Women of Influence

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

Kasia King is inspired and motivated by the bravest people in her life — her parents. “We came here in 1981 as martial law was going into Poland,” she said. “My parents escaped and took me with them. … I can’t imagine the courage it took to leave your family,...
Rosana Ramponi is a straight-shooter, and it serves her well.
Fine Arts Center curator Joy Armstrong moved to Colorado Springs at age 7 when her father was transferred here. She started second grade here, then graduated from high school and attended the University of Denver. She studied photography and film production in college, worked various jobs including acting for a...
This year, a record 12,422 students enrolled at UCCS are hoping to earn a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree at the 52-year-old university. In 1976, Susan Szpyrka was just like them — a student working toward a degree. Now she has two from the school and has worked at UCCS...
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...
Jill Gaebler, development director, Greccio Housing Sometimes making it “all about the kids” can benefit the parent as much as the child. Take, for example, the story of Jill Gaebler. Anyone in charter school circles has likely heard of Gaebler, who has become one of the educational movement’s most vocal proponents after...
Susan Presti, community relations manager, Colorado Springs Utilities Being the face of Colorado Springs Utilities has its advantages, especially when leading a community-improvement activity. In her self-described third career, CSU’s Community Relations Manager Susan Presti has found a perfect fit with a company integral to the city and heavily involved in...
As an employee, Liz Jefferson looked for ways to pay forward her experience.
It wasn’t until her late 40s that Susan Davies decided to reinvent herself.
Wendy Pifher, Holland & Hart Wendy Pifher’s search for a balanced life has often been complicated by her pursuit of her dreams. Pifher can cite many accomplishments in her legal career. But perhaps her most notable accomplishment is the balance she has achieved despite the demands of her profession. “I don’t...
Shirley Martinez, equal employment specialist, Colorado Springs Utilities For 22 years, Shirley A. Martinez lived in a world defined by perfect order: the military. Though she knew it was time for a change in 2000, she couldn’t have imagined she’d be stepping into a world nuanced by the ambiguity of diversity. Martinez,...
Shawnee Huckstep, TechWise Sometimes reality outpaces your dreams. Such was certainly the case with Shawnee Huckstep. “I never expected any of this,” said Huckstep of her international defense contracting company TechWise. “I thought that we’d have a normal small business. Maybe 20 employees. Nothing unusual.” But the small software training company she...