By Angie Grenz

What were you accomplishing in your 20s?

Natalie Britt  Age: 24  Profession: Owner/Stylist, Fringe Hair & Co.   Greatest Accomplishment: Her daughter, Logan 

Tell us about yourself.

I am 24, and I am a passionate hairstylist and salon owner. I specialize in all things blondehair extensions and effortless textured haircuts. I grew up in San Diego and much of my style inspiration is influenced from my lifestyle growing up. My parents divorced before I was one year old, so I lived all around different parts of SoCal. I had a unique childhood; my dad suffered with addiction issues and that brought a lot of hardships to my life. We had irregular and limited visits, but I valued that time with him so much. He was an actor and had connections in the industry and he pushed me to be involved in fashion, the arts and selfexpression, and that’s where I initially found my interest in doing hair and the fashion industry.  

When I moved to Colorado and I didn’t quite find my way at first. I ended up leaving high school my junior year to go to cosmetology school and I thought I’d definitely find myself back in Orange County once I graduated. To my surprise, I found a great job at a funhip salon in Old Town Fort Collins and fell in love with the downtown area and the lifestyle Colorado has to offernot to mention I met my now-fiancé, who is a Colorado native and I decided he was worth staying for.  

Although I landed an awesome job fresh out of beauty school, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I was 18, trying to keep up with some very talented and lessthanwelcoming stylists, but it helped me push myself to keep up and persevere. I tried to be on top of trends and learn them as soon as I could to be ahead of the curve and prove my worth as an artist in a pretty competitive culture. After two years, I moved on to a salon that was much smaller, and I loved the intimacy I had with my guests and could just focus on my customers experience and my art.  

As much as I enjoyed my time in that salon, I learned that at my core I was an entrepreneurSoI followed my heart and took all of my savings and opened up my own salon, Fringe Hair & Co. What started out in 2018 as just my 21yearold self with only one station, has now grown and expanded; 2.5 years later Fringe has five of the best artists in NOCO! My team is incredibly passionate, encouraging, fun and kind. I’m so proud of the culture at Fringe.  

What motivates you? 

At first, I wanted to prove to not only everyone who doubted me, but to myself that I was capable of success. My experience in opening a business and ability to learn as I go and keep up with the many challenges of owning a salon has proved that I was more capable than I’d ever thought. Once I found my sense of selfI became motivated to help other stylists like me find their “hair home” and hope to inspire others by example. We do way more than just hair; we truly care about the women who come to see us. I’m now motivated to show that you don’t have to have a degree, cookie cutter upbringing, or fit the status quo to be successful. 

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart?

It’s so humbling to be nominated for something like this. It means so much to be recognized because I work so hard. It’s not uncommon for me to work 60+ hours in a week. I teach, I work, I open businesses, I try to never stop so long as I’m happy. It’s like a (healthy) addiction and I hope it’s infectious. It is so fun to work hard and see it pay off and be able to now share it with people around me. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

I recently had a baby girl named Logan, and she is my world. I’ve been 100% invested in my business and building my life into something I can bring a baby into, so for now I am “slowing down” to enjoy motherhood. But five years from now, I definitely see a new and improved location for my salon. My vision is to have a two-story building with a boutique downstairs and a hair salon in a loft above. I plan to continue to educate my blonding and hair extension techniques and hope to eventually travel and educate across the country. I want to set an example for my daughter on what a successful hardworking woman (with great hair) looks like!  

Claire Brogden  Age: 28  Profession: Owner, Windsor Lake Coffee   Dream: Living the van life and exploring the country  

 

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m originally from Toronto, Canada. My family and I moved to the Boulder area when I was five, and I grew up horseback riding, playing soccer and spending my summers in Canada. I fell in love with coffee in high school; it was my dad and my tradition to stop by Starbucks on the way to school or on the way to my horseback riding lessons.  

One of my first jobs was working at a Starbucks kiosk inside Safeway. I spent our slower times messing around, creating new drinks or reading their materials about coffee and tea sourcing. I moved to Fort Collins to continue college in early 2012 and found a job at Starry Night Espresso Cafe. This is where my love for coffee really blossomed. I found a new passion for the community that coffee creates by bringing people together.  

While working there, the shop was sold to the current owners and I saw a glimpse into how running a shop works and became very interested in starting my own shop. Windsor Lake Coffee embodies my community service philosophy and have local artists sell and display their art at the shop. I stumbled upon the space for Windsor Lake Coffee randomly; it was empty on a Saturday night and for such a great space, that just didn’t make sense! I made a business plan and left my position at Starry Night to start Windsor Lake Coffee at the end of 2018. 

What motivates you? 

I’m passionate about leadership, business, the arts and community. Since my employees tend to be younger, or this is their first job, I try to make sure they are developing the skills required to be successful in college and beyond. My employees have shown they can improvise, adapt and overcome whatever is thrown at them, and this is a muchneeded skill in adult life. 

I also enjoy being a person they can come to when they have a problem or are struggling with something. I don’t judge and the shop is an inclusive and safe space for everyone. Many of the staff at Windsor Lake are part of the LGBTQ community and they feel safe being themselves while at work and with their fellow employees.  

Every two months we have a new local artist display and sell their art on the walls. We also have many shelves filled with other local artisans selling everything from candles to crocheted items to cards. I sell my handmade jewelry at the shop, too. We use a local potter to make our custom mugs and we use a local family to make and print our custom t-shirts. Everything in the shop is sourced from local ingredients and local suppliers. Our coffee is from Coda Coffee in Denver, our ice cream is from Little Man Ice Cream in Denver, our milk is from Morning Fresh Dairy, our tea is from Two Leaves in Basalt, our bread is from Bluepoint Bakery in DenverI could go on. 

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive?

My passion for coffee and community is part of the reason I have a good following from my employees and peers. I have a low turnover rate of staff at the shop and employees who have left have cried when having to quit because they will miss the Windsor Lake “family” so much. I also make sure to lead by exampleI would never ask them to do something I wouldn’t do myself.   

I get my drive from the powerful and inspiring people around me: my parents, my boyfriend and my grandparents. Windsor Lake Coffee and I wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for the constant help and support from everyone. My boyfriend and dad build and fix things constantly for the shop, and my mom comes and does the decorating, helps us when we are busy and bakes our pies. Everyone before me worked so hard for everything in their lives and their drive fuels me to be successful with not only my business, but also the relationships in my life. Respect is a twoway street and I wouldn’t be successful if I didn’t respect my employees like they respect me. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

I see myself in another state in about 5 to 10 years. My boyfriend and I have big plans to own either a wedding venue in the Pacific Northwest or to travel around in a van and check out other parts of the U.S. with our dogs. We want to explore and experience other areas; we have both been in Colorado for a long time. 

 

ShonTay Culbreth  Age: 28  Profession: Aerial Instructor, Lime Light Fitness   Passion: Dance  

 

Tell us about yourself. 

I have worked as an aerial instructor at Lime Light Fitness for almost four years. After a year and a half being a student, I was offered the opportunity to train and teach there. Many hours later, I began teaching my first aerial fitness class. I am also a mom to two boys, Jaxson who is 3 and Walter who is now 1 month old.  

What motivates you? Are you passionate about business, leadership, philanthropy, the arts? Why?

I am motivated by the fact that, when I leave work at the end of a shift, I know I have helped make a difference in someone’s life. Seeing the smiles on their faces and watching them improve and become more confident makes me look forward to teaching. Lately, my kids have become my motivation. They push me to be the best version of myself, and not give up.  

I’d have to say I’m passionate about art. I consider movement (dance) art. For me, I need to move; it gives me purpose. When I dance, it allows me to express all of my emotions. I connect with myself, the people who are around me and those that are watching. It gives me freedom and allows me to be myself.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

I’ve always wanted to make sure that my clients get the best experience possible at Lime Light. It’s not only important to me, but to the clients as well. My drive to constantly develop my teaching skills is the reason I earned this nomination. I push my clients because I know what they’re capable of even if they don’t. I know the kind of potential they could have, and it’s important to me they know that.  

Success at a young age is inspiring. How do you hone your focus?

My character. The only way to get the best out of other people is to expect the best from myself. I hone my focus by deciding ahead of time what task I’m going to work on. Once I’ve decided on a task, I write it down. Writing things out helps me to see it, remember my thoughts, and stay focused on what I’m doing. I also give myself a time limit. During that time, I don’t allow anything else to take my focus away.  

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

In five years, I see myself competing in a few aerial competitions and receiving a variety of fitness related certifications. In ten years, I see myself leading a team. I would love to have my own studio and learn all I can about this industry.  

 

RT Custer  Age: 29 Profession: Founder, Vortic Watch Co. Focus: Legacy wealth for my family

Tell us about yourself. 

I grew up on a Christmas Tree Farm in Reading, Pa. The farm was always the side-hustle for the family, but I learned to be an entrepreneur from my grandfather and my parents. After getting my degree in industrial engineering from Penn State University, I moved to Fort Collins for a job with Walmart Logistics. After a couple years, my side hustle at the time, Vortic Watch Company, had really taken off and I went full time in 2016. I now run the company and have five employees and also own three other businesses in Fort Collins, mostly in consumer goods manufacturing and marketing services. 

What motivates you? 

Success in business. My own success, as well as assisting others to succeed. My true passion is in marketing for physical products online

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others?

I typically get the questionHow do you do it all?” because I have four different businesses, a girlfriend, two little kids, real-estate investments, and over 10 employees across all my companies. The honest answer is, I work hard and try to do everything with a high level of quality and integrity. I hope that shows through my final work-product

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

I want to be the best person I can be for myself, my family and my future. My drive comes from my relentless pursuit of legacy wealth for my family as well as my desire to help others and ultimately see my team and businesses win. My focus comes from coffee, mostly. 

What has been the biggest challenge in growing your business or achieving your goals? How did you tackle that challenge? 

I was sued by the world’s largest watch company in 2015. Five years later, we’re still in the battle. It’s been extremely difficult to build a business with a massive federal lawsuit in the back of my mind, but I feel the law is on our side. We’re fighting hard to protect our American Dream. I couldn’t have done any of that without my team and support structure as well as our thousands of happy and enthusiastic customers.  

What have you had to give up getting where you are right now? 

I’ve worked so much that I haven’t explored Colorado. I haven’t done as many fun outdoor activities as I’d like and certainly haven’t experienced all that the state is known for. Someday soon all the work will pay off and I’ll earn my first real vacation! 

Who in your life most influenced your success? 

My dad has been both an inspiration and support system. He’s helped me work through tough situations. His experience as a businessperson has been invaluable. He’s been an inspiration both as a father figure and businessman.  

