lifestyle, portrait, and wedding photographer needs to be around people for her business to thrive, but she can’t do so anymore.
However, Danielle has decided to push another aspect of herself that she has been hesitant about, which is to work as a personal development coach. She aims to encourage positivity during these tough times. Her story portrays that COVID-19, even though horrible, may inspire a fire within to try something you’ve always wanted to try.
Jennifer Peters and Amber Hunter and: Owner, Head Baker at Just Be Kitchen
Jennifer Peters, owner of Just be Kitchen, a fast-casual restaurant that has a mission to serve mindful meals, and Amber Hunter, Head Baker, have pivoted their business to benefit members of their community.
Just Be Kitchen has concocted the first medically approved immunity boxes: Just BE Immune Meal Kits. These boxes will help keep their business relevant while also benefiting the community.
The Just BE Immune Meal Kits include a nutritious, fulfilling box of meals and supplies, specifically made with proven nutrients that elevate immunity and combat illness. Each box contains five large entrees with specific ingredients that build the body’s defense against illness, soup, house-made bone broth, and golden turmeric powder to fight inflammation. The boxes are available for individual purchase, but they are setting a target for 500 boxes to be donated to front line workers in healthcare, law enforcement, and grocery stores.
Diane Wall: Psychotherapist for Domestic Abuse Clients
Diane Wall, psychotherapist, has had quite the shift in her work. She has had to learn to live with so much uncertainty over the last few weeks. Diane used to help women by not only seeing them in her office but at their place of business or a phone session. The psychotherapist unveils that COVID-19 has stopped her from seeing clients, but she still manages to find moments where they can exchange a few words.
She says that “now there is no break from an abusive partner.” Diane continues, “I feel as though I am holding my breath and waiting for that very thing I’ve tried so hard to help them avoid.”
Diane’s work exemplifies how COVID-19 is forcing some people to live in painful, uncomfortable, and abusive situations.
COVID-19 has shifted everyone’s lives and the economy. Some jobs have stopped completely—around 17 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits in the last month—while other entrepreneurs have been forced to get creative and tap into another skill or try out another endeavour. Everyone is fighting to stay relevant, and these ladies deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to empowering and bettering the local community of Denver.
Well Fit Human founder Wendy Yates is a beam of light in the wellness travel community.
Contributed by Lisa Blake, Writer, Editor, and Content Creator
Colorado entrepreneur Wendy Yates is a woman on fire. Not even COVID-19 can shut that down. The luxury lifestyle designer has spent the past year carving out a trailblazing niche, bringing together destination travel, fitness and philanthropy with her groundbreaking retreat series, Well Fit Human.
Spurred from her successful national luxury lifestyle design firm Abigail-Elise Design Studio, Well Fit Human takes wellness destination travel to the next level, amping it up with intense cardio workouts (think booty-shaking hip-hop sweat sessions), coach-driven strength training, soul-nourishing yoga and mindfulness talks and impactful volunteer efforts.
Yates had planned to travel with her team of coaches and humanitarian volunteers to Hopkins, Belize in May and Vis Island in Croatia this October. In the wake of COVID-19 and subsequent travel and retreat shutdowns—and, who are we kidding, all around life shutdown—she is pivoting and inspiring others to stay mentally and physically well.
Her organization has shifted to growing community through connection and promoting personal growth and positive impact. Yates’ virtual community dinners, dubbed Cocktails and Conversations, are bringing people together over Jeffersonian-inspired BYO feasts. Friends and strangers gather over Zoom screens to share their travel and wellness stories and books and quotes that lift them up and to listen to encouraging speakers share their success stories.
Yates is a beautiful example of how showing up for ourselves and connecting with friends and strangers is so important right now. With her retreats and in-person wellness day gatherings postponed for the time being, she is funneling that energy into launching a new podcast, sharing one-on-one Q&As that delve into everything from physical fitness to emotional mindsets.
Her lifestyle design firm Abigail-Elise Design is embracing the pivot as well, shifting from in-home design consults and build-outs to an online platform focused on cultivating wellness within our new work-from-home spaces. The eDesign consultations take a close look at ways to feel nurtured, connected and productive as we retreat into our homes.
Well Fit Human is collecting and donating food for mountain town food banks, setting up a lighthearted contest where volunteers snap a pic of themselves dropping food off at donation centers and entering them into a drawing for a spot on a future wellness retreat.
The group is hosting a virtual wellness day for teachers in April, offering a mental health break loaded with guided meditation, yoga and barre classes and emotional support conversations.
Like the former freewheeling lives we’re longing for right now, Yates’ impact travel retreats will return and the theme “Sweat. Help. Heal” will ring truer than ever. For now, we can find a smile in women like her, knowing they’re here for us, spreading kindness and connection and inspiring us to live harder and burn brighter.
Contributed by Deborah Radman, Chairman, Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, CoGreatWomen.org
The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing and preserving the history of accomplishments by extraordinary women with strong ties to Colorado. Since 1985, 162 diverse women have been inducted.
