Female Leaders

These Entrepreneurs Share Their Trials and Tribulations, Life Mottos and More

Article by Cassidy Ritter

Photography by Poppy & Co. by Kelsey Huffer

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Boulder is home to some amazing people and businesses, including incredible female entrepreneurs. Each of these Boulder women, business owners, moms and change-makers have their own unique stories—ones that convey a sense of hope and liberation. As you learn more about these strong women, we hope you feel inspired and empowered to live your best life and pursue your own dreams. 

Megan Daughtry, owner and principal designer at Proud House Studio

CR: How did you get started in interior design?

MD: My father is an architect and builder who ran his own design/build firm from our home. After 25 years of working my way up to managing teams in the fine dining restaurant and specialty retail industries, I knew I wanted to stop working nights and weekends because I wanted children. My artistic side has always been strong, so I enrolled in design school where I received student design competition awards which bolstered my confidence to start my own company upon graduating in 2015. 

CR: What inspires you?

MD: I love learning. I am a lifelong student. I am dedicated to developing my self-awareness and to be a conscious leader, which I know will lead to success for my team and our client’s projects. I am striving to achieve more than I can imagine. I am inspired to surprise and delight our clients with our service and am focused on great communication, collaboration and exceeding our clients’ expectations to deliver completed spaces beyond their wildest dreams.  

CR: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

MD: I traveled around the world for three years when I was 18 where I learned how taking risks can pay off in magical ways. I am an identical twin which means I have never been alone. I also love collaboration.  

Julie Meko, associate real estate broker at Compass

CR: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

JM: Raising two kids as a single mom and having a very successful full-time real estate career is my greatest accomplishment. It was crazy when they were little but I loved all of it. My kids learned early how to show a property and prepare for an open house. Of course, now they would never want to sell a house in their life.

CR: What motto do you live by?

JM: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is my favorite thing my family taught me. Asking yourself this question when a conflict or decision arises makes solving it very simple. In real estate, I always strive for win-win transactions for both parties. It is not a battle but a negotiation where both parties can achieve goals. I always love working in Boulder because Boulder realtors work together to create smooth transactions, which makes it a much richer experience for everyone. It’s a very different style than other parts of the country.

CR: Outside of work, how do you spend your time?

JM: I bought a property in Costa Rica a few years ago, so that is where I spend most of my off time these days. It was a really exciting challenge to buy a property, remodel and build in another country. Especially when you did not speak the language. I had to learn so many new things while using all of my knowledge and expertise from my work. It has been really fun and hard at the same time, but I love it. The most exciting and fun part was using my creativity and construction knowledge to design and build a casita this year. I got to use my passion for architecture, real estate and design paired with my love of Costa Rica and travel.

Kendra Miguez, CEO and founder of Colorado Women’s Center

CR: What does your typical day look like?

KM: My day usually consists of a lot of juggling where I try to manage my kid’s schedules, get some exercise in, answer lots of emails and oversee five locations. Every day is different which I have come to really appreciate. I have learned that when you have so many balls in the air, the art of letting go is crucial to learn.

CR: What motivates you?

KM: I am motivated by the strength of women and the tenacity of life. I am motivated by others, particularly those that rise to adversity. I am motivated by coaches, teachers, nurses, therapists—people who give. I am motivated by the people who succeed when all odds are against them and the people who climb instead of giving up. I look up to the people who don’t fit the mold and yet learn how to find their own way. I like weird people who aren’t afraid of what others think and people, who despite their circumstances, are able to grow and give back. I am motivated by people who defend others, fight for what they love and have the courage to create change. I am motivated by those that make the world a better place. My inspiration for most of what I do comes from others.

CR: What’s your biggest life goal?

KM: My biggest life goal is simple—to be the best mother that I can be. Motherhood is the most important job that I have ever been given. And for me, being a good mother includes following my passion so that I can set an example to my young sons, including the importance of hard work, self-discovery and giving back. My goal is to teach them to respect women and acknowledge their male privilege without shame.

Abbey Van Horn, owner of Meyer Skidmore & Co.

CR: What has your journey been like as an entrepreneur?

AVH: I started Meyer Skidmore eight-and-a-half years ago, as the office manager and applied myself to build a great knowledge of the flooring business. When the owner was ready to retire, I wasn’t ready to be done. I asked to buy the business; he was thrilled, and three-and-a-half years later, we are thriving.

CR: Who’s your inspiration?

AVH: Number one, my dad Ron who made such a strong impact in my life and drove me to be the success I am proud to be today. Number two, Bart Garner, the former owner who mentored me and empowered me to continue on with Meyer Skidmore. I am inspired by the memories and the years Bart and I worked together. Both men are what makes this all worth it. They are two of the strongest men I had in my life. They have both since passed away, but I feel them every day watching over me.

CR: What’s your life motto?

AVH: One person can make a difference.

CR: If you could live in your dream home, what would it look like and where would it be located?

AVH: It would be a modern ranch style on several acres with a mountain view and a stream. 