If you could make one improvement to your community or tackle one world problem, what would it be and why? 

Young people today are being told they have to go to college if they want to be successful. But there are so many more options for people to have a successful future and career. 

What do you love about Northern Colorado? 

Fort Collins has 300 days (or more) of sunshine per year. My hometown in Pennsylvania has 300 days of clouds! The sunshine makes everyone happier. Also, I love how many small businesses and entrepreneurs are in the community of NOCO. I feel at home.  

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

In five years, I think I’ll have a nice piece of real estate downtown where people can visit, see all my companies and products, and I hope to be successful enough that money is no longer a stressor in my life. In 10 years, I’d love to work less, spend more time with my kids (who’d be teenagers), and do mostly strategic, high level work. 

 

Beryl Durazo  Age: 27  Profession: VP of Advancement, Boys & Girls Clubs of Weld County   Motivation: Inspiring youths

 

Tell us about yourself. 

I grew up watching my mom serve for Meals on Wheels and helping disadvantaged youth at a summer camp in Connecticut. Although my family and I were never welloff, we always believed in giving back to our community. As a family with three type 1 diabetics, we have always financially struggled (healthcare is not cheap!). Unfortunately, during the 2008 market crash, my parents lost everything. Without the support of a local food bank, I don’t know what would have happened to my family. In my freshman year of college, I was offered the unique opportunity to give back to my country through AmeriCorps VISTA at the local food bank that once helped my family. I jumped at the opportunity to serve and have not looked back since.  

What motivates you? 

I have always been very passionate about making a difference in the lives of youth and communities through philanthropy. As a child, I benefitted from the community, philanthropy and the arts. Because of this, I want the opportunity to continue paying that kindness forward. Children are our future, and all of the work that I do now will impact the generation that comes next.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

In the words of some of my peers, I am goal focused, professional beyond my age and aim to get impossible work accomplished, all while still having fun. Working in the field of nonprofits at an extremely young age gave me the experience necessary to build long-lasting relationships that grow community wherever I go. 

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

Success has always been my number one priority and driving force for the work that I do. If I am not able to succeed, I build the resources and team necessary to make it happen. Ultimately, my motivation is making a difference for those that need us most. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

It is difficult to say where the future will take me, but I know my goal is to make a difference for every single youth in Weld County while at the Boys & Girls Clubs! 

 

Savannah Freestone  Age: 23  Profession: Designer, Freestone Design-Build   Outside the Office: JV volleyball coach at Poudre High School 

 

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Fort Collins and work for my family’s business, Freestone Design-Build, which has been designing and remodeling homes in our area since 1996. There, I work directly with my mother, Cheri, and we are both interior designers. I graduated from Poudre High School and Front Range Community College then went to work full time with the business. In my spare time, I love being at my parents’ home, exploring their acreage, playing and coaching volleyball, going backpackinghiking and traveling!  

What motivates you? 

I am motivated first and foremost to continue the legacy of our family business. I believe strongly in hard work and small business; I have watched my parents work diligently and effectively my entire life and they have weathered ups and downs. Their work has been exceptional, and, through them, I have learned the value of putting in the work in order to enjoy the success.  

At 23, I am just embarking on true community involvement, but have been fortunate to participate with my family in WomenGive, Project Self-Sufficiency, Respite Care and other local charities. I have learned about the many people of our community and have been able to offer assistance and support. This is rewarding for me, and I look forward to continuing to be involved and expand my horizons in philanthropy and leadership. I am also the JV volleyball coach at Poudre High School, which allows me to further pursue my love for leadership and my community.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

They definitely see creativity. I am a photographer, artist and designer, and I am a person who sees the world through an artist’s eyes. I love to design and am so passionate about what I do. Seeing projects come together and the excitement that clients exhibit from our work is definitely rewarding. I also think people around me can see that I am all in when it comes to supporting my family’s business; I love working with them (two of the three children work in the company with our parents; the other is still too young at age 12).  

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

I definitely got my work ethic from my parents and the fact that I am the eldest of three kids. I was taught to lead and try new things, work very hard and to never quit. My parents started their company from the ground up and that has taught me values that you cannot learn in school. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

Given how tumultuous our world is right now, that is a difficult one to answer. However, my aspirations are to keep working with my family and to grow my portfolio of work. I want to continue learning, taking courses and staying on top of trends and techniques in my field, while also contributing photography to the business.  

I see myself growing in what I do now, while also reaching out to the community more and participating in additional charity and networking efforts. In the longer term, I would like to know that I had traveled a lot and seen the world, met new people, and, perhaps 10 years from now when I am 33, I will have settled into my own home and family (that is entirely up in the air at 23, of course!). 

 

Julia Galbate  Age: 22 Profession: Owner/ Hair Stylist, Locks and Loaded Salon Survived: Opening a new location during a pandemic

 

Tell us about yourself. 

I am the proud owner of a Fort Collins hair salon called Locks and Loaded Salon. I grew up in Fort Collins and I hope to never leave. I have always had a passion for all things beauty, and I have always aspired to be a business owner but never knew what kind of business. When I graduated high school, I felt lost because the “normal” thing to do was to go to college, and I have always known I wasn’t cut out for regular schooling.  

My parents were the ones to push me to look into cosmetology school. They knew how much I loved hair, makeup and nails. It was the best decision I have ever made. For the first time in my life I felt passionate about something. I excelled in cosmetology school. I won a scholarship based on an essay I wrote, was in multiple school clubs, won a school trip to Paul Mitchell’s biggest hair show and graduated in the honors program.  

At just 21 years old, I decided to make the scariest risk of my life and open my own salon suite in May 2019. It ended up being the best leap I could have made! Right away, my salon took off. I had so many new clients calling in that I ended up needing more hands and had to go bigger. It felt like everyone around me knew I had finally found my calling. After just a few months, we were already shopping for a bigger salon. In May 2020, we were officially able to open our new salon doors to the public after a bumpy two months of forced closure due to COVID-19.

What motivates you? 

I get very motivated by helping others. I have always loved doing hair because I get to love on my clients and help them through tough life situations. I have always wanted to own a salon so I can create a place where people truly love their jobs. I want my employees to feel safe and loved.   

What has been the biggest challenge in growing your business? 

The biggest challenge in achieving my goals was, honestly, the COVID-19 pandemic. Right when the shutdown happened, we were in the middle of our salon buildout. I had put all my money into my new salon so it was really tough trying to figure out how to pay rent when I had no idea when I would see a paycheck again. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to be able to apply for pandemic business loans and other funding offered, and was able to get some relief. I think I spent almost all of quarantine researching ways to save, cut back rent, calling all my billing companies and sharing that information so I could help people that needed it. I feel so lucky to be a business that has survived and pushed through one of the biggest economic crises in history. 

What have you had to give up getting where you are right now? 

I think most business owners can agree that your social life is probably the first to go. Switching from an employee to business owner meant I couldn’t just “clock out” after my day had ended. It meant working on days off and answering phone calls at 2 in the morning. I eventually had to learn how to set up boundaries with clients and put my phone away when our salon was closed. That meant I had to buy a second phone and even keep it at the salon, so I wasn’t tempted to keep working after hours. Being able to disconnect from your business at the end of the day and truly be with your loved ones is the hardest yet most important skill to acquire. Every day I am learning how to balance my work life with my social life.   

If you could make one improvement to your community, what would it be and why? 

One improvement I’d love to bring to my community is to teach more about the normalization of trade jobs and to let young individuals know that there are other options than college. I think there is a huge stereotype and a lot of pressure into going right into college after high school and many students end up racking up so much student debt. I would love to one day be a speaker at schools to talk to kids who are in the same position as I was, hopefully to demonstrate how rewarding other career paths outside of the traditional college route can be. If a student decides that college isn’t the choice for them, I’d love for them to know they can still be successful and reach their dreams if they apply themselves. 

 

Gabrielle Gudino Age: 28 Profession: Pastry Chef Claim to Fame: Auditioning this month for both The Spring Baking Championship and Chopped on the Food Network

 

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Gabi Gudino. I am 28 years old and transitioned from the art world to culinary world on a (lucky) whim. I had never cooked in my life, but in my early 20s decided that was the path for me. I became trained in pastry (to stick with the artistic side of cooking) and have worked in all sorts of bakeries, catering and restaurants.  

Throughout my culinary experience, I have found that mastering more than pastry is a necessity for a Hispanic woman trying to compete in a male-dominated industry. I am trained in savory cooking, managerial business, event coordination and more. I try to be knowledgeable and successful in many aspects of hospitality to make sure I am never stuck in my own little pastry world.  

What motivates you? 

I find myself being very motivated by the local community. Fort Collins is such a neighborly place. Compared to when I lived in New York, it was difficult to get in touch with the community. Here, I’ve been able to get to know regulars who frequent our restaurant, borrow butter from our restaurant neighbors and receive ingredients from the best local suppliers, mills and farms.  

What has been the biggest challenge achieving your goals? How did you tackle that challenge?

Being unable to move up in this industry due to stereotypes that still exist. People look at me and see someone who is Hispanic, female and young. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve learned after working so hard and still being denied raises, that a line cook makes more than me, who was hired at that rate with no negotiations.  

I’ve tackled this issue by working hard. I would be a hypocrite if I asked for more respect and only did the bare minimum, so yes, I try to be the perfect model to validate my point. A lot of people may be annoyed with hearing about inequality, but imagine my perspective, living it every day. I think talking about it can only make this industry better. By being a good example and a hard worker, it helps get my point across. 

What have you had to give up getting where you are right now? 

Sleep. I try to plan for everything in my life and calculate every decision. So, I don’t think I’ve missed out on any huge life events due to careful planning and scheduling. But I have always worked baker’s hours, which mean overnights or early mornings. I’ve also worked the line, which is daytime and late nights, and I’ve always been down to work events and markets. I have always been constantly working, and sleep is the only thing I am short on.  

Who in your life most influenced your success? 

I have been so lucky to come across a handful of chefs who really cared about their employees and pushed me to succeed. Chef Sarah Acconcia got me an internship when I had zero experience and was first starting out. I don’t know what she saw in me, but she gave me my first chance.  

Chefs Mary McGrath and Sosie Hublitz showed how great a business could run with two badass women calling the shots. They never sugar-coated anything and always spoke to me as though I would run my own business someday. I never felt held back there; they were really motivational.  

Currently, Kevin Grossi, owner of The Regional, has shown the real side of running a business. He’s opened up other spots from the ground up and has always taken the time to show me the ropes and explain what’s working and what’s not. He’s very candid about the truth behind running a business. 

