Page 1



Also Inside














WIELD POWER There are simply no words to describe how proud and excited I am to showcase the incredible stories inside this magazine. We’re three issues into our journey and already seeing a powerful voice beginning to form. What amazes me most about this Spring 2018 issue is that we’re featuring stories on both sides of the journey for women’s equality. We showcase businesses and programs that support financial equity and wealth accumulation for women, and political contributors who are helping to rework legislation and make change in our government. It’s so important that we recognize that all of these contributions are important to the cause and support long-term, sustainable change in our world. As you read our stories this quarter take a moment to consider the contributions you make, big or small, that help to create a better future for women everywhere. I want to personally thank you for making an impact and I hope the stories we share will inspire you to find new and unique ways to get involved and continue to support and grow the power of women. Krystal Covington, Founder






























7 11



trailblazing #metoo INTERVIEW WITH #METOO FOUNDER TARANA BURKE by Joce Blake




On October 15, 2017 actress Alyssa Milano, tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write "me too" as a reply to this tweet.” Within 24 hours, #metoo had been used over 800,000 times. Stories of women who were assaulted as children to stories of women experiencing injustice in the workplace are now being told all over the world using those two little words. But Milano didn’t start the #metoo movement. In fact, it started in 2006 when Tarana Burke founded the me too Movement™ through Just Be Inc. to help survivors of sexual violence—particularly women of color from low-wealth communities—find pathways to healing. Her career as a youth worker exposed her to heartbreaking stories about broken homes and abusive or neglectful parents, she says.

Women of Denver Magazine interviewed Burke and Colorado activist Laura Richards about #metoo, supporting survivors and getting involved. The me too Movement™ was birthed from your organization, Just Be Inc. which focuses on the health, well being, and wholeness of young women of color. Why was that mission important to you? Burke: Women and girls of color are consistently treated as though our lives and humanity don’t matter. We endure violence of all kinds, erasure and criminalization at disproportionate rates and have limited access to the support and resources necessary to navigate those things. As a black woman who is also a survivor of sexual violence, I knew that if I was going to do this work, I had a responsibility to center women and girls of color in it not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because so few people and organizations acknowledge our humanity. ART BY ELINA TUOMI

You founded the me too Movement™ in 2006 using the idea of “empowerment through empathy.” Why use this method? Burke: Empathy does far more for people than sympathy, which is the emotion many people pour onto survivors of sexual violence and abuse. Sympathy is rooted in remorse and pity, but empathy is the act of trying to understand what someone has gone through by putting yourself in their shoes.

I remember feeling very alone, like no one understood what I was feeling. Pity doesn’t help people move through their pain, but people showing empathy, saying in their own way “me too” and “I see you,” is powerful.”

Now, Burke says, survivors are feeling seen, validated and supported in ways they never have before. Today, the movement continues to liberate women to declare that they, too, have been sexually harassed or assaulted, including Lady Gaga and Gabrielle Union.


Being a survivor myself, I remember feeling very alone, like no one understood what I was feeling. Pity doesn’t help people move through their pain, but people showing empathy, saying in their own way “me too” and “I see you,” is powerful. How did it feel to have Alyssa Milano, promote #metoo on social media?

Burke: I was very surprised at first. It happened so quickly that I didn’t have much time to process it. But Alyssa reached out to me shortly after the hashtag went viral to thank me for the work I have been doing for more than a decade. How can we continue to support survivors outside of the me too Movement™ ? Burke: Each survivor is different and has a different story,


a different path to healing and different needs. It’s important to not make blanket statements and assumptions about survivors and the kinds of support they need. Approaching survivors with compassion and empathy is key. Listening to them is the best way to learn how to support them. Laura Richards, a Colorado activist, decided to make her voice heard about the #metoo movement by organizing a rally at the Colorado state capitol in November 2017. She is a survivor of several sexual assaults. She gathered other survivors and advocacy leaders to bring more awareness to the issue and to highlight resources that are available in Colorado. Here’s what she had to say. Why is it important to demand respect and equality for women? Richards: Women have worked hard to open doors; when we first began in the workplace we juggled everything: career, children, home and marriage. It has been a long hard road. Before 1993 we did not have the right in every state to press charges against our spouses for rape. We still do not get equal pay for equal work. I once found out a male colleague received more money than me for doing the same job. When I asked for a raise I was told he had to care for a family. At the time, I was a single mother having to do the same. For me, the question should be, why would you not treat us with respect and equality? We have had to battle for every right we have today. The right to vote, the right to not be beaten by our spouse, the right to have control over our bodies and the right to own property. We must continue to demand respect and equality and fight for what is right. We have to honor the women that sacrificed so much so we can have the opportunities we have now. What do you think of the culture for women in Colorado? Richards: Women in Colorado are proactive, vocal, and engaged in their communities, families and careers. It’s amazing to see them embrace feminism in a way I couldn’t have imagined in the ‘80s. There’s a diversity that is phenomenal to watch. We have strong, diverse women in our state legislature that bring so much perspective to the legislative process. The women who



organized the Women’s March are young and vibrant, and they are carrying on the work of my generation. I am always in awe and have been honored to work alongside so many impressive women. You told the Denver Post that you don’t want the conversation to go back to the shadows. Can you explain? Richards: Sexual assault hits the media for a minute then disappears off into obscurity. We make a few changes but can never really move the agenda to changing the culture. Organizations that provide free or sliding scale services get a little bump in donations, but then they fall back to the bottom of the list. There’s a fear that we have been fighting this fight for so long, that once Donald Trump is not President and the issues are not covered by the media it will be like every other time. I think now we can capitalize on this opportunity and not allow it to fall back into the shadows. What inspired you to organize the rally outside the capitol? Richards: Our stories have power, but telling them only moves the agenda so far. In 10 years, I don’t want to hear more stories. I want to see women feeling safe reporting sexual harassment and receiving fair and equitable treatment, so they no longer fear ending their careers. When rape victims report, I want to see more than 3 percent of of those cases being prosecuted. I don’t want people telling us what we should have done to avoid sexual assault. I hope that one day, men and women will read history books to know what sexual assault is because the education exists. I want sexual assault in all its forms to be extinct. That is what inspires me. I am driven by my sad story, but I am inspired by the courage of women who want to end sexual assault, especially for those who haven’t found their voice.



