HOW TO KEEP YOUR SHIT TOGETHER WHEN YOU GO BACK HOME

Summer is here. That means BBQs, watermelon, corn, outdoor activities, good books, poolside fun, and if you're lucky (perspective right?) spending time with the family.

I'll preface this post by saying my last trip was indeed easier for me because I went to see my sister and my husband's family.  There were no childhood memories or parents to question my life choices both past and future. And, fortunately, at this point, I am pretty removed from my prior triggers.

I was back East for two weeks.  I was there for a couple of reasons. My sister was packing up her super cool apartment on the East River in Long Island City to go back to Cali. I was there to receive instruction, help with purging, and entertain my 13-month-old niece.

The following week I was with my husband's family in Connecticut for our nephew's graduation. Fortunately, I love my husband's family. Coming from a tiny family where my sister and I are the last Casanovas and we have two aunts and two handfuls of second cousins that we are actually close to, being at a family reunion that requires tents is a welcome experience.

Although my autoresponder said I was off the grid, my time was really always on. Packing, cooking, and cleaning were the majority of our daily routines. We were always together - almost. Being in small spaces with lots of voices in the past would have thrown me. Unable to be still and listen, I'd get caught up in the commotion of other concerns and wants. This time I was able to get quiet time for me every day. Even if it was just my 10 minute meditation (which, Go Me!, I've done every day since 12/16/16 - this is the first time I've made it more than 3 days), I had the ability to check in.

I slept with a teething baby and cooked for 120 people and I still found moments for me. Waking up around 6 AM even on vacation was one way I made that happen. Again, I've never made a choice to wake up that early and now I love that I have time to read, write, visualize, meditate and exercise. My how times have changed.

Now, if you are going home to insanity or abuse, if you have fighting family members that don't speak to each other and hold you in contempt if you visit the other, or, if there's mental illness or addiction… these things still apply. 

So, here are four ways to keep it together:

  1. Celebrate where you are:
  • When we were in Connecticut, I left the house early and took long walks to a nearby lake. I listened to the Law of Attraction and poached a private beach to sit in silence. I'm from Miami and I live in Colorado so I was constantly awed by the massive properties and farms with their perfectly mowed lawns, lush green overgrowth, dense woods and flowing flowers.
  • I uncovered a vortex in Brooklyn and had a serendipitous video chat with both my father and mother (who are no longer together and rarely connect) in the place where they once fell in love. I then took the ferry back to my sister's and watched the Statue of Liberty fade in the distance of a red sunset.

2. Celebrate who you're with:

  • OMG. My niece Kaia is adorable. I have almost no experience with kids, especially babies. And… oh my, my, I'm in love.
  • All our nephews and nieces are growing up. They are pulling up their own diapers and choreographing dance recitals (I'm kind of bummed I didn't bust out the dance we practiced at the party - next time Mia). They are growing in feet, their voices are changing, and they are pulling the all-nighters that follow graduation day. I'm totally aware of how fast they transition and how fast time moves as I get older.
  • Seeing my husband with his nephews and nieces and how much he loves his family makes me happy not just for him, but happy to be in his presence. He savors those moments and I like witnessing him satiated.
  • Going through my sister's closets, under her bathroom sinks, and through the last years of her life gave us hours and hours of being together, reminiscing and visioning what life will be like next.

3. Celebrate who you were and no longer are:

  • Going back gives us perspective. It lets us see where we were and compare the dreams we had with the ones we've lived.
  • Going back is like cracking open a time capsule. Without our intimate understanding of each other's day to day, all of us may seem the same. So, what did our family and friends see as our strengths and what examples did we set for each other? Are we still being the models of what we wanted to be?
  • Let go of the conflicts and judgments and attachment to what were once easy triggers. I no longer care how much time I get with my husband when we see his family. I now savor my solitude.

4. Celebrate the exit:

  • Part of the reason why these times may feel sweet is that, especially if everyone is getting along, they feel short. If you want to kill each other then yes, it feels like an eternity. That's ok. Celebrate the moments you have together. In a few days, you'll be back to your routine and your comforts… or back to the grind.
  • If you're dealing with insanity and arguments, the first rule of fight club is to make sure you have an exit. That might mean leaving the room. That might mean having access to a rental car. If you do have to check out, make sure where you go is to check in - internally. Again, keep it together. Be the witness and watch without being a participant. Often, the only way to stop escalation is to not engage.
  • When we're with our family, we're in a bubble… perhaps a time warp.  We may regress to 10 if we're living in our childhood bedroom getting in trouble for leaving our clothes on the floor. Again, in days we'll be immersed with our friends, colleagues, and partners who know us as very different people. Wait it out. The mirrors reflecting your worth are waiting for your return.

When we look for what we want to experience and make space to come back to the knowledge of what we want, it makes it a whole lot easier to be in the chaos that some call home.  With all the non-stop movement, this family visit was a trip that truly was ease and grace.

I kept it together because I constantly came home… to me.

Safe travels,

N

And...just because I thought this was fun...

HOW TO MAKE "WHAT FEELS GOOD" YOUR ONLY CHOICE

No cats where hurt during the making of this blog post. I think.

I like to make things really complex.

There's something about being strategic that gets me excited. Whether that's coming up with some amazing multi-part campaign, incredibly nuanced business model or finding the right pair of silver sandals for my sister's wedding, the likelihood of me creating something cut and dry or making the first choice and going with it is minimal. Until now, that mindset, the one of ease and grace, was something I said often and rarely lived.

I've made that phrase, "ease and grace," a mantra. It's something I constantly suggest others consider. "How can we create the most impact with the least amount of effort? How can you leverage what's already been created and the resources already available so you can ride someone else's coattails and let them do the work?" These are things I force my clients to apply in all areas of their growth. Yes, I do like to think in shortcuts. 

And yet, the default mindset when it comes to me making my biggest impact if I really get truthful is, "Wow, this is going to be hard. This is going to be difficult. How can I make this happen? How can I play out all ten steps now so that I'm in a place to win?"

That thinking is often more problematic than powerful because it:

  1. Makes me feel not good enough unless I can use my overactive brain trying to achieve some Herculean effort
  2. Puts all of the power outside of me because I'm scanning every possible factor to decide where to go next
  3. It keeps me anxious, always working out the incompletes. Well, if we do that, then what. If that doesn't happen, what then?
  4. It requires that I look at all the data points of what's taken place in the past to predict what will happen in the future

What I'm finally realizing is that the power move is just feeling into what feels good and moving towards that.

I know. Simple.

It also requires Trust.

Trust that by me just choosing that which feels good in my body, that which lights me up and that which gets me inspired and jazzed to take the next move is enough.  Trust was my word for at least 3 of the last 10 years probably because I was still waiting to Trust that I could indeed Trust.

Trust means living in the present moment, in this moment and this moment and this moment, and feeling into what's true for me right now. Trust means letting go of needing to know and needing to do.

These dogs were definitely not hurt in the making of this blog post. Also, the author's use of these images in no way means that she has a judgment about the worthiness of cats or dogs or their life choices. 

Trust gives me direct access to gratitude. When I get present to what's around me that I like, that I love, that I'm thankful for, I can see what I want more clearly. That allows me to path-make towards the experience I want.

When I feel anxious, fearful, doubtful, sad, mad, mistrustful, and stressed and when the "Holy shit, this is actually going to be really complex" feeling takes hold, I know I'm moving in the wrong direction.

Is it really that simple? Is it possible that just getting in tune with what feels good and what doesn't is enough to direct us towards the life we want? Is that impractical? Is it that naïve and juvenile? Am I destined to experience the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortune that those who blindly take their direction from faith receive?

Fuck Yeah!

When people ask, "What's your 5-year plan" I might see pieces of it. Do I know all of it? Not really. And, because I'm a lifelong learner and enjoy the constant pursuit of distractions, it might be entirely different than what I'm visioning today. Yet, what I do know, is that if I keep moving choice by choice in the direction of the energy that feels good, the unfolding of it will always be in the direction of my ultimate joy.

Like the sailor who navigates the open seas, moving from point A to B, I'm tacking. I'm constantly making micro-movements towards what lights me up most, knowing that when I get to that Point B, it will just be a continuation of all the many Point B moments that came before. And, if all those Point Bs are the cumulative result of my choice to live my most joyful and impactful life, then I'm very willing to give up my need to plan and plot.

I am willing to Trust that Simple is Good and Ease and Grace is Easy.

I'm trusting that my gut knows the way and that all I have to do is listen for the feelings and follow the fun.

Is Everything Better in Boulder?

YES IT IS!

 Yet another article to add to the list of reasons for by Colorado. People ask me all the time why things are different here in Boulder. My answer is that every single one of us that lives here knows that we are lucky. We know that we are blessed to get to live in such a gorgeous place. I still look up at the mountains and express my gratitude daily. Yes, I made the choice to live here and I am constantly thankful for the opportunity.

Read more here at The Men's Journal

 ...

Roaming around Boulder, Colorado, is like stepping into Richard Scarry's busy, busy outdoor town. Everywhere you turn people are doing sporty things.

I didn't realize how busy Boulder was until I visited on a recent Sunday. The town buzzed under a benevolent autumn sun. In the creek next to the public library, a fly fisherman toyed with a brown trout holding in an eddy. Lycra-clad cyclists whizzed by in pairs and trios. Sharing the same path were runners by the dozen. On a nearby lawn, two women moved through Planks and Cobras on orange mats. On Broadway I passed more cyclists and a guy roller-skiing. Colorado Avenue was closed for a bicycle race, so I swung northeast to 47th Street and watched a bearded hipster tow a wooden canoe with his mountain bike. Up Boulder Canyon Drive, young climbers clipped chocks to their racks before red-pointing a sun-warmed route. Everywhere I went, grown men and women paraded about in bike shorts, technical jackets, and yoga pants. The dudes could have stepped out of a Patagonia catalog. The dames looked like models for Title Nine.

As the afternoon waned, I parked and walked across the Chautauqua Lawn, a grassy approach to the dramatic stone slabs of the Flatirons, where the Rocky Mountains end like cleaved bones on a butcher's block. Surrounded by dozens of hikers, I stopped to catch my breath and take in the view. Behind me the Rockies took their final bow. At my feet the Great Plains swept east.

And between them sat Boulder, the healthiest town in America.

