Let’s talk about some inspiring, Colorado-based women that are doing amazing things for our state and beyond.
There are inspiring women everywhere, but last month a group of them got together at an event that I attended called Together We Grow. I couldn’t believe the amazing work women in Colorado were doing that I had no idea about. I don’t want you to be left in the dark, so I’m sharing a little bit about them with you.
I’m going to be totally honest here and tell you that this is a combination of what I remember from the event and what you can read about these women on their websites. So here they are, in no particular order…
Lauren Y. Casteel
Lauren is the CEO and President of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. The foundation builds resources and leads change, so that every woman and girl in Colorado achieves her full potential. They do this by leading systemic change based on research.
I don’t even know where to start with Lauren. From what I saw of her, philanthropy is her thing, but I love that it’s research based. She cares about the women and girls of Colorado, especially those that are in poverty situations. Her work has gotten her inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (did you know there was such a thing?) and she has been named one of the 25 most powerful women in 2015 by the Colorado Women’s Chamber. She was a founding board member of Qualistar Colorado.
Lauren is an inspiration not only for the work she’s doing, but what is driving her to do that work. That’s what’s really amazing about Lauren. She’s one of those women that you can just tell is doing what she’s meant to be doing. She seems so at peace with herself and, I think this is the first time I’ve ever said this, she just glows. She is certainly an amazing role model and someone to look up to.
Carolyn Schuham is not originally from Colorado, but she is an active part of the Boulder community. She is the co-founder of BoldeReach, an organization that works with other non-profits that are working to improve the lives of women and children. Their focus is on raising awareness and funds to further aid these non-profits. Their tagline is “Boldly helping women and children in extreme need.”
What I thought was really interesting about Carolyn was her perspective. During the panel, we were able to get a glimpse into these women’s upbringings as they talked about their personal story. Carolyn grew up in a different era than I did, and she realized that marriage and motherhood weren’t the only things she wanted in life.
She got an education, had a career, and a family. What’s amazing to me about Carolyn is that she had all of those experiences, and yet she is still working towards something. She’s working to make other women’s lives better. Working moms are still trying to find their stride – we want to have a career, but we want it to be flexible. We want the best childcare for our children, but the cost can be so high that it might not make sense to work. It felt like Carolyn is continuing to take an active role in how working women fit into society by setting the example.
Alexis Neely also has an impressive resume. She graduated first in her class at Georgetown Law and then went on to build her own million dollar revenue-generating law practice. Now, she is working on two different ventures, the New Law Business Model and Eyes Wide Open.
I’m inspired by Alexis because she had the courage to realize that she wanted something different, if unconventional, out of life and to “go for it.” I would imagine it was not an easy journey. It takes a lot of courage to step out of a more traditional profession, like that of lawyer, and move into something different, like entrepreneurship. I know firsthand how easy it can be to be complacent in your life and career, even when you’re not running your own profitable law practice. Change like that is not to be taken lightly, but to know what’s really in your heart and pursue it is amazing. And that’s what Alexis wants to help other people do, too.
Chantal, founder of Emerging Women, has a bit of a different story. Now we didn’t hear all of this at the event. We heard a little more about what her upbringing was like, but the Chantal went to third-world countries across the globe as a Peace Corps volunteer. She then worked in medical tech and eventually became a publishing executive. She took to heart what she learned about community and connections in those third-world countries and, because she couldn’t find the same things here, decided to create it herself.
Chantal is inspiring because she put so much work into her business to make it work by herself at the beginning. The women that have spoken at her events is a laundry list of inspiring women in itself. What Emerging Women does is inspiring, too. They are all about leadership and connections and women. It’s “a global network and leadership platform for women who want to live the truth of who they are.” (PS – their live event will be happening in Denver in October.)
Jennifer is the Colorado leader of SheEO. It’s a really interesting organization, dedicated to changing the rules of business. For those of you that don’t realize this, there is a huge shift happening. Women are controlling more wealth and starting more businesses than ever before.
There is a whole movement of “mompreneurs” who are building businesses while they take care of their families. The working woman dynamic is changing. SheEO is supporting women in business in a whole new way. They started a movement of “Radical Generosity,” where people are giving money (crowdfunding) and resources to help other women succeed in business. Jennifer is inspiring just for being a part of this. Like the other women, she’s working to transform the world.
Myka is the founder of WINC – Women in Community. WINC helps smart and soulful women entrepreneurs create wealth by doing what they love. Not only does she work with women through her programs, she also puts on a lot of events in the Boulder area to foster community and to bring women together.
Myka is not only inspiring for what she’s doing in her business, but also for how much she genuinely cares about other women. Now, I think this is something all of the women on this list have in common, but Myka expresses it in her own way. She recognizes that we are all different and have our own stories and she wants to bring that out. In her own words, “It is my business to help you embody your unique expression, share it through your business, and make great money doing it.”