• June 21, 2017 9:12 AM | Laura Waniuk

    After networking on White Bison’s sunny, creekside patio, attendees of VVBW’s June event learned tools and techniques for dealing with risk.  Individuals either talk themselves out of exploring new ideas because of the risks that can go wrong, while others jump right into opportunities without preparing for what may go wrong. Presenter Barb Waters shared simple steps to analyze risks objectively and to make sound decisions for personal and business success.

    The first step to effectively analyze risk is to identify any potential risks, or “what ifs.” By using a brainstorming or a “what-if analysis” technique, you can ask yourself what might happen to disrupt your business (or your personal goal). Examine different scenarios that may occur, like a recession, personal illness or property damage.

    Now that potential risks are identified, it’s time to compare and rank those risks.  Breaking down possible risk sources helps to reveal why certain risks may occur, establish the likelihood of each risk happening, and the cost or impact if the risks arise.  Rank each risk using this criteria; the likelihood of it happening, and the possible impact if it does happen (see charts in blue).  For example, consider property damage, such as a fire. A fire is unlikely in a business office, as compared to a bakery, but would be high impact due to loss of computer and office equipment.

    VVBW June Event Recap    VVBW June Event Recap

    The final step is to plan risk responses. There are four responses to consider.

    • Avoid the risk by ensuring it doesn’t happen.
    • Mitigate the risk by reducing the probability or impact.
    • Transfer the risk by ensuring a third party assumes some risk.
    • Or you can accept it might happen and do nothing.

    Categorize risks to be prepared take appropriate and efficient action. Businesses commonly develop plans to respond to threats, but this can also be done on a personal level. For example, having funds in savings in case of a job loss or serious illness. Businesses also create risk register documents, which act as a permanent record of concerns. Risk registers can be used as a checklist to review risks on a regular basis, such as annually. This helps you keep track of changing risks, risk threat levels and ways to adjust your risk responses accordingly.

    According to Waters, the more research an individual does on a potential project or business undertaking, the better prepared she can be to address risk and enjoy an improved relationship with risk!

  • May 24, 2017 9:14 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Thanks to the generosity of members and friends, we were able to raise $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 Member-at-Large Karen Perez on May 4 at the YouthPower365’s Dollar for Scholars Program ceremony. The students attended Battle Mountain High School and Eagle Valley High School. Congratulations to the recipients!

    • Karsang Sherpa, EVHS
    • Avery Maslan, BMHS
    • Alondra Perez, EVHS
    • Meredith Padilla, EVHS
    • Chapin Benway, BMHS

  • May 17, 2017 9:18 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Hosted at Avon Auto & Truck, VVBW’s May event covered essential car care topics, including regular maintenance and recognizing problems before it’s too late. Igor, a mechanic from Avon Auto did a thorough, and sometimes humorous, presentation to the group. Attendees asked questions along the way, while Igor covered oil changes, brake care, tire rotations and other car care topics.

    Starting with the brake system, Igor explained how certain noises or car reactions can be clues to brake issues.  A squealing, high pitched noise when using the brakes can mean the brake linings are worn and need replacing, or maybe the brake pads are loose. Another clue to an issue is if the vehicle pulls to one side when you brake or you feel shaking in the steering wheel.  Brakes making a grinding noise that you can feel in the pedal is a sign of a serious brake issue, and further driving could damage the brake discs or drums.  Grinding brakes are caused by excessively worn brake linings; when the lining wears off, the metal part of the brake pad or brake shoe contacts the brake disc or drum and can quickly ruin the most expensive mechanical parts of the brake system. Igor expressed that car owners never put off brake work, especially if you’re experiencing any of the above issues. Other kinds of automotive trouble may keep your vehicle from moving, but brake trouble keeps it from stopping. If your brakes fail, Igor gave two ways you can attempt to slow and stop your car.

    First, try your braking system one more time. Your vehicle likely has a dual braking system, which controls your front and rear brakes independently. Both halves of the system would have to fail for your car to totally lose all braking power. There may still be some stopping power. Try applying strong, consistent pressure to the brake pedal to see if you can slow the car down.

    Second, you can carefully employ the emergency brake system. which is separate from the main, hydraulic brake system.

    Third, start downshifting so that the engine can help slow down the car. With a manual transmission, you work your way down through the gears to slow the car down. If you have an automatic transmission, taking your foot off the accelerator should cause your car to shift to lower gears as it slows down.  Some newer cars with automatic transmissions allow you to also drive them manually with paddle shifters. If you have these, put your transmission in manual mode and downshift to the lowest gear. Check your car owner’s manual for information on using your automatic car in manual mode.

