Linda Mojer, executive director, Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce

When the economy crashes, people either learn to adapt or get trapped under the debris.

Linda Mojer found herself in that situation a couple of years ago. What she discovered about herself surprised her.

“It was a hard decision to start my own business,” said Mojer. “It was even harder to keep it going and stay committed. Bringing money in for yourself is a little trickier.”

Mojer’s last employer had downsized twice and she was beginning to read the proverbial writing on the wall.

“I was starting to realize I can’t depend on anyone,” she said. “I was brought up to think I could retire with a gold watch from a job well done over a long period of time. Well, when the climate changed, it was a hard lesson. You really do have to take care of yourself.”

Mojer sought out other professionals at the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and discovered the networking was exactly what she needed.

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Using two decades-plus of writing, editing, publishing and public relations experience, she launched her own company With Substance Inc. The web-based company helps companies with writing, editing and web content.

As the company grew, so did her stature at the SCWCC. Mojer updated the organization’s website, polishing it and making it more user-friendly.

“I just seemed to be in the right place at the right time,” she said.

Mojer was tapped to lead the organization in 2008 and has helped it flourish during the recession.

“We have some good board members and good long-time members who embraced the change,” she said. “Through our networking we’ve let others know the women’s chamber is a worthwhile endeavor and a real part of our community. It’s not just for women, either. A lot of people need to know how to prepare when something terrible happens with their job.”

Mojer prepared by transitioning her print experience designing and editing magazines to web-based content. She’s a strong believer that interesting writing and clever website design can increase a business’ traffic, and bottom line.

“I’ve passed on a good marketing message,” Mojer said. “I use eyeware a lot, where the reader is drawn through a website. They almost don’t know why they’ve continued to read the content, but they do. The design element seems to be a lost art.”

She’s hoping to eventually create a cooperative of writers and editors and develop opportunities for them.

“Maybe it’s a little forward thinking to make a website that makes communications better than worse,” she said. “Writers and editors are crucial to that process.”

While her work with the chamber and her own company consumes most of Mojer’s time, she said she’s never too busy to help mentor others.

“Nothing makes me happier than something I’ve done to help someone else succeed,” she said. “I’m a little bit of a volunteer junkie.”

Her discussions to help others often involve passing along the knowledge and self-reliance skills she mastered building her own company.

“A lot of our members are in the same boat, or looking,” Mojer said. “We want to make sure they keep their options open and that they know we’ll be there to help them know it will be OK. That in and of itself is worthwhile, just to encourage them it’s not the end of the world.”

By Dennis Huspeni