These inductees represent our 2020 class, and the next group of contemporary and historic women to be recognized for their exemplary contributions to their fields and for opening new frontiers for women in society.
These women will be recognized in a formal ceremony on March 18, 2020.
Katherine Archuleta Growing up in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, Katherine Archuleta has had an extraordinary and influential career, including a position in the Obama administration as head of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, that has changed the landscape for what is possible for women and, specifically, Latina women.
Lupe Briseño As the organizer of the Kitayama Carnation Strike, Lupe Briseño demonstrated the strength and power of Latina leadership in Colorado’s Labor Movement and helped set the stage for the Colorado Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and ‘70s.
Rosalind “Bee” Harris Rosalind “Bee” Harris has dedicated her career to elevating communities of color by providing a platform for their voices and their stories with the founding of the Denver Urban Spectrum newspaper in 1987 and the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation in 2000.
Velveta Howell Velveta Howell has made many contributions as a life-long champion for social justice and advocacy. She was the eighth African American female graduate of the University of Colorado Law School and the first woman of color appointed as Colorado’s Deputy District Attorney.
Marianne Neifert, MD, MTS Colorado’s earliest physician breastfeeding champion, Marianne Egeland Neifert, MD, MTS, has devoted more than 40 years to improving maternal-child health. She helped re-establish breastfeeding as a community norm and advanced the nascent discipline of breastfeeding medicine.
Gale Norton Gale Norton was the first woman Colorado Attorney General (1991-99) and the first woman to be appointed as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (2001-06) under President George W. Bush. On behalf of Colorado and 45 other states as Colorado Attorney General, Norton helped negotiate the most extensive legal settlement in history: a $206 billion national tobacco settlement.
Mary Lou Anderson A passionate advocate for cultural arts and arts education, Mary Lou Anderson was an influential leader across Colorado and the nation through her development of programs that engage millions of students, educators, and business leaders in the cultural arts. Anderson founded the National Parent Teacher Association Reflections Program and the Arts Business Education Consortium.
Dr. Alida Cornelia Avery A graduate of the New England Female Medical College of Boston in 1862, Dr. Alida Cornelia Avery was a professor of Human Physiology and Hygiene, and a Resident Physician at Vassar College from 1866-1874. In 1874 she moved to Denver, Colorado, and is credited as Colorado’s first woman to practice medicine while also serving as the Superintendent of Hygiene.
Elizabeth Piper Ensley Elizabeth Piper Ensley was an African American educator, political activist, and suffragist. Her leadership was instrumental in Colorado’s victorious campaign for full voting rights in 1893. Ensley dedicated her career to organizing for women’s rights, especially for African American women.
Carolina Gonzalez Carolina Acuña Díaz González was a Colorado Renaissance Pioneer, renowned for her welcoming home, her active support for the arts and culture, and her uniquely authentic restaurant, Casa Mayan, a “Mutalista” or refuge for 40 years for immigrants in Colorado. González provided accommodations and a safe haven during the Depression for countless youths “riding the rails” to Colorado.
Imagine a world where every woman-owned shop is filled with customers from open to close, and women-owned products fly from the shelves in a frenzy of women supporting other women. This beautiful reality is possible, but only with our help!
This year, we’re providing a listing of a few woman-owned businesses and products you can consider for your holiday gift-giving. These [lightly edited] recommendations were submitted by our community, either the owners or valued patrons of the brands mentioned here.
Use this resource as a starting point to learn about opportunities to support women in business, but being a great advocate doesn’t end with a one-time visit. Seeking out opportunities throughout the year will help these companies thrive, grow, and scale to new heights.
Adventure: Your Passport to Inspired Living
Submitted by Susan Golicic; Written by Susan Golicic
Like the Phoenix, Adventure provides the fire through which you transform to live the life you desire. Adventure gets you out of your comfort zone and enables you to learn more about yourself as you shift your boundaries. Because it stretches you, it moves you forward on your journey. It helps you be the leader of your own life! So how can you get more of it? All of this is explained further in this easy to read book, available electronically on Amazon, or in signed hard copy from the author (www.UW.coach).
From what adventure is to its risks and rewards, you can begin to imagine how fulfilled your life will be with more adventure. It makes a great gift for you and/or someone you love!
Get it at: https://www.amazon.com/Adventure-Your-Passport-Inspired-Living-ebook/dp/B07TDLX8HC/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=golicic+adventure&qid=1574275832&sr=8-1
Submitted by Rhoda Johnson; Founded by Rhoda P. Johnson
The products focus on developing a personalized style for women, to authentically expresses their personality and skill set with classic and contemporary beauty and fashion elements informed by wellness for self care.
Each gemstone jewelry design is a one-of a-kind, created by Rhoda Johnson and named affectionately to describe what she experienced in the design process. Clients often receive compliments when wearing the jewelry designs. These designs are created with classic and contemporary styling to be versatile for casual to dressy outfits for years to come.