Lopa van der Mersch, founder and CEO of Rasa

CR: How did you come up with the idea for Rasa?

LvdM: Necessity was the mother of this invention and becoming a mother myself was a big driver of the necessity. I had just had an epically stressful year—I left a traumatically abusive spiritual community, had emergency back surgery while pregnant, moved across the country, lost a beloved family member, had a traumatic Cesarean birth, and then a dramatic falling out with my family and had a precious angel waking me up all hours of the night. I was beaten down and exhausted, and coffee didn't help (hello anxiety, jitters, panic attacks and even worse sleep than before). The available alternatives left something to be desired, which had me questioning why there were so few delicious, energizing options. Coffee itself as a daily ritual went so culturally unquestioned even though it comes with addiction and side effects. So, I partnered with an herbalist and together we created Rasa—delicious, super-functional coffee alternatives that lean on adaptogens for energy rather than stimulants. Rasa became my golden thread of inspiration, and I held on tight.

CR: If you could live anywhere, where would you live and why?

LvdM: I feel incredibly lucky to be able to say this, but the place I'd most love to live is on a plot of land where we're going to be building a house in Sunshine Canyon, just outside of Boulder. When I go up there, my nervous system drops down three notches and I instantly feel more calm, spacious and happy. It's incredibly beautiful, and I just feel like the best version of myself when I'm up there. Coincidentally, my husband and I got married right next door so it's also a sentimental spot for us, too.

CR: What’s your biggest passion? 

LvdM: Energy: how we source it, spend it, save it, drain it.

Krista Toledo, co-founder of Oatis Organic Oatmilk

CR: What do you do at Oatis Organic Oatmilk?

KT: I’m the co-founder and I do, well at this point, just about everything. You’ve probably seen me at the Boulder Farmers Market or the South Pearl Market in Denver or dropping off our delicious fresh original and chocolate oatmilk at Moxie. I’m also responsible for production as well as our free home delivery service. Behind the scenes, I’m in charge of launching our Lovesicles, gluten-free, all plant-based, organic oatmilk frozen treats in 100 percent compostable packaging. Seriously, at this phase, the list goes on and on. Thank goodness, I love (almost) every minute of it.

CR: How do you spend your time outside of work?

KT: I’m afraid we’re in that growth phase where there’s not a lot going on outside work. It’s a really good thing I love Oatis so much, and most of the time it doesn’t feel like work. It’s more of a creative process. I’m nourished and inspired by the enthusiasm and love people have for Oatis. That has been the biggest surprise. There’s this wonderful community of people who care so much about the quality of the products they buy, where they are sourced, using reusable glass bottles and not plastic, etc. I’m continually delighted by the number of people who genuinely care and who are making conscious choices for our beautiful planet. Helping grow that community takes a tremendous amount of effort at this phase; we’re such a newbie. I’m a nature lover, so any spare time I might have, I’m out enjoying nature—exploring, cycling, kayaking and other Boulder activities.

CR: What is your spirit animal?

KT: Horses are love. They’re animals of adventure, strength, power and gentleness. They support family, friendships, community and render the gratitude in our hearts. They’re a reminder of the importance of a life in balance and help anchor our connection to the earth. 

Kristy Anderson, co-founder and head of operations and business strategy at Onus IV

CR: What’s your greatest accomplishment?

KA: My greatest achievement is the recent birth of our son Huck. I am married to fellow Onus co-founder Chaz Faulhaber, and we tried to start a family for four years, trying IVF twice. It was a very difficult time and we lost two babies, once in the second trimester. After letting go and focusing on adoption, I got pregnant naturally. Huck is now five months old and the apple of my eye. The difficult times only sweeten the experience of motherhood and served to strengthen the bonds of our marriage. And we are still adopting when Huck is 2 or 3 years old.

CR: What motivates you?

KA: I am motivated by finding solutions to help people live a better life. I love that at Onus we focus on helping clients in this way. It's so rewarding to have them come back and tell us how we helped them achieve their goals, like climbing 14ers or run the Leadville 100.

CR: What’s your best party trick?

KA: Well, I used to be good at keg stands in college, but I don't think this old mom could handle that these days.

CR: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

KA: I have a double uvula, the thing that hangs down in the back of your throat. On most people, it looks like a punching bag but mine is heart-shaped which is only found as a recessive trait in Native Americans.

Related Businesses

Museum at Prairiefire

Museums + Art Galleries

Museum at Prairiefire

Overland Park, KS

The Museum at Prairiefire provides ACCESS FOR ALL to understand and celebrate natural history and science. The Museum is open...

Nashville Zoo

Botanical Gardens

Nashville Zoo

Nashville, TN

Nashville Zoo is a progressive and dynamic zoological park serving Middle Tennessee, southern Kentucky and hundreds of...

Powell Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Powell Gardens

Kingsville, MO

Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, is set on 970 acres of lush, rolling hills. Known for its contemporary...

See More

Related Articles

See More