Archive for Boulder, Colorado




University of Colorado economist Richard Wobbekind sees modest growth for Colorado in 2011 as the state continues to deal with high unemployment.

It was economic forecast déjà-vu this week as the University of Colorado’s top economist addressed Boulder business leaders.

I covered the same event – the Boulder & Beyond Economic Forecast organized by the Boulder Economic Council – a year ago and wrote about how Colorado’s population continues to grow despite continuing job losses and an “unemployment number that isn’t improving much.”

So as 2011 kicks into gear, what’s here to great us? 

  • A state unemployment rate that just inched up a notch to a record-matching 8.8 percent in November.  A year ago we worried when it was 7.5 percent. Colorado hasn’t seen unemployment this high since the early ‘80s.
  • A slow housing market that keeps dragging on, with foreclosures saturating the market and holding down both new construction starts and prices.  The high-end market for homes above $1 million is especially tough.
  • State and federal deficits that politicians seem unable to deal with as the slower economy puts a stranglehold on tax revenues. Colorado, with a projected $1.5 billion budget gap forecast for 2011, joins a crowd of other states in the same boat. Colorado now has debt of nearly $25.7 billion. Only four states, Alaska, Arkansas, Montana and North Dakota, predict they’ll be in the black. That’s almost peanuts, however, when compared to the U.S. debt, which just crossed the $14 trillion mark for the first time.

Go to to really see some scary numbers. When I clicked it, the debt level equals $45, 125 for each citizen. Of course the numbers constantly click higher.

So one has to wonder? Why does everyone seem so happy and optimistic at these 2011 forecasts when charts and graphs – and even a 9-Inning Scorecard that CU Economist Richard Wobbekind presented – still show all of these plunging red bars?

Wobbekind wasn’t alone this year with a fairly upbeat  forecast.  On another event panel, Denver economist Patricia Silverstein presented a study by metro Denver economic developers that listed 100 measures that keep Colorado competitive. On the list, the state’s 67 “strengths” easily outweighed the 33 “challenges.”

Turns out, Silverstein said, Colorado continues to rank very high in everything from venture capital investments, stock IPOs, renewable energy sources, number of patents filed, high school ACT & SAT scores and finally, the lowest level of obesity in the country. Smiles all around.

And it’s reports like these that continue to get people packing their U-Hauls or jumping on the next flight (another stat is that Denver International Airport hit a record-breaking 52 million passengers last year) for the “gold” in them thar Colorado hills.

Only one small problem.  Colorado lost 140,000 jobs in 2009 and 2010, and although Wobbekind is now calling for “moderate” growth, that translates into only 10,000 new jobs this year. The recession essentially gave Colorado a zero net gain in jobs for the past 10 years, Wobbekind pointed out.

So you ask, where’s the good news? With cheap capital, businesses are busy making investments, but mostly in equipment, computers and software – not new employees. Economists see an 8 to 9 percent increase in business fixed investment for 2011, a good long-term sign.

Consumers, the real engine behind the GDP, somehow have finally reduced their debts and saving rates look stable at around 5 percent. As a result, retail sales are actually getting back to pre-recession levels. Consumer spending on cars, clothes, food and other items now accounts for about 70 percent of gross domestic product.

Wobbekind is calling for U.S. GDP growth of about 3.5 percent in 2011, but he admits the majority view among economists is closer to 3 percent or lower.

Both businesses and consumers seem to be a pretty confident bunch all of a sudden.  The CU Leeds Business Confidence Index just got back to 54.8 in the first quarter – just a little under the 54.9 in the second quarter of 2007 and up from 48.6 percent last quarter. U.S. consumer confidence hit an 8-month high this week, according to the Conference Board.

While some job recovery is taking place in the private sector, Wobbekind said it’s offset by a loss in federal jobs – not your typical scenario.  “There’s an awful lot of repair that needs to be done at this point,” he said, describing the job picture.