The data doesn't lie. In the annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which measures the nation's physical and mental fitness, Boulder claimed the title of America's healthiest community in two of the index's first five years. In 2015, Gallup-Healthways changed its criteria to include only the nation's 100 largest cities. Boulder, population 105,000, didn't make the cut, so the official winner was Sarasota, Florida, which has an obesity rate of 21.4 percent. Boulder was like, "City, please." Twenty-one percent? Boulder's obesity rate is 12.4.

RELATED: The 10 Best Lazy Rivers in the US

It would be easy to dismiss Boulder's low body mass index as a product of its college population, but the townies here are arguably fitter than the gownies. And its residents' healthiness is just one way that Boulder stands apart. A 2013 study found that it had more startups per capita than any other U.S. metro area — which helps explain why unemployment here is a scant 2.6 percent, just more than half the national average.

That outlier status didn't happen overnight; it emerged from a rich mix of subcultures. Sure, altitude mattered. So did the beautiful natural setting. Money helped. More important, though, was the town's embrace of new ideas and oddball lifestyles. The question now is whether Boulder can maintain that open-minded attitude. Health and fitness were a by-product of Boulder's culture, but now they're becoming one of its main draws — and the town's historic acceptance of the different and the strange may be running into uncomfortable limits.

The first thing you learn about Boulderites is that many of them started out somewhere else. "People typically have success elsewhere and then decide Boulder is where they want to live," said Seth Levine, managing director at Foundry Group, a venture capital firm that's the Kleiner Perkins of Boulder's booming tech community. After making his finance bones in New York in the 1990s, Levine considered a lucrative job in Asia. "I realized that wasn't the life I wanted," he told me. "I was looking for more balance." Balance, in this case, meaning more time to climb rocks and play Ultimate Frisbee.

That's a common Boulder tale. Ari Newman, founder of Filtrbox, is a partner at Techstars, a business incubator that puts startup founders through a three-month accelerator program. Newman moved here from Silicon Valley in 2002. "I knew full well I was making a trade-off," he said. "I was trading economics for overall health and happiness."

Boulder's lifestyle remains a powerful recruiting draw, but now the investment, marketing, and tech talent have reached critical mass. Google will soon expand into a campus for some 1,500 workers at 30th and Pearl. In 2006, advertising guru Alex Bogusky moved Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the hottest shop in the business, to Boulder. Venture capital and tech firms cluster along Walnut Street near the bike shops and Nepalese restaurant. "This used to be a Subaru town," an old friend told me. "Now it's an Audi town." And it's becoming a Tesla town, the Palo Alto of the Rockies.

In Boulder, outdoor activities aren't merely hobbies. They're self-defining.

"At a cocktail party in New York or San Francisco, people ask, 'What do you do?' and they're asking about your job, your social and economic status," Newman said. "People here ask, 'What do you do for fun? Are you a marathoner? Do you ski? Ride?' It's about who you are as a person, not what you do."

 

It's an alluring mind-set. I once embraced it myself. Ten years ago I moved my family to Boulder for an academic-year fellowship at the University of Colorado. We loved the life so much we didn't want to leave. We'd never been healthier. Our kids played outside. My wife hiked every day and took up telemarking. I snuck out to ski before work. We rented a house built like a national park lodge. Foxes, elk, and wild turkeys wandered through our yard. The sun never seemed to stop shining.

Boulder changes people. Noncommittal joggers move to Boulder and become marathoners. Weekend cyclists become triathletes. Although my own family ultimately left Boulder after two years — drawn back to Seattle by family and lifelong friends — I know plenty of people who can't quit the place. "If you could live anywhere, why wouldn't you live here?" said Hillary Rosner, a Boulder-based science writer. A couple of years ago, Rosner landed a teaching gig at Syracuse University, in New York. She loved the college. The town? Not so much. "The weather's terrible and everyone seemed unhappy," she said. "Other than that, Syracuse was great." After a single semester, a change in her husband's job prompted an about-face to Boulder.

It's like the fisherman's bumper sticker: The worst day freelancing in Boulder is better than tenure in Syracuse.

How does a nirvana like Boulder happen? In this case, you can credit four waves of migrants: the eggheads, the climbers, the hippies, and the runners.

When Colorado doled out the spoils of statehood, Denver got the capitol, Cañon City was given the prison, and Boulder landed the state university, which nurtured a local society that valued freethinkers and new ideas. After early tech businesses like Ball Aerospace and StorageTek set up shop in the area, CU provided a rich, scientific talent pool. Rock climbers, drawn by world-class routes in Eldorado Canyon, started arriving in the 1950s. While the dirtbag lifestyle was being forged in Yosemite — make a little scratch in winter and live frugally to climb all summer — Colorado legend Layton Kor established the practice in Boulder.

The hippies followed in the summer of 1968. They spent a couple of months smoking grass on Chautauqua Lawn and decided to stay. From that gathering emerged the cornerstone figure, Mo Siegel. In 1969, Siegel and some friends harvested herbs in the hills above Boulder and sold them to co-ops in the town's burgeoning natural-foods scene. In the 1970s, he turned that idea into a company called Celestial Seasonings and made a fortune selling herbal teas to America. That attracted other entrepreneurial hippies, like Steve Demos, who started the WhiteWave tofu company here on a $500 loan. Today the $3.6 billion business includes Horizon Organic and Silk soy milk.

Then came the runners or, rather, the runner: the godfather of Boulder's modern fitness culture, Frank Shorter. In 1970, Shorter was a skinny Yale grad who moved to Boulder, elevation 5,400 feet, to test his crazy ideas about training at altitude. Two years later his victory in the 1972 Olympic marathon inspired a wave of runners to move to Boulder. The road cyclists arrived soon after. In 1975, Siegel helped launch the Red Zinger Classic, a bike race named for his bestselling blend, as a way to promote bicycle transportation. Top prize money drew top riders. They came, they raced, they dug the Boulder scene — and they stayed.

The runners and cyclists picked up on the philosophy that the climbers and hippies had laid down in the Sixties: Living for your passion wasn't just OK, it was the right and natural thing to do. They put down roots and built a supportive infrastructure that continued to lure athletes to the town. Shorter brought a generation of runners here. After the Red Zinger years, Olympic medalists Connie Carpenter and Davis Phinney lured other top cyclists. Scott Jurek, the ultramarathoner who recently broke the Appalachian Trail speed record, moved to Boulder in 2010, lured by his friend Anton (Tony) Krupicka, two-time winner of the Leadville Trail 100. "The climbers, the runners, the triathletes, and the world-class yogis — that energy and motivation really draws across the lines of different sports," Jurek told me.

In fact, fitness is culturally valued in Boulder in much the same way wealth is esteemed in New York and political power is revered in Washington, D.C. In Boulder, fitness has become the common currency of success.

Researchers have found that two factors play key roles in a person's level of physical activity: modeling and social support. Modeling is simple. People learn behavioral norms by observing those around them. If you see your neighbors running and riding day after day, then you're more likely to try it yourself. Social support in Boulder means your friends meet for a ride rather than a beer — or, rather, a ride and then a beer.

Wake up early enough and you can see those dynamics at play in the Wednesday Morning Velo, a.k.a. the banker's ride. Slightly past 6 a.m., bicyclists in tight shorts and clickety shoes flock to Amante, the north Boulder coffeehouse that doubles as a rider's hang.

"Where we headed today?" one silver-haired gent asks.

"Up to NCAR is what I heard," his friend answers. NCAR is the National Center for Atmospheric Research, one of the many federal research institutes that keep Boulder flush with scientific talent.

By 6:20 the joint is packed with bankers, lawyers, startup CFOs, and venture capitalists. There are so many riders that they have to split into three groups: threshold, tempo, and endurance.

This is networking Boulder-style. The town's business culture sees outdoor activity as a productivity aid, not a shirker's lark. A lunch-hour run or ride is encouraged (and many offices have showers and bike rooms). "At my last company, I had a powder-day clause," Newman told me. "Unless we were 24 hours from a major deadline, if there was more than six inches of fresh snow in the mountains, you could skip work and go skiing." Part of the Techstars boot camp often involves a weekly 7 a.m. hike with each company's board of directors. Bicycle meetings are common. "It breaks down the awkwardness," Newman said. "And you're riding together for more than an hour, so inevitably you get to talking about more personal stuff — families, values, philosophy. You just wouldn't do that in an office."

Boulder exercise is social exercise. The tone-setter is the BolderBoulder, the annual Memorial Day 10K that turns the entire town into a jogging party. More than 50,000 people — almost half of Boulder's population — run, jog, juggle, walk, and roll the 10K. Long before Americans raced Tough Mudders, color races, and rock & roll marathons, the Bolder­Boulder put the fun into the 6.2-mile run.

In this town, exercise isn't a chore — it's a reward.

"It's not perfect here, you know."

I heard that a lot. The comment usually came near conversation's end, and it invariably touched on Boulder's lack of economic and ethnic diversity. How ever white and wealthy you think this town is, it's even whiter and wealthier. You're four times more likely to encounter an African-American in Lincoln, Nebraska, than you are in Boulder. The zoning laws that preserve the town's human scale and open space also prevent most housing development. The fit, outdoor-loving, creative class is migrating to Boulder and squeezing out the working class, the dirtbag climbers, the Zen philosophers, and the ancient hippies nursing cappuccinos at the Trident Café. The homes that were once group rentals for marathoners now get snapped up in all-cash bids by ad execs or tech geeks and their $5,000 Colnago road bikes. According to Zillow, the median home price shot up from $490,000 in 2013 to $696,000 in 2015, and has soared more than 15 percent in the past year alone. With every listing that closes, Boulder gets a little fitter, whiter, and wealthier. This town once welcomed weirdos. Now it welcomes winners.

"It's a very driven culture," a local entrepreneur named Taro Smith told me. "There's no shortage of high-caliber, type A personalities, for good or bad."

The lack of diversity extends beyond race and economic status. Boulder's body-type norms are so extreme that those who don't conform can feel uncomfortable and isolated. Ohio native Kathleen Chaballa went to CU for grad school. She was healthy but not svelte. "I went from being average size for Ohio to being the fattest person in the room," she recalled. "The culture shock was intense."

Chaballa wondered if it was all in her head, until a heavyset friend came to visit. "There are no fat people in this town," her friend observed. "I feel like everyone's staring at me. This is a cool place, but I couldn't live here. I don't know how you do it." Ultimately she couldn't. Chaballa moved to Denver. "There are people of all shapes and sizes here," she told me. "It's a relief."

Here's the thing about Boulderites, though. Even the most comically fit, creative, and successful among them tend not to be assholes. "It's still a small town in a lot of ways," said Nicole Glaros, chief product officer at Techstars. "People look out for each other. If you're a bad actor, you won't get far."

