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Rising Stars of Lakewood

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 Lakewood’s rising stars below.

Kelley Wren Leanne Wren

VNTRbirds is a women’s outdoor education and adventure company based in Breckenridge, CO, but reaching across the U.S. and abroad. We are providing courses, clinics, and workshops for women to get into the outdoors with proper knowledge and confidence. We strive to keep our events at an affordable cost, providing a more accessible and, therefore, more inclusive outdoors. Starting as an outdoor sports media blog, VNTRbirds has originally named Thumbs up Birds for the founder’s last name, Wren, which is a type of bird and thumbs up because you’re always having a great time when you’re outside. After moving from New Zealand back to the United States in New Hampshire and finally settling in Breckenridge, CO the company grew from storytelling to story-making by creating outdoor courses and clinics to encourage more women into the outdoors. During the COVID lockdown, the original founder Kelley teamed up with her sister Leanne and rebranded as VNTR (venture) birds to help describe the company better in fewer words. Read more>>

Alissa Gunberg

I grew up locally and graduated from Bear Creek High School in 2009. I packed up my bags and headed to the University of Oregon, where I began my undergraduate degree in exterior design. With the heartbreaking loss of my mother in early 2011, my entire world changed! My mind state shifted, and I decided to pursue a Sociology degree with a focus on Family Services. After graduating in 2013, I moved back to Colorado and got a job in my field. A daunting and exhausting two years went by and showed me that I was certainly not following my dreams. In 2015, I got a job at Land Title Guarantee Company. I worked my way up to a closer’s assistant and started learning the ropes of real estate! I reviewed contracts all day long and actually had the opportunity to view real estate from a neutral perspective. I learned how to referee a transaction and not upset anyone along the way. Read more>>

Jen Anderson

I’ve been a physical therapist since 2009, graduating from the University of Colorado with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. After graduating, I worked at Aurora Sinai Hospital in Milwaukee, WI for three years working in acute care and sub-acute rehab. It wasn’t long before I had to come back to Denver. I was missing the mountains too much. My first job back in Denver was at a private practice where I was required to complete my training in pelvic health. That started my passion for helping men, women, and transgender individuals with pelvic pain, a topic that is often buried and rarely discussed because it may be embarrassing for the patient or they may not know help is available. I left private practice for a time and worked at Denver Health from 2015-2019, performing work in acute rehab, inpatient care, and outpatient care in pelvic health, including helping to develop follow-up for gender confirmation surgeries. I continue to work shifts at Denver Health because I believe in serving the community. At Denver Health, we are a level one trauma center that looks after the City of Denver. Read more>>

Staci Heath

I grew up on the western slope of Colorado, home of the beautiful San Juan Mountains, in Montrose. Looking back, the biggest benefit of having grown up in this semi-rural community was the abundance of outdoor recreation and beautiful scenery, which helped shape not only some of my interests but also who I am today. Extracurricular activities included summer days at the outdoor pool, camping, trips to Ridgway Reservoir and Blue Mesa Lake for boating and swimming in the summers and snowmobiling in the winters. My family also enjoyed frequent trips to nearby Ouray (a.k.a. “The Switzerland of America”), a small tourist town whose fresh mountain air and scenery are second to none. This environment instilled in me an appreciation for nature and was the genesis of my interest in health and fitness, leading to a passion for running and hiking. After briefly living in Arizona and Northern California after college, I always knew I would come back to beautiful Colorado, where I have been so grateful to live, work and raise a family here in the southwest Denver area for the past 19 years. Read more>>

Robin Vint and Linda Hattenbach

Our light-bulb idea was to create stylish collegiate jewelry that would stand the test of time. We wanted our jewelry to be made of quality materials such as gold and silver, but also affordable and within reach of college students. Linda’s tour of 25+ college campuses with her daughter and our extensive online market research revealed that most collegiate jewelry currently on the market was either cheaply made costume jewelry or very expensive high-end pieces. So we realized there is a market need not currently being met and we plan to fill it as we expand our offerings to universities in Colorado and beyond. Our University SPIRIT line is our collegiate licensed jewelry. This collection includes unique jewelry that captures the SPIRIT of each university with their logos, name, mascot, and sayings. Read more>>

Emina Spahic

I’ve grown up eating mezze and making them for my family here and there, as well as charcuterie boards for my boyfriend. And I’ve always loved grazing as opposed to eating the traditional meal. Moving to Golden was what truly inspired me to create a business out of it, though, in conjunction with the pandemic. I thought it’d be a good idea to have the essence of charcuterie-style feasting (with a little more variety,) but in portable boxes for various amounts of people, that are also easier to keep to yourself or keep hands out of if you wish. But again, our whole theme is “Golden,” like with the sunflowers, ribbon on packaging, color scheme… because moving there, and to CO as a whole really, brought out a new sense of passion and creativity in me and I hope to convey that in each uniquely personalized graze box. Read more>>

Tayler Hammond

I was born and raised in Colorado. Since I was young, I have always been inspired to use my photography to reveal a magical world of beauty inside of everything around us; in People, in nature, in our everyday products, the possibilities are endless. For many years it never crossed my mind that photography could be a career path for myself; I just wanted to create beautiful images. Photos that brought a smile dug up warm distant memory or emotion, ones that made you go, “Wow…” The craziest part was that I was doing it all with my smartphone. I was never able to afford a fancy camera, so I did with what I had, and I did it well. Read more>>

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