You will be self assured to show up with a personal brand embodies your signature style to help increase your social and financial capital. Great gift for women who like distinctive jewelry!
Get it at: https://rhodadesigngroup.com
Everyday Mindfulness From Chaos To Calm In A Crazy World
Submitted by Holly Duckworth; Written by Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP, LSP
There are good days and bad days. Then, there is every day. This daily reader book invites us each day to apply mindfulness practices. Whether you read once each day or pick up this book from time to time, the experience will leave you calm and inspired.
From the host of the Everyday Mindfulness Show, Holly Duckworth.
“Holly has exceptional high energy, thoughtful insights, and a dynamic stage presence. Her willingness to truly understand the client’s or audience’s needs makes her stand apart from most. She is a pleasure to work with.”
Megan Denhardt- Denhardt Group
Get it at: https://hollyduckworth.com/books-by-holly-duckworth/
Copper Door Coffee
Submitted by Hannah Ulbrich; Founded by Hannah Ulbrich
100% Woman Owned Coffee Roasting Company. With a variety of roasts and origins, Copper Door Coffee Roasters sources a majority of coffee from Woman Producers around the world.
Since its inception in 2006 by Sinjin Eberle, up until 2014, the café had been solely a wholesale business, roasting coffee out of a garage. In 2014, Hannah Ulbrich took over the business, fostering a vision of expansion and community mindedness.
We are extremely proud to be Denver's only 100% female owned coffee roaster. In a male-dominated industry, we are proud to support females doing amazing work in the Denver coffee community.
Our purpose at Copper Door Coffee Roasters is to provide you with the best possible fresh roasted coffee--coffee that reflects tradition and craftsmanship practiced around the world over hundreds of years.
Get it at: www.copperdoorcoffee.com
The Gratitude Connection: Embrace the positive power of thanks
Submitted by Amy Collette; Written by Amy Collette
Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul. The stories and practices in this book help you connect to the positive power of gratitude every day:
May you embrace the positive power of gratitude!
Get it at: https://amzn.to/2r9USR1
Serein Naturals: The Sampler Box
Submitted by Angela Wells; Founded by Angela Wells
Serein Naturals offers a collection of vegan hair, face, and body care products for women, men, and children. The Sampler Box allows you to try almost everything Serein Naturals offers while saving $50 versus ordering individually.
We’re all about the good stuff here at Serein Naturals. That means no nasty chemicals, no synthetic fragrances, and no ingredients that require a fancy science degree to pronounce. We keep our products clean and natural, using mostly organic plant-based ingredients and pure essential oils that nourish your hair, face, and body.
Serein Naturals; where hydration reigns, naturally. You will feel great as you use these body care products every day.
Get it at: www.sereinnaturals.com
Bella Envie Clothing
Submitted by Karen Kirkland; Founded by Karen Kirkland
Welcome to Bella Envie Clothing! Bella Envie is the destination for women’s apparel. We offer clothing with affordable prices and amazing quality. We receive new merchandise weekly and offer impeccable customer service.
Customer satisfaction always comes first.
Our mission is to make every person feel comfortable in who they are.
We offer a wide variety of clothing for women.
Get it at: www.bellaenvieclothing.com
Submitted by Lynn Clark; Founded by Raven Faber
EngErotics is short for “Engineered Erotics” and their mission is simple: We aim to bring high-quality, well-engineered intimacy devices along with expertly formulated CBD (cannabidiol) infused intimate body care products to market. The founder and scientists behind the products are women!
“I adore EngErotics' CBD products, and specifically their Soaking Sand Bath Shots. The scents are delicious. And even more importantly, there is enough certified CBD content to provide tremendous relaxation and pain relief. I've also used their Salve Stick both for sore muscles and for intimate use, and it's terrific.”
The products are hypoallergenic, heat resistant, and completely inert causing no reaction with a person’s natural body chemistry.
EngErotics, bringing you pleasure derived from Science.
Get it at: http://engerotics.com
Rsport Athletic Apparel
Submitted by Shauna Armitage; Founded by CJ Riggins
Plus size women move, sweat, chafe and abrade differently than any product currently available on the market supports. Big brands will size up the designs they already have instead of designing their clothing specifically for plus size bodies. With unique product features like a crossover waistband, abrasion panels in the thighs, and opaque fabrics, Rsport gear was designed specifically for plus size women.
Rsport is building athletic apparel like capris, tops, and jackets for active plus size women who the industry has left behind. We believe that all women are strong and deserve products that focus on performance, craftsmanship, and style that fits each unique female form, which is why Rsport is dedicated to building an inclusive brand that supports women in more ways than one.
Get it at: www.RsportLife.com
Submitted by Celeste Ferro; Founded by Celeste Ferro
Mala necklaces are beautiful pieces of jewelry, but did you know that they are tools to help you in your meditation practice? Each mala I make is unique and comes with an intention tied into each knot. Every step of the process, from creation to the tassel, it is done while chanting a Sanskrit mantra specific for that Mala. Your necklace will come with instructions as to how to use it during your meditation practice through Japan mantra meditation.