Women have a power beyond beauty, intuition and multitasking—a quantifiable one that we often overlook. That power is credit. It can work for you or against you. I’ve spent 25 years as a mortgage loan officer. I’ve seen first-hand that women with good credit can buy homes, cars, obtain business loans, purchase furniture, take vacations, and get a good a good education. Good credit will even enable you to get better employment. Good credit can even get her lower interest rates, higher paying jobs, and just overall better access to more wealth opportunities. When a lender or employer pulls your credit report, the information helps them determine whether you have the character to repay a loan or be trusted with their assets. They pull your information from major credit bureaus, which issue “credit scores” derived from algorithms. These scores help lenders determine the risk of lending to you.



Power of Credit

by Tina Lombard, Loan Originator, Envoy Mortgage

Sometimes your credit report contains inaccurate information or doesn’t tell the whole story. Fraud, illness, job loss, divorce and even natural disasters can cause payment issues that look bad on your report. That leaves us in a vulnerable state, possibly ruining our ability to borrow or be trusted with someone else’s property. The good news is that credit can rebound when you use the proper tools and techniques. It can take a few weeks, several months (and in the worst case, years) to regain or secure a good credit rating. I’ve helped women repair their credit in as little as one month, and get their family into a home. I’ve seen them fight incorrect credit reporting from past marriages or creditors who reported false late pays, and these women took their power back…with that got their families into new homes. Now there are other factors that go into using credit, like income, assets, collateral and legalities…but all that aside, your credit rating is the underlying factor that makes the consideration of all these other items even plausible. One of the strongest things a woman can do to secure herself and her family’s future is to have good credit and financial power. Whether buying a home, a car, acquiring a business loan, or applying for a higher paying job, I encourage you to regain your power, and stack the odds back in your favor! Here are two US Government websites that offer info and further resources and counseling for Housing and Consumer Credit. *US Department of Housing and Urban Development “Buying a Home”: topics/buying_a_home *USA Government “Dealing with Debt”:



Going Paleo by Cyndi Stewart, PHD, FNLP Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner Akashic Records / Energy Medicine Consultant

CHANGING OUR EATING HABITS IS TOUGH. TRUST ME I KNOW. In the past I didn’t like to cook. I would purchase the latest kitchen gadgets with high hopes to make healthy meals, and they just collected dust. Eventually I found a few simple recipes with the ingredients I enjoy, and I realized how easy cooking can be. To make it even better, I began inviting friends over each time I tried a new recipe to make the cooking session a social event and an experience I could really look forward to. Now I enjoy finding recipes and changing them up to fit into my life and ingredient choices. I prefer ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and include healthy fats. Here are a few of my favorite easy snack recipes to enjoy this spring. BROOKE GRACZYK









Skip the fried chips & unhealthy vegetable oils | Makes 2–3 servings

Makes 4–5 servings


1 bunch Dino kale (also called Lacinato)

10 Jalapeno peppers, halved & seeded


5 Turkey bacon slices


Vegan, non-dairy cheese*

Vegan, non-dairy cheese*

Chili powder (optional)

Avocado Pink Himalayan sea salt


Olive or avocado oil

Preheat the oven to 425°. Add cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Add bacon and bake another 5 minutes. If you like a little heat, sprinkle some chili powder.

Instructions Preheat oven to 300°. Tear your kale into chip size pieces, place on a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray olive oil or avocado oil and sprinkle pink Himalayan sea salt. Bake for 10 minutes, after 8 minutes add the cheese. While it’s baking dice the tomatoes, olives and avocado. Remove from the oven and add the toppings.




Skip the fried chips & unhealthy vegetable oils | Makes 2–3 servings

Ingredients 2 medium parsnips, thinly sliced (about 2 cups) Olive or avocado oil Pink Himalayan sea salt Instructions


JALAPENO POPPERS Peppers to taste and great baked




Preheat the oven to 300°. Place chips on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray oil and sprinkle pink Himalayan sea salt. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Note: If chips are sliced thicker, allow up to 45 minutes.


PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES Baking with nut butters and without grains | Makes 8 cookies

Ingredients 1 cup Peanut butter (best raw organic and no added sugars) ½ cup Coconut sugar or sugar substitute (author rec: Swerve) 1 Egg or egg substitute 1 tsp Baking soda 1 tbsp Vanilla extract ½ tsp Pink Himalayan sea salt Instructions Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients well and use an ice cream scooper to place the cookies on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake the cookies for 5 minutes, and flattened with a fork, then bake for a another 5 minutes.

* Use Vegan, Non-dairy Cheeses for a true Paleo diet, but any cheese can be used in the recipe as a substitute.

To learn more from Cyndi Stewart, visit



WOD Impact Member Spotlight

by Joce Blake

Educator, social entrepreneur, and humanitarian Lori Heisler is the definition of fearless. This Women of Denver Impact Member has traveled five continents on a mission to inspire, impact and influence people, especially on the topic of child sex trafficking and child exploitation. Heisler says she has been an advocate for children her entire life. As a child, she admired leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and thought she could leave that kind of impact on the world, too. She was an elementary school teacher for 15 years and eventually became a school administrator. She found she was more interested in children’s social and emotional well being than their test scores, and she left that world.

The answers led Heisler to create the Greater Good Institute, a training and development company for social entrepreneurs. The company’s mission is to provide “opportunities for female leaders, professionals, and companies to leverage their influence, strengthen their leadership, uplift humanity and become I have always inspiring agents of change.” Heisler also created the Good for Her Startup Camp, known my life which trains women entrepreneurs to run companies that make the world had a calling better for women and children.

bigger than I could ever imagine.”

“I knew I still had work to do,” she says. “I started by taking a long hard look at my values and what I most wanted to be remembered for. The questions I had about who I was soon became the driving force behind everything I did.”




She also has built the Greater Good Institute as a platform to end child exploitation and sex trafficking, which is her passion. The company gives 1 percent of its time, 1 percent of its services and 1 percent of its profits to EPCAT, a global organization that fights child exploitation. “I have always known my life had a calling bigger than I could ever imagine,” she says. “If anyone ever asked me, ‘Lori, what change do you most want to see in the world,’ I’d always have the same answer. I want to end all violence and exploitation against children.




