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Inspiring Colorado Springs Stories

The heart of our mission at VoyageDenver is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of Denver’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out Colorado Springs’s rising stars below.

Mindy King

After being medically retired from the Army, I struggled with both a sense of purpose and a way to deal with my PTSD. I had tried therapy and medications, but nothing quite stuck. One day I made a handful of ornaments out of felt that represented the places my husband and I have lived and served. After posting them to social media, I quickly had a growing list of requests. About five years ago my husband bought me my first small embroidery machine. A couple of years later, I used the last of my savings from being deployed to purchase a larger embroidery machine. Since then, we have moved a couple more times (thanks to the Army), been through a couple more deployments, and I’ve expanded to a ten-needle and 15-needle embroidery machine. I use my business as a way to give back through donations for a number of different organizations, making items for fundraisers and more. Read more>>

Ashlynn Hideman

From a very young age, I always knew that I wanted to be an entertainer. I was always super creative and imaginative as a kid, coming up with crazy stories to act out, and I would constantly imitate the actors I saw on TV. I wanted to be just like them. From then on, I knew that I was going to be an actress. Even now, that dream and passion have not faltered. If anything, I am more passionate about acting now than ever. At family gatherings, I always had to be the center of attention– singing songs, dancing around, or making iMovie videos with my cousins. At the age of 4, I began acting in small church plays, and shortly after, I took up competitive Irish Dance at Celtic Steps School of Irish Dance for 13 years. Irish Dance consumed most of my time as a young girl. I was traveling nationwide for dance competitions (which in Ireland are called Feis’s) and then around St. Patrick’s day, my dance team and I would travel around CO dancing at schools, retirement homes, pubs, the St. Patty’s Parade, the Children’s Hospitals, and even the local news. Read more>>

Chris Gosnell

I started off as a wedding and portrait photographer, loving working with families and capturing life as it happens through the years. One lovely morning, sitting in my BNI networking chapter meeting, it occurred to me that I wasn’t reaching my absolute target audience. I’m around business people all day! Doing some research, I saw that there weren’t many folks out there serving just the business community in Colorado Springs. That was such a revelation. Read more>>

Alleigh Follett

Growing up, I always loved rearranging my bedroom and basically any area of our house that my mom would let me touch. I would take the drawers out of my dresser, put my back against it and push it to wherever I wanted it next. That all started at a young age. HGTV was my favorite channel on tv. I rarely watched “kid” shows. In addition to being interested in Interior Design, I always had a love for photography. I’ve always enjoyed taking photos, mostly macro photography. As I got closer to deciding what I wanted to do with my life, I came to a realization that starting a blog would be a great choice, considering it took these two things that I love and brought them together. I loved the idea of having a place to compile all of my work and see it all together in one place. That’s when Hand Gathered Home was born. It honestly took a really long time to decide on my blog name. I wanted a name that sounded cute but also encapsulated the idea that I love to hand collect each piece in my home. I prefer the collected look. Read more>>

Taylor Draper

I am 31 years old, living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have two wonderful children, Tennyson, a two year old girl, and Murphy, a ten month old boy. I love cinema, art, boxing/MMA/Jiu-Jitsu, I’m a singer-songwriter, graphic designer, and I have a healthy obsession with typography, and most importantly, menswear. I’ve been doing graphic and web design since I was 12 years old. I taught myself to code websites through Google and YouTube, making all sorts of graphics and websites involving anything that interested me at the time. That eventually led me into the digital marketing field, where I learned pay per click marketing, digital ad copywriting, and lead generation. Before I joined the menswear space, I owned a digital marketing agency here in Colorado Springs and a lead generation consulting agency. Being a musician early on, I’ve always been interested in men’s fashion, but never understood or cared to understand the mechanics of it. Until about three years ago, I was going through the hardest time of my life. My wife had confessed to some things, and my businesses were failing. I realized during that time that the only thing giving me any positive reinforcement or confidence was putting on my suits in the morning to go to work. Read more>>

Ryan Gardner

I originally started making jewelry when I was in college. As part of my Fine Arts degree, I was required to take a number of different mediums. I ended up falling in love with jewelry and metalsmithing and switch my major. I graduated in 2009 with my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Three Dimensional Studies with my focus in Jewelry and Metalsmithing. Upon graduation, I moved to Pueblo, CO to apprentice with a well-established jewelry artist, Michael Boyd. I ended up becoming his full-time assistant for over nine years, during which I was also slowly building my own line of work and brand. In 2018, I went completely self-employed in terms of making jewelry and also partnered with Michael Boyd in the Colorado Center of Metal Arts, where we teach classes and workshops in jewelry making and stone cutting techniques. Read more>>

