• May 08, 2018 8:53 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Thanks to the generosity of members and friends, Vail Valley Business Women raised over $5,000 for the Vail Valley Business Women Scholarship. The VVBW Scholarship is given to young women graduating from Eagle County High Schools who intend to study business at a two or four year college. These young women have displayed leadership and achievement in their high school years, are deserving because of a financial need, or overcame challenging life obstacles.

    Five individual $1,000 scholarships were awarded by VVBW board members Jessica Woods, secretary, and Melanie McKinney, P.R. and marketing director, on May 3 at the YouthPower365’s Dollar for Scholars Program ceremony. The students attended Battle Mountain High School, Red Canyon High School, Vail Mountain School and Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy.

    Congratulations to the 2018 recipients!

    • Nicole Matthews, RCHS
    • Olivia Manula, VMS
    • Kendal Sego, BMHS
    • Kaitlyn Harsch, VSSA
    • Antonia Saucedo, BMHS

  • April 18, 2018 8:54 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Clear, concise and engaging storytelling was the key message at VVBW’s April event, held at Craftsman in Edwards.  Linda Perry of Soul Genius Branding spoke to a packed house on clarifying brand messaging.  According to Perry, good branding tells the story of how your product or service helps your target audience – not talking about yourself.

    The most important thing to remember is that your brand is not the hero of the story. Your customer is the hero.

    Following a simple framework called StoryBrand 7-Part Framework helps you clarify your message.  The heroine/hero of the story has a problem to solve. She meets a guide who gives her a plan that calls her to action. The action results ideally in success.

    • A character (the heroine)
    • With a problem or issue
    • Meets a guide (your brand)
    • Who gives her a plan
    • And also calls her to action
    • Resulting in success for the heroine
    • Or failure that could have been avoided with your product

    A critical part of this framework is the “call to action.”  Make sure you have an easy-to-find button or link on your website, ad or flyer that clearly shows how the heroine can get a quote, schedule a call or join the mailing list.

    Don’t confuse your audience with too much information, or worse, irrelevant information. For example, websites often bombard visitors with an overload of info on the main page. Perry’s analogy is that every piece of information you give about your company is like an eight pound bowling bowl, and people can only hold so many bowling balls at one time. You perceive that the information you give as a balloon – light and easy to handle. However, if the information isn’t simple, relevant information, it’s an information overload that will be dropped.

    Relevant messaging is how your customer, the hero, reaches success with your product. Irrelevant or secondary information is how or why you developed the product. And always remember - this is not the story of your brand. It’s the story of your customer.

    For more information on StoryBrand, contact Soul Genius Branding.

  • March 29, 2018 8:59 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Sunny skies and fresh snow added to the festivities at Pink Vail - the world’s largest ski day and a fundraiser to support survivorship programming for patients of Shaw Cancer Center in Edwards.

    2018 was the seventh anniversary of the annual fundraiser, which brought in more than $880,000 this year. VVBW’s nine member team “Treasured Chests” was a part of the 2,485 participants, and the team raised over $3,400 to support the cause. The fellas came out to support Treasured Chests, making up almost half of the team.

    Pink Vail proceeds benefit patients at Shaw Cancer Center through enhancements to patient care. The Spirit of Survival program provides patients the opportunity to receive important recovery services, such as
    free exercise training, nutrition coaching, emotional support, massages, acupuncture and outdoor adventures.

    Thank you to Dana Erickson with Thrivent Financial for sponsoring Treasured Chests, and to those who participated in fundraising and moral support.

    You can still make a contribution by visiting Treasured Chests’ Pink Vail page.

  • March 14, 2018 8:57 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Menopause is inevitable, but the journey through it will be different for every woman. The topic at VVBW’s February event applied, on different levels and stages, to all the women in attendance. Dr. Jennifer Bettenhausen from Colorado Mountain Medical spoke on reproductive health and the basics of hormones at each stage of a woman’s life.

    The informative talk began with what a woman can expect in her 20s, and moved through the reproductive cycles to post menopause and its typical symptoms.

    The first stage of menopause is “premenopause,” which is broadly defined as the whole of a woman’s life before the menopause. Women typically begin to transition from this stage in their early to mid – 40’s.  The second stage, “perimenopause,” is a time when ovulation and fertility slows down. Hormonal levels decline and in consequence it’s common to experience several unpleasant side effects, like hot flashes, night sweats or loss of libido. The third stage is actual “menopause,” officially marked by a woman going for one year without receiving a period. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms experienced during perimenopause can linger during menopause. The fourth and final stage is “postmenopause” and is characterized by a reduction in symptoms as the body’s hormone levels stabilize. However, because a woman now produces less estrogen, she is at a higher risk of contracting health conditions including: breast cancer, urinary tract infections, osteoporosis, and insomnia.

    Dr. Bettenhausen touched on different treatment options and also discussed potential side effects for each treatment.  One option is Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy.  The term “bioidentical” means the hormones in the product are chemically identical to those your body produces, such as Progesterone, Testosterone and DHEA.  The hormones may come from plant or animal sources, and not synthesized in a lab. However, many of these products still need to be commercially processed to become bioidentical. BHRT treatments include creams, lotions, injections, gels or tablets that have the goal of raising hormone levels.  BHRT can help with defending again osteoporosis, raising energy levels, improving sex drive, reducing vaginal dryness or improving sleep quality.  BHRT might help some women transition through menopause changes more easily, but this doesn’t mean that hormone treatments are always necessary or the best and only solution.

    Bettenhausen stressed that women need to be aware of changes in the body and noting potential symptoms of the stages of menopause. Talk to your physician about treatments and educate yourself on potential side effects of any treatment. Also consider using the lowest dose that helps and for the shortest time period needed to help reduce the chance for side effects.

