Panel discussion explores women in business and investment

Business at Elevation

Words by Nichole Zangara / Business Development

Four women, all business experts in their industry verticals, will speak June 15 at the Madeline Hotel Ballroom beginning at 12:30 p.m. This is the second and final event in the Business at Elevation summer series that connects business leaders with current and aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs.

Keynoting the event is Elizabeth Kraus, co-founder and chief investment officer of MergeLane, a startup accelerator and fund that targets companies with at least one woman in leadership. Kraus is also very active in the national and statewide effort to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and mobilize angel investors. She will be joined by three other business women – Kristin Holbrooke, Jen Taylor, and Patty Denny – to address the topic of women in business and investment more broadly.

“Studies show that startups with at least one woman in leadership outperform those without, yet only 18 percent of startups have at least one female founder,” explained Kraus. “Investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”

Panel Speakers

Kristin Holbrooke | Retail: Founder of Two Skirts, Kristin has successfully maintained a retail presence in Telluride for over 15 years. Her clothes selection mirrors the tastes of Telluride – avoiding trendy labels and instead appealing to lifestyles from work to play, yoga to sophisticate. Not only is her choice of merchandise cornerstone to her success, but customer service the key to longevity. Come hear her thoughts on how to create a sustainable retail enterprise.

Jen Taylor | Outdoor Industry: Jen is founder of Mountain Sprouts, an outdoor apparel company featuring outerwear for active kids. In 2007, the company sold to Mountain Khakis, and since that time Jen has been part of the team as the brand manager and director of creative development. An avid lover of the outdoors and super passionate about the industry, Jen has been instrumental in supporting emerging companies in the outdoor space as a founder of the Manufacturers of Outdoor Gear Sale, now the GEAR UP Festival, on the Western Slope with Chacos. GEAR UP provides the opportunity to sell direct and move inventory.

Patty Denny | Manufacturing: Former Broadway actress turned chocolatier, Patty has created one of Telluride’s favored (and flavored) brands from their famous hot chocolate to the fourteener series. Patty’s creativity has elevated Telluride Truffle to a category of must-stops in Telluride. And she has created a worldwide presence shipping her products to several countries and throughout the U.S. Commercial space in Lawson Hill serves as the locale for her manufacturing facility. She also sells products through their e-commerce site and retail shop.

“Having this diverse panel of women who are experts in various industries, from investment to retail and manufacturing, are sure to inspire and help create a network of regional business women,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development for Mountain Village.

For more details and to register, visit Business at Elevation: Women in Business and Investment. Heavy appetizers and beverages will be provided. Business at Elevation is a partnership between Mountain Village and Telluride Venture Accelerator.