Founder and CEO of the National United States India Chamber of Commerce Purnima Voria, Rick Patten/Patten Development and Tina LeMieux of Fidelity National Title
Luck may be a lady, but four ladies have proven success through passion, perseverance, talent, and hard work is more than luck.
These women have followed their hearts, taken risks, demonstrated focus and dedication and are leaving legacies. What they all have in common is not just a work ethic and business sense but serving and giving back to the community.
Men and women packed the Innovation Pavilion meeting place in Centennial to participate in a Q&A Panel of three influential and powerful women, moderated by Debbie Brown, executive director of Colorado Women’s Alliance, an organization researching and advocating on issues that women care about most.
She has directed the messaging, marketing and management for nonprofit causes and candidates of all ages. She is marketing director of Leadership Program of the Rockies and founder of Colorado Campaign. Brown formerly served as campaign manager for Mike Coffman for Congress and deputy campaign manager for Armstrong for Congress. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Northern Arizona.
OC Advisory Board member Sue Kenfield said when introducing the CEO and founder of Opportunity Coalition: “Brian Watson works tirelessly to do good.” Watson had some interesting statistics about women in business and their phenomenal advancement and also mentioned that March is Women’s History Month established in 1987.
In 1920, thanks to Susan B. Anthony, the Women’s Suffrage Movement secured women’s right to vote. After WW II, less than 1/3 of the work force was women. In 1999, the number was 60 percent. Women ages 25-64 with college degrees has tripled since 1970. Denver is the seventh best city for female business owners. Women secure 35 percent more earnings in tech companies than men. Watson also mentioned that 60 percent of his own employees are women.
Each panelist has worked through daunting challenges. President and CEO Colorado Concern Tamra Ward is the leader of a business advocacy association of more than 100 chief executives from across the state. She is former senior VP of Public Affairs and Communications for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. After graduating from Baylor University, she worked “On the Hill” in Washington, D.C. Prior to her move to Denver, the Wyoming native was VP of marketing and development for Columbia Hospital for Women, a private, not-for-profit hospital in Washington, D.C.
In 2012, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“You learn what you can and can’t manage. You get to the core of who you are and determine what matters,” Ward said.
She feels there should be more civility between discussions and relationships and that challenges should be embraced.
“Never burn a bridge. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take a deep breath,” she said.
Opportunity Coalition Advisory Board member Sue Kenfield, Centennial City Councilwoman Kathy Turley, Millie Kitchen and OC Advisory Board member Christina Whelan
Denver Broncos Director of Special Projects Beth Bowlen Wallace attended CU and studied law at DU and has had many leadership roles including her own business in Hawaii. In addition, she is an accomplished equestrian with sights set on competing in the Grand Prix. Of her many causes, she has served on the boards of Colorado Uplift, SaddleUp! Foundation, Tennyson Center for Children and Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital to name a few. She is most proud of the current Broncos affiliation with the Alzheimer’s Association for obvious reasons. Being real and emotional is important. Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is her dad and the family is being impacted.
“So many other stories deserve to be told,” she said.
Her greatest lessons were learned from her dad.
“His philosophy was to hire the best people he could and then got out of the way,” she said.
She emphasized getting involved.
“Giving has given back to me. It puts a lightness in my soul. The collateral of that led to being alongside leading Denver business people and politicians,” she said.
Her own successful philosophy is asking clients: “How can I help you be your best?”
Lone Tree City Councilwoman Kim Monson, Aurora City Council Ward IV candidate Francoise Bergan and Centennial City Councilwoman Stephanie Piko
Front row: The Panel – Tamra Ward, president and CEO Colorado Concern; Beth Bowlen Wallace, Denver Broncos director of special projects; Heidi Ganahl, president and CEO Camp Bow Wow. Back Row: Moderator- Debbie Brown, executive director of Colorado Women’s Alliance; and Brian Watson, founder and CEO Opportunity Coalition and founder and CEO Northstar Commercial Partners that owns the Innovation Pavilion
Founder and CEO of Camp Bow Wow Heidi Ganahl started the largest pet care franchise in North America. The mountain theme boarding for pets was born out of her desire to have animals experience more than the bleak conditions of the typical, traditional kennel. Through personal and professional tragedies, including the loss of her young first husband, losing nearly all of the $1 million insurance settlement, she conquered extraordinary adversity. With encouragement from her brother, she used her last $83,000 to establish the first Camp Bow Wow in 2000.
Referring to her own dogs, she said: “My purpose was lying right at my feet.”
The concept has sold more than 150 franchises. Camp Bow Wow is one of the largest women-led franchise companies and one of the largest and fastest growing trends in the $53 billion U.S. pet industry. She also created the Bow Wow Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of dogs. She sold Camp Bow Wow, a $100 million company, but is still involved.
Outside that she is involved in many programs at CU-Boulder, the Leadership Program of the Rockies and runs Moms Fight Back, a non-profit that empowers moms to make social change. Her Bow Wow Buddies Foundation is a 501(c)3 focused on giving a paw to animals in need.
Each expressed not only the joy of participating with the audience but being in each other’s company.
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