“I can’t think of anything more devastating than an innocent child being bought, sold and exploited for sex,” she says.

are being trafficked and exploited for sex—often by someone they know, someone they met online or even a family member, she says.

With fire in her soul and determination in her heart, she gained more knowledge about trafficking and decided that the end of child trafficking would be the cause her business had to support.

WE HAVE THE POWER TO INFLUENCE Heisler says you don’t have to be a social activist to support the end of trafficking. You can use your influence and buying power.


“From empowering employees, ensuring slavery-free supply In October 2017, with the guidance of ECPAT-USA, a non-profit chains, using ethically sourced products and services and engaging working to end child exploitation, Heisler embarked on a 30 day customers and stakeholders in the cause, we have the ability to advocacy journey to Singapore and Thailand. make a serious impact on this global human Wanting to gain a broader perspective and rights crisis,”she says. learn how her business could best support To do this, she encourages everyone to the end of child trafficking and slavery, become educated as consumers, travelers, Heisler spent time meeting with leaders and community members, and business owners. From empowering organizations already working to prevent and • Take a look at business practices and end these crimes. employees... using decide to work only with responsible Her journey began with a meeting with vendors and service providers. ethically sourced Mrinalini Venkatachalam, head of the United • Train your employees on what to look Nations Women Public Awareness and Youth products and for and ensure everyone agrees to adhere Committee. They discussed the importance to child labor and human rights laws services... we have of uplifting girls and women around the

world and the work being done to achieve gender equality. Her biggest takeaway: We still have a lot of work to do.

“When women are empowered, we invest 80 to 90 percent of what we earn back into our family and our community,” she says. “We have every reason to uplift women.”

the ability to make a serious impact on this global human rights crisis."

She also met Laura Marks Entwistle, founder and CEO of a nonprofit that works to disrupt the business of child sex trafficking, EmancipAction. “Laura and I share the belief that there is no other work more important than ending child sex slavery,” she says. “It’s the worst possible thing happening to the most disenfranchised children in the world.” Heisler says she learned that it’s a misconception that child sex trafficking only happens in Southeast Asia. She says that trafficking victims can be found in factories, construction sites, truck stops, hotels, bars, fisheries and at sex venues all over the world. Backpage and craigslist are notorious. In the United States, its usually our most vulnerable children who

• Look within your sphere of influence to see where you can lend expertise, resources or talent to organizations that work to end these crimes.

“As educated consumers, we can make the conscious decision to only buy from conscious and ethical companies,” she says. “We can shop from conscious businesses. We can book accommodations and travel with hotels and airlines like Marriott Resorts or Delta, both adopters of the CODE, an initiative to end trafficking in the travel and tourism industry.” In the world we live in, it has become very easy to turn a blind eye to this issue. Fighting this epidemic is just as important as any other equal right because every human deserves the pursuit of happiness. We are thankful to have forces like Heisler who are willing to educate and empower others to make a difference.

To become a WOD Impact Member, visit




Ways to

SHIFT OUR CULTURAL PARADIGM by Stephen Glitzer, CHWC, Holistic Life Coach, Chef & Susan Golicic, PhD, CPIC, Holistic Life Coach Uninhibited Wellness



Over the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed some really challenging social issues. The events relating to #metoo, #blacklivesmatter, government upheaval, LGBTQ injustices and others have opened a giant wound in our country, and it needs attention! Our days of turning a blind eye have put us in this position. We now need boldness from those who have higher standards. We need to hear from those who have great ideas, and we need action from those who have the courage and power to shift the current cultural paradigm. Where are these superhuman people who are capable of these great feats? They are reading this article at this exact moment! Yes, YOU! It may seem too great of a challenge to change this society’s culture, but you CAN make an impact. You can influence your family and friends, your circle, your community, and your local government, among many others. It’s time to kick apathy in the teeth and create the equitable relationships we all crave. It’s time to take charge and lead with conviction. WE NEED CULTURAL EVOLUTION!




1 Listen.

Try to shift your mindset to one of being solutionsoriented. When someone is challenging your opinion, be open and try to process the idea, ask questions, and evaluate whether it holds water. We too often shut down the voice of those who have different ideas. We were all raised with different values, different social conditions, different economic environments, and that should be considered a benefit to problem solving. We need all perspectives for progress.

2 Voice.

Don’t play it safe and stay silent when you have something to say. Use your voice when you have an opinion about something that was said or done. Offer your ideas to start or improve conversations. Be sure that you are speaking for positive change and not mimicking negativity or condescension. Your voice doesn’t have to be the loudest or sharpest to be the most effective.

3 Bravery.

Take action while injustice is playing out in front of you. Be supportive of those around you who are trying to communicate and defend. Trust that you will be supported by those in your circle when you need to act. Creating a culture where a #metoo movement is not necessary takes incredible courage as we move to change what have long been considered social norms. Don’t be afraid to be the first to do something—someone has to lead each effort and why not you?

4 Community.

We are a species who have survived multiple millennia. We easily create lifestyles and achieve goals. We tend to make friends with those who have similar interests, and as a result, we avoid conflict (which is a bad habit to start). Find ways to stretch your comfort zone and to reach out to get to know your neighbors. Get involved, connect with others, and see the value people have to offer instead of which differences to avoid.

5 Inclusivity.

This is the very essence of community! We are all connected, and everyone needs to be involved! People of all cultures, backgrounds and beliefs who live in the community must be included. This isn’t a fight for who’s right and who’s wrong, but how to lift each other up as a society. Considering everyone’s voice will help us grow into a new age of equity. While not everyone can be served all the time, everyone can still be seen and heard!

Our wounds are deep. Like a bear with its foot caught in a trap, we’re angry, we yell, we snap and we bite at those around us. But the wounds can be healed. When leaders like you listen, speak up, take brave action, build community of diverse ideas and lift others up despite differences of opinion, we will create a movement of mindful people who want to build a culture where all people can thrive.