“Celeste is an extremely gifted massage therapist. Her healing touch and intuitive sense allows for the deepest parts of my physical body to experience healing while in her care. Her knowledge and wisdom as a conduit for the Reiki Ki energy is an extra added bonus, as is, the medicinal oils she uses. I highly recommend her to all my friends and clients.”-esteemed client.
Get it at: www.wholeheartedlywellbeing.com
Pony Pondering Daily Inspiration Cards
Submitted by Kami Guildner; Created by Kami Guildner
Pony Ponderings© is a deck of 50 beautifully illustrated daily inspiration cards bringing positive, thought-provoking guidance to your soul path. Inspired by the heart and wisdom of horses, the messages provide a pathway to your deepest inner knowledge, playfully engaging your mind, body, emotions and spirit. Written by Kami Guildner and beautifully illustrated by Diana Lancaster of Lancaster Arts these cards will breathe new meaning into your life and inspire your deepest aspirations!
Kami Guildner believes women’s voices matter. She helps her clients raise up their voice, their brand and their business so they can make the impact they desire in the world. Kami weaves soulful-inspiration into mindful business strategies, helping her clients succeed in business and worldly impact.
With a passion for leading change-making women to their purpose, she helps her clients “Live Out Loud” and step into intentional action fueled with vitality and courage.
Get it at: https://www.kamiguildner.com/product/pony-ponderings-inspiration-cards/
Works of Heart
Submitted by Holly Duckworth; Founded by Gina DiPalo
Looking for that special one of a kind gift, book, or card? The Works of Heart store is full of inspirational items for home or office. Here you will find statutes, quote signs, books, and more hand selected by the team to connect heart to heart.
We honor and support fair-trade artisans, and by purchasing these products you have a hand in directly supporting our brothers and sisters. Our Works of Heart store stocks fair-trade products, inspirational books that promote positive living and socially conscious gifts, jewelry, apparel and home décor. We also carry a wide array of spiritual icons. We strive to keep prices low, and our inventory is constantly changing to keep you coming back.
Take a break from your busy day and experience our peaceful, loving environment while you shop.
Find us at: https://www.milehichurch.org/Store
Submitted by Erika Righter; Founded by Erika Righter
Hope Tank is a woman-owned gift store in the heart of the Baker neighborhood that sells gifts that give back. We partner with small local nonprofits, raise awareness about their impact in the community, and get our customers activated. We sell everything from baby gifts, jewelry, menswear, to local art.
Hope Tank opened in February of 2012, and we started off selling handmade products by local artists who joined us in donating a portion of their sales to a charity of their choosing. We have expanded our inventory to include all kinds of awesome products from companies all over the world that we use to connect our customers to our local nonprofit partners.
Contact us to host your private shopping party, podcast recording, workshop, pop-up or to assemble a custom gift basket.
Find us at: www.hopetank.org
Submitted by Maureen Patterson; Founded by Maureen Patterson
Stitch Boutique has a love for fresh and effortless style and enhancing your closet at an affordable price. We bring statement making pieces to Denver and will. Since its inception in 2012 by Nicole English and Maureen Patterson, Stitch Boutique has become one of the admirable stores in the woman's fashion scene in the Denver Metro Area.
Opening their first location in the bustling, trendy, chic neighborhood known as The Highlands, Stitch Boutique promises nothing short of a variety of excellent clothes to pick from.
“Stitch Boutique breathes new life into the Denver fashion scene with a unique and inventive inventory of stylish threads.”
Find us at: https://www.stitchboutique.net/
House of Pod
Submitted by Catherine De Medici Jaffee; Founded by Catherine De Medici Jaffee
Want to start a podcast? Welcome to House of Pod, Colorado’s first podcast incubation hub. We’re your one-stop shop for launching a world-class podcast and connecting with a global podcast community. Join as a member - annual or monthly, give the gift of a podcast production consultation, and so much more!
House of Pod is here to help you produce your show, connect with other creators through classes and workshops, and level-up your content. While shared podcast studios are becoming more and more common, House of Pod remains unique because they are an active and passionate production company collaborating with leading names in radio and making things every single day.
Find us at: https://www.houseofpod.org/
Submitted by Rhoda Johnson; Founded by Rise Jones
TeaLee’s TeaHouse & Bookstore is located at the gateway of Denver’s Historic Five Points, in an afro-centric atmosphere. TeaLees Tea Co. sells books, quality loose leaf teas, offer High & Afternoon Teas by reservation along with a daily selections of quiches, soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries & specialty beverage drinks including; beer, wine, spirits & kombucha.
Most importantly, the founder sees TeaLee’s as a safe, congenial, relaxed, and regular gathering space, which moves to the Rhythm of Tea.
This is a place where guests can enjoy each other’s company and a variety of books, chocolate, and selected sundries.
Find us at: https://www.tealeesdenver.com
Amanda Gordon, Owner, Gojo Auto
How would you describe your job/business to a 5th grader?