Take Smith. The 43-year-old entrepreneur personifies the kind of person who now thrives in Boulder: one who notices the sparks thrown off by the town's subcultures and captures them to tender new business ideas. Raised in California, Smith came here in the early 1990s to attend college and ski, not necessarily in that order. After graduating, he hung around and co-founded a medical rehab facility. A few years later, in 2005, he and a college buddy, Brandon Dwight, opened Boulder Cycle Sport. Both had been competitive riders in their twenties. "Just what Boulder needed, another bike shop, right?" Dwight said when I later dropped by the store. "But we thought we could make it work." They did, based on their notion of creating community. "Cycling advocacy, group rides, junior cycling, sponsoring a professional cyclocross team — that was how it grew," Smith said.

Boulder is not for everyone. There's a piece of art on Smith's desk. It was a gift from his friend Paul Budnitz, the designer and entrepreneur behind the craft bikemaker Budnitz Bicycles, the designer toy company Kidrobot, and the social network Ello. Budnitz, too, once lived in Boulder. He lasted about two years. "I loved the beauty and a lot of the people," he told me. "But, honestly, I got inundated with the tech culture, people with a lot of entitlement and too much money. It got to be a drag. I felt like I was living someone else's fantasy of a perfect world, but it wasn't mine."

Budnitz ended up in Burlington, Vermont. "There are sophisticated people here doing interesting things," he said, "but there's not so much class division. There's a sense of community."

On my last morning in town, I rose early and did a butt-kicking hike up Mount Sanitas before grubbing huevos rancheros at Caffè Solé in south Boulder. Sitting next to me was a quite fit elderly couple chatting about their African dance class. Two cycling dudes behind me talked about an upcoming century. Across the room I stole a glance at a young climber, his battered backpack parked next to a cheap cup of drip. Scruffy hair, hadn't shaved in a few: classic dirtbag. He was engrossed in a book. I narrowed my eyes to parse the title: Think and Grow Rich. And I thought, "If he wants to stay in Boulder, he'll have to."

MARCHING ORDERS

Read and pass on:

What a Triumph! Thank you President Trump.

Brothers and sisters gathered around the world today for one purpose - to remember that we are united. We are all one. All of the electric energy that is around us, all of the feelings that are among us, all of the aspirations and boundless energy, excitement and hope that is evident from one corner of the globe to another... keep it with you.

Get still.

Replay this day and remember every interaction, every word of Truth, every smile, every lesson, every vision of a brighter tomorrow. Give it as much detail as you can. Feel into what it looks like and smells like and sounds like. Physically feel it. Go through your whole day and stack those experiences in rich detail. Then, physically feel into what it would be like to have this be the norm. Think of every example and physically feel it.

This time requires that we project our energy towards what serves us most. It is a requirement that we now step up and be the model of what can be.

The world is calling for a global repatterning. Our human experience will change when we expect only experiences that resonate with the vibration we felt today. We now have a taste of it. It is imperative that we focus on that feeling, embody it, and make that our Collective choice for what reality is. It is imperative that we practice as our mental muscle requires repetition. Once a day or when you start feeling fear or anger, feel today and vision that energy into the future.

With all of the kinetic energy we've kicked up, the most powerful thing we can do is make sure we stop. Massive action resides gladly with stillness.

It is time to listen and lead from love.

All of us are responsible.

Let this be our daily workout and consistently shift our beliefs in the direction of what we want most. This is something that any one of us can do from anywhere whether we are in the smallest of cells in a dark South African jail or sitting in the highest seat in the home of the free and the brave. Our thoughts are our own. We give them power and us alone.

Our shared Destiny requires that each of us teach only what we are - love.

A Course in Miracles defines Patience, one of the characteristics of God's teachers...

VIII. Patience

Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety. Patience is natural to the teacher of God. All he sees is certain outcome, at a time perhaps unknown to him as yet, but not in doubt. The time will be as right as is the answer. And this is true for everything that happens now or in the future. The past as well held no mistakes; nothing that did not serve to benefit the world, as well as him to whom it seemed to happen. Perhaps it was not understood at the time. Even so, the teacher of God is willing to reconsider all his past decisions, if they are causing pain to anyone. Patience is natural to those who trust. Sure of the ultimate interpretation of all things in time, no outcome already seen or yet to come can cause them fear.

We already know the answer. It just requires us to remember our truth.

This revolution starts from within.

Thank you President Trump for our marching orders. Your first day in office was a true success. You have united the world and we owe you our gratitude.

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MY 2017 WORD, QUESTION, and QUEST

My word: Worth

My question: Is this worthy of my attention?

Shi By Billy Tucci

DOES IT:

  • Make me more powerful?
  • Make my life easier?

  • Give me pleasure?

  • Inspire me?

  • Empower me to lead with the voice of the divine?

This is reclamation time.

Our leaders and heroes are stepping aside, requiring us to step up.

It is time to leave the shade of the family tree and be our biggest selves. It's imperative for all of us to remember that owning our greatness, our power, and our innate truth - that we are love and loved - is crucial to the world's healing.

2016 ended (for me) with a lot of consumption - insane amounts of sugar, crap food, tv (that election was damn good drama) and everyone else's voices.  I didn't realize that I could no longer hear.

My Quest: Warrior Training

Step 1Make my body a temple so that I can listen.

Some girlfriends and I are doing a cleanse (mine will be the Master Cleanse) January 12th. If you'd like to join us, just let me know. Our purpose is to be accountable and there for each other.

And… if you join us or not, I wanted to share an exercise I created and have been using for years.

It's called:

Conscious Being

Print out the Conscious Being PDF and have it either near your bedside or in the kitchen or somewhere where you'll see it before you end your day. Place quick checks in all the boxes that apply. It's a nice visual to see what we're consuming in oh so many forms. Just using it is always a difference of 3 lbs, more insights and better relationships for me.

The Success Meditation

One last thing, I've also attached The Success Meditation by John Randolph Price.

It is one of my favorite writings. I trust it will spur you into a huge 2017. I still have the same handwritten versions (that I wrote in 2001) on my refrigerator and in my copy of A Course in Miracles.

I'm owning my worth. let's do it together.

 

A love letter to Craig Newmark

Thank you Craig Newmark. You've taken the time to really step into our shoes. Beyond saying you believe women are a great investment and showing the stats to prove it, you really feel into our experience. You've taken on the vocalization of a story that's probably a little messy.  You've put together events and opportunities for women-led startups to prevail. Fantastic. You've given women visibility and funding. Amazing.

AND

It is your willingness to consistently be our voice, to provide the words that for some, need to come from your lips to truly land, that makes you our cherished champion.

Thank you,

N

And here's his write-up...

It’s time for men to champion women in tech

By: Craig Newmark - Techcrunch

Folks, when it comes to gender equality in the tech world, we haven’t come very far.

Fifty-three years after the Equal Pay Act and supposedly the advancement of women’s rights in the workplace, Silicon Valley still has the feel of a fraternity.

Despite lots of research that shows how tech companies excel when women lead, the playing field is still heavily tilted in favor of men. How do we turn this around? I want to suggest that as a start, we men can make a real effort to use our male privilege on behalf of our women colleagues.

Women in tech face some tough odds. A recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission survey of some of the top US tech companies found that on average, just 18 percent hold leadership positions, and among certain tech jobs, men still make, on average, 28.3 percent more than women.

At some leading tech companies as few as 10 percent of women occupy tech positions.

For women founders, the numbers are even worse.

Only 7% of investor funding goes to women-led ventures, and according to Digitalundivided,a mere 0.2% of venture deals from 2012-2014 went to Black women founders.

And what about the work place environment? Is it conducive to women’s inclusion and advancement?

Not according to a comprehensive survey of Silicon Valley companies conducted by Vassallo and Madansky, who found that 60 percent of women in tech had received unwanted sexual advances from a male superior, and 87 percent had been on the receiving end of demeaning comments from male co-workers. And two thirds reported being excluded when guys were going out for drinks or to other networking events.

So, it’s not particularly surprising that more than half (56 percent) of women in tech jobsdon’t stick around, or that they opt to leave the private science, engineering, and technology workforce.

But when women are supported, encouraged, and funded to lead, they excel. In fact, tech companies led by women are more capital-efficient and achieve, on average, a 35 percent higher return on investment than firms led by men, according to a Kauffman Foundation report.

Women tech entrepreneurs (working from the disadvantage of having received 50 percent less VC funding), are still able to generate 20 percent greater revenue than their male counterparts, according to a Forbes study.

Further, tech companies with a woman founder performed 63 percent better than those companies with all-male founding teams, according to a First Round Capital report.

Despite the mounting evidence that equal access for women in tech enhances the value of companies, we’re not doing enough to help women succeed — to say the least.

 

Despite the mounting evidence that equal access for women in tech enhances the value of companies, we’re not doing enough to help women succeed — to say the least

 

This is a really big problem, folks, and it’s one that we have the ability to change. We need to do a lot more, and that includes us men sharing some of our privilege and helping women colleagues get a fair shake. How would that look?

 Networking is a big deal in business and the tech world. That’s how deals get done. As part of this, men need to open our doors and share our contacts. If you know of a promising women-led startup, introduce them to investors. Another way to help women entrepreneurs is to offer some mentoring.

So for instance, if you’ve had a lot of success writing winning pitch decks, offer to review their pitch and provide concrete feedback. (Jonathan Beninson recently shared a great post on Medium about structuring mentor/mentee relationships.)

We can also help women in their job searches by spreading the wealth of contacts.  More publicly, you can speak up when women are getting a raw deal (discrimination, harassment, exclusion etc.) And we need to speak up to support women in meetings.

That includes creating space, and letting them say what they have to say without interruption or ignoring what they’ve said. Another way to be an ally:  when we’re invited to a tech panel that is an all-male affair, we can ask the organizer to include some women experts and offer some suggestions about who to invite.

 

We should all just say no to speaking on panels when organizers refuse to include women.

 

We should all just say no to speaking on panels when organizers refuse to include women.

“Tech companies want to solve the toughest problems facing our communities nationally and globally, but in order to do so, they must invest in fostering a more diverse workplace culture and where women are at the decision-making table,” says my colleague Allyson Kapin, founder of the Women Startup Challenge. “This is how we will begin to move the needle.”

I’ve been working with Allyson on the Women Startup Challenge for the last year. It showcases and helps fund women-led startups across the U.S. through pitch competitions (like the one we’re doing at LinkedIn in San Francisco on June 14th) and crowdfunding campaigns.

