strong women

Strong Women Creating Value 2019: Stacy Lequire, Co-Owner of Vitality Chiropractic


Local entrepreneur, mom, and volunteer Dr. Stacy Lequire is helping her patients achieve control over their total health one step at a time. After returning to southeastern Minnesota from the Boston area in 2008, Stacy and her husband Ed co-founded their second business, Vitality Chiropractic, in Rochester and have been caring for patients, locally, ever since. 

“I’ve always been a questioner and a seeker of answers,” said Lequire.  

After obtaining her chemistry degree from University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, she knew her career was headed in a different direction, enrolling in Northwestern Health Sciences University to obtain her Doctor of Chiropractic. Since that time, she’s seen the difference chiropractic care can make and how one change can cause an “upward spiral” towards better health.

“For me, health is about habits. So, I try and look at those little things we do. I don’t think there’s one big thing that changes everything. It’s a lot of little habits,” she explained.

Lequire’s observed a definite need in the community for the services Vitality Chiropractic offers, where she and Ed develop long term relationships with their patients and help them make lifestyle changes. 

“We try to come in in the early innings to say, ‘Hey, this is about you making choices. This is about you being empowered to do things for your own health,’” she explained.

Launching a business like Vitality Chiropractic in a highly medical community is always a challenge, Lequire said. As a wife, mom, entrepreneur, and volunteer, time is another challenge to building her business and forging more connections in the community. 

While the Lequires are growing their own business, they’re also incubating other small health and wellness companies at their northwest Rochester location. Vitality Chiropractic houses several partners in their building- including Kim Kraft Therapeutic Massage and Fitness 4 Ever- to help keep costs low for these entrepreneurs and to help them flourish.

“We feel like we are creating something unique in the community with the partners that we have here. I love being able to get into people’s lives in that way when it comes to health,” Lequire explained.

Strong Women Creating Value Season 1, Episode 4: Stacy Lequire

This week we wrap up our Strong Women Creating Value series for 2019 sharing the story of Stacy Lequire, Co-Owner of Vitality Chiropractic.

"I'm always in awe of people, women entrepreneurs, because I know from the handful of people that I interact with regularly, that it's a huge juggling act." -Stacy Lequire

Strong Women Creating Value 2019: Amanda Steele and Brittany Baker, Owners of MedCity Doulas

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Rochester entrepreneurs Amanda Steele and Brittany Baker are breaking down barriers and working together to serve families and other “bad ass” women in the community. In 2016, the pair founded MedCity Doulas to offer support to women from pregnancy through postpartum.

These strong women are here to prove that being a doula- a trained professional that offers physical, emotional, and informational support to mothers- is a sustainable career option for themselves and for others seeking to help women with these highly specialized services. The pair specifically works to build “bridges between patients and medical staff for a more positive experience on the patient’s end,” Baker explained.

These entrepreneurs were driven to create MedCity Doulas in response to a general lack of support, especially postpartum, for mothers in the community. 

Baker’s personal postpartum experience was extremely positive- she was hired late in her pregnancy by her employers and was encouraged to bring her newborn to work- although she quickly learned this was not the norm. Steele saw many families having negative and traumatizing experiences as new parents. She became passionate about supporting parents during that time frame and molding new parenthood into a positive experience. 

While fueled by passion to bring MedCity Doulas to life, these innovators faced significant challenges to get the business running. The first obstacle was basic education about the role of doulas and convincing people it was a professional service that deserved a cash exchange.

“We are women selling traditional women’s work as a professional service. So, wrapping people’s heads around that idea, that we are here to mother mothers and that has a dollar value, has been a hard concept for some people,” Baker explained.

Steele said the pair was not taken seriously when they first started out. Although both women are highly educated- Steele is finishing up her master’s degree and Baker has a degree in design plus management experience- the doula field is not always taken seriously. They faced particular roadblocks when seeking financial assistance for the business.

“We didn’t give up. We went to four different banks before somebody believed in what we were doing,” Steele explained.

With the three-year anniversary of MedCity Doulas fast approaching, these women are looking forward to continued growth of the business in the community to support families.  

“It’s exciting that we have a women-owned business in 2019 in Rochester, Minnesota in an industry that is related to healthcare,” Baker said. “We are really lucky to be operating here specifically.”