I help people get reliable transportation so they can do their daily necessities such as getting to work, getting to the grocery store, getting to the gym, picking up their children from school, getting to family activities, going on family vacations, and help them not worry about breaking down on the side of the road when having to do these daily tasks. I also help women get promoted into positions of power within the car business or the automotive space.
How did you get started in the business?
I was going to college and working the Gap when a woman named Carmara Hughes came into my store. She originally visited for coats and blouses, but I ended up selling her three pairs of denim after she stated I wouldn’t find her size. Afterwards, she invited me to work with her. I took her up on the offer and was trained by a team of women who were selling 20+ cars a month. The rest is history.
What makes you successful?
I am at any given time probably the hardest working person in the room. I'm currently working 12 to 14 hour days at my dealership, and wouldn't have it any other way. Nothing is given to you, and you have to get your butt out there and earn it. You've got to work. My success is a direct reflection of the work that I put into it, and I want to give more than I take. Becoming the first black female car dealer in the state of Colorado and one of five in the nation was an honour, as well as a disappointment. Here we are in 2019, and there's still a first black woman category in something as major as the car industry which is something that I don't take lightly. It's another reason that drives my purpose and my passion because I can't fail.
In what way do you help advance the careers of other women in your field/industry?
It’s my duty, my passion, and my purpose to grow the female workforce within the automotive space. Right now it's only 20% at every capacity. The car business is not just my job, it is my life, and hopefully you'll be seeing plenty more from me when it comes to women in the automotive industry and building a female workforce. The automotive space has so much growth and earning potential, that it's really a place where women need to look when they feel they’re underutilized. They can always come to the car business and make a decent living for themselves and their family.
Karen Hertz, Founder of Holidaily Brewing
How would you describe your job/business to a 5th grader?
Some people can’t eat or drink gluten because it makes them sick, and Holidaily makes beer that doesn’t have gluten so all adults can drink it without getting sick.
How did you get started in the business?
Holidaily was a combination of my education, work life, and personal life. I utilized my MBA in Entrepreneurial Studies to help understand multiple aspects of the business, worked for Miller Coors for around ten years, and had beer industry experience that helped guide me as well. Lastly, after receiving a second cancer diagnosis, I was given a treatment plan that included a gluten-free diet. I decided to combine my experience, dietary restrictions, and love for beer to start a 100% certified, dedicated gluten-free brewery.
What makes you successful?
Knowing my strengths and weaknesses. I focus on utilizing my strengths and surrounding myself with amazing people who fill in where my weaknesses are.
In what way do you help advance the careers of other women in your field/industry?
3% of breweries are owned by women, however, we are a growing force in the industry, especially in Colorado. I support women in the industry not only as (hopefully) a role model but through my involvement in groups, speaking at events, and mentorship, while encouraging all women to go for it! We have two separate female customers who have started their own food trucks since Holidaily opened. Women empowering and inspiring other women is contagious.
Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, Founder of Gaudiani Clinic
How would you describe your job/business to a 5th grader?
I'm an internal medicine doctor who specializes in what happens to people's bodies as a result of eating disorders. Eating disorders carry the highest risk of death of any mental illness, and people who don't take in enough nutrition, or purge what they eat, or binge eat, can have a lot go wrong with their medical health.
How did you get started in the business?
Having had a family member recover from an eating disorder, I've experienced the fear and also borne witness to the triumph of a full recovery. When I got to Denver in 2007, I joined the Hospitalist staff at Denver Health. A year into my employment, I had the opportunity to join a service within Denver Health that was the highest level of multidisciplinary internal medicine care in the country for adults whose anorexia nervosa had become so critical that they could not receive care anywhere else.
What makes you successful?
Without a doubt, my privilege lies at the core of the opportunities I've had, and I think about that on a daily basis to remind myself of certain structural inequities that benefitted me, so that I am able to use this to pay it forward and do good for others. Also vital were and are my parents' support through my education, my own good health, the fortune of having fallen in love with my husband when we were in college and having his constant encouragement these past 23 years, having two wonderful daughters who inspire me and remind me to be a good role model, and having dear friends and remarkable colleagues within the clinic.
In what way do you help advance the careers of other women in your field/industry?
I set and personally hold strong boundaries between work and life, and I model these and ask my work mates to do the same. For women especially, who often juggle so many diverse obligations and roles outside of our professional lives, this is vital to preventing burnout and feeling whole. I have mentored young women since my training days, and in my lectures and writing I try to both model and recommend a realization of each person's unique needs, strengths, and challenges. The field I'm in allows me to rail against diet culture, narrowly-defined traits that denote beauty, health, and acceptance, and the deeply harmful and unscientific beliefs so common today about food (and its restriction). My hope is that in the 1:1 work I do with patients and their loved ones, in the workspace I get to create and nurture, and in my public speaking or writing, I'm able to inspire and help women in lots of ways, by means of expressing my gratitude for all that I've received.