I’ve been learning a lot from our partnership, including some of the small but important things men can do that are a big deal for women.

I figure that if you’ve done well, as Kevin Spacey says, it’s your job to send the elevator back down — meaning we need to be intentional about opening our doors to women and helping them expand their networks and clout. This is about fairness. Plus, there’s the business advantage I mentioned earlier. Let’s do this and become our women colleagues’ best allies.

So many reasons to start a business in Colorado

And, here's a Funding & Incentives Wizard and a list of reasons why from the Office of Economic Development:

 

Virtually every community in the country has something that they can point to that propels them to the top of some real or perceived hierarchy. The factor that makes Denver’s rankings enviably distinctive is that there are so many right at the top of anyone’s list of just about anything.

 

Colorado has nation’s lowest obesity prevalence among adults
(Trust for America’s Health, 2012)

 

Rank #2 in country in “Well-Being Index” (life situations, emotional health, physical health, healthy behaviors, work environment, and access to healthy living)
(Gallup and Healthways, 2012)

Denver is America’s healthiest city
Food & Wine magazine, 2012)

15 percent more people moved into Colorado than out
(Atlas Van Lines, 2012)

SMALL BUSINESS / ENTRPRENEURSHIP

Denver is #6 nationwide for high tech startup density
(Kauffman Foundation, 2013)

Colorado ranks #2 among “states most supportive of innovation”
(U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2013)

Denver among America's top 10 cities for young entrepreneurs
(Under30CEO, 2013)

Best city for small business employees
(CardHub, 2013)

Colorado ranks 7th in “State Innovation Index”
(U.S. Department of Commerce, 2012)

Colorado ranks fifth in number of new businesses per 1,000 employees
(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012)

Denver is the 3rd best American city for startups
(VentureBeat, 2012)

Colorado ranks third in U.S. for proprietors as percentage of total employment
(U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2012)

Denver has more small businesses than most large cities; metro Denver is #3 among the largest 20 urban areas for having the fewest number of employees per business (14.38)
(American City Business Journals, 2011)

Metro Denver ranked 9th among the nation’s 100 largest markets for the number of new retail jobs
(American City Business Journals, 2012)

Colorado #1 in National Science Foundation funding; also tops State Technology and Science Index (STSI)
(Milken Institute, 2012)

Colorado ranks #3 nationwide in Small Business Innovation Research grants
(U.S. Small Business Administration, 2012)

Colorado ranks #3 nationwide in NASA Prime Contract awards
(National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2012)

Denver is ranked 13th in growth of women-owned firms
(American Express OPEN, 2012)

CLEAN TECH

Colorado ranks third most attractive state for renewable energy
(Ernst & Young, 2013)

Colorado #3 in deployment of energy-efficient buildings
(CleanEdge, 2012)

Colorado is #1 state in the nation in solar jobs per capita; #2 state in solar jobs overall
(The Solar Foundation, 2011)

Denver is the 5th greenest major city
(Canada Green City Index, 2011)

Downtown Denver has more than 50 LEED-certified buildings
(CoStar, 2012)

REAL ESTATE

Denver ranks in top 10 “least expensive” U.S. cities for cost of commercial space
(DTZ, London-based commercial property advisor, 2014)

Metro Denver ranked as the 2nd best residential real estate market among 20 major cities
(Case-Shiller Index, 2012)

Colorado is the nation’s third-most highly educated state for residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher
(U.S. Census Bureau, 2012)

List of Female Angel and Early-Stage Investors in Tech

From McKenzie Burnett on Medium. June 8, 2015

Researching all these individuals and their experiences, I felt like I was reading about the superheroes of the tech startup world.

I am starting a software company with a few friends. As a mixed-gender founding team, we all believe strongly in gender equity and in the collective strength brought by diverse teams. We wanted this to translate into a gender-diverse board of investors and advisors.

Why is this important? As Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, founder and CEO ofJoyus, mentions in her article promoting entrepreneurs to #ChoosePossibility, “Diverse thinking can benefit private tech boards potentially even more than public ones, and there is no reason to wait.” Everyone can benefit from a diversified investor board. Cassidy gives one option for achieving this diversity, saying, “Entrepreneurs seeking to enhance their startup’s performance can choose today to add their first qualified female board member or investor.”

When I went to research early-stage investors, however, I found it incredibly difficult to find anyone other than male investors in my startup’s space (application infrastructure/PaaS/enterprise). Determined, I found with a little digging that the information I was looking for was there — it was just scattered across the internet. Starting with female investors, I consolidated my findings into a descriptive list of experienced angels and early-stage investors with experience in all sorts of tech, so that anyone can easily use it to choose today to pursue diverse investor and advisory boards.

In addition to doing my own research, I’ve talked to top investors, industry leaders, and close friends to source content for this list. I hope it will serve as the beginning of a growing resource and discussion. Anyone can suggest additions and offer their own experiences working with gender-diverse investors in the tech industry, thus adding to the public knowledge and reputation of each of these awesome individuals.

Angel networks

 

#Angels. A group of some of the most powerful women at Twitter (or formerly at Twitter), these six angels are investing individually but still pooling their collective expertise around their investments. The individuals are included in the list below.

37 Angels. Awesome network of female angels. Invests in deals between $50k and $150k. They “also offer an unique training program to educate novice angels in the fundamentals of investing in young companies,” according to their website.

Broadway Angels. This network of around 20 angels is “an angel investment group made up of world-class investors and business executives who all happen to be women.” While they mostly invest in information technology, they are open to other areas of investment, as well. The individuals are included in the list below.

Female Investors Opportunities List. Collection of over 100 female investors, organized by Sarah Kunst. According to Sarah’s Medium article, “It’s a Google Group comprised of every female startup investor you know of and tons you don’t. They’re smart, they write checks and they are available to speak, be interviewed, mentor, judge and invite to your super private influencers dinners. They’re from all over the country, they will travel for the right opps and they provide insight and capital you’re otherwise lacking.” Email kunstsar at gmail with any opportunities and she will share them with the group.

Golden SeedsWith both an angel network and a venture capital side, this organization strongly supports female investors and is one of the largest and most well-known female angel networks in the country. With offices in New York, Boston, Silicon Valley, Southern California and Texas, Golden Seed’s angel network covers some of the biggest tech hubs in the United States.

Pipeline Fellowship. With the characteristic t-shirt slogan, “This Is What an Angel Looks Like,” Pipeline is all about changing the face of angel investing through training women to be angel investors. While they do focus on social entrepreneurship, this would be a great place for any entrepreneur to start looking to build relationships with a number of the country’s top female angel investors. Founded by Natalia Oberti Noguera.

Angels and early-stage investors

 

Aileen Lee, Founder of Cowboy Ventures, Partner at KPCB. Typically invests $100k-$1m per deal. Invests in wide variety of tech, such as enterprise, mobile, analytics, payments, e-commerce, SaaS. Has invested in Librato, Rent the Runway, DocSend, and a number of other companies. Also part ofBroadway Angels.

Alicia SyrettFounder and CEO of Pantegrion Capital. Typically invests $10k-$50k per deal. Invests in consumer internet, e-commerce, and mobile. Invested in Little Passports, Golden Seeds, HeTexted, BeautyBooked, and more. Board member of New York Angels.

Allison Thoreson BhursiAngel Investor. Typically invests $10k per deal. Invests in health tech, mobile, and education. Invested in Boostable, True Link, MasteryConnect, LocoMotive Labs, and more. Twenty years of business experience in finance, consumer products and technology. Previously worked for eBay’s Business Incubation Group with a focus on social and mobile e-commerce. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Amy BanseManaging Director and Head of Funds of Comcast Ventures. She “spent the early part of her career overseeing the development of Comcast’s cable network portfolio” according to her bio on the Broadway Angelswebsite.

Ana Díaz-HernándezInvestment Associate at Kapor Capital. Invests in seed startups w/ social impact, in markets like consumer internet, enterprise software, mobile, healthcare, education, and fintech.

Andrea ZurekFounding Partner of XG Ventures. Typically invests $25k-$100k per deal. Invests in consumer internet (mobile, video, gaming, social media, and online media sectors), but also scopes wider to include SaaS, cloud computing, and analytics. Prolific investor, has invested in Facebook, Apptimize, Keen IO, and over 50 other companies.

Angela LeeFounder of 37 AngelsExperience in education space. Assistant dean at Columbia Business School.

Anita BreartonFounder of CabinetM. Typically invests $10–25k per deal. Invests in consumer internet, digital media, IT. Invested in Crimson Hexagon, Lark, Gracious Eloise. Based in Boston.

Ann Miura KoCo-Founding Managing Partner of Floodgate. Typically invests $500k-$1M per deal. Invests in enterprise software and mobile. Invested in Lyft, Modcloth, Refinery29, TaskRabbit and others. Also a Stanford PhD/lecturer.

Annie KadavyInvestor at CRV. Invests in all kinds of tech, including SaaS, retail, design, electric vehicles, bicycles, transportation, and more. Invested in Patreon, DoorDash, ClassPass, Cratejoy, and Laurel & Wolf.

Anu DuggalFounder of Female Founders Fund. Invests in consumer internet.Invested in Manicube, Dating Ring, Loverly, Maven, Minibar, and F Cubed. Female Founders Fund invests seed capital and mentorship in women entrepreneurs.

April UnderwoodFounding Partner of #Angels. Invests in cleantech, healthcare, enterprise, and more. Invested in Glassbreakers, Hale Health, and Cue Health. A ton of experience with product development from her time as Director of Product at Twitter.

Beth Ellyn McClendonAngel Investor. Typically invests $100k–$200k per deal. Invests in a wide variety of tech, including hardware. Invested in Leap Motion, Shyp, AngelList, Lightbox, and others.

Caryn EffronManaging Director of Ackman-Ziff. 20 years of experience in commercial real estate finance, founded GoGirl Finance. Member of Pipeline Fellowship. Focus on education, real estate, and finance.

Caterina FakeFounder Partner of Founder Collective, Chairman of Etsy.Invests in a wide variety of tech. Previous co-founder of Flickr and Hunch, Caterina currently serves as both an investor and chairman of Etsy. Also has invested in Chloe + Isabel, Typekit, Wavii (acquired by Google), and Zipongo.

Chloe SladdenFounding Partner of #Angels. Invests in cleantech, mobile, health, digital media and analytics. Invested in Cleanly, Other Machine Company, Moxxly, and Blockchain Capital. Brings experience in digital media as the former Vice President, North American Media at Twitter.