If you could tackle one world problem, what would it be and why? 

Oh boy. There are so many issues right now that need immediate action from equality to climate change, corruption and so on. But I feel one of the biggest issues I would love to tackle would be improving affordability to live, work and thrive.  

We need the government to manage our money better. Right now, the wealthy are only getting richer, and the rest of America can’t afford housing on one income. Small businesses can’t succeed, especially restaurants where the profit margin is barely 3 to 5%. Local businesses would love to pay their employees higher (livable) wages but can’t due to high overhead costs and commercial rent. We need higher taxes on millionaires and corporations, an increase in social security tax for the top 2 percent, and accountability of private equity firms. Taxing the rich would be a good place to start. I think more people need to research and understand what that means. Hopefully then, the issue will become more manageable to solve. 

 

Alexa Hardy  Age: 27  Profession: Office Manager, NoCo Party Bus   Motivated by: Building philanthropic endeavors  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us about yourself. 

I grew up in Windsorwhere I was part of a tight knit community as well as a member of the high school volleyball team. During the summers, I worked for the Windsor Recreation Center as a front desk staff member. Upon graduating high school, I decided to pursue college athletics and obtain my degree in international hospitality and tourism management.  

After graduating, I decided to move back to Northern Colorado. Three months into my journey back in Fort Collins I joined the NoCo Party Bus team as the event coordinator and office manager in August 2015. I absolutely love getting to be part of an amazing family-owned company with such a big heart and a huge role within the community. I also decided I wanted to be more involved with mentoring youth by coaching volleyball for Clubone Volleyball and Severance Middle School.  

What motivates you? 

My motivation comes from my parents, who have always pushed me to be the best I can be and to set a good example for my younger sisters. I am also motivated by helping others and seeing growth; I am very handson and like being able to track progress.  

I am passionate about business as well as being a leader. Business is about an idea someone had and putting all the pieces together for the idea to become a reality. Getting to be part of a local company, I have gained so much knowledge and experience helping build and grow a successful company that was once just a dream. Leadership is about setting an example, holding yourself accountable and taking pride in what you accomplish. I believe the leadership qualities I possess today began from playing volleyball and my parents’ hard work and dedication. 

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

I believe surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals helps to shape who you are. Standing apart is not always easy in this era. I have learned to come up with new, innovative ideas and business strategies to stand apart in my industry. At NoCo Party Bus, we have implemented the Disney mentality to focus on the customers experience. Customer service goes such a long way and I have worked extremely hard to build relationships and take the time to pay attention to detail. I work hard to make sure I meet our clients wants and needs so their vision becomes the reality.  

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

My drive comes from my parents, sisters, friends, work environment and volleyball. My mom has always had an extraordinarily strong work ethic and possesses so many amazing leadership qualities. My dad has a passion for sports from his time playing to his career working with youth sporting events around the country.  

Being 12 years older than my little sisters has inspired me to set a good example and be someone they look up to and know they can come to be for advice. They also have both followed in my footsteps playing volleyball. I strive teach than that being an athlete is so much more than simply being good at a sport; it is about being a role model to younger players and people in the community, it is respecting feedback and accepting criticism to grow.  

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

In five years, I plan on buying a house in Northern Colorado. I would like to stay in this area for the foreseeable future. I will continue to build my career at NoCo Party Bus/ Royalty Coach Charters. My plan is to grow the philanthropies we currently work with to do more for the community. It is especially important for small local businesses to be active members in the community. There is a lot of room for growth within Northern Colorado and it starts with businesses partnering together to create innovative ideas. I would like to join a youth mentoring program to be able to help more than just the players I coach.  

My plan in the next 10 years is to raise a family in Northern Colorado. This community has had such a positive impact on my life. I would like to continue to mentor the youth and be involved in local charity events.

  

Molly Harrington  Age: 29  Profession: Owner, All About Me Lash Company   Overachiever: Harrington also has her own vegan product line 

Tell us about yourself. 

I received my esthetician license in 2012, when I found my passion of making others look and feel good. I started my career working at a fullservice salon in Boulder, focusing mostly on laser hair removal and skin care. I had learned lashes while working in Boulder, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I decided to really dig in and pursue a career. If you had told me at my firstever lash training that in less than five years I would own a lash studio and have my own product and education line, I would have rolled my eyes thinking, you’re joking. 

Here we are five years later, andboy, was I so wrong. I fell in love with lashing, to the point where I knew I wanted to share everything I knew with others. In 2017, I received my master educator certification, and started training others in this art. In 2018, I decided it was time to expand my business, including the creation and development of my own product line.  

All About Me Lash Company is where we stand today. We are a Colorado lash company, as well as a lash studio in Fort Collins. Education is everything to us: we train and sell our products to other striving artists in the area. We are small and plan to keep it that way. Currently, our group consists of four lash artists. However, we have many other lash artists who use our product line, and we consider every one of them a part of our family. 

What motivates you? 

Seeing others succeed is my number one passion. I am not a very competitive person (only with myself), which I believe is an important quality you must have to be a successful and caring business owner. I have no past business experience, but I will say, running a business in the beauty industry is absolutely what I am supposed to be doing. “When others succeed, you succeed.” I try to live by that.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

Having grown my business so fast and at such a young age always has people curious. I get asked how I have a successful business with no business background. I always say, you have to be determined and not afraid. I have never borrowed money, nor sat back and let someone else run the business. I am 100% involved, and always plan to be. Even though I started this company solo, I now have an amazing team that has helped me grow a ton. From my hard-working employees to my marketing partners, all my manufacturers, my wonderful bookkeeper and my fiancé, I’ve gotten to a point where I now have a work/life balance, and that is a beautiful thing. 

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

Honestly, I owe it to my parents and how I was raised. We grew up in California, then we suddenly had to move to Colorado after my father got sick with multiple sclerosis. We lived within our means, but I have always been financially selfsufficient. I have had a job since I was 15. I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world. My parents taught me the meaning of hard work and also compassion for others. My family comes from a background where everything they did in life, they loved. I think that is the key to sustaining your focus; you have to love what you do. Not many people can say they love their job.  

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

This question always makes me smile, because I love goals! I can’t give everything I have on my list away, but in five years I would like our company to take off and be nationwide. In 10 years, I would like to just be maintaining what we have built and being able to travel all over to meet and see those using our products.   

 

Tyler Hobbs  Age: 22 Profession: Photographer Age she got started: 15
Tell us about yourself. 

I am originally from Greeley. I have moved all over Colorado and Utah and have been in Fort Collins for about 11 years. I love Fort Collins and have really enjoyed my time in Northern Colorado. A lot of my family lives in the area, and it has been a great place to grow my business. 

I opened tyler.paige photography in 2013 with my mom. I was 15 years old and had a passion for photography that had been steadily growing. Since then, I have had the honor of photographing everything from weddings to food photography and sports. In the last couple years, I have really started to hone-in on my true passions, focusing on couples, portraits and weddings. 

During this time, I also received a degree in graphic design and a degree in history with an emphasis in Spanish language studies from Colorado State University. I am currently based out of Timnath and have been working hard to grow my business and make meaningful connections with my clients. 

What motivates you? 

I am very passionate about the joy my work brings others. My clients trust me to photograph their most special moments. I always say that my business is not onesizefitsall. Not every wedding or couple is the same. Because of this, I am extremely motivated to showcase these differences in my clients photos and present them with a truetolife version of themselves.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

I feel as though I offer a different perspective when it comes to photography. I want everyone to be comfortable in their own skin and have fun doing something new and different. I focus on the connection between two people and on showcasing someones inner beauty. I do not create my work based on what is ontrend at the moment. My work is meant to showcase the client and who they really are.  

I also use my graphic design skills offering customized announcement and invitation design for weddings and events as well as full service professional photo printing. This allows my clients to have an experience that is enjoyable and hasslefree.  

What has been the biggest challenge in growing your business?

My biggest challenge was getting clients. There are a lot of great photographers, especially in a beautiful state like Colorado. It took me a couple years before I really started to have a decent number of clients. It was also really hard to get people to take me seriously when I began. I opened the company with my mom when I was 15, so a lot of people did not want to do business with me. My mom was a huge help in this. I just worked hard to find new clients and constantly worked to make my business reflect who I am as a person and how it can make my clients feel special. 

What have you had to give up getting where you are right now? 

I spent a lot of time working when my friends were out having fun. I also worked hard to be seen as credible and trustworthy at a young age. Because of this I have spent a lot of late nights working on my business and my connection to other people. I worked three to four jobs through college to pay my bills and so I could still live my dream of being a photographer. 

Who in your life most influenced your success? 

My mom has had the largest influence on my success. When I told her I wanted to be a professional photographer she never questioned it. She immediately stepped in and ran a business with me so that I could learn and grow as a photographer and so I could get a taste for running my own business. She is the first person to help me when I have a crazy idea and she is the biggest reason that tyler.paige photography has been able to grow and evolve over the past seven years. Without her and her willingness to help a 15-year-old open a business, I would never have been able to be where I am. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

In five years, I would like to see my business continue to grow. I have recently opened a graphic design and print shop called stick puppy press. I would also like to be given the opportunity to photograph more weddings and elopements in the Rocky Mountains. My longterm goal is to be able to photograph more weddings across the globe and to become one of the premier wedding photographers in Colorado and the western United States. 

Callie Hoppe  Age: 29  Profession: Director of Events, Mantooth Marketing & Events   Typical year: Organizes over 40 events with a $750,000+ budget 
 

Tell us about yourself.

I am a Colorado native and proud CSU alumna. I first fell in love with events in my high school student council class while planning dances, assemblies, teacher appreciations, etc., and knew then I wanted to make a career out of event coordination. I enjoyed all the small details, organizational puzzles and logistical planning.  

During college I interned with the United States Golf Association U.S. Amateur Championship and the Ladies Professional Golf Association Solheim Cup on the events team organizing 1,500+ volunteers. I loved every minute of my internships, and that’s when I knew I picked the right career choice. After college I decided I wanted to stay in Northern Colorado and that’s when my journey with Mantooth Marketing & Events began. When I started, the events looked very different. Within my six years at Mantooth, I led the team that transformed a few events into something much bigger and ever-growing. Mantooth’s events department now executes over 40 events per year with a budget of over $750,000. I’m proud of the team that I’ve been lucky to build and work withtogether, we’ve been able to accomplish something much bigger than ourselves.  

What motivates you? 