    A common question is how often should you change your oil. The traditional wisdom is that you should change your oil every 3,000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. Igor pointed out that the new standard is that you can typically change your oil every 5,000 miles, but the frequency in which you change your oil depends on your manufacturer’s recommendations, your operating conditions (environment), and how much wear and tear your car has already experienced. Colorado weather can be tough on autos, and Igor recommended not waiting longer than 5,000 miles.

    Thank you to Trish Schulteis and Paul Bartsch of Avon Auto & Truck for providing the location for this informative evening. Avon Auto is offering a $99 “Pothole Special” during the months or May and June 2017. The special includes an alignment, four wheels balanced and rotated, and a steering and suspension inspection.

  • April 19, 2017 9:19 AM | Laura Waniuk

    VVBW’s April event focused on how to be more financially savvy, from tax questions to preparing for retirement. Hosted on Wednesday, April 12 at the Charter at Beaver Creek, the event featured a special panel presentation and a question and answer session. The three panelists, all local professionals, were Tina DeWitt, a Certified Financial Planner with Edward Jones; Dana Erickson, a Financial Consultant with Thrivent Financial; and Patricia Plagens, Certified Public Accountant and owner of Alpine Accounting and Tax.

    Among some of the best ways to reduce your taxes are health savings accounts (HSA) and retirement plan contributions. HSAs are tax-advantaged medical savings accounts available to taxpayers in the United States who are enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHP). The funds contributed to an HSA account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit, and HSAs offer tax deductions for all contributions and there are no income level limitations. Many employers offer an HSA as a benefit, along with a “match” for retirement funds, so check with your manager or human resources.

    Suggestions to remember with retirement plans:

    • Contribute monthly instead of annually
    • Increase your monthly contributions with EVERY raise.
    • Maximize the employer match. If you fail to contribute to your 401(k) plan up to the amount your employer matches, then you are turning down money your company would otherwise be providing for your retirement.
    • The contributions made by your employer may be subject to a vesting schedule. Make sure you understand your vesting program before you quit your job!
    • There are severe limitations to IRA’s if you’re eligible for an employer plan.

    Another point to remember regarding retirement funds: Distributions can be a 10 percent penalty if you are younger than 59.5 years of age. Some exceptions to the rule are borrowing $10,000 from an IRA for a first home college education, or even possibly health insurance or medical costs. Try to borrow from a 401(k) instead of permanently withdrawing funds.

    The suggested amount to have saved for retirement can vary from $500,000 to over $2 million, which is more than most individuals have actually saved (or possibly will save)! The panelists stressed beginning to save for retirement in your 20s, but it’s never too late to start. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows people who are 50 or older to make what it calls “annual catch-up contributions” — extra contributions to retirement savings accounts that can help people boost their savings. Are you somewhere between 30 and 50? Be aggressive on saving. Put aside as much as you possibly can from every paycheck to make up for lost ground.

    While each of the presenters represented a different area of financial expertise, they all stressed the importance of planning for the future and saving funds when and where possible.  Start saving, keep saving, and stick to your goals!

    This article is not intended to replace the benefits or importance of speaking with a financial expert. Please contact our presenters with any financial questions.

    Tina DeWitt, Certified Financial Planner with Edward Jones

    Dana Erickson, a Financial Consultant with Thrivent Financial

    Patricia Plagens, Certified Public Accountant and owner of Alpine Accounting and Tax.

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

    VVBW is participating in Pink Vail on Saturday, March 25, 2017 to support our local cancer center and we need your support.  Pink Vail is the world’s biggest ski day to conquer cancer. Proceeds benefit patient care and survivorship programs at Shaw Regional Cancer Center, a fully accredited cancer treatment and comprehensive breast center in Edwards, Colorado. It is rare for a rural, resort town to provide such comprehensive care, and, truly, Shaw exists because of generous donors, passionate volunteers and talented clinicians who are dedicated to restoring the health of their cancer patients.

    Join our team, “Treasured Chests!” Registration is only $25. You don’t have to be a skier or snowboarder to join the team. There are many ways to participate with us. If you can’t join us, but would like to support Shaw Regional Cancer Center, please make a donation! Click on the “Donate Now” button to the right.

    A costume contest, entertainment and fun will take place at Pink Vail Headquarters located at the base of Vail Mountain at Golden Peak. Easily accessible to skiers and nonskiers.

