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Community Member Spotlights

It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to ask these questions each week through our interview series. Below you’ll find interviews from our community members and content partners – the folks who’ve been heavily involved with us, collaborating with us on content, sponsoring our mission and spreading the word about the work we do.

Dr. Angie Henderson | Professor of Sociology

Dr. Angie Henderson is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Northern Colorado (UNCO) in Greeley, Colorado. With expertise in both qualitative research design, she has published over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, 4 book chapters, and a co-authored textbook in its second edition. Her research on bottoms – the second-in-command in a sex trafficking operation – will be published later in 2021 in The Journal of Human Trafficking. She has also given nearly 50 professional presentations at academic conferences. In 2019, she was invited to present at the United Nations’ Commission on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Henderson has expertise in interviewing, focus groups, observational analysis, and content analysis and extensive expertise in studying the experiences of victims and survivors of sex trafficking. In particular, Dr. Henderson has extensive experience using a trauma-informed approach to working with and interviewing victims & survivors of sex trafficking, a very vulnerable population. Read more>>

R Weir | Independent Author

Hello everyone. I’m independent author R Weir, author of 8 books in my Jarvis Mann PI series, and 2 books in my Divine Devils series, the second one releasing this summer. I live in Colorado with my wife, daughter and our dog, enjoying the outdoors and travelling in our motorhome. Read more>>

Heidi Fessler | Hairdresser, Vantage Salon

My name is Heidi Fessler and I am a 31 year old Hairdresser working at Vantage Salon in Wheat Ridge, CO.  I’m originally from a very small town in Northern Iowa, but I have been in Colorado since 2013. I’ve been in the beauty industry since 2010, but my passion for it started as a very young child. I made the big jump to self employed life in 2018 and I’ve never looked back. For me, taking this leap of faith has been the most empowering and exciting journey of my life so far and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Read more>>

Brent Ramos | Martial Artist & Hawaiian Healer

Aloha! My name is Brent Kekoa Ramos. I am a life-long martial artist, Hawaiian healer and self-proclaimed Punk Rock aficionado. I founded an award-winning Punk Rock Kung Fu school in Chinatown San Francisco in 2010, and recently moved to Denver opening up Koa House, a Hawaiian infused boutique spa with a full martial arts gym attached – the world’s first “martial spa”. My journey to entrepreneurialism has been a wild and crazed adventure, extending through all sorts personal danger, crazy personalities, and transcending into deep love. t is a path I would not change for the world, and hope my story and insights can inspire you to chase your wildest dreams. Read more>>

Kelsey & Matt Vendetti | Founders & Managing Partners of Voltage Coffee Supply

Kelsey Vendetti is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Voltage Coffee Supply, overseeing the brand’s product and marketing strategy. She has over 12 years of experience in the eCommerce and digital marketing industry. Before joining Voltage Coffee Supply, Kelsey served as Manager of CRM, Loyalty, and Email Marketing for Crocs, Inc. She has also held various eCommerce positions for small to large product companies. Read more>>

Cristina Del Hoyo | Artist | Abstract Painter

I was born in Malaga, Spain in 1986. I grew up between Malaga and Madrid. My love for art and color started at an early age when I started drawing fashion models. As a teenager, I began exploring different artistic disciplines such as painting, photography and sculpture. When I was 17, I moved to Granada, Spain to study Fine Arts. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Granada, Spain, in 2009. After I graduated, I moved to Denver, CO and have been living here since then. My art has been featured in exhibits in Granada (Spain), Denver, CO (USA), Paris (France), and Milan, (Italy). Read more>>

Tracy Gowler | Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner

“If you ignore the whispers of your body, sooner or later it will start screaming at you.” My name is Tracy Gowler. I am a Speaker, Mechanical Engineer, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner working to change the way women look at their health. My focus is the sick and exhausted women with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Autoimmune Disease. I guide them through the process of improving their Hashimoto’s to becoming the Hashimoto’s Badass. Driven and tenacious I pulled the engine of my Toyota Celica with my dad when I was a teenager.  Read more>>

Dion Studinski | Professional Dog Trainer and Business Owner

I’m Dion Studinski, owner of Ancillary K9. I am a University of North Dakota graduate and extremely passionate about working with you to train your dog. I’m certified in Dog Behavior and Training, USCA Protection Helper Classified, AKC Evaluator, and am also in the International Association of Professional Dog Trainers. My hope is that all of our clients will become so well versed in dog training, that training will become second nature them. I was voted one of Denver, Colorado’s top trainers in 2018 and Ancillary K9 is rated 5 stars on all forms of social media and Google. Read more>>

Victor Teran | Master Instructor Trainer (Taekwon-Do)

My name is Victor Teran, I am an 8th degree Master Instructor Trainer in Taekwon-Do. I am a three-time Martial Arts Hall of Fame, featured in Chuck Norris’s, “Who’s Who in the Martial Arts” autobiography. Award-winning children’s book author. Served in the United States Marine Corps for 8 years, later with the Federal Law Enforcement Agency; U.S. State Department in the Diplomatic Security Service, serving in Iraq for 10.5 years. Read more>>

Tracy Miller | Painter of animals in bold color and brushwork

I’m a full time artist creating paintings in Acrylic of wildlife and domestic animals. I currently have two distinct styles. My well known colorful pop art paintings and a new more subdued series titled “Ghost Animals”. Read more>>

Ariel Strickler | Esthetician. Master Lash Artist. Business Owner.