“Gender Equity in the Workplace Finally Achieved.” This headline you’ve most likely never seen before. But one Denver woman is working diligently to make it happen. Katica Roy is the co-founder and CEO of Pipeline Equity, and she passionately steers the company toward turning this fantasy into reality. Companies have said for years that they are committed to diversity. And many have increased their numbers of female and minority employees. However, Roy found they often struggle to tie their gender equity initiatives to their financial measures. Pipeline uses artificial intelligence and some proprietary platforms to operationalize gender equity in the workplace. The goal is to make gender equity initiatives achievable, stop unconscious bias and ultimately improve the financial performance of a business. “We fill that gap for companies that are really struggling to operationalize their commitment to gender equity and increase their financial performance through closing their gender-equity gap,” Roy says.



Many diversity and inclusion solutions are generally connected to the hiring process, Roy says. Pipeline does more. “We offer fundamentally the first solution that actually ties in the system every decision you’re making around gender equity,” she says. “We quantify the projected economic value of that decision.” Roy says the seed for making gender equity actionable sprouted when she was a guest on a radio show in 2015. The host asked her and the panel of women if they believed the gender pay gap would be closed in her lifetime. She noticed that no one had really looked at the issue at a microeconomic level, so that’s what she set out to do. One of the most important pieces that drives Pipeline’s goal is the need to change the narrative so that people can see themselves in the story. While women most often lend their voice to the gender equity issue, all voices are needed to effect real change. “Men are the other half of the conversation,” she says. “Part of that is because they hold the majority of leadership positions in our companies. We have to


broaden what we mean when we talk about gender equity and really provide a path for everyone to be part of that conversation and move it forward.” Being the daughter of an immigrant and a refugee also fuels Roy’s quest for equity. Her mother evacuated from the Channel Islands during World War II and her father fled Hungary during the 1956 Revolution. Her parents’ struggle for freedom is directly related to her fight for fairness. “I was raised to never give up and to always do my best,” she says. “There was a sense of immense gratitude for the opportunities t hat we had been given to be in this country and what not being in this country meant. There was a sense of duty and obligation and gratitude for what had been given to us and we should always give back.”


She says she also gains inspiration from a Marianne Williamson quote: “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” If you are thinking about starting a business and helping to close the gender equity gap, Roy’s advice is to be strategic. Do your research and when it comes down to it, take the leap and the ledge will appear.

Roy says she keeps her background in mind constantly to keep momentum going.

“We need more women not only to start their own businesses, but to start really, really big businesses,” she says. “It’s how we will continue to change the trajectory. We need more women to dream big. Economic power can change the world. Hands down.”

“I get up everyday to ensure that I make an impact so that the women and men, boys and girls coming after me have more opportunity than I had,” she says.

Pipeline Equity is poised on a robust growth trajectory and hopes to continue to make a substantial dent in the gender equity gap and expand the economic pie for everyone.

We need more women not only to start their own businesses, but to start really, really big businesses... It’s how we will continue to change the trajectory. We need more women to dream big. Economic power can change the world. Hands down.” WALNUT STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

For more information about Katica Roy or Pipeline Equity supporting your company, visit




Learn more:








I knew what I wanted to do from a young age. I wanted to be a teacher. I went to college right out of high school because that’s “how things were done.” And then two years into my education, I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. So I got another degree… but no job interviews. I wanted to work for a paycheck and have someone else worry about how that money would get into my pocket. However, when I graduated from college in 2008 and then again in 2011, the economy was down and those fancy pieces of paper I had worked so hard for—and will still be paying off 20 years from today—weren’t worth anything. I had no job, no prospects, and a considerable amount of debt. I became a freelancer… then a business owner. Until that point, I had never considered being a freelancer. But I felt frustrated and stuck, so I did what I could to get some experience and income. Turns out, I was really good at it. I started out doing assistant work, keeping the execs organized. I wrote copy for blogs, landing pages, and lead magnets. I managed social media accounts and envisioned new campaigns. Over time I discovered that I was a marketer. Finding the right fit for my personal brand, however, was a square peg/round hole situation. And that’s when I realized…. I didn’t want to be a freelancer. I wanted to handle business the way that felt most authentic and effective for me. I wanted to be a business owner.

3 THINGS I LEARNED AS I BUILT MY BUSINESS As a high schooler, I thought everyone had 9-5s. People didn’t own businesses, corporations did! When being dumped unceremoniously into the job market after graduation, I discovered that wasn’t true. More and more people are taking this path into entrepreneurship today as they are discovering that the road they thought they had to travel is blocked—or not a desirable road to go down. While it’s common in our culture for more and more professionals to turn to entrepreneurship, it’s not an easy thing to do. And these are the three essential lessons I took from this crazy experience: 1. Owning a business means that YOU are responsible for finding your next source of revenue, building the brand, and creating positive outcomes. Responsibility can be scary, and you will fail. Learn from it. Each failure—no matter how big or small—will shape you into the the kind of leader and business woman you want to be. 2. Regardless of whether you work for that paycheck or you work for yourself, you still need to have a deep understanding of your personal values. No matter what your business is, you’ll have to interact with other people, so communication and flexibility are important. However, there should be some things you will never compromise on. Identify what those things are, and they will become the north star that guides you in growing your company. 3. There are a lot of things you don’t know that you don’t know. How can you find solutions to problems you don’t know exist? You can’t. You’re going to make some mistakes, and that’s ok, but the best things you can give yourself as a new business owner are the gifts of knowledge, mentorship, and community. There’s always someone who has already been where you are, and there’s always someone who is willing to support you. Find those people and learn everything you can from them! Build a community around yourself and your business that will be the foundation upon which you can build real success.

Shauna Armitage is a freelance marketing strategist, as well as founder of the Making Moxie podcast and challenges.





I am a working mother, with two children in full-time, centerbased 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 a 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. 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.



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



• Colorado is one of the top ten least affordable states for childcare, with center-based infant care costing 40 percent more than the national average. • Public funding to support early care and education in Colorado offsets only 28 percent of the cost of providing care—10 percent less than the national average. 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. 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: • In Colorado, families with an infant or toddler in center- based care pay 44 percent more for childcare each year than they would pay for a year of college tuition. • Statewide, there is licensed capacity for only 18 percent of the state’s 2 year olds

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 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 AMANDA ASHLEY


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. 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 Jacquelyn, left full-time corporate job to move to part-time work, spends $1600 a month in childcare:

intense emotional strain.”

“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 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.”



100 OFF




FINE ART BOUDOIR everyWoman. everyAge. everyBody. 720-213-6476

ď Ź

follow @lynnclarkportraits *May be used toward Signature Boudoir Session only. One per customer, per year.