Christina BechholdInvestor at Samsung Open Innovation Center. Also co-founded Empire Angels. Invests in e-commerce, social media, fintech, IoT, consumer internet, and more. Invested in Hullabalu, weeSpring, StatSocial, Human Demand, ZoomCar India, MyDROBE, and The Infatuation.

Christina BrodbeckFounding Team Member of YouTube. Typically invests $15k–$25k per deal. Invests on consumer tech, with a skillset/focus on UI/design. Invested in Storify, Fobo, inDinero, and others.

Christine HerronInvestor at Intel Capital. Typically invests $5k-$15m per deal. Invests in consumer tech. Invested in Goldbelly, Yummly, FundersClub, and others. Also serves as a Board Advisor to StartX and a Venture Advisor at 500 Startups.

Cindy PadnosFounder and Managing Partner of Illuminate Ventures.Typically invests $100k-$500k per deal. Invests in all sorts of tech, including cloud computing, mobile, enterprise, SaaS, sales automation, marketing, and more. Invested in Influitive, Sense, yozio, Unshackled, Coupang, Allocadia, BrightEdge Technologies, Red Aril, and more.

Claudia IannazzoAngel Investor. Invests in mobile, social media, digital media, advertising, and more.

Cyan BanisterAngel Investor. Typically invests $50k-$1m per deal. Invests in consumer internet, enterprise, Bitcoin, SaaS. Invested in Uber, Rapportive, Zappos, and many more. As someone commented on AngelList, getting early/lead investment is a sign “that many other angels watch.” Find Cyan on Twitter.

Eileen BurbidgeFounder Partner at Passion Capital. Typically invests $250k per deal. Invests in mobile, B2B, analytics, and more. Invested in Mattermark, Maven, DueDil and others. Product and business development experience at Apple, Skype, Sun. Based out of London, so she has strong contacts in both the U.S. and the U.K./Europe. Invests as an angel and as a partner at Passion Capital.

Ellen LevyManaging Director of Silicon Valley Connect. Recently referred to as the most connected woman in Silicon Valley. Invests in all sorts of tech, ranging from application platforms to hardware to education. Extensive experience working in senior leadership for LinkedIn and Apple, as well as with Stanford University. Invested in RelateIQ and Piazza, among others. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Ellie WheelerInvestor at Greycroft Ventures. Invests in all sorts of tech, including enterprise software, B2B, e-commerce, automotive, and social ventures. Invested in Xobni, Plain Vanilla Games, Daily Secret, Mister Spex, NuORDER, Windeln.de, BaubleBar, and Fisoc.

Emily MeltonPartner at DFJ. Invests in mobile, cleantech, healthcare, and enterprise software. Invested in Pulse and Other Machine Company. Advisor to Poshmark. Formerly a partner at DFJ. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Heidi RoizenOperating Partner at DFJ. Invests in consumer internet, social media, digital media, and mobile. Invested in Draper University, Vango, and advised Socialize. As someone mentioned on AngelList, “Heidi is a legend in Silicon Valley (just go look up the HBR case study on her).”

Irena GoldenbergAngel Investor. Invests in e-commerce, games, social media, mobile, payments. Investor in Privalia, Spartoo, Photobox, and Glassesdirect.

Jalak JobanputraFounder/Managing Partner of FuturePerfect Ventures.Typically invests $50k-$500k per deal. Invests in enterprise software, mobile, analytics. Investor in Ticketfly, Thumbplay, Outside.In, and others. Also an advisor for L’Oreal and an investor at Intel Capital.

Jana MesserschmidtFounding Partner of #Angels. Invests in developer APIs, Android, mobile, social media, and more. Currently Vice President of Global Business Development & Platform at Twitter.

Jennifer CarolanFounder of Reach Capital (NewSchools Venture Fund).Typically invests $50k per deal. Invests heavily in education, with a broad depth of experience in the education space. Invested in NoRedink, Motion Math, Engrade, MasteryConnect, CodeHS, and more. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Jennifer LumFounder of AdelphicTypically invests $10k-$25k per deal. Invests in all kinds of tech, including backend/cloud services. Invested in Crashlytics, Kinvey, and TribeHR. Based out of Toronto/Boston.

Jennifer Scott FonstadFounder of Broadway Angels, Co-Founder of Aspect Ventures. Typically invests $250k-$1m per deal. Invests in mobile applications, consumer and enterprise application services, and energy management. Invested in Athenahealth, Achex, NetZero, and more. Currently managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Jenny FieldingAngel Investor. Typically invests $20k per deal. Invests in wearables, mobile, IoT, consumer tech. Invested in Techstars, Kinetic, Bitfinder, and others.

Jenny LefcourtFounder of WeddingChannel and Bella PicturesTypically invests $500k-$1m per deal. Invests in marketplaces, mobile & enterprise. Invested in Main Street Hub, MomentFeed, P. Relan YouWeb Incubator, and Shuddle.

Jessica LivingstonFounder of Y-Combinator. Probably one of the most influential women in the startup/investor world, AngelList only lists one investment for Jessica — Wevorce. Her experience at Y-Combinator speaks for the rest.

Jessica PeltzInvestor at kbs+ Ventures. Typically invests $100k per deal. Invests in mobile, location-based services, retail, big data, analytics, and more. Invested in Adsnative, wedgies, Mezzobit, Roost, Indicative, and MONTAJ.

Jessica VerrilliFounding Partner of #Angels. Invests in mobile, analytics, digital media, enterprise software, social commerce, SaaS, and more. Invested in ZenPayroll, Getable, and Philz Coffee. Formerly Director of Corporate Development & Strategy at Twitter, now a partner at Google Ventures.

Jill PreotleAngel Investor. Typically invests $50k-$100k per deal. Invests in all sorts of tech, including mobile, marketplaces, consumer goods, fashion, and e-commerce. Invested in TaskRabbit, ezCater, Zipcar, Playrific, Rifiniti, Crimson Hexagon, and RallyPoint.

Joanna Drake EarlAngel Investor. Invests in mobile, social media, supply chain management, and more. Invested in Feed Media, Rocksbox, SupportPay, Other Machine Company (OMC), and more. Founded Current TV and sold to Al Jazeera. Immense experience in intersection of technology, consumer, media and television sectors. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Joanne WilsonAngel Investor. Typically invests $10k-$100k per deal. Invests in all sorts of tech, including e-commerce, online retail, big data, analytics, and more. Invested in Blue Bottle Coffee, LE TOTE, EDITD, Hullabalu, and over 50 more companies.

Joyce ChungManaging Director at Garage Technology Ventures. Typically invests $100k-$1m per deal. Invests in cleantech, IT and internet startups. Invested in SimplyHired, WhiteHat Security, and Zilliant.

Julia PopowitzAngel Investor. Typically invests $25k–$50k per deal. Began her career after graduating from Harvard Law School at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati, and then moved on to Facebook in 2006 as the second attorney in the legal department. Has a wide breadth of investments including focus areas in e-commerce, mobile, digital media, SaaS, big data, finance, and more. Invested in Uber, Stripe, Ali Baba, Palantir, Survey Monkey, Locu, Spreecast, ZenPayroll, and more. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Julie BlancInvestor at Two Sigma Ventures. Invests in consumer internet, enterprise software, SaaS, robotics, and more. Invested in Two Sigma Ventures and Pluralsight.

Julie ChinAngel Investor. Typically invests $5k-$25k. Invests in mobile and other markets. Invested in Heroku, RidePal, and 280 North.

Katherine Barr, General Partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures. Invests in a lot of different types of tech, including IoT, healthtech, and big data/analytics. Invested in Ticketfly, Visible Measures, and Retention Science. Advisor for 500 Startups.

Katie Jacobs StantonFounding Partner of #Angels. Invests in cleantech, health care, digital media, social media, analytics and more. Invested in Lowercase Capital, Change.org, Shape Security, and iAutos (China). Currently Vice President of Global Media at Twitter.

Katie RaeInvestor at Techstars. Typically invests $10k-$50k per deal. Invests in internet tech. Invested in peerTransfer, Spindle, and Bison. As someone on AngelList mentioned, “[Katie] finds a way to be on the entrepreneur’s side and build them up — for real, and for good — rather than simply point out problems. Even if she’s giving you tough love, you know she’s in your corner helping you get out there to go another round.”

Kay KoplovitzFounder of Boldcap Ventures, Springboard, and USA Network. A serious veteran in the media/television world, Kay now focuses on helping women-led companies in technology and life sciences. Also founded NY Fashion Tech Lab (NYFT Lab).

Kelly HoeyAngel Investor, Columnist in Inc.com. Invests in various tech sectors with a heavy focus on mobile. Investoed in Levo, Hullabalu, SQL Vision, flowthings.io, Smigin and CloudPeeps. Prior investments include AppGuppy (acquired by Flow) and Philantech (acquired by Altum). Sits on the boards of two startup accelerators, JuiceLabs (Cairo) and Tampa Bay WaVE. Also the Chief Technology Ambassador for the YWCA of NYC’s Geek Girls Club.

Kelly Quann BianucciManaging Principal at Discover Capital LLC. Typically invests $25k per deal. Invests in aerospace, consumer internet, enterprise software, healthcare, and more. Investor in TrueFacet, TomboyX, Storyvine, Pharmajet, and Investor’s Circle. Based in Denver.

Kim PoleseFounder of Marimba. Invests in all sorts of tech, including hardware, enterprise software, mobile, and healthcare. Invested in TrustedID and Vonage. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Kirsten GreenFounder of Forerunner Ventures. Typically invests $500k per deal. Forerunner Ventures focuses on “technology enabled consumer companies.” Invested in Bonobos, Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox, among others.

Kristina MontagueManaging Partner at TheJumpFund. Invests in clean tech, mobile, enterprise software, and more. Invested in Feetz, eDivv, Rimidi, Rooibee Red Tea Company, and SuperFanU.

Lara DruyanAngel Investor. Typically invests $50k per deal. Invests in application platforms, e-commerce, mobile, big data, and other software. Invested in Quixey, Powerset, and Index. Formerly General Partner at Allegis Capital.

Lauren FlanaganFounder of BELLE Capital USA, Phenomenelle Angels Fund.Typically invests $25k-$500k per deal. Invests in SaaS, big data, e-commerce, mobile, biotech, wearable tech. Invested in Eragen Biosciences, Stemina Biomarker Discovery, Finomel, and more.

