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Inspiring Arvada Women

These amazing women are making a difference in their communities, throughout their state, and even across the globe.

Article by Allison Bankston

Photography by Sean McNeil, Aspen Art Co

Originally published in Arvada Lifestyle

Dr. Lindsay Compton, Dentist

Generations Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

Dr. Compton always makes a point to celebrate and encourage young, female patients who show an interest in math and the sciences. In June, she takes on the role as President of the Colorado Dental Association. “I try to do all I can to enhance the industry, so the public has trust in the dental care they're receiving.”

She says there still aren't that many woman-owned dental practices. “I've gotten some odd questions such as why I work if my husband also works. I've learned to laugh it off. I think it's funny people question it.”

Tip: Don't base your career decisions on what people want for you. You have to do it for yourself.


 

Kami Welch, President and CEO

Arvada Chamber of Commerce

Kami has always appreciated having a chance to make the world a better place. Her son has type 1 diabetes, and she is on the board of directors for the Mountain West Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. She says there are constant opportunities for business leaders to make positive changes.

As a working mom, she has always felt she needed to work hard to prove she could balance family and work. “Sometimes you just have to do what's right for your family, but the next day, you have to be ready to double-down at work.”

Tip: Show up in a way that's true to yourself and thoughtful about the impact you want to have.

Diane Howard, Team Leader, Lantern Home Group

Keller Williams Realty

Diane had a long, successful career in television sales and management before getting into real estate--an industry she says is relatively pro-female. “I love seeing women step into roles where they are empowered and brave, in spite of the challenges they face as moms, sisters, and wives. I love seeing them thrive and know they can do it.”

Like many women, Diane has faced her fair share of gender-related obstacles. “We're all familiar with the #MeToo movement. I had to deal with a lot of that in TV. But I had strong women mentors who showed me how to set clear boundaries.”

Tip: Keep pressing forward. Just keep moving.


 

Jennifer Kroetch, Dean of Academic Affairs & Arvada Campus Director

Red Rocks Community College.

Jennifer had the benefit of a strong mentor who challenged her to take advancing steps in her career. “She really saw something in me, and now I try to do the same for others.”

Family support has been crucial for her, too. “My strategy is that when I'm home, I'm truly at home, and when I'm at work, I'm focused on work.” She says having a college like Red Rocks in the area really makes a difference for Arvada, and she feels fortunate to help shape where the college is going as it serves the community.

Tip: Talk to people who are successful. Apply what they share with you, and commit to being a lifelong learner.


 

Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, 29th District

Colorado House of Representatives

Lindsey's brother is her greatest inspiration. While she attended law school, he wrestled with addiction and the law, but he has turned his life around and now owns a dog-sled racing company in Idaho. “He found his passion, and I'm just so proud of him.”

Lindsey's law firm focuses on helping abused and neglected children. “Seeing the challenges they face every day just to get a shot in this world pushes me to work to enhance opportunities for youth in our area. That's how we break the cycle.”

Tip: My dad always told me, you can't always been the smartest person in the room, but you can be the most prepared. Believe in yourself and keep working.


 

Sadie Russo, Owner

LaPatisserie Francaise Bakery

Sadie's favorite saying is Failure is not an Option! It's easier to succeed when your work is your passion. She says, “I do this for the joy on people's faces.”

Being a woman business owner in Arvada, Sadie says, has been an asset in many ways. “I also see a shift in customers wanting to buy more locally. They want to really know who they're getting their products from—not just a big box store.”

Sadie recommends young women do an internship or job shadowing to see if a career option is a good fit. Also, consider finding women-owned companies to join.

Tip: Find someone who will listen. Speak louder if necessary, and don't give up.

Lisa Smith, Council Member at Large

Arvada City Council

Lisa recently returned from a humanitarian aid mission to Ukraine and Poland assisting the people affected by the war in Ukraine. While there, she transported medical supplies and refugees. Lisa's mother, an immigrant from Argentina turned school teacher, and father, a social worker, were guiding compasses to her life's work. “My parents instilled in me the importance of helping others. I've carried that through my life in all I do.”

In politics, Lisa has often been asked questions her male counterparts were never asked. That just encourages her to keep pushing forward.

Tip--Find a mentor who has blazed a trail before you in your field, and they will teach you far more than any textbook.