“The opposite to patriarchy is not matriarchy but fraternity, and I think it’s women who are going to have to break the spiral of power and find the trick of cooperation.” —Germaine Greer We all know that old structures are changing fast. What we don’t always see is that women are playing a pivotal role in birthing the new ones being created. We also often hear about the challenges women face, and we need to hear more about the strengths we bring to them. Women who are leading change efforts in Denver call us to use our current opportunity to see ourselves—and show up in the networks we are involved in—in new, groundbreaking ways. THE POWER AND ROLE OF NETWORKS Despite often having fewer traditional resources, women are incredibly rich in social capital, often exchanged in informal networks. We rely on informal networks, both online and in person, to get jobs, find childcare, and inform one another about current affairs. “We don’t know that what we’re doing in informal networks is using our power,” said Nita Mosby Tyler, founder of The Equity Project. “We only think about power when we think of formal networks. With informal networks, we call it relationship, my peeps,



my girlfriends. That is called ‘referent power.’ That to me is the basis of good, authentic networks: Respect and reciprocity is clear, and you’re not just leveraging people when you need something.” For women, these networks extend across apparent boundaries between the personal, professional, and political. “‘The personal is political,’” quipped Dede de Percin, executive director of Mile High Health Alliance. “It’s pretty hard to separate those out. For many people who get to choose their jobs—and not everybody does—they’re drawn to the work for a reason and those reasons tend to be personal.” Research suggests that women may be more reticent to network or ask for things from their networks simply because they aren’t as confident about the value of what they can reciprocate. Case in point: Megan Devenport, executive director of Building Bridges, said since taking this position she has discovered that although she needs to compartmentalize her networks less if she wants to be more effective at raising funds for her nonprofit, she is still cautious about building relationships based on wanting to get something out of them. INNER WORK “I think networks are inside-out work,” Tyler said. “It starts with your self-reflection about your own power and from that is the



creation of your informal networks and formal networks. Some of these are by association, but some have everything to do with who you are and what you stand for.”

of consciously naming where other more oppressive forms of leadership are showing up, we run the risk of defaulting into that.”

Working in networks can also challenge us to change our habits, according to Malinda Mochizuki, an MPA student who works at UC-Denver’s Center on Network Science. Mochizuki describes herself as a Type-A, goal-oriented person.


“As a result of working more in collaborative, network-oriented ways, I’ve found I’ve had to let some of that go,” she said. “I had to take a step back and look at the project as a learning process: How can we bring all these different people together and collaborate with one another to meet broader goals while also meeting our individual or organizational goals?” De Percin worked in a formal network that leveraged leaders from both political parties. She said that formal networks in particular can force us to work with those we don’t always naturally align with. “Our strategy was to bring the voices to the table that would help get the campaign across the finish line,” she said. As uncomfortable as it can be, she said we need some level of outside opinion to help us avoid groupthink and test ideas, even if it means we work with those with different values than our own. A NEW VISION OF LEADERSHIP For decades, women have been held to the male leadership model, but we are often criticized when we break from social norms and appear to be more assertive or achievement-oriented. While women are acknowledged for their leadership skills in situations of crisis (known as the glass cliff), too often men are valued for “teamwork” behaviors that are written off as merely stereotypical in women. Fortunately, women are learning to value one another more. “What I’m beginning to see more and more of in women’s networks is the valuing of expert power,” Tyler said. “Leadership looks very different when you have a consciousness of expertise, because it’s the valuing of the expertise of others, regardless of their titles.” Studies have shown that if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises (interestingly, it doesn’t necessarily rise if it includes more members with high IQs). Some think it’s because we're less likely to dominate conversations and we're more likely to draw others in, both of which can significantly impact group decision-making and progress. “As more and more women enter the workforce, we’re seeing much more of a horizontal work structure, where leadership is more distributed and relational,” Mochizuki said. “There’s a shift toward more open, adaptive structures.” Devenport agrees changemaking and leadership is now happening in decentralized groups, and will continue to be.

“There’s so much ambiguity around these moves that we are making,” Tyler said. “We’re calling it a ‘movement,’ which to me indicates temporary, in response to. It’s not a movement, we’re changing the culture. “We have to start naming it as power.” Here are some tips these women gave for others looking to lead themselves and their networks towards a better culture for us all: 1. Recognize your power and strengths and look for opportunities to join new networks based on them. 2. Learn about internalized misogyny and intersectional feminism and reflect how they affect group dynamics. Seek out accountability partners, both who share similar identities and who represent different ones. 3. Meet regularly with women in similar positions as you to share about challenges and celebrate each others’ successes. Lydia Hooper partners with organizations and networks to help them collaborate and communicate about complex topics. You can read more articles and get her free ebook “Using Visuals to Support Collaborative Work” at


Homeownership Tina Lombard Loan Officer NMLS ID#147594

253-332-5986 9035 Wadsworth Pkwy Suite 2730 Westminster, CO 80021

“As women, we have a whole lot of alternative ways of leading to offer,” she said. “I think many things are shifting in that direction in part because women are moving into those leadership positions. However, I think in the absence All applications are subject to credit approval. Program terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. Some products may not be available in all states. Other restrictions and limitations may apply. This is not a commitment to lend. Envoy Mortgage Ltd. #6666, 5100 Westheimer Rd., #320, Houston, TX 77056, 877-232-2461; AR Banker/Broker/Servicer License #103315 - AZ Mortgage Banker Licensee – License #0908096; Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act License #413 0597; CO Mortgage Company Registration # 6666, Regulated by the Division of Real Estate; Licensed by the Delaware State Bank Commissioner Licensed Lender Licensee #011264; Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee License #23619; Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee – License #MB.6759338; MA Mortgage Lender Licensee – License #MC6666; MA Mortgage Broker Licensee – License #MC6666; Envoy Mortgage Limited Partnership – Licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department License #14552-MB; Licensed by the N.J. Department of Banking and Insurance NMLS #6666; Nevada – Envoy Mortgage, Ltd, 5100 Westheimer Road, Suite 320, Houston, TX 77056; Phone number (702) 425-5986 – Mortgage Broker License – License #4305; Licensed Mortgage Banker – NYS Department of Financial Services, License #B500979, 746 Merrick Rd., Baldwin, NY 11510; OH Mortgage Broker Act Certificate of Registration # MB.804190.000, SM.501928.000; OR Mortgage Lending Licensee #ML-3933; Rhode Island Licensed Lender – License # 20092627LL; Rhode Island Licensed Loan Broker – License # 20122861LB; TX Mortgage Banker Registration- NMLS #6666; TX Regulated Loan License #42377. This office is licensed and examined by the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner of the State of Texas; Virginia NMLS ID#6666 ( – Lender License and Broker License # MC3021; Envoy Mortgage Ltd d/b/a Envoy Mortgage, L.P.- WA Consumer Loan Company License # CL-6666 –