I lead and mentor my team by example and patiently directing. It motivates me when my team is set up for success and I am able to teach them the value of organization, patience, communication and perseverance, even when your plan A doesn’t happen. Through my years of working with events, I have learned to be creative and think on my feet and to keep the team calm and motivated. Within my job, I get the pleasure of working with a wide variety of local non-profits, and it is very rewarding when I get to be a part of their mission. I am passionate about helping people achieve their fundraising goals and engagement with the community.   

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

I have a strong work ethic and always strive for nothing but the best. I have a reading disability that, as a child, taught me to work hard for even the smallest tasks. I attribute my work ethic to this as I learned at a young age that 110% effort brings the best results, and I carry this mindset into everything I do. I pride myself on leaving no detail left untouched and focusing on the small and large details. It’s the little things that make an event stand out. I love getting in the trenches with my staffevents are more than a glitzy opening nightI’ll be the first one there and the last one to leave, and I am not afraid to get a little dirty in between.  

I believe every person has an important role in making an event successful and I emphasize treating everyone, whether they’re a new volunteer or an executive, with the same respect and appreciation. I get enjoyment out of creating an organized and fun atmosphere that values the importance of a team. No one can move a mountain on their own, but with the right people and the willingness to go above and beyond a team can.  

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? How do you hone your focus? 

I am very goal-oriented and find satisfaction in successfully reaching goals. An event has a hard end date and staying organized and motivated to reach the event date draws my focus in and doesn’t allow for procrastination. Seeing an event come to fruition successfully makes the late nights and long hours worth it. I surround myself with likeminded individuals who foster focus, drive and passion. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

In the future, I see myself utilizing events as a force within my community that brings people together. Events are a means of fostering generosity, a sense of place and unity. I would like to be a piece of the community that is an outlet for people to support local businesses and brings people together to create a positive future that is healthy, thriving and energetic.  

 

Pallavi Jaura  Age: 28 Profession: Co-Owner, Star of India and Cheema Motors Passion: Promoting international female artists

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m a proud Sikh American woman born in Delhi, India. I was raised in England and Hong Kong until the age of 13. When my family circumstances changed radically, and I found myself at the doorstep of family friends in America. At a young age, I had to teach myself how to become independent and how to survive. I had to become the provider and caregiver to younger siblings. I started serving part-time at Star Of India in Fort Collins in my sophomore year of high school, working up to management and eventually becoming co-owner of this Fort Collins staple. Built with blood, sweat, tears (mostly of joy) and, of course, love! After four years, I ventured into an exciting new direction by becoming co-owner of a car dealership. I am also currently pursuing a degree in business administration from Colorado State University.   

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you? 

My compassionate yet stern style of leadership keeps my team focused while keeping them happy. A positive work environment does wonders for my company’s morale. I’m not a desk manager nor do I backseat drive. It’s that fine line of helping them do what they do best. I am the first one in and last one out, which makes me proud of my dedication.  

The Covid-19 pandemic absolutely brought to light what’s truly important in successfully leading businesses. I have to ensure the well-being of my team, my patrons and my community. The entire redesign of procedure, the care we all put in towards making our businesses a safe and secure place for everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy with peace of mind was a tremendous opportunity and I am proud that I’m doing everything in my power to stay on top of it. 

What have you had to give up to get where you are right now? 

I started work at 15, and I was the primary caregiver to my younger siblings. I definitely didn’t have a standard teenage life or get a lot of sleep. It undermined my education, but at the same time, my circumstances made me who I am today. I can proudly say that I’m a self-made woman who I’ve come to respect. I try to balance being on-task and pushing myself hard to achieve more, doing for those around me and still staying positive through the thick of it all.  

I’ve had to pass on some amazing opportunities to travel, especially to drink in world history, which I’m extremely passionate about. I needed to stay on task, to build the business, and many times to serve my community. I don’t regret my choices, because they have kept my conscience happy and given me a sense of purpose. I do hope for a future with spectacular travel experiences to come!  

Who in your life most influenced your success? 

My central role model is definitely my business partner and mentor, Ike Cheema, founder and C.E.O. of Star Of India Fort Collins and Cheema Motors. When he hired me at age 15, he saw business talent in me and gave me ever-increasing responsibilities in his businesses over the years. He has taught me everything I know in business, ethics and how important it is to honor your word. He has sky-high expectations, but he is also a source of positive energy, unwavering support and encouraging inspiration. 

If you could make one improvement to your community or tackle one world problem, what would it be and why?

While doing research about the lack of adequate recycling in our nation, I became aware of a special group of female artists in my parent’s region of India. They use recycled materials such as metal, clothing and plastic to create magnificent pieces. I proudly feature a few of their pieces at Star Of India. I plan to bring more from India to sell in Fort Collins to build a strong base for these incredible ladies.  

In a related effort, I wish to curate a space in our community to shine the spotlight on local and international minority female artists. It’s tremendously daunting to launch a successful, unique business in any industry. Women artists often lack resources like finance, connections, experience, guidance and time. We can truly come together and lend a hand to help lift an emerging group of exceptionally gifted people.  

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

I plan on staying the in the hospitality industry. I hope to stay in Colorado for at least the next five years. I plan to invest locally and expand into small boutique hotels and spas. I wish to preserve historical sites and put funding towards the conservation of their original, true beauty. 

 

Meghan Kahn  Age: 28  Profession: Designer, Fusion Light and Design   Enjoys: Creating inviting spaces 

Tell us about yourself. 

I’ve been in love and obsessed with anything relating to interiors my whole life. For as long as I can remember, I have been able to rearrange and envision any space I walk into and transform it into something completely new. When I was a kid, that mostly meant rearranging my room every other week against my mother’s wishes. But as I got older and more serious about my passions, I looked into how to turn it into more than a hobby. 

I went to the University of Nebraska and was initially majoring in architecture but changed halfway through because I didn’t feel like it allowed me to reach my full creative potential. I instead graduated with a degree in fashion merchandising/design and communications with a minor in art. After graduation, I moved to Colorado and began to explore what I wanted to do career-wise and what I needed to do to get there. I knew I wanted to work in an industry relating to the design of spaces and last January on a whim I reached out to Fusion Light and Design about a position there. They did not have any formal positions open, but Kristen, Fusions owner, took a chance on me and I am forever grateful that she did. I get to partner alongside some of the most incredibly talented designers and builders in Northern Colorado every dayit is seriously a dream come true. 

What motivates you? 

I am most passionate about relationships. I love making people feel loved and valued. What motivates me is cultivating those relationships, whether it be in a business setting or on a personal level. I want my clients and anyone who works with me to always have a positive experience. I also am passionate about creating things and making beautiful, inviting spaces. My job as a lighting designer allows me to always have my creative outlet and I get the bonus of seeing some of the most gorgeous homes in Colorado. Mix those together, and you have my reason for where I am. I get to mix my love of design and my passion for helping people love their home. 

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others?

 I always work hard with a smile. I think how I perform and how my peers perceive me has less to do with my job as a designer and more to do with who I am. I am empathetic and follow through with what I say I will do. I pride myself on having integrity and being respectful. Again, I am passionate about people. I believe it is all rooted in the fact that God calls us to love and serve others. I trust that God will provide business opportunities and the right doors will open so long as I’m treating people fairly and providing the exceptional customer service and products they deserve. Mix that with an uncanny obsession with being organized and an outstanding company, and you’ve got the best combination you could ask for. 

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive?

 I learned how to work hard, hustle and not settle from both of my parents. The drive that I have to be successful is a direct result of years of watching them do exactly that. I keep my goals in sight at all times and consistently make the courageous choice to pursue my dream. Never losing sight of the end goal is huge. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

Honestly, I hope to continue doing exactly what I am doing now, helping my clients create beautiful and unique spaces with the emphasis on lighting. I’m in the business of earning business by using my eye for design and technical lighting knowledge. My goal is to continue to provide value to all the designers and custom home builders up north and show people that there are more to lights than what Home Depot offers. My husband and I are currently building our first home in Loveland and are so excited to continue to be a part of the Northern Colorado community! 

 

Katelynn Mai-Fusco  Age: 27 Profession: Artist, art instructor at Boys & Girls Clubs Medium: Cut paper artist inspired by the Poudre River

Tell us about yourself.

I am from Greeley. I was born and raised in this sacred cow town. I remember evenings by the river and nights where the sun set the sky on fire. This place gave me my love for the delicate features of nature. I grew up with a woodworking father and a stay-at-home mother. Both were hard working, and the kind of parents that told their kids they could have the world.  

I was lucky enough to have educators in my life that supported me through my art degree from UNC. Over time, I realized that my philosophy on art was evolving. I was seeing art as a therapeutic process rather than a final product. This realization eventually led me to a career as the arts program specialist at the Boys and Girls Club of Larimer County.  

I am very passionate about bringing visual and performing arts to underserved youth. A lot of the kids I work with have experienced severe trauma and need a creative outlet for expression. I have seen art give kids confidence, insight, peace, conviction, hope and, most importantly, an identifying voice.  
 

What motivates you? 

The main thing that motivates me is human connection. We are complicated creatures that bring forward life’s most profound moments. Moments that facilitate pain, joy, sorrow, amusement, awe and so on. All of us are intertwined into each other’s narratives in the most minute yet critical way. We bring about change whether we intend to or not. I find that beautiful.  

I am passionate about spiritual, emotional and physical connections made through visual art. I believe that every person deserves to have a voice. There are a lot of voices that don’t possess the right words, but they hold visible articulation. I see this in the kids I work with all the time. Emotion isn’t necessarily known till its expressively put on a page.  

During the opening night of my last installation titled “Her Accord” there was a man sitting in the space for a long period of time. He was staring at the panels of paper, watching the lights change hues in complete silence. He started to cry. I went over and asked him if he was OK. He began to tell me how he just came from the doctors where they told him he had cancer for the second time. He thanked me for the installation and the moment of peace it gave him that day. That moment was short but so impactful. I don’t know where that man is today; I don’t even know his name, but I know that I provided something he needed during one of the most trying times in his life. What more could I ask for? 

What has been the biggest challenge in achieving your goals? 

As a society, we all have different ideas of success. One of the more common ones being the status of your job. It took a lot of soul searching to realize what was important to me in life. I realized I needed to show others the magical power of visual creativity. I just didn’t know exactly what that looked like.  

The Boys and Girls Clubs solidified my passion. I applied on a whim searching for non-profit/art related jobs. I went in for my interview and was hired on the spot. It felt like all my life experiences led up to this one moment. It just felt right. The youth we work with deserve a safe and positive environment. They deserve to wake up every day and feel like they have adults and a community to lean on.  