Laurie YolerSVP Business Development and President of Qualcomm Labs.Typically invests $50k-$100k per deal. Invests in digital media and consumer goods. Invested in Tesla, Packet Design, and others. Founder of GrowthPoint Technology Partners. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Leslie BlodgettCEO of Bare Escentuals. Transformed Bare Escentuals from a small Bay Area store to a cosmetic empire, taking the company public in 2006 and seeing it through a $1.8 billion acquisition by Shiseido, the Japan-based leading cosmetics company. Leader in the cosmetic/beauty industry, servces on the board of Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW). Also part ofBroadway Angels.

Linda HollidayFounder and CEO of Citia. Typically invests $25k–$100k per deal. Invests in digital media. Invested in Small Demons, Comixology, and SetJam.

Lorine PendletonAngel Investor. A Pipeline Fellows alumna, Lorine invests in mobile, legal tech, clean tech, consumer internet, enterprise software and more. Invested in Hire an Esquire, Traklight, and Cisse Trading Co.

Magdalena YesilAngel Investor. Invests in SaaS, cloud computing, security, and more. Invested in Salesforce.com, 3Ware, Claria, Securify, and Valicert.

Maha IbrahimGeneral Partner at Canaan Partners. Typically invests $2m-$5m per round as a partner at Canaan. Invests in data centers, internet infrastructure, networking, digital media, video games and more. Invested in Kabam, Mobilitec, Virsto Software, 3Crowd Technologies, SenSage, eBillMe, Pickspal, and Inhale Digital. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Mar HershensonFounder of Tocata Mobile, Sabio Labs, & Barcelona Design. Invests in consumer internet, enterprise software, mobile, and healthcare. Invested in Qwiki, Heap, Washio, True & Co, Lumoid, DoorDash, Wevorce, and Sensor Tower.

Marissa CampiseVice President at Venrock. Typically invests $250k in a seed round deal. Invests in mobile and IoT. Invested in Klout and Netservice. Also a Senior Associate at Greycroft Partners.

Mary Jane ElmoreAngel Investor. Invests in specialty foods, e-commerce, digital media, advertising, and more. Invested in Deal Decor and Foodydirect. Former General Partner of and current advisor to Institutional Venture Partners (IVP). Also part of Broadway Angels.

Meagan MarksAngel Investor. Typically invests $15k-$30k. Invests in mobile, social media, and more. Based in London.

Megan QuinnPartner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. Invests in consumer internet & mobile. Invested in Square, Uber, Remind, Slack, Codecademy, Nextdoor, Quirky,Shyp, Level Money, and Tradesy. Formerly led product at Square and Google.

Miriam RiveraCo-founder of ULU Ventures. Typically invests $25k-$100k per deal. Invests in enterprise software, IT. Invested in Palantir, GCommerce, Huddler, Jubon, Matchbin, and more. Also part of Stanford Angels.

Natala MenezesAngel Investor. Typically invests up to $50k per deal. Formally worked at Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and has experience with product design, UX and go-to-market decisions. Invested in Shift and Belle Clementine.

Nisa Amoils, Angel Investor. Typically invests $10k-$100k. Invests in consumer internet/goods, beauty, health and wellness, food and beverages, nutraceutical/nutrition. Member of NY Angels and 37 Angels, involved with Wharton Entrepreneurs.

Patricia NakachePartner at Trinity Ventures. Interested in the “impact of mobile and social media on the next generation of Internet services.” Invested in Eat Club, Kixeye, Lucky Group, Owler, RelayRides, Ruby Ribbon, and ThredUp. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Paula BrooksAngel Investor. “Paula was an active leader during the formative years of the software industry. She was first an executive at various enterprise infrastructure technology companies, then an entrepreneur and later an angel investor and active director of several more including WebMethods, Descartes Systems Group and Systems Center.” Also active politically, having served as a White House Fellows Commissioner under President George W. Bush. -Broadway Angels bio

Sapna ShahFounder of Retail Eye Partners & Mind the Chap. Invests in retail, digital media, e-commerce, fashion, consumer internet, fashion tech, and wearables. Invested in BeautyBooked, Iterate Studio, Wine for the World, Section 101.

Renata QuintiniInvestor at Felicis Ventures. Invests in all kinds of tech, including education, healthcare, social media, SaaS, and more. Invested in Baby.com.br, Twice, Cambrian Genomics, and Kiwi Crate.

Sarah GuoInvestor at Greylock Partners. Typically invests $100k-$25m per deal. Invests in cloud infrastructure and enterprise software. Invested in Dropbox, Camio, Skyhigh Networks, and Avi Networks.

Sarah KunstInvestor at Mohr Davidow Ventures. Invests in drones, farming tech, retail tech, mobile, marketplaces, finance and consumer internet. Invested in Zuckerberg Media. Also writes for The Daily Beast and Entrepreneur.com. According to someone on AngelList, Sarah brings “[t]remendous insight into all things user growth and acquisition, tech, finance, venture. Honest, truthful, and possesses a lightning-quick wit.”

Sarah TavelProduct at Pinterest. Typically invests $10k per deal. Invests in mobile, e-commerce, social media, retail, and mobile advertising. Invested in Convertro, The Fridge, Pinterest, and more.

Shana FisherManaging Partner of High Line Venture Partners. Invests in all kinds of tech — B2B, enterprise, consumer, mobile, SaaS, cloud computing, etc. Invested in Knewton, Pinterest, Tilt, Onename, Makerbot, and more.

Shanna TellermanPartner at Google Ventures. Invests in consumer internet, enterprise software, and mobile. Invested in LE TOTE, Shelf.com, and Wanderable. Also founded Sim Ops Studios, which was acquired by Autodesk.

Sharon VosmekCEO of AstiaInvests in cleantech, consumer internet, mobile, and enterprise software. Invested in Poshly, nVision Medical, Sandstone Diagnostics, RenovoRx, FINsix, EcoTensil, Prima-Temp.

Sharon WeinbarPartner at ScaleVP. Invests in mobile and internet companies. Led ScaleVP’s investments in Teros (acquired by Citrix), MerchantCircle (acquired by Reply.com) and Glu Mobile (IPO). Extensive experience working at Adobe Systems. Serves on the board of directors for Microsoft’s Venture Advisory Committee. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Sherry CoutuAngel Investor. Typically invests $50k-$750k per deal. Invests in consumer internet, B2B, cleantech, and more. Invested in Bonobos, Zoopla, Maven, Covester, and others. Advisor to LinkedIn. Located in Cambridge, U.K.

Sheryl SchultzAngel Investor. Typically invests $10k-$25k per deal. Invests in telecommunications, e-commerce, social media, edutainment. Invested in Fab.com, ViralGains, Crowdly, and more. Focuses on marketing/customer advice. Located in Boston/Maine.

Shruti GhandiManaging Partner at Array Ventures. Typically invests $1m-$3m per deal. Invests in all kinds of tech, including mobile, e-commerce, big data, and enterprise software. Invested in True Ventures, Engrade, LearnSprout, Agnitus, and Array Ventures. Previously an investor with True Ventures and Samsung Ventures. Founded Penseev.

Shuly GaliliCo-founder of UpWest LabsTypically invests $25k-$300k. Invests in all kinds of tech, including IoT, mobile, cybersecurity, big data, analytics, and data security. Invested in Honeybook, SentinelOne, Keywee, and more.

Sonja Hoel PerkinsFounder of Broadway Angels. Invests “broadly in all stages and areas of information technology throughout her career,” according to her bio on the Broadway Angels website. Her AngelList says she’s looking for investments in mobile/IT in consumer, enterprise and infrastructure. Invested in Flurry, 3VR, Ditto, HealthTap, Kitchit, Mee Genius, Minted.com, nCircle, Prism Skylabs, Sky Channel, Stravus, and UrbanSitter. Currently managing director at Menlo Ventures.

Stephanie Hanbury-BrownAngel Investor. Typically invests $100k-$250k per deal. Invests in life sciences, SaaS, consumer goods. Invested in eJamming, Carnegie Speech, Saladax Biomedical, HarQen. Located in NYC.

Susan McPhersonFounder and CEO of McPherson Strategies. Typically invests $10k-$25k per deal. Invests in social media, digital media, consumer internet, hardware, fashion, fitness and more, with a focus on female founders. Invested in The Muse, Loverly, Zady, Theli.st, Reserve, GoldBean.

Sutian DongInvestor at FirstMark Capital. Invests in all sorts of tech, including social media, social fundraising, edutech, retail tech, mobile, enterprise, data security and more. Invested in Pinterest, SecondMarket. Based in NYC.

Theresia GouwFounder and General Partner of Aspect Ventures. Invests in consumer, social commerce, and security in the “new mobility space.” While a partner at Accel, Theresia led the series A or seed rounds for Birchbox, HotelTonight, LearnVest, Trulia, and Joyus. Also part of Broadway Angels.

Vijaya GaddeFounding Partner of #Angels. Currently General Counsel and Secretary at Twitter. Immense experience working with IPOs, M&As, and other legalities of massive tech companies from her time with Twitter and before that her 10 years of experience as an attorney with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C.

Victoria SongFounder of So She Did. Typically invests $2m per deal. Invests in mobile, enterprise, energy management, consumer internet and more. Invested in Crashlytics, Rothenberg Ventures, Tracelytics, and SHADOW. Former venture capitalist at Flybridge Capital.

Virginia M. TurezynAngel Investor. Typically invests $25k–$50k per deal. Invests in all kinds of tech — enterprise software, SaaS, mobile. Invested in Retailigence, Cloud Cliques, unseat.me, Kaazing, and Jambok.

Wayee ChuCo-Founder of the NewSchools Seed Fund. Typically invests $25k-$50k per deal. Invests heavily in education/edutech, but also in SaaS, social news, and social media. Invested in Knotch, Handle, Tugboat Yards, True Link, Prompt.ly, LocoMotive Labs, CodeHS, Tynker, and more. Also part ofBroadway Angels.

Online resources

Mackenzie is the CEO of Distributed Systems, Inc., a startup building managed infrastructure for service-oriented applications. Read more about her motivations for writing this article here. She’s figuring out most of this as she goes along, so come along for the journey by recommending this article to others and/or writing a response. Did she miss anyone or anything? Reach out, and she’ll add to this list.

Thanks to Maran Nelson, Anastasia Marchenkova, Cyan Banister, Christina Cacioppo, Jeff Hilnbrand, Josh Taylor and Sukhinder Singh Cassidy for suggesting edits and/or additions to this resource list.

Forbes: Boulder is America's best place to start a new business in 2015

Author: Alex Burness

Source: Daily Camera 

Boulder can add another bullet to its diverse and ever-growing collection of mentions on "best of" lists.