Boulder itself, Wobbekind said, is faring better than most of the state. The latest unemployment rate for Boulder and Broomfield counties dropped a bit this week to 6.5 percent. Colorado home price appreciation turned negative in 2010, down 1.7%, but that beats Nevada’s downturn of 10 percent. Boulder may end up a percent or so.

Construction jobs in both residential and commercial sectors have taken “the biggest pounding,” Wobbekind said.  Manufacturing jobs, in a slow decline for many years, will continue to shrink.  On the upside, Wobbekind is forecasting a 15.7 percent growth in professional, scientific and technical services jobs. Depending on if your in an up or down jobs sector, wages might actually begin to increase this year.

So are economic forecasters just putting a happy face on rather dismal economic figures that still look much better when compared to the past few recession years? Or will 2011 surprise everyone with a better turnaround than expected.  The real answer, you see, will come at the 2012 economic forecast.








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The new Bart's Music Shack is located at 236 Pearl St., several blocks west of the prime Boulder downtown Pearl Street mall but worth finding the location for good vinyl and used CDs.


Watch for this small yellow sign pointing you to the parking lot location of Bart's Music Shack.

It's not real easy to find unless you know where it's at, but the reborn Bart's Music Shack at 236 Pearl St. is worth discovering if you like vintage vinyl as well as used CDs and music DVDs.

Bart Stinchcomb is back selling vinyl at this small outlet off Pearl Street, but now you can watch for the yellow sign on the street directing you in. The one-room store is located in the parking lot behind Borg Real Estates, and when I visited, music was being quietly piped outside, where there's also a few seats if you want to browse but maybe take along your lunch. A large CD sign sits outside as well.

The owner of Bart's CD Cellar, Value Music Concepts, closed one of the city's best music shops earlier this year, and that prime downtown site is being renovated for a new coffee shop by Ozo's Coffee, which has a popular coffee shop east on Arapaho Avenue. 

The new store is not nearly as big as the former CD Cellar, but still well organized with vinyl and CDs listed by music category and artist names. Prices seemed reasonable for several of the albums I looked at, although I didn't notice a "bargain bin" with lower-priced possibilities.

Boulder still has Albums on the Hill near the CU university and the newer Absolute Vinyl, which shares space with Little Horse Books, on North Broadway. And the Beat Book Shop also carries some vinyl on East Pearl. 


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Doug Gaddy, owner of Absolute Vinyl Records & Stereo in North Boulder, asked for some help in getting the word out on a concert of some young bands as well as a way to help a good cause.

Doug and his wife Annie have been supporting the Shanti's Children Foundation, a small nonprofit that now helps to send about 40 disadvantaged kids to school in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal. Now Doug's helping to promote a concert by Orange Free State, a band he describes as "infectious and danceable" and another band, Stellar Atlas. The concert benefits the good work being done in Nepal.

The concert will be at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 19 at Astroland, a DIY concert venue at 4415 N. Broadway in Boulder across the street from Doug's vinyl store. Doug says both bands are being looked at by some record labels, so the concert is helping to showcase their talent. Tickets are just $5 at the door.

There's a small get-together before-concert gathering at Absolute Vinyl, with some snacks, drinks and of course, tunes played on the store's turntables. No digital iPods allowed (well, actually I made up that rule.)

If you haven't been to Absolute Vinyl, which shares space with Little Horse Books, be sure and stop in some time, especially if you like to browse through some great albums. Doug says he's putting out more and more LPs over the next few weeks, so get over there before the good ones are gone.



Categories : Boulder, Colorado, Music
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I’m not much of a morning person. I’ve been to more than my share of 7:30 a.m. meetings. I’ve played in the competition to be bright, sunny and full of ideas first thing in the morning, but I generally prefer that the sun be fully up before my networking begins.

Now I’ve found my own way to be social after that first cup of life-giving caffeine. Getting up early isn’t the problem; making rationale decisions is.

So after reading local news in the Boulder Camera and Denver Post, I’m generally on my computer, pleased that I’ve scheduled no meetings before 10 a.m. and giving me at least a good hour or so of learning something new about how to use social media.