Christina Wells

I was extremely blessed with the upbringing that I had. My mother started the Colorado Springs Conservatory here, so I was influenced by music and art from birth! Growing up with Opera, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Rock, and every other genre imaginable, I have been able to create and explore my tastes with a lot of very incredible mentors and friends. I went to Webster Conservatory in St Louis for Musical Theatre, but after a major back injury, I had to redirect my career. I still moved to New York City for a while, living in the heart of Harlem with a great music scene, and I got to perform in clubs all over Manhattan. I even became a Personal Trainer to help my back injury and to try something else out and meet new people! I left New York City to take an opportunity to teach music and assess the music and art scene in Dubai, UAE, which was absolutely incredible. Read more>>

Kerri Denney

Kerri Denney Top Producer From Teacher to Top Producer It was May of 2018. Hair up and sunburned, Kerri Denney rushes into the closing office, still wearing her Field Day outfit… Just out of real estate school and still wrapping up her final weeks as a fourth-grade teacher, Kerri Denney closed her first sale as a real estate agent. Let’s step back in time a few months… Kerri was ten years into her career in Education. While teaching did bring its fulfillment, Kerri knew, somewhere out there, there was something more. “Everything I do, I put all of myself into it. After a time, simply being a teacher wasn’t enough; I wanted to be an administrator. As a teacher, you affect twenty-five kids. As a principal, you affect 800 kids. I had already earned my Master’s in Education and gotten my Principal’s License, but it still wasn’t enough. Read more>>

Tara Cochran

Before falling in love with using strategy-based design, I was an accountant! After a rough, busy season as an auditor, I realized I needed a creative outlet. I started an Etsy shop (now called Olive Fox Paper Shop) with a mission to inspire and support military families. I aspired to help loved ones connect over the miles with personalized ornaments, printable, and holiday cards. Read more>>

Katie Walsh

When I think of myself and my story, I think of two things: artistry and sign spinning. I have always loved the arts. I’ve played piano since I was in the first grade. I’ve always danced and envisioned a life of an entertainer and the entertainment industry. Funny enough though, my journey started with the wrong decision. Read more>>

Dr. Barb Hughson

My career started as a Psychotherapist working in every venue possible in psychology – residential treatment facilities, psychiatric hospitals, private schools and eventually, private practice. I also studied dance extensively – ballet, modern, all forms and concluded my career with a Masters in Dance. I started weaving creative arts therapies into my therapy practice and spent two decades working with couples, families and children. I then shifted focus into doing work for the Court systems, where I continue to spend time offering court parenting courses, parent coaching, and family law mediation. Throughout all of this, I offered leadership coaching and consulting. Read more>>

Jaime Pascual

I was born to two teen parents that probably should have never had a kid. My life growing up was as you could expect, and I became a statistic. I started off very lost as a teenager. I went to college in Boulder, CO, but I was not in the right state of mind. I chose the path of substance abuse, depression, incarceration, and attempts of suicide. I made a lot of choices in life that impacted my life in a big way, and through those choices, I gained a lot of wisdom. I started to heal slowly and became a dancer. Music and movement were healing to my soul. I danced daily. I took classes as often as I could afford to, and although I still had a lot of work to do within myself, I was making progress. I was still a little lost. I then had my first child and became a stay at home mother. Read more>>

Stacy Poore and Aubrey Day

We have traveled different paths to arrive at a shared belief that everyone deserves access to healthy food. Our experiences in the food space include building healthy communities through the county and governmental agencies and working in food banking. We were introduced to one another by a mutual friend who knew we shared a goal to provide food in downtown Colorado Springs. Once we began exploring our plans together, becoming business partners made perfect sense. We believe that community happens around food, and our partnership is a perfect example of that. For two years, we met with small business owners and small business experts in Colorado Springs to hone our ideas, learn, gather advice, and set a course of action. Read more>>

Meagan Candelaria

I guess I can say I started in my grandma’s kitchen in northern New Mexico, head over the bowl of her retro stand mixer, watching the whirl of chocolate chips, sugar, and margarine. I’ve always had a passion for the kitchen, particularly baking, beginning at a very young age. I learned the basics from my grandma and my mom, learning Grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe and my mom’s brownie recipe. I was always the one showing up to family and holiday functions with the sweets. And from what I can tell, they were always pretty good – based on the empty trays left behind. As I got older and moved beyond my grandma’s and mom’s kitchens and into my own, I began receiving close friends and family requests for their weddings. It took many weddings before I mustered up the confidence to make my wedding cakes a legitimate business. Read more>>

Ryan Flores

I am a California Bay Area native with Czech and Mexican roots (Czexican or Czex-Mex, as I like to call it) and moved to Colorado in 2010 with an erstwhile girlfriend/bandmate after studying at Missouri State. I am a writer, producer, and photographer. I make my living playing live music in a genre I bill as Latin Gypsy—a mixture of Flamenco, Tango, Mariachi, Caribbean, and Balkan styles. In the studio, I have five separate projects to accommodate my varied songwriting styles. I started a record label here in Colorado in 2014: Heart Shaped Records. I’m currently recording three new albums: a solo electronica album, a solo guitar-driven instrumental album, and a Latin dance album with my band Viva la Noche. Read more>>

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