    Register for VVBW’s team (or donate) by clicking here!

  • February 15, 2017 9:21 AM | Laura Waniuk

    More than 40 local professional women joined VVBW on February 8 at Vista at Arrowhead for a talk on “Navigating Your Friendships,” presented by Dr. Jill Squyres. Dr. Squyres discussed ways to be a great friend who attracts and keeps wonderful people in her life.

    According to Dr. Squyres, friendship takes patience, effort and quite a bit of work. As we grow emotionally and our life circumstances change, our circles of friends are likely to change as well. We may outgrow old friendships or realize someone we thought was a good friend is really a “frenemy.” A frenemy is a combination of the terms “friend” and “enemy” and refers to a person with whom one is friendly, despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry. For example, a frenemy congratulations you on your recent marriage, while making snide comments about your spouse.

    Dr. Squyres suggests imaging a “friendship house,” with friends relegated to certain rooms. Whenever you build a house you have to start off with a solid foundation. The foundation of your friendship house is constructed of those qualities that you decide must be present for someone to be your friend. For example, the building blocks may include common interests, integrity and respect. Now you determine what you expect from a friend. Is it someone who is supportive and encourages you, or pragmatist who can get your head out of the clouds when you need it? Acquaintances start out in the yard, and can eventually make it to the porch and through the front door. Your closest friends can be in your “kitchen,” the coziest, most popular room in the home. Business friends can be in your “office.” 

    Your friendship house should reflect your ever-changing needs, values and tastes. Friends who no longer fulfill the minimum expectations of your building blocks may need to leave. Think of the house as a work in progress, with occasional decluttering of toxic frenemies or rooms being added for healthy, fulfilling and supportive relationships.

    Learn more about Dr. Squyres at her website – including her blog and link to her TEDx talk on friendships.

  • December 21, 2016 9:23 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Vail Valley Business Women celebrated the holidays with a wonderful evening of networking at its annual Holiday Soirée on Wednesday, December 14. Hosted at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, the event included appetizers, holiday cocktails, a silent auction, PowerTicket drawing, and a toy drive. While VVBW’s monthly events offer networking, professional development and social opportunities for local business women, the Soirée is a special evening to support the Vail Valley community.

    The silent auction and PowerTicket supports VVBW’s college scholarship program, which began in 2012. 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, two local students each will receive $4,000 college scholarships.

    “We calculate that VVBW raised approximately $5,000 at the Soirée, and more funds may follow” said VVBW President Lori Gleason. “We’re thrilled that we raised such a great amount in one evening.”

    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.

    “We have families staying at our Freedom Ranch Safehouse and in transitional housing who are healing from violence,” said Bright Future Foundation Executive Director Sheri Mintz. “The toys help brighten the holidays for these children, and we are grateful for the support of VVBW members and guests.

  • October 19, 2016 9:25 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Attendees of VVBW’s October event at the Beaver Creek Chophouse were treated to an engaging evening of professional development with Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor. Hollie’s talk, titled #BeAwesome in Brand Storytelling, shared tips on creating an effective online brand presence.  Hollie’s advice included being consistent with your posts and sharing updates that your audience will like. While it’s great to have followers engaged with your posts, you should be intentional about liking, commenting on and sharing of posts made by your followers. The three main takeaways from the evening’s presentation are as follows…

    Build Like, Know and Trust:
    1) Be consistent with your posts
    2) Engage with your audience (Like, Comment and Share)
    3) Share updates that your audience would find valuable

    What are the newest trends in storytelling?
    1) Putting YOU in your branded images
    2) Learn and use Live Video, a new Facebook option
    3) Use tools like and to make things easier

    Put actions in your calendar:
    1) Schedule time to build your updates
    2) Pick a time of day to check for engagement on your posts
    3) Be intentional about liking, commenting on and sharing of others’ posts

    Thank you to Hollie Clere for sharing her knowledge and expertise, and to Beaver Creek Chophouse for hosting this wonderful evening.  Looking for more advice to #BeAwesome in Brand Storytelling?  Contact Hollie at her website,

    Visit VVBW’s events calendar to be in the know of upcoming professional development and networking events!

  • September 01, 2016 9:29 AM | Laura Waniuk

    Dear Friends,

    Most importantly, if you’re not familiar with the Vail Valley Business Women, first let me introduce us.