Boulder is no stranger to these reports and in the last few years has been recognized for pretty much every possible trait. According to a slew of different organizations with varying degrees of credibility, it is at once the No. 1 American city for work/life balance, the city with the country's'unhappiest' workforce and the No. 4 most hippie-friendly community, among many other labels.

On Thursday, the city's resume grew, with a proclamation by Forbes that Boulder is the best place in the U.S. for starting a business in 2015.

"It's known as a mellow, artsy destination at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, boasting sweeping views, a thriving tech scene, and a vibrant artisan food culture, but Boulder, Colorado is also a great place to launch a business," the magazine writes.

According to data provided to Forbes by personal finance site NerdWallet, Boulder and its surrounding towns and cities beat out the country's 182 other metropolitan areas that qualify as having at least 15,000 businesses and a population greater than 250,000.

Each metro area was graded based on average annual revenue of local businesses ($721,489 in Boulder's case), number of businesses per 100 people (14.1) and percentage of businesses with paid employees (23.8 percent).

If that final figure seems low, the report notes that 82 percent of the country's small businesses do not have employees and are in fact run by one or two people and powered by contract workers.

Wilmington, N.C., came in second, with 15 businesses for every 100 residents — the most of any place on the list. The Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamford area of Connecticut came in third, followed by Evansville, Ind. and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

4 Colorado cities make startup density top 10

Source: BuiltinColorado

Author:  Anthony Sodd

Cities along the Front Range boast some of the highest densities of tech startups in the country. Boulder, Fort Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs all rank in the top 10 according to a new report.

Unsurprisingly, Boulder tops that list, followed by the Fort Collins-Loveland area. 

Denver comes in at number 6, just ahead of San Francisco and Washington D.C., while Colorado Springs takes the number 9 spot.

The new report from CBRE, a commercial real estate services company, looks at Colorado’s geography of high-tech startups. From a regional standpoint, Denver continues to act as a hub for mature high-tech companies. Recently the city has also seen a large increase in startup activity and VC funding. In addition to downtown Denver, many startups are moving into office spaces in the RiverNorth, Golden Triangle and Broadway South neighborhoods. The report cites Denver’s relatively low cost of living (as compared to the coasts), and its newly (nearly) complete mass transit system as reasons for growth.

Boulder, which has been the traditional tech startup hub of Colorado, continues to hold that position today. In fact, proximity to Boulder is so valuable that secondary tech bubbles are developing in places like Broomfield, Louisville and Westminster. This growth appears to be largely driven by companies who value proximity to Boulder, but need a larger office space than Boulder can offer at an affordable price.

To the north, Colorado State University is helping plant new and diverse software, biotech and energy startups in Fort Collins. Meanwhile, Colorado Springs continues to attract larger high-tech firms focusing on aerospace and defense.

Colorado is also an attractive place for out of state tech talent to relocate to. The top states for people to migrate from are California, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

There is also a large pool of highly educated talent already on the ground, and the cost of living is low. So is the cost of office space. Denver’s office space is going for about 63 percent less per square foot than San Francisco’s.

Of course, Colorado’s advantage as a lower-cost, high-value destination might be stifled by its growth. Denver has been experiencing an explosion in real estate prices, with 2014 seeing a year-over-year increase of 8.1 percent. That was the largest increase in the United States outside of San Francisco and Miami. That said, real estate prices here have a long way to go before they reach the stratospheric levels of coastal startup hubs, and there’s a whole lot of Front Range left to develop.

All in all, the report offers a pretty rosy picture.  If you’d like to read it in its entirety, you can find it here.

Have a tip for us or know of a company that deserves coverage? Email us via tips@builtin.com

Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 launched by Ingrid Vanderveldt

Source: Upstart Business Journal 

Author: Caroline McMillan Portillo. Bizwomen reporter

"After 8 years in my own mastermind group - The Billionaire Girls Club - I know first-hand how transformational cultivating these relationships can be. These women have introduced me to serious players, provided numerous opportunities from speaking to publishing, given me feedback, advice and have flat out told me the truth. They have helped me grow my business, been champions for my personal growth and have been a constant source of support.  
One of our Billionaire Girls Club members, Ingrid Vanderveldt was recently featured by BizWomen in an article called, "On the Hunt For Her First Billion" where she talks about how important her own mastermind group was to her success. 
Turns out we're really lucky because many of the top women leaders I speak to feel like they're out on their own. Even if they are running wildly successful companies, they are often too busy heads down scaling their businesses to actually step back and focus on strategy and what's driving the business…and more importantly what's driving them. They also tell me how rare it is to meet other women who get what it's like to operate at their level and how excited they'd be to finally have an intimate setting where they can get honest feedback.
This is exactly why I wanted to provide other women with the same opportunity by creating the Art of Leverage Mastermind Group for 5 extraordinary business women. This is the process I use with my clients to remove all limiting beliefs so they can scale, multiply their valuations, get tied in with partners from Hearst to Coca Cola and create the biggest impact possible even when they have minimal resources. The Art of Leverage Mastermind starts with the biggest point of leverage, mindset. Mindset matters. It shows up in the messaging they use, what they offer, the people they hire, the partners they choose, the asks they make and their bottom line. We then focus on messaging so that they're perfectly positioned and monetization so that they implement those tweaks that can maximize profits with ease and grace. And, these women now have the ability to leverage each other. " - Nicole 

Ingrid Vanderveldt officially launches her global mentorship program at SXSW — and you can join it. 

The UpTake: Ingrid Vanderveldt, who has built and sold two tech companies, launches her own global mentoring program at South by Southwest.

Ingrid Vanderveldt has built and sold two tech companies. She's worked with dozens of others. She's hosted her own TV show on CNBC. And she knows this much in her core: Entrepreneurs need mentors.The rest of the world knows this: If Vanderveldt wants to empower a billion women in the next five years, she needs a full-blown movement.That's where her global mentorship program comes in. And amid the hubbub of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Vanderveldt announced its official launch on Sunday night. She also introduced a key corporate partner: global consulting company Frost & Sullivan, which will be helping companies around the world get involved.Vanderveldt's movement is called "Empowering a Billion Women by 2020," and she began working on it when she was Dell's first entrepreneur in residence, a post she left last fall. The entrepreneur in residence position is traditionally found at venture capital firms. At Dell she worked to bridge the gap between the company and the small business owners who need its technology. She started the Dell Innovators Credit Fund and also launched her own passion project, Empowering a Billion Women by 2020, a company founded to put a mobile device in the hands of every woman around the globe.Think that's lofty? At Dell, she reached 600 million women.The program is also about giving women the support they need to be successful in business.Until Sunday, the platform had only had a private launch.

But for months, Vanderveldt has been galvanizing women across the globe around the idea of supporting one another to boost their success as leaders and entrepreneurs.And their medium for doing so is mentorship.The number one issue that keeps women from leadership is lack of confidence, Vanderveldt said. "People build confidence when they can take action," she said. "And people can take action when they find a mentor."Now, any woman around the world can sign up, for free, to be a part of the movement, which operates on a pay-it-forward model.Women who have mentors will also mentor other women. Once they sign up, every woman is put in one of five categories based on her income level or business's revenue.The first is for women who've lost everything and have nothing to start with. The second is for women making up to $50,000 a year with their business. The third is for $50,000 to $250,000. The fourth is for $250,000 to $1 million, and the last is for women whose businesses bring in more than $1 million in revenue a year.Every woman will be mentored by someone in the group just above them — someone who isn't so far removed from her protege's situation that she can't relate, Vanderveldt said."She's gone through what you have," Vanderveldt said. "She knows your challenges and opportunities."The program also includes 25 handpicked global ambassadors who working in their communities to evangelize the program and effect change in local policy. The global ambassadors are mentored by Vanderveldt herself.

And once women have a mentor, Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 wants them to create their own "circles of five" — made up of like-minded people, peers, who are dealing with similar situations.Vanderveldt's has met in a group of five for the last seven years. They call it the "Billionaire Girls Club."Members include: Vanderveldt; Carrie Silver-Stock, the executive director of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020; Nicole Casanova, founder of Casanova Ventures, a consultancy that helps startups scale; Traci Fenton, founder of WorldBlue, a company that works to bring democracy to the workplace; and Sarah Endline, founder of chocolate company Sweet Riot.None of them are billionaires (yet), but every month, they have a standing conference call to discuss their ideas, struggles and plans. In the weeks between, they text and email. And one a year, they gather for an informal meeting, to talk, laugh and do yoga face to face."Now we've created a platform that invites more corporations, more policy makers, more media committed to the success of women worldwide," Vanderveldt said. "And we're really bridging those organizations to women in a way that helps them grow and thrive."

$758M in funding and $11B in exits: Colorado tech just had its best year ever

Colorado continues to go big!

Infographic by Adam Calica, head of product at Built In

*Sources: SEC filings, press releases and confirmed news reports (amongst other public information).

**Digital tech companies counted only. Computer hardware and electronics excluded.

***Individual company information can be found in the Built In Colorado database.

Colorado tech companies raise $758M and exit for more than $11B. Colorado tech companies increased their funding and exit totals in 2014, making it the best year on record for the state’s digital tech economy. 140 Colorado digital tech companies received a total $758 million in funding. This is 64 percent higher than 2013.36 Colorado digital tech companies were acquired or had initial public stock valuations in 2014, for a sum of more than $10.97 billion. This is 836 percent higher than 2013. Investment in startups was geographically split 42.3 percent and 56 percent between Boulder and Denver, reflecting Colorado tech’s twin orbit around these cities.

Raising money isn’t as difficult as it once was

Higher funding totals means Colorado startups are having an easier time raising capital. In 2014, TrackVia, a Denver-based startup with a customizable SaaS program for tracking sales, inventory and other business processes, raised $2.5 million in funding. CEO Pete Khanna confirmed raising capital in Colorado has become easier in recent years.“Gone are the days of ‘well we can’t really attract out of state capital,’” said Khanna. “There is a lot of out of state money coming into Colorado.” TrackVia, for example, has investors from across the country. “All venture capitalist will travel for good deals,” said Khanna. “Colorado is now a destination for people to invest in from all over the country.”

More unicorns

2014 was also a good year for buyouts and IPO valuations. Several companies were acquired for more than a billion dollars. So called unicorn exits (companies valued at over $1 billion) are a mark of success according to JB Holston, executive director of the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network Colorado. Several unicorns in 2014 included ViaWest’s $1.2 billion sale, Mercury Payment Systems’ $1.65 billion sale and Trizetto’s $2.1 billion sale. “We are getting a lot of these high value exits, that I argue rival any ecosystem,” said Holston.