If you could make one improvement to your community, what would it be and why? 

The one that seems the most pressing and important at the moment is equal opportunities for all youth no matter their race, economic status or sexual orientation. Boys and Girls Clubs in Larimer County are doing this, but it needs to go beyond our club walls. There is economic inequality in Northern Colorado that mostly effects youth of color, providing them with less opportunities and resources. Every child deserves an education and a support system within that education.   

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

I see myself still creating spaces for people to enter into. Installations that move the soul. I see myself continuing to work with kids in the creative space, showing them the visual power that they have. I hope to be amplifying voices of youth that need to be heard and providing them with the resources that they deserve. In the end I see myself making connections with people through visual exploration.  

 

Betty Maisenbach  Age: 29  Profession: Marketing Director, Desk Chair Coworking   Inspired by: Loveland’s art culture  

 

Tell us about yourself. 

Hustle and grit! But let me give you some background. It’s a tale as old as time, about a girl that grew up on a small farm in Iowa. After high school graduation, I moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College. At first, I wanted to be involved in the mental health field, possibly going into social work or sociology. I have always been fascinated with the way the mind works and how it associates and processes things. That’s how I started to explore marketing. Understanding the consumer buying process or brand association is fascinating to me. There is a reason why people are loyal to one brand over another and it usually comes down to a significant event in their life.  

A few months before graduation, I was offered a marketing associate position at a local startup company called Attorney Fee. I collaborated on strategic public relation campaigns and strategies. During my time at Attorney Fee, they were acquired by LegalZoom. Being able to manage, adjust and continue to do my work was an amazing accomplishment, and a crazy experience to go through at only 21 years old. After my time at LegalZoom, I transitioned into an account manager position at Cars.com until moving to back Iowa. 

This is where I get to tell my love story. My better halfs name is Shane and we have a beautiful silver lab/pit named Niko. We decided that we wanted to move out to Colorado to be closer to nature and the incredible things that Colorado has to offer. We marked our calendar and, a year later, we were in our U-Haul heading out to the great State of Colorado. It was a whirlwind adventure: we closed on our house in Iowa on Wednesday, drove out to Colorado on Thursday, closed on our new house on Friday. Started work on Monday. H-u-s-t-l-e. 

Before we moved, Shane and I had taken time to visit Loveland to get to know the community and do some inmarket interviews with our prospective job markets. I was contacted by a recruiter that was looking for a marketing specialist for a new coworking space downtown. I fell in love with the space, the concept and the mission statement of what Desk Chair had to offer. I have to say, it may have been one of the most intense interviews processes that I have been through. Now, after about two years, I am lucky enough to be the director of marketing at Desk Chair Coworking.  

What motivates you? 

As a theatre minor, I have always been passionate about the arts. Loveland has been a dream when it comes to the arts. I am incredibly proud that we are now categorized as an Arts District. The murals, the sculptures and history here in the city have been captivating. Our Desk Chair team is always trying to lift up the local artists by continuing to showcase their works in our vault area or putting together a scavenger hunt downtown to capture their favorite murals or local shops. We try to showcase our community as much as we can.  

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

I was raised in a family that suffered its share of addiction. Although my parents had their demons, they were very transparent and honest about the struggles they had gone through. They wanted more for us and that was apparent at a very young age. I knew that I wanted to become more than the stigma of a child of an addict; even from a young age. It kept me moving forward, working towards goals and continuing to check in on the progress of my goals.  

My parents both have worked hard to overcome their demons and find inner strength. Recovery and growth are a lifelong process and knowing this helps me continue to push myself forward. I will be forever continuing to work on myself, may that be mentally or physically; we are forever evolving. Complacency is the death of greatness.  

I have also been fortunate to having amazing role models that I look up to. My older brother Jack has been a huge inspiration and support system growing up and throughout my career. He has the same mentality: “be better.” Jack moved to New York right after graduation for a theatre and costume design degree and now he works for Corporate Norwegian Cruise line within the costuming department. He is badass.  

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

Still living in the beautiful state of Colorado. Professionally, I would love to become a chief marketing officer of a forward-thinking, progressive company. Ultimately, the real the goal is to be happy and healthy surrounded my family and friends.  

 

 

Emma Mannino  Age: 28 Profession: Artist Secret Obsession: Cholera; cleaning the world’s water

 

Tell us about yourself. 

My lifelong dream has always been to be an artist. I grew up in Wisconsin, where my dad was an architect and my mom was a painter. My house was always full of creativity and ambition. I moved to Fort Collins when I was 22 to pursue a master’s degree in public health from CSU. While pursuing this career, I fell in love with the community and started drawing my favorite snippets of the city such as my house and my favorite restaurants.  

What motivates you? 

As long as I’m being creative in my work, I stay driven, but I really love the business side of art. I’m captivated with the idea of being able to support my family based on doing what I love. I also became a mom in January, and I want to set an example for my daughter of being a strong, driven, hardworking woman.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

We have such a wonderful art community with lots of support from the townand I believe it’s important to give back and support the community in return when I can. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I saw an opportunity to donate a percentage of sales to local businesses, and during the BLM movement I am proud to belong to galleries that support and donate to the movement. While I am constantly looking for opportunities to give back, I also am very focused on growing my business and building a brand while evolving as an artist. 

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

I’ve always been motivated by things just a little bit out of reach. When someone tells me I can’t do something, the fire in my soul is ignited to work even harder to accomplish those things. There’s always going to be a million reasons why something won’t work, but I strongly believe that you just have to take action and start the process in working toward your goals. My whole life I’ve wanted to be an artist, but my whole life I’ve also been told it’s impossible to make a living as an artist, so I’m working really hard to make it happen. 

What has been the biggest challenge in achieving your goals? How did you tackle that challenge?

I didn’t do art for many years because I didn’t know what medium to use. I knew I wanted to do something artistic, but I was convinced that I didn’t have that creative gene because I simply hadn’t started the process of finding my voice. In May 2017, I got in a bike accident that left me pretty immobile for a few weeks, so I went to the craft store and got some pens and a drawing pad and started drawing some flowers and my house and it just clicked. I became obsessed with learning everything I could about drawing and have evolved a million times since I first started three years ago. 

What have you had to give up getting where you are right now? 

I work a lot of nights and weekends. My day job is at Colorado State University, so I often wake up early and stay up late to draw, have branding sessions, cut tags, and fulfill orders.  And being a COVID-stay-at-home-mom, I’ve had to re-prioritize my days and really stay on track during my time dedicated to art. 

Who in your life most influenced your success? 

Before I met my husband, I was pursuing a career in public health and had just returned from an internship at the World Health Organization in Geneva.  He’s a big entrepreneur guy and he noticed I wasn’t following my passion and started encouraging me to take art classes and start an Etsy.  He encourages me every single day to be my best self and is the biggest believer in who I can become as an artist. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

I hope to have a few print lines that sell in shops across the U.S. and I’d love to be a household name in the art community, but mostly I hope to have a house on Mountain Avenue in Fort Collins with a little art studio in the back! 

If you could make one improvement to your community or tackle one world problem, what would it be and why? 

This is totally unrelated to my artwork, but I have a background in global health and am obsessed with Cholera.  If I had a magic wand, I’d clean all the water in the world to finally rid of that disease. 

 

Santiana Martinez  Age: 21  Profession: Youth Development Specialist Boys & Girls Clubs, Larimer County   Fluent in: Spanish and Japanese 

Tell us about yourself. 

I am currently a fourthyear student in the College of Business at Colorado State University. Before college, I spent seven years at Denver Center for International Studies, which is a middle school and high school. My time there was very focused on social studies, which led me to understand the world around me at a deeper level. I was also required to learn a language, so I improved my Spanish and also learned Japanese.  

I am not one who enjoys a routine; it gets boring. I like change and excitement. I’ve worked at Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County for a little over a year now, but I also tend to work a second or third job because that gives me something different. The nice thing about Boys & Girls Clubis that every day is something new. And, working with kids? Well, you never know what the day may bring you. I love it though. I wouldn’t ask for anything else. 

What motivates you? 

My motivation stems from my desire to do something great. Be someone successful. I’ve always wanted to leave some sort of legacy, a positive one, but I’ve always run into the argument of “how do you know you’re successful?”  

I think everyone defines success for themselves differently, but I found out how well I fit into business. Business for me ranges from doing entrepreneurial summer camps to starting a small photography business and dedicating my higher education to business. I’m a passionate person, there are so many different things I thoroughly enjoy, but music, leadership, photography, art and business have become my small orbit of focus. 

My current profession doesn’t necessarily translate to the degree I’m pursuing. I guess that’s how it happens for people. Oftentimes, they don’t end up in a line of work that they studied for. Either way, I love what I do, especially because I grew up as a Club member, so I know what this means to kids. To be giving them a safe place, especially during these hard times we are in this year. 

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others?

With everything I do, I have a goal. Even when things are overwhelming or consuming, it never steers me away. I am always willing to tackle a challenge. On top of that, I am always looking to improve, which allows me to be incredibly open to feedback and criticism. I’ve always been focused on the future and what I am doing in the present to get there. In high school, it was always about school, work or soccer. I wasn’t worried about parties. Once I was in college, I expanded my social life, but even then, I’m not interested in parties. I enjoy doing things that benefit my time, not make me lose it. 

Where do you get your drive? 

My drive comes from my desire to be successful, to leave a legacy. There are many temptations to not be productive, and I allow myself that time because taking care of yourself and your mental health is so important, but I always get back to it after. It’s a balance of productivity and relaxation really. I think it’s important to know this balance so that your life is much for fulfilling, personally and professionally. If you don’t balance it out, you’ll feel overwhelmed and unmotivated.  

There’s this thought that’s always recurring in my head, it’s that if you’re born poor, that isn’t your fault, but if you die poor, then you only have yourself to blame. By this, I mean, we can’t control the circumstances we are born into, but it’s about how we find and use opportunities we are given in life to benefit ourselves and present a better future. As a woman of color, statistically speaking, I am faced with many obstacles, but I find ways to work them out, or work harder. 

Growing up, I saw how dedicated my parents were to their work and the things they were passionate about, and that really gave me an extra push. They support me in my ventures which helps me really steer in a direction that will benefit me most in the long run. I’ve always been surrounded by people who are extremely motivated and dedicated to what they do. That’s also been a big influence in my life. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

My goal for five years out is to be running my own business. Personally, I want to be traveling more, so I could see the world.   

 

Delaney Morrow  Age: 21  Profession: Artist, Delaneys Designs     Focus: Custom painting and calligraphy  

Tell us about yourself.