My name is Ariel Strickler and I am a Colorado Native. I attended Vanguard University of Southern California where I studied business and played collegiate volleyball. After graduating I made my way back to Colorado and attended College of International Esthetics. During beauty school I was introduced to lash extensions and fell in love with all things lashes. Soon after school I established BOLD N’ Bitchin’, a professional eyelash extensions business. BOLD N’ Bitchin’ continues to grow and we are excited to bring new things to the lash industry. We are focusing on and providing better lash trainings, greater lash business success, and for the first time, lash fitness (yes, this is life changing for lash artists). If you would of asked me 5 years ago what I would be doing, I would most likely of told you I was going to own my own business, but NEVER in a million years would I think a business in lash extensions; However, I love my job, I love what I do- and that’s all that matters! Read more>>

Andy Bee | Professional Hair and Makeup Artist

I am Andy Bee, I own Andy Bee’s House of Beauty and The Bee Collection Luxury Streetwear. I am a professional hair and makeup artist and female Latina entrepreneur and mother located in Aurora, CO. Read more>>

Mathew Yamali | Food Truck Owner & Chef

Hi, my name is Mathew yamali, I am a 28-year-old chef living in Denver Colorado. I moved here in 2015 from Rochester NY, and I own two businesses here, Roll It Up Sushi and Downtown Fingers. Read more>>

Sani Field | Digital Marketing Expert

My name is Sani (sunny), and I am the founder of SunnySide Social Media, LLC, a digital marketing and web development firm. I have a really funny husband and two witty kids (Reese, 4.5 years old, and Chase, 3 years old). Read more>>

iBleazy | Singer/Songwriter/Creative

What’s going on! I am Matt, professionally known as iBleazy. I am a Singer-Songwriter-Creative from Colorado. I have been in the industry now for 13 years and counting! I was a part of American Idol season 9 and prior to that performed in off Broadway Musicals through High School. After American Idol, I had the opportunity to perform at the Black Sheep Colorado Springs, CO for 303 Day.  Read more>>

Tim and Brownie Richardson | Cofounder and Director

We are Tim and Brownie Richardson. We live in Southern Colorado and have a nonprofit in Colorado Springs, Colorado called Hope Advanced. We work with the broken, busted and disgusted. People who have gone through “life wrecks” and are trying to move forward with their lives. We, at no cost or obligation…for as long as they need us, help them move forward to their best life. Read more>>

Dannia Gazley | Spanish Teacher & Founder of ¡Hola! Learn Spanish

I am a Spanish teacher and founder of ¡Hola! Learn Spanish located in Denver, Colorado. I discovered my passion for teaching Spanish in 2016 after a decade of working in corporate America. I am originally from Lima, Peru. Through my experiences of learning English as a second language, I bring a deep understanding of what it takes to master a new language. My teaching philosophy is to guide you in this journey with patience, compassion and kindness, allowing you to grow at your own pace. Read more>>

Kristin Rossi | International Nail Artist

Hi Readers! My name is Kristin Rossi! I am an international nail artist specializing in international fashion shows, editorial photo shoots, and a high-profile clientele. I am the proud owner and creator of the Nails By KR brand. I’ve been a licensed nail tech since 1992, and have owned and operated salons in Michigan, Florida, and now Colorado. Read more>>

Kellsie Moore | The On-Camera Coach for Entrepreneurs and a Professional Actress

I specialize in empowering high-achieving entrepreneurs to become their best self in life and on video! Everything I coach stems from a mindset foundation to break through limiting beliefs to help explode their career growth and personal joy. As a professional actress and digital CEO, I help business owners and personal brands optimize their on-camera presence with more confidence and charisma to better connect, communicate and serve their audiences. Read more>>

Charmaine Stattman | Psychic Medium, Reiki Master, Meditation Teacher, Yoga Instructor & Massage Therapist

I first experienced the healing power of energy, massage, yoga, and communicating with spirit and angels early in life. Encountering life changing opportunities of sharing massage with injured high school track and field mates at age 16, followed by feeling and seeing energy and spirit in various forms and colors at age 22, then discovering yoga that dissipated my own back pain at age 26, my path in body work and readings continues on a passionate and magical trajectory. I work closely with self-care practitioners and educators to continually increase my knowledge and awareness, for my clients as well as for my own personal practice. Read more>>

Brannon Peterkin | Owner

Hi! My name is Brannon Peterkin. I am the CEO and founder of Think In Boxes, LLC. I help ensure that every one of our clients experiences the best that technology has to offer when it comes to business. I am a full-fledged fan of technology. My love for technology started in middle school. I loved playing video games and wanted to learn how to make one. We had quarterly scholastic book fairs, and there was one book that caught my attention – Learn to Program BASIC.  Read more>>

