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Trailblazers in Lakewood

The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that media portrayals of women have been too one dimensional. Today, women are doing incredible things in all fields – from science and technology to finance, law, business, athletics and more.  With the Trailblazers series, we hope to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.

Below, you’ll find some incredible trailblazers from in and around Lakewood that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Lisa Strong

After finishing my BFA art-painting degree, I went on to pursue a graduate degree in art with no real idea of what I would do with it! I completed my MA-painting and taught Middle School Art for a year but quickly decided I wasn’t ready for teaching at that time and wanted to move to Colorado to try my hand as a professional mountain bike racer. In 2001 I moved to Colorado Springs and raced my bike professionally full-time. Read more>>


I’m into yoga and my husband is into bikes. We were living and teaching at an international school in Beijing, China, when the idea of opening a yoga studio and bike shop formulated. In 2014 we started with free yoga in the park until we found our indoor home in Lakewood, Colorado. To date, we served yoga over 5,000 individual beginner and season yogi’s and tuned up over 1,200 bikes. Read more>>

Courtney Olson

Being a Denver native, Courtney believes that Colorado is the best place in the country to live and work. She came to the real estate industry early on, getting her first job in high school as a receptionist at a local real estate office. After working in a variety of positions and learning the back end of the business, she was recruited by a title company. Read more>>

Elsa Tharp

I have no idea how I got here. It’s a little like falling in love with the right person; you want, desire, hope, and grind, and sometimes when you let go of looking for “the one,” you allow for the right thing to manifest. Same in love as in your job. Who hasn’t had those jobs where it’s an abusive relationship? We want it to work out, we love the mission, or the people, or the location, but ultimately we are taken advantage of and we don’t know how to leave. It’s only once we leave that we allow ourselves to be found. Read more>>

Tenby Dahman

The year was 1999, fresh out of College the year prior, I was 24 years old and getting my MBA at the University of Colorado with no idea what I wanted to do for my career. Having grown up an athlete in Colorado and competing as a Division 1 gymnast for the University of Oklahoma, all I knew is that I was glad to be home. My life’s focus and identity was my sport to that point, so I found myself saying, ‘now what’? Read more>>

Jill Allen

I actually started my career right here in Lakewood, Colorado and had the privilege of being exposed to the industry through some very progressive orthodontists in Colorado. When I started out, I started out in the most entry-level position you can be in an office and that was a sterilization assistant. That was the perfect position for me to get a behind the scenes look at how the backside of a practice works, and I loved it! Read more>>

Briana Altomare

I’ve always been a creative person and love expressing my art. Whether it be sewing costumes, crafting, special effects makeup or beauty related. I was about to graduate from high school and had started cutting and coloring my friend’s hair, having no clue what I was doing. It actually turned out pretty decent! Read more>>

Shelby Orebaugh

I was always an artist, even when I was a child. I focused on it through high school and went on to receive my BFA in Illustration (minor in Art History) from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI ( I was born and raised in Metro-Detroit). There I met my crime-fighting soul mate Brandon Heavner. Read more>>

Kathleen Male

I have been engulfed in a Real Estate family pretty much all my life. I always had a calling to help people in whatever way I can and it’s a bonus that I adore walking through homes and being an advocate for my clients. A little over two years ago, I moved to Colorado with my fiancé and I knew I was ready to start a new chapter. Read more>>

Becca Martin

My business unintentionally started in the summer of 2017, I moved to Denver a couple of months earlier that year and went to the Pearl St. farmers market where I struck up a conversation with a vendor at her booth. She asked me if I moved here for work and I told her I was actually a writer working for a remote company but was looking for new opportunities in Denver. Read more>>

Taryn Smith

You ever wake up and avoid looking in the mirror? Eat a cookie and hate yourself for it because you just keep saying that you’re going to eat healthier and then you keep falling off track? That was me. I was just at a place that I was done with my own excuses. We all to reach that place where we are DONE! Enough is enough and we are willing to do anything to make changes and be different. Read more>>

Gretchen Lamberson

After a career in Human Resources that started with Walt Disney World and ended at MillerCoors, I decided to follow my passion and start my own travel agency. I have been an independent travel agent since 2012 and I truly love what I do. Read more>>

Merilee Maupin

The year was 1982. Leadville’s primary employer, the Climax Mine suddenly closed its’ doors. 3,250 men and women lost their jobs. With the loss of wages, there was also a loss of identity. These were people who made their living walking through solid rock. In a community of 5,000, this was absolutely devastating. Read more>>

Kate Plaisance

I’ve been drawing, painting, and creating all my life. My grandmother was a self-taught oil painter and had her own studio in Western Kentucky; her daughter, my mom, likes to say that talent skipped a generation. I participated in a talented art program in middle and high school, but beyond that I never aimed or expected to make it a career. Read more>>

Dana Berk

I didn’t grow up with a camera in my hand. I was never offered photography classes in high school and it wasn’t until yearbook my junior year that I first set my hands on a DSLR camera. I had no idea how to work the camera and we weren’t given too much instruction. Read more>>

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