I’m currently a business student at Colorado State University. Growing up, I’ve always been a very driven, creative and passionate person. I’ve always been involved in a number of different activities and enjoy keeping myself busy whether it be in school, clubs and sports, or through my own creative endeavors.  

When I was about 16, I started my own art business selling paintings to family and friends between sports and school. Over the years, I’ve kept it up and it’s now grown into something I never expected. I’ve now expanded to selling online and nationwide on Etsy, where I make custom paintings and calligraphy. I’ve accomplished a lot since then, winning a national youth entrepreneurship scholarship award, and even starting my second business as a portrait photographer. It can be a lot to balance multiple jobs as a college student and still have time to be a kid, but I’m so thankful for and proud of the valuable things I have learned from being an entrepreneur. 

What motivates you? 

Passion is one of the biggest things that motivates me, as well as making sure whatever I’m doing is making me and other people happy. Both my art and my photography are opportunities to make other people smile, and that’s one of the biggest motivators for me, knowing that I can make a difference in someone’s life.  

I’m passionate about all of those things because I think they’re all a vital part of living a happy and successful life, but you can’t have one without the rest. I think that we need business, especially small businesses, but most importantly, businesses that do good and care about the people they’re serving. The same goes for leadership, philanthropy and the arts. They’re all the business of people and meeting the needs of others while going above and beyond to make people happy and do good in the world.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

I think something that makes me stand apart from my peers in the industry is that I know how to multitask all of my work. For over five years, I’ve managed my two small businesses while attending school full-time, participating in numerous clubs and sports, as well as working multiple other jobs. I think I’m the type of person who thrives under pressure, which drives me to work my hardest to be successful in all aspects of my life.  

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive?

I’ve definitely had practice over the years on multitasking and learning to focus in order to manage many different responsibilities at once. I wouldn’t have the skills and drive that I do without my family, though. My parents have definitely always pushed me to strive for success and do my best in all aspects of life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

In five or 10 years, I can see myself still owning and operating my own businesses. They might look a little different, but I see myself as an entrepreneur for a very long time from now, still pursuing my goals of bringing happiness to others through my passions. 

 

Jamie Olson  Age: 25 Profession: Registered Nurse Best known for: Her positive attitude and leading by example, according to her peers

Tell us about yourself. 

I am a 25-year-old registered nurse. I am a Colorado native, born and raised in Loveland, and have always had a passion for helping others. I attended Colorado Mesa University and graduated in 2016. I met a boy who swept me my off my feet and asked me to join him on his academic journey to Moscow, Idaho. Nursing opportunities were limited, so I took a job 30 miles away. Being a new nurse in a new town on a very busy unit wasn’t easy, but it was an outstanding learning experience.  

We relocated to Northern Colorado and I began working at North Colorado Medical Center. Through a painful merge of units in 2019, heavy turnover and unit realignment, I became charge nurse in the Progressive Care Unit, and in that year our unit has grown closer, successfully added new team members, implemented methodological changes and developed into a remarkably strong unit.  

What motivates you? 

The moment you are “pinned” and officially graduate from nursing school, you acquire the title of registered nurse. This title drives me to be the best version of myself. Seeing the great things that the nurses around me have accomplished, and watching them pave the way for other nurses, inspires me to honor them and continue improving this field every day.  

I find passion in planting seeds in young nurses and helping them become the best possible leaders in the hospital and in the community. Many people have invested in me as a professional, and I feel it is my responsibility to invest in the young people I meet now. I truly believe that it only takes one interaction to change someone’s life, so I work hard to ensure every interaction I have with another nurse, doctor or patient is one that leaves us both better.  

What do your peers see in you that makes you stand apart? 

I have put a lot of effort into becoming a very well educated and qualified nurse. As a charge nurse, I am surrounded by nurses of all ages and walks of life every day. In this role, it is not uncommon for me to be working with a 22-year-old new graduate and a 60-year-old veteran. I work diligently to approach every situation with an open mind and meet people where they are so that everyone’s goals can be accomplished. I am comfortable using my voice to create discussion about growth and change when necessary. I bring a positive attitude to my work every day.  

What have you had to give up getting where you are right now? 

Nursing is HARD. Hours can be long, and 12 hours turns into 13, 14 and 15 quickly, and that doesn’t factor in the continuing education and meetings that we are required to attend. Nursing is a 24-hour job; the patients always come first, and we often work overtime to support our patients while sacrificing time and care for ourselves and our families. We give up many hours of personal time to be at the bedside taking care of patients through holidays, pandemics, and all the hours in between.  

Who in your life most influenced your success? 

I have been blessed with wonderful, hardworking parents and an incredible family that continue to stand by my side and support me in all my endeavors. I strive to continue to make them proud, but it wasn’t until I met my husband that the growth in my career skyrocketed. We began my nursing journey together, and he continues to challenge and encourage me to be my best every single day. He has been my motivator, shoulder to cry on, and biggest supporter, and I know he has my back no matter the circumstance.  

If you could tackle one problem, what would it be and why? 

Access to affordable preventative medicine is a huge problem nationwide. If I could make one improvement, it would be to emphasize the importance of preventative medicine by providing educational opportunities, easy access and affordable care. We are diagnosing conditions every day that could have been easily prevented or managed with proper education and early identification. This change would dramatically decrease hospitalizations and emergency room visits, as well as increase quality of life and overall life expectancy. When we begin to shift the focus of healthcare to disease prevention, we will see a healthier, happier world 

 

Lauren Peteja  Age: 28  Profession: Stylist, Hair by Lauren   Side Gig: Cookbook author 
 

Tell us about yourself. 

I grew up in Fort Collins in a big Christian family and attended hair school at Paul Mitchell the School in Salt Lake City, Utah. The thing that set this school apart from all the rest was its atmosphere of kindness. They instilled in me the desire to be a “daymaker.“  

After graduation, I returned to Fort Collins and worked at various salons, gaining experience and building clientele. In 2013, as an independent stylist, I focused on branding myself. After my wedding in 2014, I fell in love with weddings and saw the need for a local makeup artist and hairstylist that was willing to travel. My passion for creative styling and the uniqueness of airbrush makeup set me apart in Northern Colorado for weddings, parties and special events. I later set off on my own and now have a space within Sola Salons, working behind the chair and also traveling all around Colorado for weddings.  

My husband and I are youth leaders at our church working with middle and high school kids. It truly is our second family. Throughout the years, I planned the youth fundraisers, everything from car washes to mini coffee shops to tea parties. Last year, I co-authored a cookbook about desserts for an anti-inflammatory diet. My most important job by far is raising our three little boys. These various roles each nourish my creativity. 

What motivates you? 

I have huge passion for creativity, and I love to help people achieve their goals (write a book, raise money, feel confident, look better). My motivation comes from my love of helping people and being able to have a positive impact on someone’s life. 

My passion is in creating new things. In the salon, it’s about creating beautiful hair and makeup, while also creating an atmosphere of comfort and peace, especially for weddings and stressful situations. I love being able to listen to someone’s goals or ideas and help them become a reality. I believe we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, so I use the talents I have to serve others.   

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients, and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

The feedback I receive most often is that my clients love that I listen and do what they want (within reason) not what I want. I bring a very calm and peaceful presence, which is essential on the day of a wedding, while planning an event, or when editing the ninth draft of a book.  

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

When you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life. This fits my life perfectly as I absolutely love what I do, so my job is wonderfully fun and rewarding. So, my drive comes from the enjoyment I get in all my creative endeavors. I also have the desire to never stop learning. So, in every situation and conversation, good or bad, I focus on what I can learn from it to better improve myself or my craft. I focus on learning and growing, and success seems to follow.  

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

My five-year goal is to move into a larger space and grow my business to a five to six chair salon. I would love to stay working with youth in some way and there’s been talk of making a series of cookbooks. I’m constantly searching for new ventures, so who knows what other things I will find. Most importantly, I want to raise up our three boys to be kind, respectful and confident. 

 

Brennen Salz  Age: 29  Profession: Co-owner, Salz Home Solutions   Passionate Supporter of: Realities for Children and supporting underprivileged youth 

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m a Fort Collins native and Colorado State University alum, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies in 2014. For several years, I worked in the digital marketing space, serving small- and medium-sized businesses as a marketing strategist. I learned a great deal about client expectation management, highly defined marketing strategies and sales techniques. I did realize, though, that sitting at a desk for nine hours a day was not for me. 

I was exploring a career change. My mom built a successful residential real estate career throughout my adolescence, so I was familiar with the personal and financial independence that one can attain in the business. By 2017, I made the decision to transition into a career that was on my terms. My wife had just become a real estate agent, I was raised by a real estate agent and I was in pursuit of my desire to help others in a meaningful, life-altering way. To help others realize their dream of home ownership? It was the perfect fit. 

I earned my real estate license in February 2017. I now co-manage Salz Home Solutions with my wife, Lauren Salz. We’re a home buying, selling and styling team within the Ambassador Colorado Real Estate brokerage and specialize in assisting first-time home buyers and first-time home sellers across Northern Colorado.  

What motivates you? 

I feel called to be a servant leader. To me, that means to serve earnestly and without reservation with the unique knowledge and expertise I have gained throughout my personal and professional experiences. 

I am highly motivated to help others achieve one of their greatest dreams, home ownershipon their terms, not my own. I strive to serve my clients with great care and attention, so that each feels independently seen and heard and therefore grows to trust in my ability to lead them through the home buying an/or selling process. I care deeply about understanding the unique circumstances, motivations and challenges of each client we serve; I believe that’s the only way to build a successful, meaningful business. 

I am motivated to serve my clients with exceptional customer service not only to grow my business but to also earn credibility among my peers, so that I can one day serve on the board of Realties for Children. To help some of our community’s most marginalized, neglected children would be an honor and a gift. 

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

I believe that the value I provide is two-fold: one based in service, the other based in strategy. First, I have helped redefine industry standards through my practice of patience. I prioritize serving clients based on their terms, their timeline and their unique wants and needs. Second, the laser-focused commitment to nurturing a strong digital marketing strategy has allowed Salz Home Solutions to thrive. 

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

My wife is 15 weeks pregnant with our first child, and my drive to nurture and sustain the success of this business is stronger than ever. My effort to be a provider and a leader is more refined. I am motivated to be an extraordinary example of grit and grace, of servitude and loveso that my son or daughter will be proud of my legacy. 

To hone my focus, I set weekly, monthly and quarterly goals. Because real estate is a seasonal industry, I believe it’s important to establish clear and defined goals that are in alignment with the ever-changing needs of my business. For example, during the high-traffic summer months, I’m more focused on managing current client needs and expectations; during the slower winter months, I’m more focused on perfecting our digital marketing strategy. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

In five years, I would like to have a more defined leadership role within our brokerage, so that we can grow Salz Home Solutions to train and manage additional agents. I am passionate about helping others step into the role of small business owner, so that they, too, can realize financial independence and grow a successful business. 

In 10 years, I would like to own a multi-unit affordable housing property. I know that affordable housing options are few and far between in our community, which is a significant challenge for low-income individuals and families. These people are our neighbors and friends who need additional housing options. This goal, too, will help my family grow in our own investment portfolio, which I hope to use to help fund our child’s (and future children’s) education. 

Lauren Salz  Age: 28  Profession: Co-owner, Salz Home Solutions   Current Project: Pregnant with her first child
 

Tell us about yourself. 

I am co-managing broker of Salz Home Solutions and founder of The Home Office. I was born and raised in Colorado Springs and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Science in sociology and business marketing from Colorado State University.  

After graduation in 2014, I spent a couple years working in the marketing department of Qdoba Restaurant Corporation. I was hired to create and fulfill new product promotion strategies, and I absolutely loved it. Then my mom passed awaysuddenly and totally out of the blue. Tragedy often brings clarity, and I was moved to step into my dream of working for myselfmy dream to create something from nothing in pursuit of personal and financial freedom. 

Following in my dad’s footsteps, I earned my real estate license in 2016 and actively pursued a full-time career as a real estate agent. I also got my interior design and home staging certification. In 2017, my husband, Brennen, decided to join me. We now co-manage our Northern Colorado home buying, selling, and styling teamSalz Home Solutions. 

I know the struggle of trying to manage all. of. the. things. A successful real estate career depends on tending to current client needs and expectations while simultaneously working to attract the next clientskills that are not taught in licensing courses or agent trainings. To help other agents nurture and secure a lucrative real estate career, I launched The Home Office in February 2020. I’ve personally written and designed 37 unique, creative and modern marketing resources that help real estate agents boost their brand and build their credibility without wasting hours of time writing content or drafting social media calendars.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

Brennen and I chose to go into business together just months into our marriage, at just 26- and 25-years-old, respectively. Over the last three years, we have learned to communicate vulnerability, trust completely and serve wholeheartedly by pressing into each other’s unique strengths. 

Brennen excels in content negotiations and having tough conversations. His experience in digital marketing has helped us stand apart. I thrive in nurturing client relationship and writing engaging content. Without one another, our service, our businessor bothmight suffer. I believe that’s what sets us apart from other agents, other teams: our laser-focused commitment to aligning our duties with our personal gifts. This allows us to not only double the hours in a day, but also provide comprehensive, well-rounded service to our clients.   

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

I’m a 4th generation business owner and 2nd generation real estate agent. To some degree, the desire to work for myself and the drive to be a successful service provider is in my blood. I personally desire, more than anything, to feel free to do what I want, when I want, and with whom I want. To me, that translates to working for myself and confidently accepting the demands of what it takes to realize this goal. 

Entrepreneurship has pulled out the best in me and has also brought me to my knees. I have felt powerful and determined; I have felt hopeless and defeated. To better hone my focus and to keep my spirits high, I have implemented steadfast boundaries. What I’ve learned, though, is that the idea of “balance” is a complete farce. Some days, I’m required to sit behind the computer for 14 hours. Other days, I have the freedom to take an extralong lunch or do chores around the house. 

I’ve learned that in order to serve greatly, I must feel emotionally and mentally strong. Therefore, I have implemented boundaries by tracking the amount of time I spend in the various areas of my life. I track how much time I spend working, socializing with friends, indulging in self-care, and investing in family-time. This helps me identify where I need to scale back and where I need to put my foot on the gas. I spend no more than 45 hours a week on work and prioritize five hours of self-care and 10 hours of family-time. By introducing time standards into my schedule, I believe I’m more productive at work and more present with my loved ones. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

In five years, I see myself straddling the line between full-time business owner and full-time mom. That means growing my team, both personally and professionally. In 10 years, I see Brennen and I owning our own brokerage. I would like to be in charge of organizing and executing structured training opportunities that emphasize digital marketing mastery, client relationship management and organizational systems.  

 

Ian Skor  Age: 29 Profession: Engineer, Founder of Sandbox Solar Passion: Clean energy

Tell us about yourself. A little history, and how you came to be where you are now. 

I am an environmental engineer with a passion to transition our society to clean energy. I find it imperative to fight climate change through the use of carbon free resources. I started Sandbox Solar five years ago with my business partner, AJ Lyle. We started our company with nothing but a laptop and a Subaru. We have built our company to 18+ employees and we are based out of the Colorado State University Powerhouse Energy campus. I am a Northern Colorado Renewable Energy Society board member and help with educating and pushing renewable energy adoption in Northern Colorado.  

What motivates you? 

I have led innovative research at CSU, and am most known for agrivoltaics, the synergistic relationship between agriculture and solar energy. Our company strives for quality service and building meaningful relationships in the community. Solar energy is an exciting technology and our customers are thrilled when they see energy savings and their solar producing energy for their house.  

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

I get my drive from my independent, adventurous focus, and my love for the outdoors. I also have a great business partner and amazing team that enjoys hard work and success while having fun.  

What has been the biggest challenge in growing your business?

 Solar energy is so new and quickly evolving. There is constantly educating and re-educating that has to be done for the end customer. Our biggest challenge has been to complete this in the most non-invasive way for homeowners in Northern Colorado, because we are not huge fans of door knocking. We’ve been able to get involved with the community and get our name out there based on quality and our high level of knowledge, so when homeowners need advice on solar energy, they call Sandbox Solar. It was incredibly difficult to grow our company this way because we’ve had to do everything, but we have had strong members of the community support us and now we employ 18.  

What do you love about Northern Colorado? 

I love Northern Colorado for its easy access to the mountains and various recreational activities around town. We love the Colorado State University Powerhouse Energy Campus. We have been residents in the co-workspace for four years and have been able to participate on various research projects and events around town. I love that Northern Colorado has so many social and political perspectives, and yet recognizes important matters such as committing to 100% renewable energy by 2030.  

If you could make one improvement to your community, what would it be and why?

I would make sure that our community is entirely run on 100% renewable carbon-free energy. Future generations deserve to live in a world that is unpolluted and have the opportunity to connect with the natural world through outdoor recreation opportunities that we all get to enjoy today. Our research with CSU has shown that we can increase local energy production, food production and water savings by deploying this concept.    

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

In five years, Sandbox Solar will continue to rapidly deploy solar energy in our local community, and I hope to see many megawatts of agrivoltaic projects being deployed nationally to provide value to farmers and solar developers. In 10 years, I hope to see Fort Collins achieve its 100% renewable energy goal and have Sandbox Solar help our community to obtain that goal.  

 

Taylor Strope  Age: 28  Profession: Owner, Mountainside Events   Currently planning: Her own wedding 

Tell us about yourself. 

I was born and raised right here in Fort Collins. Growing up, I always knew that one day I would want to become my own boss. My parents are both entrepreneurs and business owners in Fort Collins, which inspired me to want to start my own business.  

I discovered my passion for event planning while attending Colorado State University. I had an amazing opportunity to plan events for a local non-profit (SpokesBUZZ) and was also working at The Mishawaka Amphitheatre as the wedding and special events coordinator. A good friend of mine asked why I don’t start my own business and, of course, I came up with all the excuses in the book because of fear. “I am too young.” “I don’t have enough money to start a business.” “I don’t know how.” He told me that the only way to grow is to try and that I needed to take a leap of faith. The next day, I took that leap and started Mountainside Events. That was four years ago, and I can now say that it was the best decision I have made for myself.  

What motivates you? 

I am motivated most by my peers and other entrepreneurs in Northern Colorado. I love making connections and building lasting relationships, and I am a huge advocate in supporting our local community. I love to be a part of something memorable and we have such a vibrant community of people here that I love to create events with. 

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

One of the ways I stand out is my laid-back personality, which can be unique to the industry I am in. That makes me easy to work with and I have the ability to keep cool and calm when planning a wedding or event. Being also from Fort Collins, I have grown my network of people, and continue to make lasting connections.  

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

My drive comes from my passion to do something great and to be a part of the experience. I can be a bit of a dreamer, and love to also visualize the next best thing. It starts with the dream, and then becomes a goal. I also believe it is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. My life motto is “Work hard, play hard! 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

My fiveyear plan is to continue to grow and expand Mountainside Events, potentially growing the business online. My 10-year plan is currently in the dream phase, where I want to create a space for the community that has everything you need onsite. A space that can be for weddings, special events and community events all in one. I want to create a lasting impression on everyone that attends an event with us. That is the dream.  

 

Tyler Terry  Age: 26  Profession: Owner, The Chiropractic Standard   You Can Call Him: Doctor 

Tell us about yourself.

I like to say I grew up in Colorado, but the best way to put it is, I grew up in my father’s chiropractic office which happens to be in Colorado. After soccer, after school, on the weekends, I was at my father’s office. I witnessed some health/healing stories that were hardly short of a miracle. All the time people would come up to me and tell me how my father “saved” their life. It dawned on me one day, even if I could help 1 percent of the amount of people my father did, my life would be fulfilled.  

I pursued my dream at Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward, CalifThis is where my passion for helping people caught fire. I always wanted to be the best for my future patients, so I applied all my energy to become as knowledgeable as possible. I graduated top of my class as valedictorian. While I enjoyed my time in California, in my heart I knew I needed to come home and serve the people in this community. What better place to practice than where my grandfather and his father practicedright here in Greeley!  

What motivates you? 

My motivation stems from the state of this country’s health. When you take a look around, it seems we are getting more and more sick every day. We hear stories of families being torn apart because the toll of their health is too much. It is time for a change, and it starts with one community at a time. I want to empower people to own their health, so their health doesn’t own them. 

To spark this change it will take some serious leadership, and a topnotch business. I have developed a love and passion for leadership and business because of this. Even after all the work of starting a business and finishing doctorate school, if all I do is help that one family live a better life it will be a very successful career.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

To me, a true leader is one who attracts and inspires others by emitting their own passion and motivation for life. When an individual finds their purpose in life and chases after it with love and determination, positivity will naturally spread to those around them. This is the leader I strive to be, and I can only hope it impacts the people around me.  

Where do you get your drive? 

