Dakota Montez 

26
Co-owner, Fort Collins Academy of Bartending; Community Engagement Manager at CASA of Larimer County

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

I am 26 years old and a Fort Collins native. My family traveled a lot while I was in school and then I went to Aims Community College in Greeley after high school to study education. Shortly after graduating college, I moved back to Fort Collins. Fort Collins is my home, and the community here is remarkable. I am grateful to have built fantastic and supporting relationships with other community leaders in Northern Colorado. 

 

What are you passionate about professionally and personally, and why? 

My biggest passion in both regards is serving the community. That is why I love both hats that I wear. As an owner of the Fort Collins Academy of Bartending, I get to teach people a new and lifelong skill that they can take with them anywhere they go. And with CASA, I get to be a part of an organization and mission that supports children in our community that need someone in their corner. 

 

What is your superpower? 

My superpower would absolutely be the gift of celebration. I love to celebrate all the wins in life, no matter how small. Everyone that knows me knows that I believe that every effort and accomplishment deserves recognition. I understand the courage that it takes to take a risk. Therefore, I will always encourage and support those around me to follow their dreams and I will be there at the end to celebrate!  

 

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment, either professionally or personally? 

My biggest accomplishment was making the decision to own my business. My sister and I became business owners in January 2020, which was also the start of the pandemic. We knew that it would be challenging and that there was a level of uncertainty that came with that decision. However, we pushed through and were able to make it to the other side. Now, we are seeing the best year we have had. 

 

Who has been the biggest influence in your life? 

My family is my biggest inspiration. My parents were very young when they had children and worked incredibly hard to support us. I also have two younger siblings that have inspired me to do what I do. My sister, Sierra, is a 30 under 30 nominee as well and is my business partner. And my brother, Jordan, is very involved in our business and I wouldn’t be able to do it without any of them.  

 

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

I have always been a big dreamer and I am an entrepreneur at heart. So, in 5 years, I see myself expanding on my current business to serve more members of our community. I am also an avid learner and traveler. Therefore, in 10 years I would like to have traveled across the country and beyond to expand my knowledge in both my industries of expertise.  

 

What piece(s) of advice would you give to your
18-year-old self?
 

I have always worked hard and since high school I have always had at least two jobs at a time to achieve my dreams. Age 18 was a challenging time and there were times that I questioned if putting in the hours was worth it. My advice to myself at 18 would be, “Keep going. Every hour that you invest in yourself, your friends and family and in your dreams, will be worthwhile!”  

 

What do you enjoy doing in your downtime? 

I don’t have a lot of downtime, but I do have a little free time. I am very lucky to have amazing friends and family and so when I am not working, I like to spend time with the people I care about. I usually spend my weekends getting lunch with friends, spending time with my parents and siblings, visiting someplace new in the community, and taking my dog out for an adventure.  

 

What would you like to give back to your community? 

I would like to give back by continuing to provide members of our community with opportunities to either learn a new skill in a new industry at the Fort Collins Academy of Bartending or to get involved with CASA and its mission to serve children in our community that have experienced abuse and neglect. I believe the greatest gift we can give is time, and I would like to continue to volunteer in my community.