As part of my morning “social” routine … checking news wires (30-year journalist habit that’s tough to break), twittering breaking business news on Boulder, and maybe scanning Facebook friends … I often take a little time to learn something new in the social media world. Since PR, marketing and social media is now my business, it’s good for me and it’s good for clients.

There are hundreds of social media bloggers to follow, but I recommend checking in on a few for some of the most informative reads. Typically I get most of their daily news from Twitter follows or e-mail feeds.


  • Mashable: With some 30 million monthly page views, obviously they’re doing something right. follows news on all the biggies like YouTube, Twitter, Apple, Google but covers many other social media sites as well. Often first with breaking news.
  • Sarah Evans of Owner of PR firms Sevans Strategy, she’s a self-professed social media freak and really works it well.  I subscribe to her daily Commentz, and almost always find something interesting to read from there.
  • All Facebook at What would a morning be without the latest gossip about what Facebook is up to? I haven’t seen the movie yet, but something is always up. Calling itself the “unofficial” Facebook blog, this is a great site to follow.
  • Social Media Examiner, your guide to the social media jungle by Michael Stelzner at Excellent tips and stories on how to actually use different social media. A recent post, for example, was “How to Use Delicious: The King of Social Bookmarking.” I often tweet links to posts on this blog.
  • Yes, I do read blogs on things other than social media. Mediabistro provides a well-rounded feed of media news. It’s not really focused on social media, but what is social media without traditional media? I reading more news online, but I’m still a believer in getting some ink on your fingers.

 It’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed about which bloggers or social media news you decide to follow. So find your own favorites, and then do a little socializing in the morning without actually having to stare across the table at someone.

Of course I count on a huge amount of news flowing from the people I follow on Twitter, and if you like keeping track of some of the entrepreneurial goings-on in the Boulder, Colorado area as well as links to a few of the good social media tips I discover, follow me @jwlewis.



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Eleven breast cancer survivors in the Boulder Valley area have become "Bosom Buddies," posing for a new calendar as a fund-raiser for the Boulder-based HealthLinks Foundation.

The women volunteered to be photographed to help raise awareness about breast cancer and, as they say on the calendar, to "celebrate our health, happiness and hope for the future."

One of the women, Jennifer Hohfelder, is a long-time friend of mine who just lost her mother, Pat Jordan, to cancer. On her calendar month, August, where she posed with an art easel and wearing a beret, she quotes her father, Bill Jordan, a former columnist for the Daily Camera. "Through no fault of my own, I learned a lot about me in my 49th year," Bill wrote. "I found out that I'm not such bad company, for one thing. I'm not afraid to be stuck with me."

The calendars are being sold for $20 each and are available on the HealthLink Foundation's Web site at HealthLinks provides financial support and outreach for cancer survivors and their families.

The women participating in the calendar in addition to Jennifer Hohlfelder are Valerie Gillon Griffiths, Charmaine Miyoko Furukawa Palmer, Karen James, Karen Cunningham Marx, Terri Wolf, Kris Phillips, Shirley Mills, Ria Morgan, Cherie McCandless and Suzanne Phillips. David Schlatter Photographer at donated his services for the photo shoots, and Mike's Camera at, helped with the printing and production. Knock Your Socks Off, a Twenty Ninth Street Boulder retailer, was also a sponsor.



Categories : Boulder, Colorado
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The Boulder County Business Report recognized nine area companies for their innovative products and services this week at the 10th anniversary celebration of the IQ (Innovation Quotient) Awards.

Winners and sponsors gathered on the stage of the Boulder Theatre for a group photo after all of the winners were announced. Some 65 companies were nominated, with finalists in nine different categories.