While MedCity Doulas has certainly blossomed over the past years, these entrepreneurs have also witnessed much change in the female entrepreneurial community in Rochester, especially with increased events and resources for women in business.

“I’m really hopeful for all the things I’ve seen so far in the community and all the things that are being built,” Steele explained. “But it’s also hard because now that we have more things we’re pulled in more directions.”

She said in particular we still need more balance to integrate moms into these events and activities, especially those individuals without childcare options.

Strong Women Creating Value Season 1 Episode 3: Amanda Steele and Brittany Baker

In the third part of our "Strong Women Creating Value" series we chat with Rochester entrepreneurs Amanda Steele and Brittany Baker, owners of MedCity Doulas. MedCity Doulas is a Rochester-based doula agency providing emotional, physical, and educational support through pregnancy, brith, and postpartum.

"We're women offering women-based care and sometimes that's not looked upon as a profession." -Amanda Steele

Strong Women Creating Value 2019: Danielle Teal, Founder of Caring Acts of Kindness Everywhere

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Rochester woman Danielle Teal says kindness has changed her life and impacts her every decision. She believes that kindness is an underrated tool to motivate community change. Fueled by this passion, Teal founded the initiative Caring Acts of Kindness Everywhere (CAKE) to publicly share local acts of kindness to normalize the behavior and to inspire acts of kindness on a larger level. 

CAKE is a volunteer group in the community that utilizes social media “to motivate change and influence people to carry out acts of kindness,” Teal explained. 

Some individuals strongly believe that acts of kindness should remain anonymous, which Teal says, CAKE supports. She hopes, however, that CAKE is changing any negative connotations associated with sharing acts of kindness publicly. Teal says studies demonstrate that both recipients and witnesses of public acts of kindness are inspired by that act, enough to often perform an act of kindness themselves.

“Our goal is to share public acts of kindness to create opportunities for people to do it collectively as a group in mass quantities and to really motivate and inspire change in the community to normalize kindness,” she said. 

Acts of kindness don’t necessarily have to be big. They can be as simple as buying someone a cup of coffee, volunteering, or just offering a stranger a genuine smile. 

Kindness, Teal explained, also involves giving people grace and the space and forgiveness they need to navigate their feelings and experiences. This doesn’t excuse abusive behavior, she explained. However, Teal says we are all human and perfection does not exist. 

While operating CAKE takes a large amount of effort, Teal’s driven by “the impact and the results from the recipients and watching a kindness initiative continue. It truly is a ripple effect and you can see it.” As a mom of two, she wants her daughters to be positive individuals who promote kindness. 

“[Kindness] has changed the way I parent. It has changed the way I interact in a work environment. It’s changed me in the community. I am not perfect by any means,” Teal said. “I am absolutely not perfect. But I try to do my best every single day.”

Join us for this new workshop event to bring forth our best selves. Ticket prices will increase on March 25th. Click image for more information and to register.

Join us for this new workshop event to bring forth our best selves. Ticket prices will increase on March 25th. Click image for more information and to register.

Inspiring acts of kindness in others, however, does sometimes have hurdles. At times, when a call to action for a kindness initiative is shared there’s a large outpouring of support. Such is the case in the fall when seeking volunteers to pack Thanksgiving meals. However, Teal said, sometimes kindness is not seen as a viable option to resolve an issue or bring about change. She sees this gap particularly in leadership and teamwork.

Kindness and compassion, Teal said, are surprisingly effective tools to increase productivity and to influence team dynamics.

Kindness, she explained, promotes long term change. 

“It makes people feel valued and it increases the bridge of connection to understanding. It cultivates a culture that makes people want to be a part of and that’s what makes things continue to be enhanced, to get better,” Teal explained. 

Kindness, she said, matters.

“It’s not that [CAKE] is looking for the gratitude and it’s not that we are looking for the ‘thank you’s. It truly is the group and myself. We are not looking for anything in return,” Teal explained. “But when you see the impact that [kindness] really changes someone else’s day and it impacts them in a positive way and you know that it’s an enhancement in their life, that’s why it matters.”

Strong Women Creating Value Season 1 Episode 2: Danielle Teal

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we continue our “Strong Women Creating Value” conversation by chatting with Danielle Teal, Founder of CAKE - Caring Acts of Kindness Everywhere. CAKE is a community initiative that “utilize[s] social contagion through public Random Acts of Kindness in mass efforts to help cultivate positive inspiring change”.

