Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce

Looking towards 2021 and beyond, we know the road ahead will hold many challenges. We see hope on the horizon with the arrival of the vaccines and we know we must keep driving forward.

This year, we have seen true leaders rise from within our community, stepping up to guide change. They’re lending support to the businesses and nonprofits that inspire us with their grit, demonstrated by adapting and pivoting their business operations. As community leaders, we know the power of collaboration, and many have come together during this time with an “anything-is-possible” attitude because Americans have always been resilient. Our business community has also witnessed the best in humanity. I was moved by the late Don Brown, founder of Frontier IT and Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce board member, for supporting laid-off members so they could continue to utilize the women’s chamber and seek new opportunities. There are many life and business lessons we have learned this past year, but by working together, we have grown stronger than ever before.

As we recover from the pandemic, I am inspired by our women leaders who worked hard to provide endless support to our community. I am inspired by others I know who have had to balance their careers while home-

schooling their kids. The resiliency of our women leaders is amazing and so is their commitment to serve the greater good. The SCWCC is providing resources and support to all women-owned, minority-owned and small businesses to ensure they not only survive but will thrive in 2021 and beyond.

We are offering one-on-one support for our businesses, guiding them through resources, helping them complete grant and funding applications, and working on innovative ways to drive revenue with a strategic recovery road map.

SCWCC is uniquely positioned to serve our businesses planning to rebound. We may not know what lies ahead — but now more than ever, we are prepared to embrace these challenges by adapting, innovating, assessing and adjusting as needed. We are keeping the purpose of businesses close to our heart and delivering the highest value to our members and the business community.

As part of ongoing efforts to support women-owned businesses and business professionals in our community, the SCWCC Foundation is actively working to roll out 2021 programing to include career advancement workshops and secondary education scholarships. SCWCC and the SCWCC Foundation recognize the economic impact that women-owned businesses bring to our community and the need for them to succeed. Together we will provide supportive programming for women-owned businesses in addition to our current scholarships. With innovative and concise planning, the SCWCC Foundation will have a far greater reach in 2021 than ever before.

Many who are familiar with SCWCC can attest to the entrepreneurial, developmental and collaborative environment it fosters. In April 2016, SCWCC arranged a meeting with Southwest Airlines executives, Mayor John Suthers and the director of Colorado Springs Airport to encourage Southwest to expand to Colorado Springs. At the time, our community had many economic development projects underway in Olympic City USA and great leadership at the city level, but there were also challenges to overcome and some did not believe Southwest would be persuaded to fly in and out of the Springs. Now, in the year of a pandemic, we have Southwest Airlines announcing flights from Colorado Springs starting in 2021. So maybe the lesson learned here is to always have hope, never give up, find solutions — and believe anything is possible. This great news is instrumental for economic growth in Colorado Springs and attracting new businesses to our region.

As business leaders, we plant seeds, cultivate win-win relationships and seek innovative solutions to problems. That is what we do at SCWCC. We will continue to work closely with our leadership teams from the city, county and state — as well as local partners — to assist in the economic recovery of our region. SCWCC will continue standing by our members, advocating and fighting for our small business community. Now more than ever, our voice and influence are important to ensure business growth and the realization of their American Dream.

Lola Woloch

President & CEO, Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce