Six Boss Ladies Trailblazing In Colorado
There are a million fantastic reasons to launch or continue growing your career in the great state of Colorado. However, the most intriguing and exciting resource available here is our people. Throughout our history, you will find that grit, ambition, and courage have always been an integral part of Colorado’s identity – all attributes that continue to contribute to our thriving business community to this very day. Check out these four Coloradan women who exemplify all that and more, spearheading some of the state’s most exciting private enterprises.
Caitlyn Fagan is the Denver-based CEO at Zenman, a premier web design agency that offers branding and content strategy expertise. She is also the co-founder of Bigfoot Web, which provides high-quality website services streamlined to better accommodate organizations that are a little more cost-conscious. These include small businesses and nonprofits. With over a decade of digital marketing experience under her belt, Caitlyn’s career has also extended into media operations, process optimization, interactive marketing, and project management.
Caitlyn worked her way into executive leadership at Zenman internally, performing at the highest level in a number of diverse roles for the firm. Zenman’s innovative and award-winning is built around a deep understanding for the digital landscape as an opportunity to craft narratives, dispense information, and foster cooperation, all in a manner that can sustainably grow business. Her client portfolio is intensely diverse, including Boppy, Denver Public Schools, The Lumineers, GolfTec, the Special Olympics and many more.
The Founder and CEO of Bold Betties, Niki has been instrumental in creating an inclusive, inviting entry point into the world of outdoor recreation and adventure travel for all women. Bold Betties is an e-commerce site that empowers its community with rental options for the gear necessary to explore the great outdoors. Through Bold Betties, women can participate in activities like paddle sports, rock climbing, hiking, camping, and more – all at a small fraction of the retail cost.
Already an intimidating space for newcomers, the outdoor and adventure travel industries have traditionally catered to men. In addition to helping women more easily overcome otherwise prohibitive costs, Bold Betties provides resources like product reviews, packing lists, and – perhaps most excitingly – access to a community of active, like-minded ladies with whom you can connect. Niki leads the Bold Betties Meetup Group in Denver, which now numbers in the hundreds and has spurred sister groups nationwide.
Annelise Loevlie serves as the CEO of Icelantic, a boutique winter sports brand born in Idaho Springs. Since joining the team in 2005, she has provided critical resource in a variety of leadership roles, including as the head of international sales, finance and marketing, and operations. Under her guidance, Icelantic extended its reach all across the nation, and is now available in over a dozen international markets as well. The company manufactures 100% of their skis, apparel, and accessories in the United States. Widely respected as an equal competitor to the biggest brands in skiing, Icelantic’s deep roots in the niche community that it serves and unwavering commitment to excellence have propelled it to prominence. Annelise herself is well equipped to fully engage with the brand she now leads at the consumer level. She began skiing before she could even walk and is an expert cross-country, downhill, Nordic, and Telemark skier – and a masterful snowboarder too.
Annelise was a contributing member to the council that rebranded Colorado’s logo and slogan in an effort to galvanize economic development under Gov. John Kickenlooper. She sits on the board of directors for SnowSports Industries America, a trade group that hosts Denver’s annual Snow Show.
Wanda L. James
As the owner and CEO of Simply Pure, Wanda broke barriers alongside her husband when they became the first African-Americans licensed in the state of Colorado to own and operate a marijuana business. The Simply Pure brand spans an edibles and cannabis cooking company, as well as both medical and recreational dispensaries. In addition to pioneering healthy alternatives within the cannabis edibles market (their products are 100% organic, vegan, and gluten-free), Simply Pure centers social and racial justice as corporate values, proudly working to accomplish more than just an impressive bottom line. Wanda also serves as the President of the Cannabis Global Initiative, a consulting firm specializing in PR, regulatory expertise, and political outreach.
In addition to her distinguished military service record and a longstanding reputation as a successful serial entrepreneur, Wanda has also earned national recognition as a marijuana advocate. She has been featured in prominent media segments, including appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNBC’s Marijuana USA, the CBS Sunday Morning Holiday Special, Al Jazeera AJ+, and more. As an appointee to President Obama’s National Finance Committee, Wanda became one of the state’s largest bundlers of donations for his campaign. She has also sat on the University of Colorado’s Alumni Board of Directors.
Erika is the co-founder and CEO of Rapt Media, an innovative technology platform that provides bespoke, interactive communication solutions to enterprise companies. Headquartered in Boulder, Erika and her team serve an impressive portfolio of customers and partners, including prominent industry leaders like PwC, Johnson & Johnson, PwC, AARP, General Motors, AT&T, and more. Under her guidance, Rapt Media has enjoyed tremendous growth, earning a reputation for excellence at the forefront of emerging video technologies. A seasoned writer, director, producer, and editor herself, Erika deeply understands the importance of a narrative to enhance the customer experience and has masterfully positioned her company to marry data and technology with the high-quality creative necessary to win deep engagement with a target audience.
A serial entrepreneur, Erika previously built an Emmy Award-winning production company, Outlier Films, from the ground up. She also cut her teeth working as a documentary filmmaker. Her work has been featured in major media outlets like The New York Times, 60 Minutes, NBC, PBS, and more.
A co-founder and CEO of MergeLane, Sue leverages her expertise in authentic leadership to oversee the Boulder-based accelerator for startups that feature at least one woman in an executive role. Her work brings to the forefront exactly how important it is to build a culture that empowers high-potential female leaders. In addition to running an annual 12-week accelerator, which pairs an exclusive cohort of startups with accomplished mentors who are expertly equipped to guide the startups’ growth trajectories, MergeLane offers crucial support to female-led companies in a number of other ways. These include a Leadership Camp, educational resources, and an investment fund outside the accelerator cohort.
Sue is also highly active outside of her role with MergeLane. She is a prominent speaker, executive facilitator, angel investor, certified conscious leadership coach, and strategic consultant. Sue has also served as an adjunct professor in entrepreneurship. Her deep business knowledge is rooted in her experiences as a CEO, president, and chief marketing officer for a wide variety of e-commerce, technology, and digital marketing firms. Prior to her entry into the private sector, she began her career as a federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.