"I would say if you have a dream, if you have a goal, the first thing to do is to act on it." -Danielle Teal

Strong Women Creating Value 2019: Christine Beech, Director of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

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To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re bringing back our popular “Strong Women Creating Value” series, telling the stories of four innovative women in Rochester. This year all four women were selected based on nominations from the community

To launch this series for 2019, today we chat with the amazing Christine Beech, Director of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

In her role at the Kabara Institute, Christine fosters a spirit of entrepreneurship among her students and connects them to the surrounding entrepreneurial communities in both Winona and Rochester.

Christine’s nominator explained that she “goes very unrecognized for all of her efforts. As a newer member of the Rochester community, she put in a large amount of time and effort to meet with people in the community to understand the culture, understand what was needed, and understand where she could plug in. She always listens and asks advice of others. She does all these things without expectation of anything in return.”

Christine recently developed and launched a series of women-focused events, called WE (Women Entrepreneurs) forums, in partnership with Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. and others in the community. She held her first packed house event in January during a snowstorm. Her second event, a business development workshop, will be held in late March.

“What I think we are creating now is a platform for women-focused and women entrepreneurial community development with conversations around the issues that are facing them,” she explained.

Christine hopes to hold forums, which utilize a panel format, quarterly, and workshop events, where women focus on and work ona specific business skill sets, in between the forums. 

“One of my hopes is that one of the things that we’ll do with this forum is to create a place where women can come together and collaborate and work together,” she said.

Christine sees many talented women in the community who can speak at these forums and lead the workshops.

“We would like to create a venue where we are tapping into that talent for the benefit of the growing ecosystem,” she explained.

She sees new businesses as the “lifeblood of the economy.” However, many entrepreneurs starting new ventures lack focused business training and don’t know where to go for support. 

“I think there’s a need in the community for imparting those skills,” she explained. “We are starting with the female-focused group because I think that group specifically seems to be craving that kind of support for their business efforts.” 

This event takes place on Sunday March 31st from 10:30-12PM. Click the image for more information and to snag your ticket!

This event takes place on Sunday March 31st from 10:30-12PM. Click the image for more information and to snag your ticket!

This initiative is partly driven by her own experience. Christine spent fourteen years in business development before joining Kabara and recognized a lack of support for these efforts in her community. After joining academia, she saw a chance to give back to people who were in the early stages of building a business or had reached a plateau in business growth.

Christine additionally sees an immense need for evidence-based information on business development- putting numbers behind what works and what doesn’t work- instead of the typical personal anecdotes supplied by most mentors. She hopes to gather this type of informative data through the WE Forum events. 

While Christine knew these women-focused events were needed, there were several challenges she faced to get women to actually attend them. The first was brand recognition. Most people in Rochester associate the name “Saint Mary’s” with a hospital, not an academic institution. Many people are also unaware that Saint Mary’s even has a presence in Rochester, which is located in the northwest region of the city at the beautiful Cascade Meadow Wetlands. Her second challenge was connecting these events to the women most in need. To do this, Christine utilized her network, partnering with over twelve different institutions to help spread the word to diverse groups and get buy in from the community.

As a whole, Christine thinks it’s a good time to be part of the female entrepreneurial community in Rochester.

“We have incredible, brilliant physicians. We have women leading regional initiatives. We have women in a lot of very key points. So that, I think, is going to make a more attractive environment for female business startups,” she explained.

To accomplish this, Christine thinks women need to have their own network that’s collaborative, not competitive.

“And they need to plug in and start leveraging each other. I feel like that’s just building. It’s not quite there yet,” she said.

Strong Women Creating Value Season 1, Episode 1: Christine Beech

In celebration of Women's History Month we chat with Christine Beech, an example of just one strong woman creating value in the Rochester community. Christine is currently the Director of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. Christine is also a mom, veteran, entrepreneur, business owner, consultant and a strong female leader in this city.

Rochester Rising Seeking Your Nominations of Visionary Women in the Community for Return of "Strong Women Creating Value" Series

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This March marks the 41st anniversary of Women’s History Month, a celebration of female contributions to history and society. This festivity is also, historically, associated with a theme. This year, Women’s History Month is focused on “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.” 

