It's SUCH an honor to have teamed up with CRAVE founder Melody Biringer to bring the first Urban Campfire to Denver on June 3. Taking place at The Studios at Overland Crossing, an unforgettable evening awaits!
When choosing which speakers would grace the floor, Melody and I wanted to find women who not only have rising-from-the-ashes stories, but women who aren't afraid to stand in the middle of a room and get vulnerable and real about their failures and losses and how they came out shining. It's these settings that allow other women the permission to open up, get inspired, and get to the heart of what they really need and deserve.
We're confident that the six influential women that will be speaking on June 3 will light fires in your hearts and spark some serious story sizzle. No canned speech power points and no fear of imperfection. Just real stories from incredibly strong women. Let's meet them.
Sarah Plummer was born in Japan and has moved more than 30 times. In addition to being hit by a car, struck by lightning, breaking both of her arms and legs, surviving a mini-stroke and two deployments to Iraq, she's also a Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivor. Through all of this, though, nothing has held Sarah back. Before the age of 22, she completed several local and cross-country solo flights. She's visited more than 40 countries, served as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Marine Corps and volunteered in the Middle East, Europe and U.S.
Sarah is an inspirational speaker, certified yoga instructor, optimal wellness counselor, author, and advocate for several nonprofits. She has appeared on Katie Couric, NPR, MSNBC, ABC World News, and NBC Nightly News, and been featured in Marie Claire, Vanity Fair, and ORIGIN, just to name a few. Need we say more?
On the outside, Gloria Scruggs was living a pretty normal middle-class life. She was married, had two kids, was running a business...life was good. But behind closed doors, Gloria was enduring a verbally abusive marriage that ended after 15 years with a painful, bitter divorce, leaving her with nothing. Her home, children, and livelihood were all taken away from her. Gloria's life literally fell apart. After relocating and working two jobs, Gloria didn't want to face the pain of what she had experienced before and after her divorce, so she started turning to drugs and alcohol. She was then laid off and forced into homelessness.
Through hard work and various transitional programs, Gloria has since enrolled in college (and will soon be getting a degree in education), been working full-time for Kentwood City Properties for 11 years, purchased a beautiful home, gotten her sons back and is even working on business plans for two nonprofits: Angel House (transitional housing for women) and a day care center. After telling her story for the first time at the Women's Bean Project 25th Anniversary luncheon on May 8, she received a standing ovation from more than 800 people.
Twenty weeks into pregnancy with her second daughter, Jessica Bachus learned that not only would her daughter Kenzi be born without her lower arm, but there would also be additional complications. After working with the best prenatal doctors they could find and weeks of appointments and diagnoses, Jessica had utmost hope that her daughter was going to make it. But on January 23, 2007, Kenzi was stillborn at 24 weeks. Grief-stricken, guilt-ridden and desiring a way to channel her pain into something that would allow her daughter's spirit to live on, Jessica founded Dolls for Daughters. This nonprofit was formed so that dolls could be given to young girls during the holidays that would otherwise go without. It has since grown every year and in 2009, Dolls for Daughters and Kenzi's Kidz (a program that helps relieve financial burdens for low-income families) became a 501(c)(3) organization.
In 2013, they provided assistance to more children than ever before. Statewide, toys were provided to more than 4,200 children: their annual toy shop provided assistance to 3,150 children (21,337 toys, stocking stuffers and more), and the other 1,050 children were served through nonprofit partnerships. To this day, Jessica's efforts have impacted more than 15,000 children in Colorado and counting.
Ashley Kingsley was told she would never make it to college - but would "find a trade instead," but she did, and she graduated in four years. Ashley was told she would never amount to much, but she was the youngest person to lead a Clinical Research Program at USCD at age 25 and had 11 people on her team. When no one would hire her because she lacked agency experience (but had worked and traveled around the world), Ashley launched and ran her own marketing company for seven years that served clients all over the nation, bringing social media to clients before it was even called social media. Then, after seeing a need in the market, she launched DAILY DEALS FOR MOMS.
After growing to 27 cities in 18 months and securing $150K in funding, Ashley sold the business and spent the summer with her kids. Through her business ventures, she experienced two miscarriages and two high risk pregnancies, but today, has two amazing children. She deals with depression and panic disorder on a daily basis. That's only half of her story. And she was told she'd never go to college...
When Jessica Acosta arrived to the United States from Mexico, she started school with no English language skills, but transcended these barriers and made her way through high school and DU before entering the construction world. Jessica's bosses told her to stay in the office to learn the industry, but she knew she had to get on job sites and in front of others. Utilizing her communication skills, ignoring male chauvinism, and following her determination, Jessica made her way to the top of a male-dominated industry.
Today, she's the CEO of Environmental Consulting Services, a three-year-old stormwater consulting firm. She's a recognized leader in the construction industry, active member of the Hispanic Contractors of Colorado, participates with JE Dunn's Minority Contractor Business Development Program, Circle of Latina Leadership Program, on the board of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and more. She's currently partnering with RTD's Workforce Initiative Now program to provide employment opportunities, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock appointed her as commissioner for the Denver Women's Commission in 2013. She's also the award recipient of the Denver Business Journal's Class of 2014 40 Under 40. (Those are justsome of her accomplishments.)
After losing her dream home and all her worldly possessions to a raging and sudden wildfire that killed three people and demolished 21 homes, Kristen Moeller was at a crossroads. Drawing on two decades of training in psychology and personal growth as well as her own recovery from addiction in 1989, Kristen did what she teaches her clients to do and dove headfirst into an exploration of our cultural discomfort with grief, finding humor in the midst of tragedy - as well as what it means to be a human being with all our fabulousness as well as frailties.
She's now a bestselling author, book publisher, TEDx speaker, radio show host with a master's in counseling, founder of the Transformation Foundation (a nonprofit that provides scholarships for transformational education opportunities), and will soon be featured on A&E's "Tiny House Nation," where Kristen and her husband will return to their fire-ravaged land to live in a tiny home with their two big dogs and ornery cat. Her latest book is What Are You Waiting For? How to Rise to the Occasion of Your Life.
While it's nearly impossible to sum up the strength and character of these fire-starting women, we hope you've gotten a good glimpse of who will be standing before you when we gather 'round on June 3. Please join us for this inspiring, intimate evening as we set the world on fire!
Have questions or want to get involved in this momentous evening?
Contact Brit at email@example.com or Melody at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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