During my time in chiropractic college I was working an event in Oakland for a catering company. I was serving food, pouring wine, washing dishes, and all night my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing in my pocket. I wanted to ignore it because I was working, but you know when you get that gut feeling? A feeling that something isn’t right? So, I took a quick step back, and I finally checked my phone. I opened it up and there were 10 missed calls from my dad and a text message. I opened up the text message it read: “Just diagnosed with Parkinson’s.” I stopped everything I was doing. I ran to a back alley and just sat and cried. I sat there and cried until I could muster up enough courage to face reality and give my dad a call.  

Right thennothing else mattered but my dad’s health. I didn’t care if my boss fired me, I didn’t care about the final exam I had the next day, or how I was going to get home. Nothing else mattered. What I realized is there is nothing more important than your health and the health of your family. I keep this specific day at the front of my mind, always, to remember why I do what I do.   

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

The goal is to create an exponential impact towards a healthier world. My vision for the next decade is owning and operating three chiropractic offices. These offices will be known as places for hope and healing. In all honesty, I hope to have it figured out where I can just set up an adjusting table on the side of the road and help people all day long for free. That would be my dream!  

Most importantly, I will have a wonderful family with my current partner in crime. We cannot wait to have kids of our own and cheer them on throughout life. 

Miguel Vigil  Age: 22  Profession: Fabricator, SVI Trucks   What That Really Means: He builds firetrucks for a living  

 

Tell us about yourself. 

I am 22, happily married and a father of two children, the youngest almost 1 year old and a 3-year-old. I’m a welder/ fabricator for SVI Trucks in Fort Collins, and I’ve been here for about three years helping make fire trucks and loving every day of it.  

Before this I was working at Staples, probably my most miserable working experience. At that time, was expecting my first child, so I knew I had to do something more. I didn’t have a car, license or even my diploma and had to get that all figured out ASAP. I owe it to my wife for helping push me into the right direction. She got me involved with the workforce center. ThereI got my GED and began interning, which led me to SVI Trucks. I interned for three months and they liked me enough to keep me. Since then, they haven’t had another intern do as well as I did, so that’s pretty awesome setting the bar so high and being the only intern to make it through.  

What motivates you? 

I am passionate about art and creating things. I always have been. From painting to drawing to sculpting, Ive been handson for as long as I can remember and working with metal gives me a new media to work with. I’ve made a few welded art projects, which I’m very proud ofand continue to draw and paint. What motivates me is my family, of courseI wouldn’t be here without them and they’re my purpose for getting up in the morning and working hard to keep them happy, fed and a roof over their heads.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

I’ve been noticed by my coworkers for just doing what I love to do, which is creating things. I regularly draw caricatures of coworkers, doodle or make welding sculptures and they take notice. They’re also impressed by how far I’ve come in my welding skills in such a short time. I make some pretty big and complex things that require certain skills that not a lot have here. I don’t like boasting, of course, but I’m the right guy for the job and they know I make quality work.  

My father is the reason why I wanted to work in a manufacturing environment. I originally wanted to be a machinist just like him, but the workforce didn’t have an internship in that, so I chose welding instead and I think it worked out better for me. Being intricate and detailoriented is in my nature and I do it well. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

As for the future, it’s hard to say. I see myself doing the same things I’ve always done: Work hard for my family and never stop learning new things.  

 

 

Hunter Wylie  Age: 23  Profession: Owner, Beyond Blue Media   Obsessed with: Basketball 

 

Tell us about yourself. 

My competitive nature for business all started with basketball as a young man. I became obsessed with competing and growing. I had every disadvantage against me; I wasn’t as athletically or physically gifted as my peers. I had to work harder for everything. Though I lacked in height, I made up for it in heart, and my determination led me to receive a college basketball scholarship. It was in college that I discovered my love for business and building teams. 

I decided to drop out of school (and quit basketball) to pursue entrepreneurship full-time. I spent years crafting my sales skills by working at several sales companies and marketing firms to gain greater knowledge of marketing. I was then able to network with some successful businesspeople in Fort Collins who helped catapult me into starting Beyond Blue Media, a full-service digital marketing company. 

The last three years operating Beyond Blue Media have been an absolute blessing. Our team has experienced exponential growth, employing 14 local marketing experts, being hired by clients across the country in every niche, and working out of two office spaces close to downtown Fort Collins.  

What motivates you? 

I have always been obsessed with growth—in myself, in others, in entrepreneurship. I’ve discovered a special kind of adrenaline as a result of building up businesses and people. Watching my employees step into new roles that empower them as humans has been one of my greatest joys. 

I’m extremely passionate about leadership and giving back. As the company’s owner and CEO, I always make it a point to do what I’ve now deemed “Beyond Day” frequently. As a team (with pay), we set aside a workday to give back to our community. We’ve helped an elderly woman paint her home, cleaned up downtown Fort Collins, partnered with the homeless shelter and more. I love being part of something that is bigger than the individuals involved.  

Your efforts have gotten you noticed by your peers, your clients and others. What do they see in you that makes you stand apart from others? 

There are two things that make my leadership and team stand out from other marketing agencies. My hope is that our clients, my peers, and the community notices Beyond Blue Media’s special sauce: “Relationships and Integrity.” We deeply care about the relational aspect that comes with doing business closely with others. We not only want to make others feel successful as company partners, we also want to know our clients as fathers, as mothers, as people. 

Integrity can be vague, but at Beyond Blue Media it is one of the core pillars of who we are. We believe “to be kind is to be clear.” We hold fast to transparency as a key to flourishing relationships. Down to the tiniest details, we embed our core philosophy of integrity in all that we do. 

Where do you get your drive? 

My drive comes from a couple of sources. First and foremost, I feel honored to provide and care for my family. That is the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. As a business leader, I have a myriad of responsibilities, but none is greater than starting a family with my incredible, pregnant wife. 

Secondly, I believe that God has given me much to steward. In turn, I am called to watch over and grow the things with which he has entrusted me. Lastly, I’m driven to see others succeed. This is my favorite part about the marketing space, that I get to see and be a part of other businesses’ growth. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? 

I’m humbled to say that Beyond Blue Media has been just shy of doubling its success in every avenue (employees, revenue, clients) each year for the last three years. I expect that to continue to be the case for the next five to 10 years. I envision our company having even greater impact in our community and industry. At my young age, I feel excited and expectant for the years of fruitfulness and growth to come. 

Our hope is to have 20 to 25 employees in the next three to five years. However, we’re not willing to compromise on the excellence, quality and integrity of our services for the sake of growth. I would much rather refrain from growing if it means that the culture and reputation of our company will be diminished in any way. 

Additionally, my personal dream for the next 10 years includes planning a Christian church or nonprofit, fighting for intentionality and presentness with my growing family, and continuing to encourage my employees in giving back to our community, investing in their loved ones and empowering the impoverished in our city. 

 

Cullen Young Age: 28 Profession: Owner, The Dog Wizard Home Life: One wife, two kids, three dogs, two cats

 

Tell us about yourself. A little history, and how you came to be where you are now. 

I am 28 and from North Carolina. My wife, Jess, and I have lived in Northern Colorado since 2014. When Jess and I met we integrated four dogs into one home. Two of our dogs, Nikki and Rilo, began to fight and we had a big issue on our hands. We decided to seek help and ended up finding a passion for behavioral rehabilitation. We went to The Dog Wizard school and we moved here. Since then, we have planted firm roots and now have two kids, Sterling and Willow. Our business has grown from my wife and I, to having three employees at times, and we now see over 200 clients a year.  

What motivates you? 

Seeing the relationships between people and dogs change is incredible. Take, for example, a family who has a dog they cannot trust around their kids, then adding the tools and communication needed. Watching the dynamic of a household change is powerful for all involved.  

I love learning about my hobbies and especially dog training. We budget every year to attend seminars in our industry for continued education. Recently, we were selected as a location within Dog Wizard for the Lead Certification Team. We have proven that we not only have the ability to train dogs and their owners but we can also train people coming into the industry. We are very excited about this opportunity and currently have our first new franchise trainee. Our intention is to shift society’s view of how we care for and interact with the dogs we have by our side. 

Success at a young age is inspiring. Where do you get your drive? 

I had many business owners in my family, some successful, some not. I am very good at observing other people’s mistakes and learning from them (my parents are a great example). My work ethic is very strong, and my wife and I dedicate many hours to our business in our spare time. I have also learned that happiness fuels quite a bit of my drive. We all understand that things can be difficult at any given moment when running a business, so I make sure we also take care of our mental health. 

What has been the biggest challenge in growing your business? How did you tackle that challenge? 

Our biggest challenge has definitely been time and capital. When we moved out, we had debt from school, vehicles and expenses from moving and starting the business. We have worked many hours at max capacity for several years before we decided to hire employees, to fit our needs as a business as well as meet our family’s needs. It has been challenging, yet interesting, to juggle a business that my wife and I are the main  components of; we also have two children under five! We have to manage our time to ensure  everything is getting the attention and fulfillment that it needs. I wouldn’t change a thing,  though. It has taught me more about time management and to be efficient and productive.  Multi-tasking is part of the normal here. Packing lunches or changing a diaper while making a  sale or working with a dog is our reality, and setting aside time in the week for us to have family time or individual time with the kids is a must for our quality of life. 

If you could make one improvement to your community or tackle one world problem, what would it be and why? 

I love this question because all of my clients probably know my answer as it comes up often. People do not view the role of dogs in our lives as they should. Dogs are meant to be companions, but they are working animals and need to have jobs. We as a society do not see dogs as animals that need fulfillment. The general thought is let them be dogs, feed them, love them, shelter them; but what about boundaries and consequences?  

We see two extremes. One is that they have coping issues due to codependency being built into the relationship and the second is that dogs have learned how to get around everything their owner asks. The relationship is missing the respect and trust components that are so valuable to us. Why not give our dogs boundaries and work to do, and then once they have earned it, we can bring out the rewards? We have many dogs come in with behavioral issues and once we start to coach the animal, we see them open up and become more receptive. 

Most of us had the energy to accomplish great things, but we lacked the focus and drive to see them through in our 20s. Some of us gained that in our 30s, and a few of us realized it in our 40s, but it took a little bit of time to reach our full potential. That’s OK. In fact, it’s pretty normal. Northern Colorado, however, seems to be full of powerful, determined and very centered 20-somethings who have had no problem grabbing the bull by the horns, so to speak, and tackling their goals.

These dynamic young professionals have not only harnessed their energy, but they have also determined what they want, from work-life balance to financial independence to personal fulfillment—all at an age when most of us weren’t thinking much farther than our plans for Saturday night. May they inspire all us old dogs to new tricks.