On stage, left to right, are: Liam Davis-Mead and Shane Taylor, ScriptPad Inc., winner in Social Media/Apps; Gary Horton, Western Disposal Services Inc. (event sponsor); Stuart Batty, Stuart Batty Enterprises LLC, winner in Consumer Products/Services; Yancey Spruill, DigitalGlobe Inc., winner in Business Products/Services; Nathan Thompson, Spectra Logic Corp., winner in Computer Products/Services; Steve Moulton and Greg Grudic, Flashback Technologies LLC, winner in Life Sciences; Bill Quinn, Trada Inc., winner in Internet/Software; Justin Dodge, Ehrhardt Keefe Steiner Hottman PC (event sponsor); Cory Dixon, Stratom Inc., winner in Robotics; and Denny Hanson, Apex Sports Group LLC, winner in Sports and Outdoors. Not pictured, George Howard, Heartland Renewable Energy LLC.

For more information on the winners, read the Boulder County Business Report story.

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Photo of the Boulder Creek Festival on Memorial Day taken with iPhone 3GS.

   Flag picture, taken at friend's Memorial Day picnic, was enhanced using the Photo fx app for iPhone.

Late afternoon iPhone photo on Haystack Mountain Golf Course in Boulder was taken with NightShot photo app, giving it a bit more light.  

All of the fuss and Steve Jobs bashing about the iPhone 4’s
antenna problems haven’t mattered much to me since I’m still having fun
discovering new apps and learning how best to use my iPhone 3GS that I bought early
this summer. Yes, I was a latecomer to the iPhone, but I’m now a converted

One of the things I like best about the iPhone is having a
camera with me most of the time. As an amateur photographer who loves to shoot
and post pictures for friends and family both on Facebook and Flickr, my
preferred compact camera is the Canon PowerShot A2000 IS, a great yet
affordable camera with a 10 megapixels resolution and 6x optical zoom.  Still, I don’t always remember to carry
it with me, or just don’t want to bother with the weight in my pocket.

With a 3.2 MP resolution in the iPhone 3GS, you can get some
pretty good shots … not great, but good enough. A friend asked me if the iPhone
could shoot photos to be used in a professional print brochure. The answer to
that is clear: No, get a better camera and probably spend a little money with a
professional photographer to make sure your business image is as good as it can

With just a handful of excellent apps, you can greatly
improve the final outcome of your iPhone photographs. The iPhone 4, by the way,
has increased resolution to 5 MP, offers a new built-in LED flash and a front
and rear-facing camera lens. All good features that already makes me want to
upgrade – as soon as it can quit dropping calls from the present antenna

After reading several online reviews, and there are many, I
chose several apps to help me out with my iPhone 3GS photos. A few I now use
all the time, a few others only occasionally.

CamZoom: This is probably the app I use the most
to shoot photos. The iPhone camera lacks a zoom feature, and for most shots, I
like to zoom in for a closer shot. 
The basic app is free with a PRO version for just 99 cents. It gives you
up to 5X digital zoom in real time. 
Sharing options include ability to send the photo by e-mail or post to
Facebook and Twitter. Another zoom app that I see recommended in reviews is
Camera Genius. My only complaint with CamZoom is that the zoom control is right
next to the shoot button, and it’s very easy to accidentally shoot a photo as
you are trying to zoom.  That’s a
fix they need to make.

Easily posting photos to Facebook and Twitter is
another great thing I love about the iPhone. It’s quick, and you’re able to
share a photo almost as quickly as you shoot it. I chose PhotoScatter as the
free app (a Pro version also available with faster downloads) to submit photos.
Using PhotoScatter you can post your pictures simultaneously to numerous sites,
including Facebook, Twitter (via Twitpic), Flickr, Shutterfly, PhotoBucket and
Picasa. After posting to Facebook, of course, you have to then go into your
Facebook account and approve the photo, but that’s also easily done via your
iPhone. Just be aware it’s an extra step you do need to make in order for your
photos to appear on Facebook.

