• 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

  • September 20, 2017 9:06 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Vail Valley Business Women celebrated 40 years of serving the community at its annual Membership Open House event on Wednesday, September 13 at Larkspur in Vail. Founded in 1977, VVBW promotes the advancement and future growth of professional women in the Vail Valley.  The annual event gives local business-minded women the chance to learn about the benefits VVBW members receive, including numerous marketing and networking opportunities.

    “We provide women in the Vail Valley an outlet to network with each other and exchange ideas in a fun atmosphere,” said VVBW President Lori Gleason. “Each meeting has a great cross section of ladies, and it’s always exciting to meet new colleagues which often develop into friendships.”

    VVBW hosts monthly meetings, held at valley wide locations on the second Wednesday of every month. Meetings generally provide members with a sit-down dinner or buffet and a guest speaker who provides a presentation on a business related topic.  For example, one month features a speaker on social media, while the next month is a Speed Networking event.

    Additionally, members receive marketing benefits like running ads in VVBW’s monthly newsletter, or the opportunity to be a Spotlight Speaker at a monthly meeting.  Benefits vary according to each level; Associate, Executive or Corporate.

    The Open House included a trivia contest where participants visited different informational stations and guessed the price of different items in 1977, like a bikini or a tank of gas. All participants were entered in a raffle drawing, one of three prize drawings that evening, for prizes like Underground Sound Concert Series Passes at the Vilar Performing Arts Center or a certificate to Root & Flower.  

    As an added benefit, attendees could sit for a professional headshot photo session with Olga Barron Photography. Barron is a Vail-area portrait and wedding photographer who is also a VVBW member.

    “Professional headshots are so important in this day and age,” said VVBW Programming Director Tricia Swenson. “There are now so many business-oriented social networking sites, like LinkedIn where your photo should make the best impression.”

    For more information on membership benefits, or to register, please visit VVBW’s Membership tiers page.

    Take a stab at the special trivia questions from the Open House!  Answers are listed below.

    1. What was the cost of gas in 1977?  
    2. What was the cost of a bikini in 1977?  
    3. Who was the president in term in 1977?  
    4. Which Vail Resort ski mountain broke ground in 1977?

    1. $.65
    2. $9.00
    3. Gerald R. Ford
    4. Beaver Creek Resort

  • August 16, 2017 9:08 AM | Laura Waniuk

    VVBW’s August event, FemALE: Women + Brews, gave attendees the chance to soak up some sun while enjoying craft beers at Crazy Mountain Brewing in Edwards. FemALE included a tour of Crazy Mountain’s taproom and brewing facility and an interview with Co-founder Marisa Selvy.

    Selvy explained how Crazy Mountain follows the attitude of the “laid-back, fun mountain lifestyle,” as described on its website, all while producing a successful craft beer that is currently distributed in 22 states and nine countries. Common Colorado style dictates it isn’t a party without a few dogs, and visitors are greeted by at least one friendly dog upon entering the taproom.

    Selvy also shared her experiences as a female brewer in a field generally dominated by men.  “The common image of a brewer is a guy with a beard and flannel,” said Selvy.  “I’ve had people ask me if I work pouring beer in the taproom, and I’m like, I own this.”

    Bold attitude aside, Selvy and the Crazy Mountain team have a strong commitment to community involvement. It’s not uncommon to see the Crazy Mountain logo displayed at local events and fundraisers. Product and time is donated to local non-profit organizations around Colorado, including environmental protection, youth outreach, cancer prevention and international fundraising efforts.

    The evening also included a visit from the Ekahi Grill food truck. Based out of Gypsum, Ekahi features Hawaiian-themed foods, like fresh tuna poke and Kalua pork.

    You can find more information on Crazy Mountain Brewing Company here, or check out Ekahi Grill on Facebook by clicking here.

  • July 19, 2017 9:09 AM | Laura Waniuk

    ttendees of VVBW’s July at El Sabor in Vail were treated to basil watermelon margaritas, a Mexican-style dinner buffet, and a fulfilling presentation given by Amy Arthur Packer. Arthur Packer is a certified executive coach and a consultant specializing in team and leadership development with over 15 years’ experience working with individuals, teams, and organizations.

    Using Crayons and self-reflection, attendees were encouraged to draw their “Inner Critics.” An inner critic is the harsh, rude voice telling you that you aren’t qualified enough, or good enough to do something. It can be the irrational, but persistent voice that holds you back from accomplishing a goal.

    VVBW July 2017

    Arthur Packer then asked the women to visualize their “Inner Mentors,” the voice that encourages your ideas, goals and passions. This exercise involved meditation and imagining a conversation with your future self. Where do you hope to be in 10, 20 or 30 years?

    VVBW July 2017

    Key points to Arthur Packers’ talk are to determine traits that define you at your best, being aware of your main strengths, and exploring and applying your strengths.  Your traits may be leadership, love, creativity, humor or appreciation.

    VVBW July 2017

    The presentation wrapped up with a few suggested resources, including apps that are beneficial in meditation, like Headspace or Calm. Both work for iPhone and Android.

    • VIA Character Strengths:
    • “Strengthsfinder 2.0” by Tom Rath
    • “Strengths Based Leadership” by Rath & Conchie
    • “Profit from the Positive” by Greenberg & Maymin
    • “Play Bigger” by Mohr
    • “Co-Active Coaching” by Whitworth, Kimsey, Sandahl

    Arthur Packer is offering VVBW members “Chat with Amy,” a complimentary strategy session and self-care bonus gift. Register for your session at You will also be subscribed to a monthly newsletter (You can subscribe at any time and your info will never be shared).

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

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