To celebrate this month and to showcase local visionary women making lasting contributions to our community, we’re continuing our “Strong Women Creating Value” series that we began on Rochester Rising last year.

This year we’re asking for nominations for this series.

What visionary Rochester women do you know who have identified a real need in the community and launched a business or non-profit, created an initiative, or brought about needed change in this city to address that need?

Please use this form to send your nominations by Friday February 22nd.

Your name
Your name
Who are you nominating for the "Strong Women Creating Value" series? *
Who are you nominating for the "Strong Women Creating Value" series?

Here’s to all the strong women creating value in our community.

Is your business interested in sponsoring this series? Send us an email for pricing inquiries.

Strong Women Creating Value, Part Four: Sherry Sonnenberg

This week we wrap up our Strong Women Creating Value series, where we highlight four women in the community who are making waves and creating things of real value in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota. 

This week, we're focused on local entrepreneur Sherry Sonnenberg.


Who are you?

My name is Sherry Sonnenberg. I am a mother, an entrepreneur, a business owner, a personal trainer, a business partner, an author, a speaker, and a driver.


What value are you creating in the community? 

My success is determined by helping as many other people reach success in life personally and professionally as I can. I help business owners succeed by providing them with the software my company (Next Level Suite) developed to be able to communicate effectively with their prospects and customers via phone, email, text message, and video messages. I provide opportunities for health and wellness professionals by providing a space at a low cost for other personal trainers to train their clients without all of the overhead costs on their own. This helps to make it affordable for them to be an entrepreneur and in turn help more people in the community reach their fitness goals here in Rochester (Fitness 4 Ever) and in my second location in Fargo, ND, with upcoming locations in Grand Forks, ND and Tampa, FL. I also work directly with people as 1:1 personal training clients via online personal training. I am an independent associate for IDLife, where I help people determine what supplements and vitamins will help them function at their highest capacity. As I build a team of other health/wellness professionals with IDLife, we will help people lose weight and function at 100% on a daily basis anywhere in the country. 

You will find me driving for Lyft on the weekends while my kids are with their dad. I do this as a way to meet more people and get some really great stories! It allows me to not only make but save money versus going out myself and spending it. I want to provide the best possible life for my children and that means saving for their future and mine, so I can work hard now and play hard when I can retire by the time I am 50. The more people I can help now in my different adventures, the more likely this goal will be able to be achieved.

In my free time, I like to read and write. I co-authored a book called LUCK- Where Preparation Meets Opportunity in 2016. I am currently working on writing books on multi-cultural families and co-parenting. Although the father of my children and I have been separated for two years, we have nailed down the co-parenting like rock stars. We 100% always focus on what is in the best interest of our kids. For example, we just took a trip together to Disney World and Universal Studios to surprise our twin daughters for their 9th birthday.

What are your responsibilities in your day to day job?

My main responsibility from day to day is to ensure that each of my businesses is operating at the highest level. That all of my customers are happy and taken care of is the utmost important thing that I address each and every day, not just Monday through Friday.


What does it mean to you to be a woman in business?

Being a woman in business means I am showing my daughters that they can be anything they want to be with a little determination, hard work, and dedication. I was raised to work hard on the farm where nothing was taken for granted. I want to teach my daughters that anything of value is earned, not given to you, and you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

Being a woman in business means giving my 100% in everything that I do in every aspect of my life. It means being able to support my dad in North Dakota by physically being with him for five to fourteen days every month for the first seven months after my mom passed away while still being able maintain and grow my businesses from a distance.


What ask do you have for women in the SE Minnesota business and entrepreneurial community?

I ask that you believe in yourself. You are 100% possible of achieving 100% of your dreams and goals 100% of the time. Be the example of a powerful independent woman for those young girls and boys who are watching you. I ask that you build other women and men up instead of knocking them down. Support local business as much as possible and see the good/positive in every aspect of your life. When you practice gratitude in your own life, you view everything and everyone in a different light.


What challenges do you think that women face in today’s society?

With social media and filters on all of our pictures, the perfect image that society holds for a woman is unrealistic. I think that so much pressure is put on the youth today because of additional challenges that come from social media and how quickly rumors and falsities can be spread. It is easy for a person to sit behind their computer and knock another person down with their hateful words. Being on the receiving end of this hate can be detrimental to a young person. We need to teach our daughters and sons to build others up, to not let other's hate affect us, and to stand up for what they believe in.