    As is often the case, making positive lifestyle changes can improve your weight, sleep, mood and energy.  Positive dietary changes include eating more fiber, getting more antioxidants from fresh veggies and fruit, and limiting refined carbs from too many grains. Exercise to reduce inflammation, improve your sleep and to help you stay at a healthy weight.  Women in postmenopause can reduce the level of risk for health conditions like osteoporosis with a healthy diet, regular exercise and avoiding cigarette smoke. And exercise is a natural stress reliever.

    Dr. Bettenhausen suggests two books by the author and OB/GYN Physician Dr. Uzzi Reiss: The Natural Superwoman and Natural Hormone Balance for Women.

  • December 15, 2017 9:01 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Vail Valley Business Women celebrated with its annual Holiday Soirée on Wednesday, December 13. Hosted at the Antlers at Vail, the event included live music, networking and fundraising to support the Vail Valley community.

    “This is VVBW’s biggest fundraiser each year for our scholarship program,” said VVBW President Lori Gleason. “We host a silent auction with many wonderful items for up for bidding, and a Power Ticket drawing – all to support the fund. We raised a record amount this year, coming in at over $6,000.”

    VVBW annually awards college scholarships to female Eagle County high school graduates planning to attend two or four-year institutions in the field of business. One hundred percent of the group’s fundraising provides college scholarships, and in 2017, five local students received $1,000 college scholarships.

    Attendees were asked to bring new, unwrapped toys for a holiday toy drive for the Bright Future Foundation, an Eagle County nonprofit organization empowering Eagle County families and individuals who are affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse. The toys are gifts for children served by Bright Future’s programs.

    “One of the most exciting times of the year for Bright Future is the day after the Soirée and the toy drive,” said Bright Future Foundation Executive Director Sheri Mintz. “Our advocates get the joy of sorting through the toys and matching them with the children. We are grateful for the support of VVBW members and guests who help brighten the holidays for these children.”

    VVBW is inclusive and is open to all women in the valley from new college graduates to retirees. Monthly events include networking followed by dinner and programming including professional development, networking and social outings.

  • November 15, 2017 9:02 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Conflict is nothing more than a clash of value systems, and no value system is exactly the same, according to VVBW’s November keynote speaker, Jolina Karen.  Karen, a healer, teacher and coach, discussed how a great leader will recognize and react to conflict.

    Conflict can be scary, but this is based on the mistaken belief that the other person is the source of your anger or fear. Individuals must take 100% responsibility for their own experiences. Most people don’t realize that conflict isn’t personal and can be an opportunity to meet your own needs.

    For example, being “careless” or “careful” with your values can mean putting someone else’s values before your own, or vice versa. Being “caring,” according to Karen, is to be true to yourself while honoring the values of the other person. Values must be seen, heard, understood and appreciated.

    Karen explained that conflict is a catalyst for self-actualization, which is a three step process of knowing yourself, understanding yourself, and appreciating yourself.

    “Self-actualization is the process of falling deeply in love with yourself,” said Karen. “It is appreciating yourself unconditionally, completely, madly with no caveats whatsoever! When you learn yourself and respect yourself, you give others the permission to do the same.”

    According to Karen, when understood as the relationship building opportunities that they are, conflicts become experiences through which to grow in understanding and appreciation of oneself and the other person. Conflicts are absolutely necessary on our evolutionary journey into greater love for ourselves, the people around us and this extraordinary universe in which we live.

    Karen shared a five-step process to help use conflict for self-actualization – Awakening GRACE.

    G – Get real. State what happened, but stick to the facts.
    R – Rant and rave. Get clear on your emotional charge.
    A – Acknowledge alternative views. Turn it around to understand the perspective of another.
    C – Connect all to your Highest Values.
    E – Express Gratitude.

    As Karen explains on her site, “Conflict doesn’t happen to you. It happens for you. Thank it.”

    Visit Jolina Karen’s site to learn more about her approach to assisting with personal and professional development, relationship management and health issues. Contact Jolina for a complimentary 15 minute chat at

  • October 18, 2017 9:03 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Rhonda Swenson, founder of women’s clothing company Krimson Klover, shared an honest insight into her background as a business owner and entrepreneur at Vail Valley Business Women’s October event. Hosted at The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, the evening included a buffet dinner in the intimate Club Lounge.

    Swenson was a young flight attendant seeking adventure when she met a fellow traveler who owned a boutique sweater company. Swenson soon was designing sweaters and shortly thereafter purchased the same company. Four companies and 30 years later, Swenson has stayed true to her beliefs of sustainability, creativity and adventure.

    Krimson Klover is more than a clothing line for Swenson. It’s also an outlet to empowering women and giving back. It’s estimated that the company donates 10 to 15 percent of retail sales to a different charity each month. The Krimson Klover line is described as Slow Fashion, “a movement of designing, creating and buying garments that stand the test of time.” Sustainability and fair-trade are crucial to the brand, and the company is committed to manufacturing clothing without threatening natural resources or damaging the social and ecological environment.

    Swenson also pointed out that Krimson Klover makes a point of supporting small, boutique factories.

    “The smaller factories we work with are run by families and are women-owned businesses,” said Swenson. “Krimson Klover is a woman-owned company, and we believe in supporting and encouraging women-owned businesses”

    During the month of October, Krimson Klover is offering a twenty percent discount to all VVBW members. Please use the code KKVail20 to save at

Vail Valley Business Women is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Colorado, P.O Box 3096; Avon, Colorado 81620

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