OK, you’ve shot a picture, but it’s a bit too
dark (common with the iPhone camera) or perhaps you’d just like to tweak the
colors a bit, maybe even add a special effect.  Again, you have many choices, including an app for the
popular Photoshop. But I’ve been trying out Photo FX, where you can choose from
about 67 different filters ranging from Edge Glow to Sunset/Twilight
Temperature to a Wide-Angle Lens. Usually, Photo FX is just a fun tool to edit
your photo, including basic crop, rotate and straighten options, and then try
some different textures, even layering textures upon one another. PhotoFX has a
total of 780 presets with 117 different lighting patterns. So you can kill a
lot of time playing around in this app.

A simpler, easy-to-use photo effect app is the
popular CameraBag, a $1.99 tool that’s fun to try out. To be honest, I don’t
use it that much anymore, but it does give you some interesting and simple
photo enhancements. It simulates styles from cameras of the past including 1974,
a faded, tinted look from your dad’s old cameras; and 1962, a high contrast
black and white shot.  You can see
thousands of photos submitted by users at the web site,

Another weak point of the iPhone camera is its
inability to shoot in low light or even night situations. That’s why NightShot
comes in handy some times, giving you more light to your night photos. It gives
you three different types of a soft flash to get more light; low, medium and
high. For 99 cents, it’s a good app to have when you need it.

    There are a slew of photo apps
available, and I want to try out a few more, maybe including a tracing app like
ToonPaint. A good review of several phone and video apps is on the Brainz blog

Give yourself a little time to
experiment and to figure out each new photo app, and that means shooting
several photos in different environments.  For any photo that I really like I will usually do more
serious editing by downloading to my MacBook Pro and using either iPhoto
editing tools or Adobe Photoshop for much more detailed work.

When all is said and done, however,
I still love the iPhone camera for its flexibility of numerous photo apps, ease
of use and just having it with me nearly all of the time in my pocket. There’s
also the iPhone video, but that’s another story for another time.


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For a city with 10 breweries — all with tasting rooms, and arguably the birthplace of the the microbrew craft industry, Boulder is the perfect spot for a new conference Nov. 5-7, the world's first Beer Bloggers Conference.

Now here's a conference I think I can enjoy covering because not only will it include sessions on social media, how the online media is covering the beer industry but, of course, it includes tasting beers.

The conference will be held at the Boulder Marriott, and information is online at

I'll come back and keep you posted when I learn more about this "tasty" conference idea, but in the meantime, here's what some people had to say in PR that just went out today.

I saw the announcement about the conference, I rushed to get my credit card out
because I have a feeling this will fill up quickly," said Gerard Walen of Road Trips For Beer. "Boulder
is one of my favorite cities to visit, and I'm looking forward to going back
there and meeting some of the folks in person that I only know on the beer

organizer Zephyr Adventures, a
Montana-based adventure travel company, already co-organizes both the Wine
Bloggers Conference and the International Food Bloggers Conference. “The Wine Bloggers Conference has
provided increased credibility for wine bloggers, connected bloggers with the
wine industry, and improved both the quality and quantity of wine blogging
around the world”, says Zephyr’s owner Allan Wright. “We think the Beer
Bloggers Conference will have a similar positive effect on the beer industry.”

Boulder was chosen as the inaugural location for the conference because of its
scenic beauty near the Rocky Mountains, its excellent transport with nearby
Denver International Airport, and its 10 local breweries.  The
Boulder Beer Company
and Oskar Blues
have signed on as initial sponsors, in addition to Draft Magazine, the Colorado Brewers Guild, and the Boulder Convention & Visitors

Panelists on the future of digital media in Boulder were, left to right, Winston Binch, partner, Crispin Porter + Bogusky; Seth Levine, managing director, Foundry Group; and Chris Scoggins, senior vice president, DataLogix. 

Boulder business, education
and government leaders took a look into the future 25 years from now and saw
everything from a much older population and a shrinking employment base to a
digital media and outdoor recreation Mecca that continues to attract

But as University of Colorado
economist Richard Wobbekind reminded attendees at the 2010 Economic Summit on
the University of Colorado campus Wednesday, in the words of Yogi Berra, “It’s
tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

That said, there were no
shortage of experts from the hot business sectors of clean tech, digital media,
natural & organic foods, outdoor recreation and biotech willing to stick
their necks out and make a forecast. The theme for the well-attended summit,
sponsored by the Boulder Economic Council and CU, was “Boulder in 2035:
Opportunities & Insights.”

