2015 MPMSDC Bus Tour Builds Minority Business Relationships


Talk about good fortune from the weather gods. Representatives and prospective members of this year’s Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council annual bus tour were able to enjoy a rare, 67-degree November day—just before a major snowstorm—to visit a spectrum of certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) around the Denver metro area.

A pull-up fitness bar in the office? You bet!

A pull-up fitness bar in the office? You bet!

The genial business gurus boarded the bus at 8:30 a.m. and traveled to locations where member businesses were able to show off their success as well as their personality. At Campos EPC in LoDo, owner Marco Campos even added an impromptu demonstration of pull-up bar and Swagway skills to his site tour.

Participants were rewarded with mementos at each stop, enjoyed a hearty lunch, and the day ended at Society Sports and Spirits, where they were able to kick back and talk about their experience. The common thread of post-event comments? Building relationships…as well as planning on attending next year’s tour.

The group relaxes with food, beverages and good conversation.

The group relaxes with food, beverages and good conversation.

The mission of the Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council is to provide Corporate America and government entities with greater access to the goods and services of minority-owned business in order to develop lasting and mutually beneficial business relationships. As an affiliate regional council of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) serving Colorado, Kansas, Western Missouri, and Nebraska, the organization provides a direct link between Corporate America and Asian-, Black-, Hispanic- and Native American-owned businesses.

Today there are over 130 local corporations and government entities involved with the council, and over 500 minority-owned businesses certified with the Mountain Plains MSDC. Several of these certified MBEs have grown to the level of Fortune 500 companies and achieved Corporate Plus status with the NMSDC. Through the extensive certification process, corporate member support, free networking events, educational programs and supplier diversity initiatives MPMSDC strives to develop minority-owned businesses to their full potential. For more information, please visit: www.mpmsdc.org

Get Leadership Fit!

This year’s Women’s Success Forum: Get Leadership Fit! delivered something for everyone, from insightful speakers to amazing auction items to awe-inspiring awards. It was an energizing, engaging day for the more than 1,100 women and men who attended.

Johns Manville CEO Mary Rhinehart opened the event with the story of how her company began: a tale of ingenuity and partnership. Next, award-winning author, speaker and executive coach Debra Benton boiled down the attitude all effective leaders possess into two words: expect acceptance.

“They always expect to be accepted,” explained Debra Benton. She emphasized the need to always expect to be accepted and, in turn, accept everyone. “Children learn what they live, so live like you expect acceptance,” she explained.

New York Times best-selling author Curt Coffman started his talk with a joke and then went on to share brilliant insights about culture and its crucial role in strategy and performance. Next door, career-fulfillment expert and success coach Tama Kieves began her presentation with guided meditation, which proved a popular way for guests to prepare to sink into becoming inspired and unstoppable. One room down from soothing music Jan Rutherford, former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, coach and author, shared concrete solutions to getting past over-managing and under-leading to become courageous, humble and disciplined leaders. Gaye Woods, Group Director Community Health Improvement at Centura Health, busy in another room, spoke about how quality leadership calls for emotional intelligence, adaptability, body wisdom and compassion.

“We’ve had it all wrong: It’s not your bank accounts, titles or lack of access that’s holding you back. It’s your health,” shared Gaye Woods. She went on to explain how each person could increase his or her body wisdom and improve their health.

The event’s “Auction it Forward” section included oodles of items. Guests could bid on anything and everything from spa treatments to a day on the lake to Broncos games to team building retreats.

The afternoon session included an executive panel discussion. 9News Anchor and Business Reporter Gregg Moss facilitated the talk. Panelists included Executive Vice President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado Donna Lynne, CoBank President Mary McBride and Johns Manville CEO Mary Rhinehart.

This year, The Leadership Investment presented an award not given every year. It is one bestowed upon a woman who has distinguished herself as an exceptional leader in her workplace and community, an activist for change, a role-model for tomorrow’s leaders, and a person committed to the advancement of women. Merrill-Lynch Wealth Management Market Executive Jodi Rolland proudly accepted the 2014 Stephanie Allen Woman of Vision Award. The loudest cheers came from her husband and two sons who proudly came to the event.

The Leadership Investment also honored nine outstanding individuals as finalists for its 2014 Success Awards for Woman, Man and Rising Leader of the Year. The finalists included Brocade Senior Engineering Manager Renata Colitti O’Day; President, ANB Bank, Investment Management & Trust Carolyn Paul; Cummins Rocky Mountain Chief Financial Officer Caroline Slider Asimakopoulos; IQNavigator President and CEO Joe Juliano; enVision Vice President & Client Partner Alain Paolini; Comcast West Division President Steve White and Cisco Systems Strategic Account Manager Jennifer Chang; Covidien Director, Quality Assurance, Todd Hansell; and Johns Manville Manager, Produce Engineering Zeb Sukle. Finalists for company of the year included Charles Schwab, IMA and New Belgium Brewing.