Consumer tech companies breaking out too

Despite Colorado startup's typical enterprise nature, a significant number of consumer-focused startups also received investments in 2014. Craftsy, a DIY craft making website, raised $50 million, Ibotta, a cash-back reward app, raised $22 million, and Orbotix, a company that produces smartphone-controlled robot toys, raised $15.5 million. In particular, Craftsy has been on a roll, raising a total of over $100 million over the last four years. And though initially the consumer Internet company found hiring sometimes difficult in a state that has more business-to-business professionals, Craftsy is finding it is easier lately. “You can feel it over the last two years changing,” said CEO and co-founder John Levisay. “I think from an engineering and production side of our business there’s a lot of directly applicable talent.”

Colorado is becoming a major tech hub

The growth of Colorado tech has created higher demand for tech skills. Companies like Galvanize, a business that trains people in web development and data science, have found the state to be a good place to pioneer their tech education intensive programs.  In 2014, Galvanizeraised $18 million in investment to further expand its training programs. By 2016 the company plans to have expanded to five Colorado campuses: two in Denver, two in Boulder and one in Ft. Collins. “Colorado was a great market to prove the model for building a platform for skills and access,” said Jim Deters, CEO and co-founder. “Denver is a growing and diversifying tech community and our investors are supportive of our massive investments in Denver, Boulder and Ft. Collins.” While Galvanize is focused on training novices, more experienced tech workers in Colorado are attracting the attention of large out-of-state tech companies. Google, for instance, announced in December 2014 that it has plans to build a larger campus in Boulder and increase its workforce from 340 people to around 1500. The company wants to expand the success it has had using Colorado talent.

To the Boulder Planning Board, Google’s Boulder site director, Scott Green said:

"When a teenager in Japan buys a Google Play app, they can charge the purchase, and the software systems that make that possible are developed in Boulder. When your daughter or your son in BVSD(Boulder Valley School District) uses Google apps, that software is developed in Boulder. When you pull up Google Earth, the buildings and footprints are things that have been created in Boulder. When Google reminds you it's your mother's birthday, that software was written by a team here in Boulder.” Colorado is becoming much less of an outpost for tech companies and more of a major tech hub. 

“We have this confluence of lifestyle, cost of living, access to engineers, local investors, who have national reputations like Foundry Group and Access Venture Partners, as well as a Mayor [of Denver] who gets it and a Governor who is an entrepreneur himself,” said Levisay of Craftsy. “All the ingredients are there.”

Connect with World Class Leaders at the WorldBlu Summit

worldblu_summitbanner2.jpg

I am excited to share with you an incredible opportunity to attend WorldBlu's sixth conference in Miami Florida from May 18-20.  The Freedom at Work™ Summit, presented by WorldBlu, is the premier master class experience for top leaders committed to using the power of freedom and organizational democracy – rather than fear and control – to boost the bottom-line, promote innovation, attract and retain top talent, and inspire full engagement.  All of this wrapped up in a highly unique program that you simply won’t find anywhere else. You will leave inspired, full of fresh ideas, and connected with a world-class community of leaders. 

Some of the speakers include Richard Sheridan from Menlo Innovations, best selling author and creativity expert Stephen Shapiro, and Traci Fenton, CEO of WorldBlu. 

I loved what Simon Anderson from DreamHost had to say about his experience with WorldBlu. 

"Practicing the WorldBlu freedom-centered principles delivers significant shareholder value - and a happy, high performing team environment. When we set out to create Inktank, the startup spun off from DreamHost to take the storage software world by storm, we built in freedom-centered practices throughout the organization. From a widely discussed shared vision, to open and detailed team briefings on all aspects of our efforts to build "The Future of Storage", the Inktank team were able to go from zero to a $175MM sale to Red Hat in just a little over two years. So freedom-centered leadership and management definitely has an ROI in my book."

I know I'm looking forward to attending this year's WorldBlu Summit in Miami and hope to see you there as well. 

Six Innovative Women to Watch in 2015

Congratulations to Angela Lee and the other five women who were recently named by Entrepreneur Magazine as the "Six Innovative Women to Watch in 2015"

"In fields as varied as robotics, finance, biomedical engineering and education, these innovators have taken a decidedly humanistic approach to effecting positive change. It’s a benevolent form of leadership that is driving real results while setting the stage for the next generation of socially conscious entrepreneurs. Keep an eye out for these women and their pioneering work—we have no doubt you’ll be seeing more of them.

Lauren Bush Lauren’s FEED tackles hunger through commerce 

Lauren Bush Lauren has a singular focus: feeding hungry people. Her New York-based consumer-goods company, FEED Projects, and its associated nonprofit, FEED Foundation, define success in terms of meals provided—85 million in seven years, the equivalent of roughly $11 million.

Bush Lauren, 30, believes social entrepreneurship is most effective when the mission is clear to the consumer. FEED Projects sends funds from products sold—each stamped with a number indicating how many donated meals will result from the purchase—to its partners on the ground fighting hunger: UNICEF, United Nations World Food Programme and Feeding America. As part of its fundraising initiatives, FEED Foundation creates events that ultimately support the same organizations. The dollar equivalent of each meal is 11 cents in the U.S. and 10 cents internationally.

“FEED connects consumers to the cause of hunger,” Bush Lauren explains. “If it is not quick and easy and simple, you lose the consumer. FEED is a nice way to hook people and make them more aware of what is happening around the world. That’s the role we can play.”

FEED’s simple calculus and youthful, well-designed products such as bags, bracelets, scarves and T-shirts have engaged Bush Lauren’s Millennial peers and made the company a model for other anti-hunger advocates. “It is a very big deal to reach young 

people on hunger,” says Billy Shore, founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, which created the “No Kid Hungry” campaign. Bush Lauren’s model of social entrepreneurship, he adds, “has taught us a broader lesson: the opportunity for nonprofits to create wealth instead of just redistributing wealth.”

A new deal with West Elm will enable FEED to be even more effective at that mission. For the partnership, Bush Lauren worked with the home furnishings company to design a 30-item range of FEED housewares (in West Elm stores now); a spring collection and a steady stream of other projects will follow.

“She articulated our culture absolutely perfectly,” says Jim Brett, who was named West Elm president in 2010 and has turned the chain of more than 65 stores into Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s fastest-growing brand, in large part by partnering with high-profile designers.

Bush Lauren’s renown came at a young age. She doubled down on fame and fortune when she married David Lauren, son of American designer Ralph Lauren, in 2011. But as the granddaughter of one U.S. president and the niece of another, she already led an exceptional life. She modeled part time while attending Princeton University. She traveled around the world as a student ambassador for the U.N.’s World Food Programme.

It was while working with the U.N. in Guatemala in 2003, dishing up corn and soya porridge for schoolchildren, that she was inspired to make fighting hunger her mission and refocused her budding design career on creating products that would
engage others in that cause.

With no business experience, she founded FEED in 2007 and grew it slowly through a series of mostly one-off partnerships made possible through connections. This gained her access to the professional expertise she lacked, while the partners
assumed most of the risk of developing FEED’s products, as well as managing distribution and marketing.

“FEED has been built on partnerships,” Bush Lauren says. “FEED offers this nice, easy, clear solution for our partner companies to engage with the mission of hunger, to allow their consumers to participate with them in giving back.” 

The longest-running partnership has been with skincare giant Clarins, which has provided 6 million meals through its “Gift with Purpose” FEED bag program. Other collaborators have included Whole Foods Market, Godiva, DKNY, Target, Barnes & Noble, Gap, Women’s Healthmagazine, HSN, Lord & Taylor, Pottery Barn, Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods. 

Read the entire Entrepreneur article here. 

Best Quote EVER

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
— William Hutchison Murray

How Masterminds are Powering Women & Why You Should Be in One

After 8 years in my own mastermind group - The Billionaire Girls Club - I know first-hand how transformational cultivating these relationships can be. These women have introduced me to serious players, provided numerous opportunities from speaking to publishing, given me feedback, advice and have flat out told me the truth. They have helped me grow my business, been champions for my personal growth and have been a constant source of support.  

Billionaire Girls Club (My Mastermind Group)

One of our Billionaire Girls Club members, Ingrid Vanderveldt was recently featured by BizWomen in an article called, "On the Hunt For Her First Billion" where she talks about how important her own mastermind group was to her success. 

Turns out we're really lucky because many of the top women leaders I speak to feel like they're out on their own. Even if they are running wildly successful companies, they are often too busy heads down scaling their businesses to actually step back and focus on strategy and what's driving the business…and more importantly what's driving them. They also tell me how rare it is to meet other women who get what it's like to operate at their level and how excited they'd be to finally have an intimate setting where they can get honest feedback.

This is exactly why I wanted to provide other women with the same opportunity by creating the Art of Leverage Mastermind Group for 5 extraordinary business women. This is the process I use with my clients to remove all limiting beliefs so they can scale, multiply their valuations, get tied in with partners from Hearst to Coca Cola and create the biggest impact possible even when they have minimal resources. The Art of Leverage Mastermind starts with the biggest point of leverage, mindset. Mindset matters. It shows up in the messaging they use, what they offer, the people they hire, the partners they choose, the asks they make and their bottom line. We then focus on messaging so that they're perfectly positioned and monetization so that they implement those tweaks that can maximize profits with ease and grace. And, these women now have the ability to leverage each other. 

Our next Art of Leverage Mastermind starts January 27th. Although the call for applications has passed, because we're hand-curating the group (we want to make sure there's an interesting mix and that everyone is totally aligned) and because of the response we've received, we are considering starting another concurrent group. 

This is what we look for:

1. A female business rock-star who makes big bold moves

2. A woman who will provide a wonderful contribution

3. A woman that gets the need for community, collaboration, and connection with women who will push you further

4. A woman who understands that she is the true leverage in her business

If you are this brilliant woman, we want to know and support you.  If you know a woman you'd like to nominate that would benefit from the power of leverage in her business and the power of leverage in her network, please send her our way. 

You can reach us at info@casanovaventures.com.

BTW - My personal mission is to shift the game. 2015 - I'm choosing women.  And, a mastermind is one of the best starting points to make that happen. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and the father of micro-lending specifically talks about the power that comes from circles of 5 women.

When we light the fire so these women entrepreneurs skyrocket, ooh baby - watch out!

THIS IS THE YEAR WE SHIFT THE GAME.