Written by Kelsey Krahn - Freelance writer, online English teacher, and globetrotter—will only travel and work in places where she can watch hockey online (basically anywhere in the world).
It’s more common for men to pursue careers in trades, but some companies and organizations aim to inspire more women to join the industry. One welding company in Denver hopes to destroy the common stigma that surrounds welding jobs. For the most part, society views a career in welding as a job meant for men. It’s dirty. It’s gritty. It’s hard work. But more and more reports reveal that the welding industry has a shortage of workers—and women can help.
Dirty Hands Fabrication, a welding company providing training in Denver, has a different approach to teaching the trade, one that suits women. Some women may find the thought of joining a male-dominated program at college or trade school daunting. Therefore, inexpensive, female-focused programs have worked to entice women to learn a life skill that can help to provide a living wage and steady opportunity.
The video below showcases one of the classes held by the company and how women in the program get to interact with trainers and hands-one projects.
Women In Welding is a Denver, Colorado based workshop ran by Neal Jordan of Dirty Hands Fabrication (dirtyhandsfab.com). The intent of this course is to introduce women into an environment that has been labeled as a man's territory in the past.
In this series from Flatiron School, we’ll be talking to women in tech about their career journey, the essential lessons they’ve learned, and how more women can follow the path to join essential roles in computing.
This interview features Madeline Ryerson, Senior Software Engineer at Guild Education.
How would you explain your role to a 5th grader?
Tell me what you know about college...Exactly! It’s a special kind of school, for people older than you are. And do you think it’s important to go to college?... Yeah, I do too. It’s very important to help you get a job, but sometimes it’s really expensive, so it can be hard to do. So, the company I work for helps people go to college, without having to pay a lot! And I build the websites and computer programs to help people choose and apply to the program they want to do.
What inspired you to follow this particular career path?
Before I went to Flatiron School, I worked in market research for ~2 years. I really enjoyed the big picture of what I was doing -- equipping marketing teams with data to drive their strategy -- but I didn’t love doing the same thing every day. I had taken one computer science class in college, and when I started thinking about leaving my market research job, took a few online programming courses. I realized I loved programming, and decided to apply to Flatiron. The rest is history! I love actually building products, and not just helping other people decide what might be the right thing to do or build.
If you could go back 5 years ago and talk to yourself at that time, what would you share with her about her future in this career?
5 years ago, I had not, even for a second, considered a future in tech. I had recently discovered market research, and figured that when you set out on one career, you didn’t really make a switch for a while. So the first thing I would tell her is to not be afraid to take the plunge onto an unknown path, especially if it means you’ll be doing something you really love! The second thing I would tell her is, “You’re seriously never going to be done learning in this industry, so don’t get discouraged when you feel like you know nothing. You know so much more than you think, and you’re constantly learning more just by struggling through these new problems.”
What were the most important actions you took that helped you land the job role you have now?
Just putting myself out there! I am traditionally terrible at networking, it is not my comfort zone at all. But I had just moved to a new city, without a job, and had absolutely nothing to lose. So, I cold called/emailed friends of friends, got coffee with so many people, and applied to every job that looked interesting, even if I wasn’t fully qualified. Flex those networking and interviewing muscles, even if you really don’t want to!
After starting at Guild: I think it’s really important to make yourself accessible, and show that you are willing to help out with anything and everything, especially when you’re starting in a junior role. Before I was contributing at a more senior level, I made myself known as someone you could come to for help, or to simply get stuff done, which meant I was trusted to take on more individual responsibilities as I grew in my career.
Tell us about the most exciting (or inspiring, or creative) thing you've done so far in your career?
I was engineer #3 at Guild, and was very junior when I started! It was intimidating, but also incredibly exciting to just be thrown into the deep end. I learned so much just by being forced, for lack of a better term, to “make it work.” Starting that early on, I was also able to learn a lot about the company and our business model, which personally helps me do my job a lot better. I don’t think I’d like working for a company whose mission I was not aligned with, or where there was lack of transparency around how the organization worked.
What was it like attending Flatiron School?
In a nutshell, attending Flatiron was one of the best decisions I have ever made. From the technical skills I acquired, to the amazing people I met in my cohort, it was truly a life-changing experience. I especially appreciated Flatiron’s dedication to helping us learn how to learn, through projects, pair-programming and its rigorous curriculum. I certainly graduated well-equipped for my first job: not only technically, but also with the confidence that I could figure out the unknowns as I began to grow in my career.
Explore careers at Guild Education: https://www.guildeducation.com/careers
AWS 101 - Learn CI/CD with CodePipeline
July 24 from 6-8 p.m.
Amazon.com is the largest e-commerce marketplace and cloud computing platform in the world as measured by revenue and market capitalization. So, how does Amazon do it?! Amazon Web Services, or AWS!
AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies, and governments, on a paid subscription basis. The technology allows subscribers to have at their disposal a virtual cluster of computers, available all the time, through the Internet.