Colorado artists Michelle Manquen and Board Emeritus member of The Leadership Investment Linda Bedinger each created lovely, unique art awards and thank you gifts for the winners and panelists.

The mission of The Leadership Investment is to focus on supporting and advancing women in their careers by developing leaders, connecting people and inspiring action. The Leadership Investment recognizes the vital contribution of men and acknowledges that engaging men is critical to the success of its mission.

United Way 6/7/14


Saturday, June 7, marked the annual Mile High United Way Emerging Leaders Council fundraiser and the United Ways Day at the Rockies.

The Emerging Leaders Council is a collective of young professionals who donate time and money to help make these programs successful and meaningful to the community.

The 14 United Ways of Colorado are committed to improving the well-being of individuals, families and children in our communities. Collectively, they are a catalyst for social change across Colorado.

The Emerging Leaders Council pre-game event is held to support Mile High United Ways’ work in the community to improve the lives of children, families and individuals. .

Donors, friends, and family members attended the rooftop gathering at Workplace Resources to celebrate the continued success of many of Mile High United Way’s programs, such as Bridging the Gap, which serves foster youth as they transition into adulthood.. Victoria Black gave an inspirational account of how Bridging the Gap helped her at this pivotal moment in her life.

Emerging Leaders guests then walked over to Mile High Stadium for the Colorado United Way Day at the Rockies. This annual event provides a way for supporters, board members, volunteers and staff to join in representing the work of United Ways across Colorado.



Saturday, June 7, marked the annual Mile High United Way Emerging Leaders Council fundraiser. This event is held to support work in the community that assists 40-50 young people each year in transitioning from social services to independence through their Bridge program. The Emerging Leaders Council is a collective of young professionals who donate time and money to help make these programs successful and meaningful to the community.  Donors, friends, and family members attended to celebrate the continued success of the program. Victoria Black, Tory, gave an inspirational account of how the Council and associated programs helped her at a pivotal moment in her life. A rooftop gathering with fun and food proceeded The Colorado United Way Day at the Rockies. This annual event provides a way  for supporters, board members, volunteer, and staff to join in representing the work of United Way in every community it serves.


May the 4th Be With You

May 4 is officially Intergalactic Star Wars Day. In Denver, the place to be for the celebration is Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. Count on it like wisdom from Yoda, each year the site will host Star Wars Day at the Hangar. This year 2,500 people came out — many in costume — to honor the saga, take a few cuts with the event’s own version of a light saber, blast a few shots at a storm trooper, and take their place behind the controls of an authentic X-Wing Fighter.

“The first year we hosted a thank you event for 30 people. It’s now grown to thousands coming through the door today,” confirmed Mathew Burchette, curator for the museum.

He then gave all the credit for the success of the day to three groups: Rocky Mountain FanForce, The Rebel Legion and 501st Legion. The first is a social group for Star Wars fans to collectively share their affinity for the series. The other two are official Lucasfilm approved costuming groups. The Rebel Legion is recognized as the world’s premier “Good Guy” Star Wars costuming organization. The second, well, as you can guess, represent the “the dark side.”

One dedicated parent braved the 80-degree day to come as Chewbacca, the gaint hairy Wookie from the movie. This was his second time attending with his son. “It’s a super father-son thing to do. We did it last year and this year we decided to dress up. It’s a lot of fun,” smiled the man as he hugged his miniature Hans Solo partner.

One mother, son duo took in all the sights and beep-beep sounds. “He’s a huge Star Wars fan. He has posters in his room from when he was very, very young.” Her now full-grown son even took a lesson from an X-Wing pilot on how to stun the character.

The whole Wasinger family came out decked for the day. “We look forward to this each year,” replied the costumed-clad mom.

Rocky Mountain FanForce, the guiding organizers of the event, generously gave out “play” light sabers to fans only after they successfully answered a trivia question.

“I’ve watched Star Wars since the day I was born,” expressed 10-year-old Kyala, in between casting questions to those wanting to earn the saber. “My dad still collects Star Wars action figures.”

Maureen Kiefer explained her two girls, Lucy and Kate, were set for all photos with pre-defined movie scene poses. “They are obsessed with Star Wars. One day we watched and they’ve been hooked ever since.”

“How many people can say they worked on a real X-Wing?” said Jeff Rodriguez referencing the rare and rewarding opportunity of maintaining the craft. He, along with 10-15 other volunteers, donate hours to keep the craft in top shape. His group works to preserve the space vehicle along with keeping it up-to-date with electronics.

As Yoda would say, “Patience you MUST HAVE my young padawan.” The event will come back around next year and when it does, entertain your inner Storm Trooper with a trip to Wings Over the Rockies.

May the 4th Be With You.