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Women of Influence

Honoring Women of Influence in the Colorado Springs community that have numerable professional accomplishments and consistently give back to the community

Stella Hodgkins knows the importance of preparing for the future — and not just because of her background in sustainability. As a sustainability specialist for GE Johnson Construction Company over the past six-plus years, Hodgkins led the company’s efforts to meet the needs of its clientele through ecologically, socially and...
As a child in Upper Michigan, Shawna Kemppainen was always aware of her privilege. But it wasn’t until her time volunteering for Care and Share Food Bank in 2004 that she came face to face with it. While manning the food bank’s phone lines, Kemppainen answered a call from a...
Chamisa MacIndoe knew she wanted to be a physician when she was a teenager. Growing up in a small, rural southern Colorado community with a single mom and three sisters, she had to work harder than most to achieve that goal. “I grew up very poor and had to work...
Bonnie Martinez barely warranted a passing glance from her peers when she walked into her first board meeting as managing officer for Norwest/Wells Fargo Bank’s San Antonio market. Finally a male executive, noticing the only woman in the room, told Martinez he would take his coffee with sugar. “I looked at...
Donna Nelson first arrived in Colorado Springs in 1994 — but not by choice. She was stationed at Fort Carson and, like so many before her, thought that Colorado Springs would be a great place to settle down and start a post-military career. Leaving the Army in 1996, she...
Karen Palus credits her father, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, with instilling in her a “leadership heart.” “My dad set that example well for me,” Palus said. “He always showed me what servant leadership looked like — not only putting your life on the line for your country, but...
Krithika Prashant was in seventh grade in India when she discovered many girls didn’t have the opportunities she had. “I realized that after fourth grade, they have to leave and start working for the family,” she recalls. “I told my mother, ‘Mama, this is not right.’ And she said,...
Imelda Ruiz is a woman of immense self-confidence — and with good reason. She landed her dream job fresh out of college, worked her way up into a leadership position in a male-dominated field of engineers at Colorado Springs Utilities, and still somehow finds time to volunteer in her faith...
Barbara Zoet Vidmar has been told she has too many good ideas. But her track record of accomplishment argues that, in her professional life and her service to the Pueblo community, there’s no such thing. Vidmar broke the glass windshield in the automotive industry, starting as a payroll clerk and...
The 2018 Women of Influence are passionate, they are community-minded and they are changing the world.
When Traci Marques first arrived at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center in 2012, she never intended to one day run the place.
By conventional metrics, Susan Edmondson has only had three jobs in 22 years, but the impact on her adopted city goes way beyond prosaic job descriptions.