We asked some of the city’s rising stars to reflect on what made a difference in their journey. We asked them to tell us about what they think the most important factor has been behind their success.

Mariam Kazadi | Founder of the BBLK App

For our business, I think it’s important to always make sure that our App remains a resource that is providing visibility for black businesses and a free resource at that. It has been great to get messages from businesses saying their customers found them on the BBLK App. Read more>>

Kami Guildner | Kami Guildner Believes Women’s Voices Matter. She is A Connector. A Storyteller. A Business Coach for Influential, Changemaker Women Entrepreneurs.

I believe the most important factor behind the success of my company and brand is my commitment to creating a community of women who desire to make an impact on the world. Very early in my business, I found myself frequently making introductions of two extraordinary women to one another: “I love to connect great women to great women – you two should know each other.” I became so well know for making these great introductions, that it was pointed out to me that I should start a community of these influential women – and thus, Extraordinary Women Connect was born. At Extraordinary Women Connect events, and in my Extraordinary Women Connect Facebook community, we put a focus on bringing women together in meaningful conversation and story. This builds lasting friendships, powerful business partnerships and circles of support. The women drawn to my community are truly committed to making a difference in the world. They have often left big corporate jobs behind, with a desire to grow their own. Read more>>

Tamra Ryan | CEO, Women’s Bean Project

I believe we have successfully built Women’s Bean Project into a brand because we attempt to consistently emphasize the “why” behind the product. We want to ensure that whenever someone is holding one of our products, it is clear that it is more than a bean soup or baking mix; there is a woman whose life is actually being affected by the purchase of the product. I think we are moving toward an economy where the purpose behind the product is becoming -and will continue to become – more and more important. Read more>>

Gertie Harris | Founder of Fireside at Five

I would say a lot of my personal success and the success of my company, Fireside at Five, has to do with me being a highly relational person with strong communication skills and a lot of emotional intelligence. I grew up as the oldest child in a pretty big, exuberant, Jewish family with a Therapist for a mother and a Communications Director for a father — so I’d say I owe a lot of my success to my family and how I was raised. It is a bit funny to me that the traits I just mentioned are all things I used to feel very embarrassed by. I thought I was too outspoken, opinionated, vocal, and that the only way to be successful was to keep my head down and stay the course. As a society, I find it interesting that we perpetuate the narrative that success is attributed to having a high IQ. Intelligence is obviously part of the equation, but being able to connect and engage in a deeper and more sincere capacity has helped me forge relationships with people all over the world that I never thought I’d have the privilage to work with. Ironically, that’s really where the concept of Fireside at Five came from. Read more>>

Natasha Wing | Bestselling Children’s Author

What makes my The Night Before brand (a series of children’s books based on The Night Before Christmas) successful is that it’s familiar and relatable. That Christmas classic has been around since 1823 so there are generations of people who know it. By springboarding off of the original’s story structure, I was able to tap into other holidays, school themes and life events that kids experience. I include parts of The Night Before Christmas in my current stories so that some of the story sounds familiar. I also feature families with characters who are relatable and who are trying to make celebrations current and realistic. The series is illustrated by Amy Wummer who has done most of the titles lately so that helps identify the brand. And the use of rhyme is great for kids who are learning how to read because it helps them anticipate words and sounds. Read more>>

Jessica & Lindsay | Co-Owners of Runaway Bridal

We believe the success of our brand comes from a combination of our personal experiences and our passion to give brides the best possible wedding dress shopping experience. We truly love getting to know each bride and bringing personal touches so that they do not feel like “just another bride.” When they find their dream dress, it is so fulfilling and exciting and it pushes us to continue to find ways to make it the best experience for each person. Read more>>

Brandi Kwesell | Founder at The Day On Location Beauty

Consistency! We are top rated and 5 star reviews across the board because we consistently provide an exceptional service to our brides. There is no question about that! Not only will they look and feel beautiful on their wedding day, but they can also count on us to show up as professionals and feel confident in us to give them their perfect bridal look. Our consistency has built our reputation as the leading bridal beauty team in Colorado Springs. As the owner of The Day I consistently show up for my business. I am always working on it and always thinking about better ways to grow and evolve. It is so important to me that our brides know they can rely on us for their big day. Read more>>

Michele Venter | Wedding Coordination & Design

I wanted to create a brand that was experience-centric to my couples; meaning, the experience of an engagement is just as important as getting them to their finish line– the wedding day. I want them to not only focus getting to their wedding day and check-boxing their to-do list, but also taking the time to enjoy the engagement. This is the beginning of the rest of their lives; communication, vulnerability and the future should be a prominent discussion during this period in life. I continue to make sure that I build my brand with this in mind. And how do I do that? Communication. Much like marriage, there is a parallelism between planning a wedding and marriage. Without the communication, you won’t come out on the other side with what you imagined. Read more>>

Dr. Lowell Wightman | Mental Performance Coach

Discovering truth amongst a cascade of uncertainty has distinguished my brand. So, being a diligent and patient observer is a primary driver of my success. When individuals or teams are striving to consistently deliver excellence their scope is limited because they are so close to the behavior that delivers their results. I am called upon to not only provide perspective from my observations but also isolate methods and strategies that will sustain their success while providing methods to opitmize excellence. I utilize many tools to deliver perscribed outcomes, but without a comprehensive list of observation and data to guide my path we have a recipe for failure. Read more>>