For 20 years, Work Options for Women has helped people overcome barriers to sustainable employment by building confidence. Through their innovative program, they have provided resources and culinary job training to more than 3,000 people. “In a city that is on the rise in every aspect, we need to ensure that the folks who have the least, rise with everyone else,” said Bailey Denmark, Work Options for Women’s development director. “Given Denver’s record-low unemployment, it might seem that even individuals facing serious barriers can get a job without a training and support program like ours. But in reality, across the county, 60 to 70 percent of individuals with a criminal history are unable to find employment more than 12 months after release.” Some people don’t know that Denver has struggled with helping its citizens maintain employment due to many variables—the most impactful of which is homelessness. One in ten Denver residents reported that they have experienced homelessness, according to a 2016 poll conducted by The Denver Foundation. “And, we know it is unlikely that those who face the most serious employment barriers will be able to retain employment until they begin addressing the underlying challenges to stability in their lives,” Denmark said.





Work Options for Women has worked to help people address these challenges with great success.

A RESPONSE TO 1996 WELFARE REFORM Work Options for Women began in 1997 when a social worker started a culinary job-training program to help disadvantaged women obtain entry-level employment in food service. It was a response to The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, also known as welfare reform. “Today, we not only prepare disadvantaged workers to obtain entry-level employment, we work to ensure that graduates have the culinary skills, job-readiness skills, life skills and ongoing support they will need to retain sustainable employment and pursue a permanent career,” she said. Denmark said Work Options for Women offers culinary training because food service is one of the few job sectors willing to hire individuals with a criminal history or with less than a high school education. And, Denmark said, the Denver-metro area has more than 3,500 open food service jobs. Because of the amazing impact, they have developed a strong community need for their services. “Work Options for Women’s sector-focused skills training and multiple opportunities for hands-on skills practice give our students self-confidence and a ‘leg up’ when they seek employment,” she said. Maria: A success story Maria came to Work Options for Women from the court system. She had been convicted of a felony while struggling with addiction. Above all, Maria was taking care of her young children as she awaited sentencing.


There was a chance that Maria would have to go to prison for up to ten years. But she was so determined to gain the skills and knowledge to be successful and eager to change her life that she was unbothered by a possible prison sentence. “The judge presiding over her sentencing hearing was so impressed with the work she was doing to create a different story for herself that he granted her parole,” Denmark said. “Maria completed her core training with us and went on to our advanced training program where upon completion, she was hired as an entry-level worker. She was quickly promoted to a supervisory position and is currently a manager at a local restaurant.”












They work as a team with common purpose to fulfill their mission

They hold in high esteem the women who have chosen to change their lives

They strive to increase the skills and confidence of women in poverty

They provide real world education and training


SUPPORTING WOMEN … AND ALL PEOPLE The name of the program begs the question: why women? “Statistically speaking, most single-parent households are headed by women. With this in mind, our thought is that if you train a woman the impact is greater for their entire family and the community in which they live,” Denmark said. “While we predominantly serve women, we have always served men and will continue to serve all people, regardless of their gender expression, race, creed, religion, etc.” The organization adopted its core values of community, respect, empowerment, practicality and economic stability to create focus and remember that even in a thriving economy, there are those who don’t have the skills or knowledge to be successful. That’s why the organization exists. “We help people get a job and maintain that job so they can become sustainably employed and successful in their community. We won’t be satisfied until everyone in the community has a real chance at success,” Denmark said. She said working for the organization has taught her important lessons. First, she said, every student wants to be successful and can positively impact their own future. Next, she said, given an opportunity, there is nothing the Work Options for Women staff can’t figure out, and there’s a synergy and strength in a creative group of like-minded people that is to be admired. And finally, she said, Denver’s nonprofit community is incredible and Denmark believes their potential for collaboration is just beginning. Denmark said that the organization’s board and staff have been working over the last year to add a new target population and new service-delivery model. In 2018, they will offer culinary training at their current cafes and will support a halfway house for ex-offenders. “In 2017, Work Options for Women was the only Denver agency selected to receive substantial funding from Impact 100 Metro Denver,” she said. “These grant funds are being used for a new mobile culinary classroom and program expansion. And, we have recently established several new partnerships within the re-entry community.



“Every time we lift up a woman and provide her with skills and support to be sustainably employed, that woman touches so many other women in our community. By supporting our organization, you’re giving women a chance to succeed and strengthen our community as a whole.” It is beautiful to know that this gem is right in our backyard. But it’s not enough to be thankful. We have to make sure Work Options for Women continues to serve our community. You can make a gift online at donate, or contact Denmark at

They promote self-sufficiency

by Deborah Radman

Deborah Radman is a 40-year public relations veteran who is a director on the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame board and director of the Hall’s Marketing PR

An astronaut, four nonprofit leaders and activists, a university chancellor, a former Colorado Lt. Governor, a journalist and suffragette, an educator of the deaf, and a community builder and cattle owner comprise the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Class of 2018. The inductees become the next group of extraordinary contemporary and historical women with significant ties to Colorado, who have made enduring and exemplary contributions to their fields, inspired and elevated the status of women and helped open new frontiers for women and society.


