Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce Girls Rising Event
Story by Lorenzo Chavez
Photos by Lorenzo Chavez
Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce Girls Rising Event
at Hilton Denver City Center, 1701 California St., Denver, CO benefiting at 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
The 2nd annual “Girls Rising: Building a Pipeline of Female Leaders” honored five young college students with scholarships and offered a panel discussion from women leaders from throughout the Denver metro region. This year’s event, hosted by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, was held Wednesday morning, May 15 at the Hilton Denver City Center in downtown Denver.
Emcee meteorologist Lisa Hidalgo of KMGH/Denver7 introduced keynote speaker Susan Frew, an author and woman business owner who found success in a predominantly male industrial field. Also on hand were: Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC) President/CEO Kristen Blessman; CWCC Board Chair Deb Siverson; and Lorii Rabinowitz, CEO of the Denver Scholarship Foundation.
Frew is CEO of Sunshine Plumbing, Heating & Air and author of “The Pufferfish Effect: Secrets to Crush Your Competition.” She provided guests with some hard-fought lessons that she picked up from her personal and professional struggles as a woman-owned business in a traditionally male-dominated industry. The entry-point for many women in non-traditional careers is a continuous support of education for STEM careers. Today, about 29% of STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering, and math) are held by women. However, only 1-2% of electricians and plumbers are women, and Frew made a case to encourage more women to enter the high-paying trade professions.
This year’s 5 scholarship recipients represent CSU, UCD, Metro State, and CCD
Participants from the business community heard from government, non-profit and for-profit business leaders who addressed what is being done and what still needs to be done to change perceived career options for women. The event honored five top female students entering non-traditional fields. College student scholarships were awarded to help them take the next step in their education and careers.
Presenting Sponsor for this year’s event was Xcel Energy with Sustaining Sponsors: Cummings, Denver Water, and the Denver Scholarship Foundation.
As part of the event a 5-member panel discussion was held to discuss today’s challenges for women in the workplace and personal stories of achievement from the world of entrepreneurs, politics, philanthropy, top-tier corporate industries, and small businesses. This year’s “Girls Rising” Panel of Experts was moderated by Paige Goss of Point Solutions Group. Panelists featured were: Makisha Boothe of Sistahpreneurs; Denise Burgess of Burgess Services, Inc.; Polly Lawrence, Government Affairs; Carrie Morgridge of the Morgridge Family Foundation; and Laura Roberts of Xcel Energy.
Special congratulations to the 2019 Girls Rising Scholars:
• Lucy Appel– studying Construction Management at Colorado State University
• Giselle Barrios– studying International Business at University of Colorado at Denver
• Odalis Castro – studying Bioengineering at at University of Colorado at Denver
• Katya Torres – studying Civil Engineering at Metro State University of Denver
• Sierra Morales – studying Criminal Justice at the Community College of Denver
For more information regarding the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce visit: www.cwcc.org
Emcee Lisa Hidalgo shared her personal challenges as a mom & meteorologist
Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Kristen Blessman
Keynote Speaker Susan Frew
More than 400 attended this year’s event
Keynote Speaker Susan Frew
Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Deb Siverson
The 2nd Annual “Girls Rising” event attracted 400+ guests
Young women listen to businesswomen speakers
Moderator Paige Goss oversaw the 5-member panel discussion featuring: Makisha Boothe, Denise Burgess, Polly Lawrence, Carrie Morgridge, and Laura Roberts.