Learn about Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment with AWS's CodePipeline. We will walk you through deploying a static site onto an S3 bucket and setting up a pipeline with CodePipeline to listen to changes to your Github Repo.
Contributed by: Sarah Parady, Colorado Women's Bar Association's President Elect and member of the Pay Equity Subcommittee
On April 17, 2019, the four women and six men of the House Business and Labor Affairs Committee listened to hours of testimony on Colorado’s own pay equity bill, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.
The representatives heard the dismal statistics: Despite passage of the federal Equal Pay Act in in 1963, women in Colorado lag behind men in pay by amounts that are staggering over the course of a lifetime. Compared to white men, white women in our state make 78 cents to the dollar, followed by Asian/Pacific Islander women at 70 cents, Black women at 63 cents, Indigenous women at 56 cents, and Latina women at only 54 cents. For an individual Latina, this amounts to an average lifetime wage gap of over $1 million dollars.
They heard the personal stories: One woman testified that she learned a male subordinate made far more than her when he complained about withholdings for child support and showed her his paycheck. Another testified that when she noticed she wasn’t receiving raises commensurate with her evaluations in her pharmaceutical company job, she had the courage to ask her male colleagues about their pay, and was staggered to learn she made less than two thirds of what they did—and that her company refused to correct the issue until it was purchased by a European competitor.
The bill before the Committee, which ultimately passed and will move on to the Appropriations committee for a vote that proponents hope will send it to the House floor, has been years in the making. From 2010 to 2015, a legislatively-created Pay Equity Commission studied the wage gap in Colorado and encouraged business to voluntarily take measure to equalize pay. The Commission was disbanded when the legislature refused to renew it in the 2015 session. In 2016 and 2017, a coalition of organizations concerned with the pay gap backed a series of bills designed to make incremental improvements to wage transparency and other related issues, with a mixed track record of passage.
Despite the value of these measures, the community and legislative partners behind them felt the time was ripe for a bolder step towards change. A high-profile case equal pay case involving female faculty members at Denver University’s Sturm College of Law drew national attention, and particularly the attention of the legal community in Colorado, many of whom were educated by the professor plaintiffs, when the EEOC found that the law school had underpaid them drastically compared to men (by an average of $15,000). The US Women’s National Soccer Team’s courageous self-advocacy raised the profile of the issue with the general public, and several other states including Massachusetts and New Jersey passed state-level measures designed to succeed where the federal EPA had failed.
The result was the bill that has now passed the Colorado Senate and its first House Committee. Under the CEPEWA, businesses would be responsible for taking a host of transparency measures to help make it easier for women to advocate for higher pay, such as sharing all promotional opportunities internally; posting a salary range in job announcements; and refraining from asking for applicants’ salary history. The bill also makes it possible for Colorado women to go to court to recover lost wages if they are paid less than male colleagues in equivalent roles, without a justification such as a difference in seniority, training, or job location. To address the reality that unequal pay is compounded by intersectional factors, women of color, older women, and women with disabilities can recover the entirety of the pay gap they experience even if other women in the workplace are paid more than they are.
Originally drafted by attorney members of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the bill has drawn support from a wide range of partners including businesses and business groups, advocacy groups supporting women and women of color, workers’ rights groups, and legal organizations.
As Coloradans, we live in a state with a stronger economy than most, but female workers and especially women of color have not shared equally in the benefits of growth. Women are paid less across industries, across the state, and throughout their careers. We are past due for a change, and hope that 2019 will be the year our elected officials will take on the pay gap.
by Krystal Covington, MBA
At Women of Denver, we regularly hear from startups and established tech firms looking for ways to increase their pipeline of women. They know the value of the diversity of thought that comes with having greater gender parity and are willing to do the work to seek out more women to jump in to write code, lead development teams, and bring new ideas for product development.
Denver is a massive talent pipeline for these companies, which is why so many great firms are choosing to move their headquarters to the Denver area, or launch here from the start.
As the local tech scene explodes, educational institutions such as WeWork’s Flatiron School have come along to continue growing the pool of trained coders, data scientists, UX designers, and software engineers.
Flatiron opened this spring and has made a home in WeWork’s LoHi offices, until their state of the art campus at the Hub opens this summer. The company is providing free sessions to showcase their learning environment and specialized trainers.
As part of their Women Take Tech Initiative, they’ve partnered with Women of Denver to help drive more women to attend the course and explore a potential career path in coding. The school has enacted a plan of improving gender parity in the tech world by providing over $1 million in scholarships to women, hosting events for women in tech, and striving for gender parity in their own classrooms. Sponsoring Women of Denver is just one of the many actions they’re taking to be leaders in this mission.
Learn more about Flatiron School’s Women Take Tech Initiative on their website.
By Angela Jackson
There’s no doubt life in Denver has its perks. This living, breathing metropolis has the Rocky Mountains for a backyard. Its healthy lifestyle and growing economy strengthens its reputation for being one of the best places to live…and work. There are several businesses moving their headquarters here because they recognize an opportunity.