Sarah Duran | Freelance Coach

I’m Sarah Duran. I began my career as a third-grade teacher. After leaving the classroom, I took on operational and development roles in both the for- and non-profit sectors where I led business development efforts and managed large-scale programmatic and research projects. About 5 years ago I started my company, Fruition Initiatives, so that I could work for myself full-time. I’m a freelance project strategist and consultant. I design and lead projects for a variety of organizations, help businesses refine systems and processes, and support researchers, educators, entrepreneurs, and leaders in turning their ideas into action. I also create content for and provide coaching to freelancers and solopreneurs. I’m extremely passionate about helping others to leverage entrepreneurship to live the life they want to live. Read more>>

Anza Goodbar | Life and Business Design Strategist

I am a Life and Business Design Strategist and founder of the 6-Figure Life & Business Blueprint. I help women replace their income from their 9 to 5 by building a 6-figure business that creates a flexible family lifestyle. Since COVID hit in March 2020, I saw the need to help women create businesses that allowed them to be home with their kids and be present while virtual schooling was occurring. As a mom of four kids, I know firsthand what it is like to have your income vanish through no fault of your own. I owned a mortgage business from 2004 to 2008, when the industry crashed. Read more>>

Lexi Zadak Schmidt | Nutrition & Wellness Coach

My name is Lexi and I currently run my own business called LZS Nutrition Ltd where I guide clients through personal health and wellness plans & protocols based on their goals and needs. I initially got into health and wellness through Crossfit! I started my second career as a part time Crossfit coach and became fascinated by how food can be used as FUEL for performance! I’ve since gotten several nutrition certifications and have expanded my knowledge so that I’m now able to use food not only to help improve people’s athletic performance, but to address other health conditions, as well! I see food as medicine! If we can understand how to fuel our bodies for our individual needs, we can optimize our health, increase our longevity and live each day feeling our absolute best! My goal is to help all my clients understand their own personal needs and develop a lifestyle that allows them to be the healthiest versions of themselves! Read more>>

Lizzy Brodie | Consultant

My name is Lizzy Brodie. I’m a 35 year old mother of 1, business owner and dream chaser. Being a mother is one incredible job that I’m proud to have and second to that is helping people achieve success as well as providing inspiration to do so. I have a Hip-Hop/Culture based blog that i launched 8 years ago. In 2018 I launched Lizzy Brodie Consulting as well as The Hustler’s Brunch. I aspire to inspire others with my story, my knowledge and experience. Read more>>

Alexa Hesse | Jam Enthusiast

I’m Alexa, owner & founder of Yummy Lotus. Yummy Lotus is a gourmet jam company with a specialty in pepper jams. They are vegan, gluten free and small batch crafted with the intent to nourish your soul and enjoy with the ones you love. Read more>>

Jim (Doc) Dorkins | Owner/Founder

Doc Goodbeard Beard Care Products was established in 2017. Owner and founder, Jim (Doc) Dorkins is a proud veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He spent his enlistment as an aircraft refueling vehicle repairman. Working as a tractor/trailer mechanic for almost 35 years after exiting the military and he was medically retired due to injury in early 2016. Read more>>

Melissa Lycan | Vocalist, Speaker & Educator

My name is Melissa Lycan, the vocalist for a Colorado based folk rock band Nordic Daughter, keynote speaker of truths and educator in mathematics and business. Read more>>

Kelly Schexnaildre | Owner, Merfs Condiments

I was born and raised in South Louisiana, and I started cooking at 8 years of age. I have always had a passion for exceptional food, and all the experience and community it offers. I relocated to Denver, Colorado in May 2010, and I am an avid gardener who uses fresh, organic, and local ingredients in all my dishes whenever possible. I started making condiments about 8 years ago, and through experimentation and creativity, discovered that I love it. My idea for Merfs Condiments came to fruition in January 2014, and Merfs’ current line-up consists of 8 different hot sauces ranging in flavor from fruity and mildly spicy to savory and extremely spicy. The goal is to continue to offer condiments that are affordable and made from fresh, quality ingredients. Keep a lookout for some new sauces dropping in late 2021! Read more>>

DeAnna Weyhrich | Certified Professional Birth Photographer

I am a sentimental mom, a very protective grandma, and a certified professional birth photographer (CPBP) that you can trust to capture the raw, intense, and emotional moments the day you deliver your baby. I started my photography business four years ago, so I know the importance of supporting local businesses-especially during this pandemic! I will pick a beach vacation over snow packed places every time. I can be a bit of a penny pincher at times, which drives my husband crazy, but I am more than willing to pay for things that mean a lot to me (such as professional photography). Read more>>

 Jeffrey Riley | Owner & Cinematographer

Hi, My name is Jeffrey Riley and I am part-owner of the Denver-based video production company, Noble Bison Productions. We create content of all shapes and sizes such as corporate interviews, commercials, short films, music videos, and everything in between. We are very passionate about the work we do and truly strive to put the client first so that their needs are served to the best of our abilities. Read more>>

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