Gail Schoettler is a formidable and tireless advocate for women. She is the first woman to be both Colorado’s lieutenant governor (1995-1999) and state treasurer (1987-1994). Schoettler started her political career on the Douglas County Board of Education in 1979, also serving as president. In 1983, Governor Dick Lamm named her executive director for the state’s Department of Personnel. As lieutenant governor, she negotiated cleanup agreements for the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Facility, saving billions by dramatically reducing the cleanup time. She also launched Colorado’s School-toWork reform, growing it to include 28,000 businesses and 95 percent of public school students, making Colorado the national leader in School-to-Work. In 1999, President Clinton appointed Schoettler as an ambassador to negotiate a global communications treaty with 189 nations. She co-founded the International Women’s Forum and the group Electing Women. Schoettler served as co-founder, CEO and president of the Children’s Museum of Colorado. She also co-founded the



Women’s Bank N. A. in Denver. She remains involved in her family business as general partner of the Avenales Land and Cattle Company, and supports the Shell Creek Wine Company. She and her husband Donald Stevens own eGlobal Education, a travel company introducing business and community leaders to their counterparts overseas. Schoettler has led business delegations to emerging markets, introducing Colorado business leaders to key government ministers and businesspeople. Her experience in international business and politics underlie her knowledge of the economics and politics of globalization, successful political strategies for businesses, and issues of importance to women. Corporations seek her advice on managing the politics of globalization and government regulations. SUSAN HELMS Ret. Air Force Lieutenant General, NASA Astronaut, Induction Date – 2018 Susan Helms is an explorer and risk-taker, with a lifetime of first accomplishments for women. A retired Air Force lieutenant general (LTG) and astronaut, Helms was the first military woman in space and holds the world record for the longest spacewalk (8 hours, 56 minutes). She was a member of the first class at the Air Force Academy


to include women, flew on over 30 aircraft (including the F-15 and F-16 fighters), and was the first woman to serve on the International Space Station (ISS). LTG Helms retired as a three-star general after serving as the first female commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base. LTG Helms earned a MS in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot School. As an astronaut from 1991 to 2002, she logged 211 days in space and was a member of the Columbia Return to Flight Task Group after the loss of shuttle Columbia. LTG Helms returned to the Air Force, serving in several capacities. She was director of plans and policy for the U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base. At Vandenberg Air Force Base, she served as 14th Air Force Commander for the Air Force Space Command and Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space, US Strategic Command. A highly decorated officer, her honors include the Distinguished Service Medal and the Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters. She received NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal and Outstanding Leadership Medal. LTG Helms received the R. L. Jones Award for Outstanding Flight Test Engineer at the Air Force Test Pilot School, and was inducted into the Astronauts Hall of Fame in 2012. As a senior Air Force commander, LTG Helms instilled a culture of education, prevention, and accountability on the serious issue of sexual assault. Now serving on corporate boards, she advocates for female voices at the highest level in American business. She also serves as a role model for students pursuing a STEM education. DOROTHY HORRELL, PhD Education and Community Leader Induction Date – 2018

Dorothy Horrell is a purposeful and transformative leader, whose influence is particularly felt in higher education. "I see education as the instrument of hope,"she said. "It changes lives, not just for this generation but for generations to follow." Currently chancellor of University of Colorado Denver, Horell has a history of leadership in higher education. She has dedicated her professional life to improving educational opportunities for Colorado’s youth. She holds three degrees from CSU: a BA in home economics, and a MA and a PhD in educational administration. Horrell started out as a high school teacher in Adams County, and moved to the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education. She became the first female director of the Division of Occupational Education, and she was named to the inaugural role of vice president of Educational Services. In the 1980s, Horrell served


as the first chief academic officer for the Colorado Community College System and as president of Red Rocks Community College for 10 years. She expanded outside of education as president of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation for 12 years. She received a gubernatorial appointment to the governing board of the CSU System Board of Governors, and served as chair of the CSU Board for two years. She retired briefly before being recruited to become chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver in 2016. Horrell has an enduring passion for creating healthy families and communities. Raised on a ranch homesteaded by her grandfather, she competed in 4-H at the local, state, and national levels. She’s served on boards for civic organizations focused on education, the arts, homelessness, and women’s leadership. As a lasting civic legacy, Horrell established the Livingston Fellowship Program, and was instrumental in founding the Institute for Leaders in Development, programs that support emerging nonprofit leaders. Horrell’s numerous honors include the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce Top 25 Most Powerful Women, the 2016 ATHENA leadership award; and the Colorado 4-H Hall of Fame. FAY MATSUKAGE Lawyer, Philanthropic and Business Leader Induction Date – 2018

Fay Matsukage is an inspired and accomplished leader who pushes boundaries and overcomes obstacles. Matsukage is one of the first Asian‐ American female attorneys admitted to practice law in Colorado, specializing in corporate and securities law. She made partner at her first law firm in three years. She ran her own law firm, and now practices at the Doida Law Group, LLC. Matsukage is among a few female attorneys in her specialty, and she is often consulted as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced individuals in securities law. Matsukage holds a BA summa cum laude from Colorado College and a law degree from the University of Denver. Matsukage was one of three students of Asian descent in college and law school. With a strong family upbringing and encouragement from her father, she was driven to help law professionals of Asian descent in Colorado. Matsukage was a founding member of the Colorado Asian Pacific American Bar Association, formed in 1990. She is also a founder of the Colorado Asian Pacific American Bar Foundation, which awards two annual law school scholarships to the DU and the University of Colorado law schools. A main beneficiary of the Foundation is the Denver Asian Pacific Development Center, and Matsukage assisted with the capital campaign to buy the building where it is currently located. Matsukage also helped form the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation, serving as President from 2007-2009. When asked


about her community involvement, Matsukage said her great grandparents moved to Honolulu, and someone gave them a hand. “I want to help new generations the same way,” she said.

GERIE GRIMES Nonprofit and Community Leader

Matsukage’s many honors include the 1999 Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the 2006 Minoru Yasui Community Service Award from the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado, the 2006 Mary Lathrop Trailblazer Award from The Colorado Women’s Bar, and an Outstanding Alumni Award from DU’s Sturm College of Law. She dedicates countless hours educating attorneys about her area of specialty and experience as an Asian attorney and woman.

Gerie Grimes is a sincere and highly capable leader who exudes passion for local community and families, and describes herself first as a mother, grandmother, and wife of 47 years. She is deeply committed to Denver’s Park Hill community where she has always lived and worked. Grimes has been President/CEO of Hope Center for the past 12 years, a non-profit providing early childhood education and vocational training for adults with disabilities. She has an MA in Non-Profit Management from Regis University, and a BA in Non-Profit Administration from Metropolitan State University. She is a Buell Fellow and currently a PhD candidate at the University of Denver.