Here’s a look at just a few businesses coming our way.
VF Corp. is a publicly traded outdoor apparel company that recently announced it plans to separate into two independent entities. The first will be called VF Corporation and the other is yet to be named. It is referred to as NewCo in the meantime.
VF Corp. is the headquarters for global brands synonymous with outdoor living. Some of their brands you may know well and use whenever a hike or other adventure calls: The North Face, JanSport, Timberland and SmartWool. It made sense for them to set up shop close to the customers who use their products.
“Colorado is an area with an unrivaled heritage and culture of outdoor and activity-
based lifestyles, as well as a thriving business environment,” said Steve Rendle, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Denver is a good fit for VF Corp not only for its culture, but it made good business sense in order to attract a high-level workforce also.
“We believe that the creation of our new headquarters in the area will help us to unlock
collaboration across our outdoor brands, attract and retain talent, and accelerate
innovation,” Rendle said.
Slack Corporation sees the value in Denver too. The San Francisco-based online collaboration company has signed a lease and is expected to move into the Lower Downtown area. If you take a quick glance on LinkedIn, you will see they have several positions to offer. In fact, they may have over 500.
In May 2018, the Colorado Office of Economic Development approved and offered the company a $10.5 million incentive to encourage the company to open an office here. Slack accepted, and the tech firm told the state that it estimates its Denver hub would create up to 550 full-time jobs with an average salary of $107,975.
Slack’s presence downtown will add to the numerous technology companies relocating to Denver.
ezCater opened its second office in Denver earlier this year. They state they are the only nationwide marketplace for business catering. Their model is to connect corporations with reliable catering to meet any culinary need.
You would think with the word ‘cater’ in its name, everyone who worked there would be a great chef. However, the Boston-based company considers itself a tech company. They spent years improving their technology to connect corporate clients with a local catering service. ezCater selected Denver based on the city’s strong emergence as a technology center with a diverse and experienced talent pool.
"Denver has great talent," said Stefania Mallett, CEO of ezCater. "We’re growing so fast
that we had to open our Denver office to find enough of the insanely helpful people that our customers love."
Funding Circle connects small businesses with investors who want to finance them.
Funding Circle is becoming the leading global small business loans platform that allows investors to lend to businesses looking for finance in the United States, UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
Entrepreneurship and the presence of small businesses is ever increasing. Funding Circle’s growth motivated them to spread their wings and look for another place to call home. The management team considered other areas but finally settled on the Mile High City.
“Denver has a great quality of life, low cost of living, and thriving tech and financial services industries from which we can recruit candidates. We also considered things like how many direct flights there are to San Francisco and London, where we have large offices,” said Libby Morris, Funding Circle's Head of US Loan Operations who heads up the Denver office.
Funding Circle looks to hire almost 300 people over the next two years to support its growing needs, and they are taking steps to make sure their workforce is diverse.
“Our mission at Funding Circle is to ‘build a better financial world,’ and we recognize that we can only do this by being inclusive to a workforce from all different backgrounds,” Morris said.
One of their most active employee groups is Women@FC. This group is focused on making the company welcoming for women. They also have a partnership with BankWork$, a program that trains people from diverse backgrounds and communities for careers in financial services.
“Across the company, we pay close attention to building diverse teams, starting with how job descriptions are written to eliminate non-inclusive language, all the way through to unconscious bias training for all staff. We also offer unlimited vacation and flexible working hours, which helps support working parents,” Morris said.
There are several benefits any company can hope to gain by hiring a diverse workforce.
“A wealth of research over the past decade consistently demonstrates that companies often experience many advantages and benefits when they hire and retain a more diverse and inclusive workforce,” said Lisa Christie, Senior Director of Communications for the Women’s Foundation of Colorado.
Some of these advantages include improved operational and financial performance and increased innovation and group performance. Women in particular are more likely to build consensus and collaborate with colleagues, Christie explained.
“Hiring a diverse workforce doesn’t just make sense, it makes good business sense,” Christie said.
Although some companies place priority on hiring a diverse workforce, Elaine Marino, founder of Equili, a company whose mission is to build a more diverse tech community that levels the playing field for underrepresented or underutilized groups, says there is another piece to the puzzle.
“Hiring is a really narrow focus for solving the diversity problem because it’s really an inclusion problem,” said Marino. “My advice to companies is to track attrition and dive very deep into why the attrition is occurring.”
“If you solve for inclusion, diversity will follow,” Marino said.
She said a good first step for that is to conduct exit interviews and ask those hard questions and not be afraid of the answers.
So, what’s the best way to improve hiring diverse candidates overall? In Marino’s mind, it starts at the top with a diversified leadership.
“Women and people of color need to see themselves represented at the top. Companies that have representation have no problem receiving resumes from underrepresented candidates. They see themselves at the top and a path forward.”
As new corporations continue to enter our dynamic Denver community, we hope to see a growing focus on prioritizing diversity and inclusion to continue making Denver a great place for women and minorities of all kind to thrive and grow their careers.