June 24, 2019

Women leaders spearhead change in Colorado Springs

Two women laugh while working at a computer.

Colorado Springs is an epicenter for women-owned and women-run businesses that are led by some of the nation’s most ingenious thinkers. In fact, the number of women-owned businesses in El Paso County increased by 45% between 2002 and 2012, according to U.S. Census Data.

Women are spearheading growth in Colorado Springs which shines a light on diversity and inclusion in the area. Take a look at a few of our region’s most innovative and successful women-run businesses:

Pressing their names into history

LadyFingers Letterpress is an award-winning stationery and gift brand based in downtown Colorado Springs. Arley-Rose Torsone and her wife, Morgan Calderini, founded the business in 2011 when their 1940’s letterpress wedding invitation went viral.

Today, they sell their products in over 800 stores globally and have received multiple awards, including Card of the Year in 2015 by the Greeting Card Association. Major media outlets like The New York Times and Forbes have also spotlighted LadyFingers for its innovation. Together, Torsone’s graphic design talent and Calderini’s print-making skills create a unique partnership that is making waves across the nation.

Basement to Boecore

In 2000, Kathy Boe founded Boecore in her basement as an IT and engineering company. Today, Boecore is an award-winning aerospace and defense engineering company with Boe as their fearless CEO.

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Boecore provides mission-critical technical capabilities to an impressive list of defense customers around the country and operates in six states. As a testament to its innovation in aerospace and defense, the company has been recognized with the prestigious Nunn-Perry Award in 2008 and was named Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC’s Company of the Year in 2013. The success of Boecore has also contributed to Colorado’s rank as the nation’s second-largest aerospace economy.

On an individual level, Boe’s accolades speak for themselves. The Chamber & EDC recognized her as the 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year and the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce awarded her with the 2013 Business Leader of the Year. As a result of working in support of the Department of Defense for more than 25 years, Boe has elevated Boecore as a national leader in cybersecurity, software solutions, system engineering and more.

Embodying our entrepreneurial drive

Karla Grazier is the president and CEO of Discover Goodwill in Southern and Western Colorado and she may never have moved to Colorado Springs if it wasn’t for her entrepreneurial drive.

In 2012, Grazier spearheaded the launch of Discover Goodwill’s Possibilities, a first-of-its-kind program that teaches essential life skills and provides individuals with intellectual disabilities with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the community. For her efforts, Goodwill Industries International awarded Grazier its 2016 Watkins Award for Mission Achievement for her work in launching the program. Today, she is the nonprofit’s president and CEO and leads a workforce with 1,400 employees and whose programs serve 75,000 people annually. The Chamber & EDC also awarded Grazier with the 2019 Athena Award for her professional excellence and dedication to the community.

Making waves in our community

Our region’s female business owners are kickstarting change on a local level as well. Downtown Partnership is a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating the economic, civic and cultural heart of our community. As the president and CEO of Downtown Partnership, Susan Edmondson has spearheaded the renaissance of the thriving downtown area.

As for Edmondson’s accolades, Colorado Springs Business Journal named her a Woman of Influence in 2010 for having a hand in almost every significant community initiative in the early 2000s. Recent projects have generated nearly $675 million in new investment into Colorado Springs’s downtown corridor, with new projects and investments continuing to swell. It’s because of Edmondson’s passion for our community and locally owned businesses that the region continues to grow and thrive.

We’re proud to support Colorado Springs’s women-in-business who are driving the city’s economic and intellectual growth. Contact us to learn more about how Colorado Springs can help your business.