LESLIE FOSTER Nonprofit and Community Leader Induction Date – 2018

Leslie Foster is a devoted nonprofit leader who lifts up others to fulfill their potential, making communities work for diverse populations. Foster has been the Executive Director of The Gathering Place since 1990, which serves women and children experiencing homelessness. Phillip Infelise, CEO of Pcubed, remarked, “One of the most memorable hours with Leslie was spent walking down Colfax. I quickly realized Leslie's dedication to serve the community goes well beyond the walls of The Gathering Place. Everyone we passed addressed Leslie by her first name; and she did likewise to them. I realized how expansive the impact of service can be when it comes in the form of a woman like Leslie." She graduated magna cum laude from Stevens College in Missouri, and received her MA in Public Administration from University of Colorado at Denver (CU Denver). Under Foster’s leadership, The Gathering Place now has an annual budget of $2 million and assets over $7 million. The organization serves 250+ members who come daily. In 2016, there were 61,000 visits from 5,986 individuals, including 2,000 children. Over 65,000 meals and 824 medical screenings were provided. In a prior role as the Pro Bono Project Coordinator of the Mental Health Association of Colorado (now Mental Health America), Foster created a nationally recognized program that placed mental health professionals in schools and shelters. Foster’s parents instilled a deep sense of civic engagement, volunteerism, and social justice. Leslie's father was a union pipefitter and her mother was one of the first Activity Directors in Nursing Homes, and a member of Governor Romer's Commission on Aging. Foster joined the Board of Directors of Community Shares of Colorado (CSC), serving as Board Chair from 1993 – 1996. In 1993, she became a member of the Denver Community Leadership Forum, and was appointed to the Mayor's Commission to End Homelessness in 2003. Her many honors include the Colorado Women’s Agenda Foremother Award in 1995, Colorado Business and Professional Women, Woman of the Year in 1999, and Recipe



Induction Date – 2018

Grimes’ life work is to change the playing field for all regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, skin color, or marital status. Hope Center, where she has worked for 36 years, serves 250 children including gifted children 2 ½ - 5 and 30 adults with developmental disabilities. Many are labeled ‘at risk’ by the State, a label Grimes believe we should abandon because every child comes with strengths first, and then areas to work on. Grimes community involvement is expansive across 45 years of service. She has provided leadership for organizations including the Center for African American Health, Denver Early Childhood Council, Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children, National Black Child Development Institute Denver Affiliate, Transforming the Early Childhood Education Workforce, Denver Preschool Program Advisory Board, Holly Area Redevelopment Project (HARP), Mayor’s Head Start Policy Council, Mayor’s Early Childhood Education Commission, Metro State University Board of Trustees, Colorado Black Women for Political Action, Falcons Youth Organization, and the Police Activities League. Her incredible dedication has been recognized with many honors including the Denver Early Childhood Council Founding Board Member Recognition Award in 2017, William Funk Award for Building Stronger Communities in 2014, Mile High United Way – Anna Jo Haynes Caring About Kids Award in 2013, the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award in 2013, the Minoru Yasui Community Service award in 2011, the Mary McLeod Bethune Award of Achievement in 2013, and the 2011 Colorado Children’s Champion Award.


EVERYONE LOVES WOD MAGAZINE! 5,000 copies of our magazine are distributed FREE at over 100 locations across the Denver metro area and over 4,000 people are reading our content online. To continue our mission of connecting and inspiring women (and men) with free access to our magazine, we need your support.


Become a home-delivery subscriber at


Share online with #WomenOfDenver


Donate at


Become a contributor at


Advertise your business by emailing

Curating Connections is Proud to Sponsor

Meet Just a Few of Our Talented Speakers & Authors

WOMEN OF DENVER Curating Connections’ Colorado Authors and Presenters are ready to help your organization develop your next generation of leaders and teams.

Schedule a Free Consultation: 720-842-5186

Tara Powers

Krystal Covington

Julie Holunga

Kami Guildner

See Our Entire Line-Up of Speakers, Authors and Their Topics at:









720-405-2020 |

Moss Adams Advisory CPA DEANNA DUELL

303-294-7785 |

Natalie Gentry, LLC Massage, Breath & Movement NATALIE GENTRY


303-325-4150 |

Integrity Wealth Solutions

Wealth Management Strategist


303-716-5777 |

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation Personable Mortgage Lender ERICKA YORK 528-691-0416 |

Phoenix Affect PR, Communications, & Web Design PHOENIX JACKSON

720-275-8238 |

Sunnyside Station Shared Workspaces & Offices NICOLE SKORKA

720-855-3085 |

Amused Woman Studios LLC Creativity, Community, Transformation DINA TIBBS 303-242-7881 |

Positively Powered Book Coaching & Publishing AMY COLLETTE

We’ve all heard the cliche, “Think outside the box,” but as easy as it is to say, it can be really challenging to execute on that recommendation. What often keeps us stuck is that we’re attempting to think outside of a “box” that we haven’t actually defined. In this exercise, think about a problem you’re working to solve right now or will need to solve in the future. Use the box to the right, to create a list of preconceived notions and ideas that might create a barrier to seeing things in a new and innovative way. In other words, what do you already know? By putting these in the box you can get a picture of what you’ve already known, tried and thought of.

303-630-9413 |

Come back to your box in a week (or at least a few days) and fill in the space outside of the box with new ideas that don’t overlap what you’ve already come up with.

Sovenco Business & Strategy Consultant DANIELLE NORRIS

This exercise is a great way to get started with solving a problem and actually succeeding at thinking outside the proverbial box.

720-588-0607 |

To advertise with Women of Denver, please email Krystal at

JOIN WOMEN OF DENVER "Women of Denver will help build your connections, confidence, leadership skills, credibility and more."

—303 Magazine...

Join a dynamic group of leaders who support each other in reaching their professional goals. Women of Denver's workshops can help you develop your business skills, build a powerful network, and empower you to earn your worth as a business leader. We have over 40 events per year and a diverse and powerful network. or learn more at

Women of Denver Magazine - Spring 2018  
Women of Denver Magazine - Spring 2018  

Celebrate Women's History with stories of women making an impact in Colorado and beyond.