Strong Women Creating Value, Part Three: Neela Mollgaard

As part of Women's History Month, we are highlighting four women in the community who are making waves and creating things of real value. Check back in next week as we share the final part of this series and amplify the stories of some real female innovators who are making significant impact in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota. 

This week, we're focused on local entrepreneur Neela Mollgaard.


Who are you? 

I’m the Executive Director of Red Wing Ignite.  After Red Wing was named a partner with US Ignite in 2012, I was part of a dedicated group that created the nonprofit, which fosters innovation with students, entrepreneurs, and businesses.

Though, my most valued roles are being a mother, wife, and friend.

What value are you creating in the community? 

I am helping to create a foundation for success for students, entrepreneurs, and businesses as we build a culture of innovation and strive to stay competitive in this global economy.

This is done in three ways: 

-       Providing learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom to prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow. 

-       By connecting entrepreneurs with mentors, investors, customers, and technical advisors to help bring ideas to reality.

-       Supporting businesses by convening talent, technology, and resources such as a maker space and co-working space. 


What are your responsibilities in your day to day job?

I guess you can say I am a matchmaker of sorts;  I bring together entrepreneurs, business, and schools with needed resources, expertise, and talent in an effort to advance their goals.    


What does it mean to you to be a woman in business? 

To be honest, I don’t think about it.  I just see the work that needs to be done and do it.


What ask do you have for women in the SE Minnesota business and entrepreneurial community?

My ask would be that we all work collaboratively across city limits and organizational boundaries to place businesses' and entrepreneurs' needs first.

The African Proverb, says it best: “ If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together.”


What challenges do you think that women face in today’s society?

The entrepreneurial ecosystem is predominately male-driven but, I am encouraged to see more women entrepreneurs, investors, and female students involved in STEM career paths. 

Strong Women Creating Value, Part Two: Dawn Finnie

As part of Women's History Month, we are highlighting four women in the community who are making waves and creating things of real value. Check back in over the next few weeks as we share the stories of some real female innovators who are making significant impact in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota. 

This week, we're focused on local entrepreneur Dawn Finnie.


Who are you?

I’m one half of Little Thistle Brewing Company, along with my husband, Steve. I’m officially the CEO, but it’s really a team effort.

What value are you creating in the community? 

We’ve lived in Rochester for almost 20 years and we’ve seen its evolution progress over the past few years. My husband and I both grew up in small towns – he grew up in a little village in Scotland and I grew up on a farm in Iowa. Like a lot of people here, we never thought we would stay in Rochester, but we did.  Rochester has that small town feeling, like seeing people you know in the grocery store.  It has just enough to do and it just keeps getting better. We are invested in this community and we want to see it continue to grow and change, but still keep that small town vibe.

We’ve been going to breweries for a long time and we’ve always had the dream to open our own brewery and incorporate some of the cool things we’ve experienced along the way. We’re passionate about beer, and we’re passionate about family, and we love the Rochester community. While we’re a brewery and will be making and selling beer, we’ll also be community focused and family friendly. Traditionally, pubs were gathering places for family and friends to get together – a relaxed, social atmosphere where people can feel like a home away from home, but without laundry or dishes to do! We will have a game room with shuffle board and video games, an outdoor space with games, and we’re right on the Douglas Trail. We’ll have some fun family-focused programming, and we’ll be dog friendly.

We’re also hoping to create value in the Rochester community by partnering with other local businesses and entrepreneurs. There will be opportunities for local art and local music, and we have an amazing outdoor space and event space. I’m sure there are some opportunities that we haven’t even thought of yet. It’s exciting.

What are your responsibilities in your day to day job?

My day to day job is actually as a health services analyst at Mayo Clinic. I work with the Care Experiences Program in the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. I coordinate the qualitative research unit, which includes pairing investigators with a qualitative research question with the resources they need to help answer that question. Our resources happen to be people with qualitative research experience and expertise.

My beer job so far has involved pulling together the messaging and building our brand. I also read a lot – what’s going on in the brewing industry, what are people brewing, what are people drinking, how are they running their business, what kind of social media are they putting out – those type of things. It also involves a lot of beer tasting and talking about beer – a lot.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in business?