    Our MISSION: The Vail Valley Business Women is dedicated to the advancement and future growth of professional women in the Vail Valley.


    • Educational programming and speakers
    • Exchange business ideas
    • Forum for Networking
    • Expose membership to valley-wide business opportunities
    • Provide scholarships for professional women and female youth
    • Community involvement
    • Mentorship opportunities
    • Volunteer opportunities

    Our VALUES:   Camaraderie  |  Dynamic |  Education  |  Intention  |  Support

    When those who are new to Vail Valley Business Women learn all that the organization accomplishes, they are invariably impressed. Conducting a professional not-for-profit on volunteers alone is no easy task. To fully grasp just how robust VVBW is, one must understand the many powerful partnerships that enrich, propel and strengthen our members and scholarship recipients. While numbers alone don’t tell the story, they are worth considering. We have 710 ladies in our database and 34 industries represented, while delivering 6 keynote speakers, 2 facilitated networking, 2 social and 2 special events, including a our annual fundraiser per fiscal year.

    Highlights of the 2015-2106 Fiscal Year

    • Scholarships: We raised $6,000 for scholarships and five $1,000 scholarships were allocated in cooperation with the Youth Foundation’s Community Scholarship Collaborative. The giving goes toward college scholarships for six high school graduating women within the Eagle County School District. All plan to attend two or four-year institutions of higher education in the field of business. This year’s highlight for me was seeing Kassie Heiner, the daughter of former VVBW Board Member, Julie Norberg, receive a scholarship - now that’s our mission in action! In 2016-17 due to revised application requirements, we will now strive to raise $8,000 to award two $4k scholarship to two deserving candidates over 4-year period.
    • Web Site, Events and Membership: I am thrilled to announce today’s launch of our NEW web site! After many years of disjointed operations, we’ve embraced technology and now have a fully integrated system for the web site membership & event registration, emails and document storage. A special thanks to our My Sales Butler and Callosum making this happen.
    • Membership: We increased the generational segmentation of VVBW membership and guest population. “I have always admired the depth of knowledge and historical information, of Vail Valley retirees and second homeowners hold. Seeking to tap into this goldmine, VVBW reached out and welcomed these ladies into our sphere with great success. Professionally employed currently or in the past, we honor intelligence and are grateful for a desire to pass on a Vail Valley legacy. Secondly, based on our new technology integration we have transitioned to a rolling membership - meaning you can join us at any time and be active for a full-year.
    • Financial:
    • Gifted  scholarships: $5,000
    • Venue & meal budget: Increased from $27/meal to $33
    • Strategic initiatives $ invested: Web Site.
    • Anything else?
    • Administration: The transition from fiscal 2016 to 2017 occurs with a succession of 5 out of 9 roles. While this is significant, I am excited and confident with a strong advisor base from the outbound board who have wrapped up their terms in stellar fashion. Per usual, we will remain heavily reliant on our volunteer committees to support the board in special task forces.

    Every year our volunteers, committee members, and board of directors invest more than 2200 hours for the organization to accomplish such tasks as just mentioned. Unlike many not-for-profits, VVBW’s volunteer board of directors is solely skill-based, and desire to learn, versus a monetary obligation. Needless to say, it’s a great stepping stone to tee up for larger leadership roles anywhere and everywhere.

    Why are these volunteers willing to donate their time, effort and heart? Most importantly, they share our missions and values. They are eager to create a living legacy for Vail Valley’s female leadership pool. With ongoing investment from you, and opportunities from our partners, for 39 years now, we continually evolve and change the face of Vail Valley leadership.

    Speaking of leadership, I’m honored to present the new 2016-2017 board and hand over the reigns. Please join me in welcoming them:

    • President: Lori Gleason
    • Vice President: Melissa Decker
    • Treasurer: Stacey Allen
    • Director of Programming: Tricia Swenson
    • Membership Director: Laura Waniuk
    • Director of Marketing and PR: Mel McKinney
    • Member at Large: Karen Perez
    • Secretary: Jessica Woods  
    • Past President: Clare Hefferren


    With much gratitude,
    Clare J. Hefferren

  • March 11, 2015 6:33 AM | Anonymous

    Using the blog gadget, you can add a blog to your Wild Apricot site to provide timely updates and information to your membership.

    By using Recent blog posts, you can display a list of the most recent blog posts, with links to the full posts. The list will include the date of each post and the name of the poster – with the name linking to their profile if available.

    For instructions on inserting, moving, and deleting gadgets, see Gadgets.

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

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