Former CO Congresswoman and Panelist Polly Lawrence
Panelist and SBA recipient of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Makisha Boothe, founder of Sistahpreneurs
Panelist Denise Burgess, board member of the Denver Foundation and the Denver Metro Chamber
Plenty of advice and perspectives from women business leaders and entrepreneurs
Xcel Energy was Presenting Sponsor for this year’s event
The CO Women’s Chamber of Commerce event is an opportunity for Colorado women to network and engage
5 Panelists represented various industries throughout Colorado
Moderator Paige Goss–CEO of Point Solutions Group–asked questions from the 5 businesswomen
Makisha Boothe ponders a question
The 5 panelists this year represented state government, small business entrepreneuralism, non-profit foundations, and the energy industry
As a meteorologist and mother of two daughters, KMGH/The Denver Channel Emcee Lisa Hidalgo shared her personal experiences
KMGH/Denver7 Meteorologist praised the women entrepreneurs and student scholarship winners
Denver Scholarship Foundation CEO Lorii Rabinowitz praised this year’s 5 student scholarship winners
Denver Scholarship Foundation CEO Lorii Rabinowitz
Videos of each student scholarship winners each described their academic path
Metro State University of Denver civil engineering student scholarship winner
Colorado State University Construction Management scholarship winner Lucy Appel
Community Colege of Denver Criminal Justice scholarship award winner Sierra Morales
University of Colorado at Denver International Business scholarship award winner Giselle Barrios
University of Colorado at Denver Bioengineering scholarship award winner Odalis Castro
Guests sign up for more information regarding the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce
Some of this year’s panelists included: Carrie Morgridge, Makisha Boothe, Moderator Paige Goss, Laura Roberts, and Polly Lawrence
This year’s 5 scholarship receipients represent CSU, UCD, Metro State, and CCD schools
Scholarships recipients represent a wide range of academic disciplines including bioengineering, international business, construction management, civil engineering, and criminal justice
Emcee Lisa Hidalgo (center) and CWCC President/CEO Kristen Blessman (far right) honor scholarship recipients
Carolyn, Renee, Sophie, Michelle of the Denver Scholarship Foundation
Cheri Vargo, Lorri Rabinowitz of The Denver Scholarship Foundation
Kristen Blessman- President & CEO; Heather Howerton-Program and Marketing Manager; Morgan Montgomery, Business Development Manager; Meaghan Carabello, MC Marketing & Communications; and Erica Hanger, Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Emcee Lisa Hidalgo , KMGH -The Denver Channel | Deb Siverson, CWCC Board Chair | Kristen Blessman, CEO of the CWCC
Susan Frew, CEO of Sunshine Plumbing, Heating & Air | GIRLS RISING PANEL OF EXPERTS: | Moderator Paige Goss, Point Solutions Group | Makisha Boothe, Sistahpreneurs | Denise Burgess, Burgess Services | Carrie Morgridge, Morgridge Family Foundation | Polly Lawrence, Government Affairs | Laura Roberts, Xcel Energy
PRESENTING SPONSOR: Xcel Energy | SUSTAINING SPONSORS: Cummings, Denver Water, Denver Scholarship Foundation | MEDIA SPONSORS: Denver7-The Denver Channel; ColoradoBiz Magazine; TABLE SPONSORS: Barefoot PR; Children's Hospital Colorado; CHFA; Cummins; Denver7 KMGH; Denver Public Schools; Denver Scholarship Foundation; Denver Water; Fireside Production; FirstBank; Google; Metropolitan State University of Denver; Mindful Business Solutions; PCL Construction Services; Point Solutions Group; QEP Resources; University of Colorado, Denver; United Rentals; Vectra Bank; Wells Fargo; Xcel Energy
Scholarship Sponsors: Colorado State University; Community College of Denver; CWCC Young Professionals Board fundraiser; Weifield Group; Xcel Energy; And: MC Marketing & Communications; Fireside Production; Romberg Designs Plus; Print Pointe, and Young Professional Advisory Board
Board of Directors:
Board Chair, Deb Siverson; Vice Chair, Amy King; Secretary, Amy Turney; Treasurer, Pam Patton; Past Chair, Beth Perez; | Board Members: Kristen Blessman, President & CEO, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce / Beverly Brown, Director of Inclusion & Engagement, Xcel Energy / Debbie Brown, Consultant, Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development / Dru Chiesa, Senior Vice President Commercial Banking, KeyBank / Dan Davidson, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, HealthONE / Megan Dow, Sales Director, Blackstone Technology Group / Cathy Lucas, Chief of Staff & Chief Communications Officer, Metropolitan State University / Kate McGhee, Manager, HR & Professional Development, PCL Construction / Murugan Palani, Director of Business Diversity and Outreach, Denver Public Schools / Celeste Palermo, Director, Global HR Operational Efficiency, Newmont Mining / Becky Potts, Audit Partner, Plante Moran (formerly EKS&H) / Teri Romero, Director of Medicare Operations, Kaiser Permanente / Jessica Seidlitz, Managing Director, Management Initiatives, Charles Schwab / Jackie Weinhold, Director of Program Development, SCL Health / Rupali Raghavan, Owner, Sairoop Technologies / Denise Newman, Business Banking Manager, Wells Fargo / Ben Lewis-Ramirez, Business Development Leader, Foresite Group / Natalie Russo, President of Internal Audit, FirstBank / Gil Gomez, Manager Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP / Donna MacConnell, Senior Vice President, Lockton Companies / Brian Ondre, Executive Director, Cummins / Christy Dobson, Executive Director of Corporate and Community Relations, Children’s Hospital Colorado / Jan Kulmann, PE, Senior EHSR Manager, Colorado, Noble Energy