I’ve been fortunate to work at Mayo for the past 15 years, and while there have certainly been situations when I’ve felt frustrated over being treated differently because I’m a woman; for the most part, and certainly on a daily basis, I’m surrounded by smart, successful women who are respected and supported for what they do. I’m sure others have had different experiences, but I often look around a meeting room and see women who speak up and are respected for their expertise. It’s allowed me to feel empowered to do the same.

The brewing industry has a long way to go. It’s made up of mainly white, bearded guys. But there are so many smart, creative people in the industry that are leading the charge to create an environment that supports and elevates women as well as those for whom gender identity is a barrier and people of color. Other women in brewing in Minnesota have been so supportive of our project and of me personally. I’ve been reaching out to try to get ideas on hiring and retaining a diverse crew of employees. It’s important to us that we hire good people with the same mentality and drive that we have. We can train people to understand, sell, and even love beer. We’re a family business, so we want to support our staff and help them grow as individuals just like we want to do for our family.

What ask do you have for women in the SE Minnesota business and entrepreneurial community?

There are so many amazing women doing great things in Rochester and in SE Minnesota. Supporting small businesses in general is essential, and that’s especially true of women in business. To me, supporting women means lifting each other up, knowing when to ask for help and when to stop and listen. Respect and kindness goes a long way.

What challenges do you think that women face in today’s society?

That’s a complex question. I think things are getting better every day. I think there’s still a lot of gender-divided roles and jobs, and that’s a good place to start. Teaching and educating women to pursue things that interest them, whatever those things might be. Diversifying the workforce by providing education and support – it’ll take time for things to shift, but each generation will continue to grow and change. We’re raising two boys and I’m quite sure they have a different perspective on work, women, gender, etc. It’s exciting to see these changes, and as a woman in business and as a mom, I hope that I can provide support, education, and opportunity – wherever I can.

Strong Women Creating Value, Part 1: Corrie Strommen

As part of Women's History Month, we are highlighting four women in the community who are making waves and creating things of real value. Check back in over the next few weeks as we share the stories of some real female innovators who are making significant impact in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota. 

Corrie Strommen: Assistant Manager of Cafe Steam, Photographer, and Content Creator. Photo by Will Forsman.

Corrie Strommen: Assistant Manager of Cafe Steam, Photographer, and Content Creator. Photo by Will Forsman.

Who are you? What is your role/title?

Corrie Strommen, assistant manager of Café Steam, freelance photographer, content creator.

What value are you creating in the community? 

At Steam, I'm striving to maintain our hard won title of Rochester's best coffee shop. Each and every one of our employees work hard to maintain that title, in every customer interaction and shot of espresso-it's all about staying focused on turning out a quality product with attention to the smallest details. In my role as a manager, I do my best to help create a work environment that is conducive to job satisfaction and efficient work flow. It's wonderful doing work here both behind the scenes and behind the bar. 

As a photographer, I'm striving to convey my artistic vision in combination with the desires and personalities of my clientele. As of late this has become a wonderful opportunity to work with artists and musicians in the work I'm doing for Collider Coworking and their efforts to incorporate local art and music into their space. I love working with local creatives and combining visions to become something really special. The connections I've made through photography have really changed my view of Rochester in such a positive way. 

What are your responsibilities in your day to day job?

Preparing and serving hundreds of kick a** coffees to the general populous of Rochester as well as managing Café Steam's schedule, reservations, and designing our monthly oatmeal recipes. In my extra time outside of that I often find myself at Collider, taking or editing photos, planning out and organizing future photo shoots, and generally trying to keep my life organized. 

What does it mean to you to be a woman in business?

Autonomy. My business ventures have occurred since being a single woman. Upon finding independence and self reliance, pursuing business came naturally. There was a certain level of risk and uncertainty that I embraced because I had nothing to lose and no one to let down but myself. But, in all honesty, I never wondered if my gender would affect my successfulness or lack thereof. I've found that when hard work and dedication are put out in my work, acceptance and success follow. 

What challenges do you think that women face in today’s society?

The same we've been facing for decades, societal expectations, a degree of dismissiveness toward our abilities, wage gap, sexual harassment, etc. etc. It's wonderful that these issues are becoming more widely spoken about and hopefully we'll see more improvement as time goes on.