 First, a few of the facts,
emphasized by both business research statistics from CU and generally what
everyone that lives in Boulder already knows.

 “Boulder has drawn a line in
the sand,” said David Driskell, director of community planning and
sustainability for the city. “We’re not going to grow out, we’re going to grow

Redevelopment of Boulder
areas such as its east Arapaho corridor (near CU’s developing east campus) and
the aging Diagonal Marketplace retail center are where the city will be placing
its attention.

The reality, Driskell
emphasized, is that Boulder will never be all things to all people.  And that no doubt includes businesses
looking for larger manufacturing facilities. “We’re going to continue to
incubate startups,” he said.

If you just happened to move
into the city and somehow remain oblivious to Boulder’s staunch slow-growth
philosophy, several charts and graphs from Wobbekind put some new wrinkles on a
well-known story.

For a city that’s long touted
its place as an entrepreneurial haven for high tech, the numbers now show
employment in advanced tech sectors are actually declining. Technology brings
higher productivity, Wobbekind explained, resulting in fewer jobs for high-tech
workers. The most recent example? Hewlett-Packard’s announcement of some 9,000
layoffs from its technology-services division, where data centers will become
fully automated.

In the recent recession, more
than 70 percent of the lost wages in Colorado occurred in advanced tech sectors
that included professional services, manufacturing and information.

In other not-so-shocking news
for anyone who’s been in Boulder for very long, Wobbekind forecasted a nearly
flat growth rate through 2035, for both employment and population growth, while
“satellite” cities like Broomfield, Longmont and Erie will continue to attract
new jobs and increase their populations.

Another Boulder Valley city,
Louisville, which is making a conscious decision to limit housing but
encouraging commercial growth, also may find its job growth limited as
employers seek out cities where their employees can find homes.

“It’s just not getting any
cheaper to live in Boulder or Louisville,” Wobbekind said.

High on Wobbekind’s list of
changing demographics not to be ignored is the fact that Boulder, like all of
Colorado, is aging.

Everyone who moved in during
the growth years of the ‘70s and ‘80s are now nearing retirement age. In the
city of Boulder alone, Wobbekind says the 55 to 69 age group and those over 70
will have the most dramatic increase in numbers in the next 25 years.

Services such as health care
and transportation, as well as a declining tax base as seniors reduce their
spending, are all areas to watch, he said.

Although rail and other
multi-modal transportation choices may become available, expect an increase in
commuters driving cars in search of job centers. Even shorter trips are going
to take longer due to congestion.

Not all forecasters, however,
bemoaned a future of gray-haired senior citizens clogging up the freeways.

Panelists looking at the future
of digital media reminded summit attendees that Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a
global advertising company billing $1.7 billion annually, came to Boulder
because it knew the city’s quality of life would attract the younger talent it
needs to survive and grow.

Looking very far ahead is
nearly impossible in the fast-changing digital world, said Winston Binch, a
partner with CP+B. “Just figuring out what will happen next week is a

The company is moving much of
its work to the mobile platforms, as the I-Pad and millions of new mobile phone
apps dramatically change the way businesses reach their new customers.

You’ll soon be using your
phone to buy your Starbucks and display your airline-boarding pass, Binch said.
“Social commerce,” he predicted, is here to stay.

Foundry Group venture
capitalist Seth Levine said the rise of digital media is allowing marketers to
measure their results like never before.

Social media and software
geeks are the new “Mad Men” of the advertising world, Levine said, and Boulder,
with resident companies like OneRiot, Lijit, video ad network SpotXchange, creative
agency Victors & Spoils and even Google, are creating a “nexus” of
communication companies for the future.

With CP+B helping to launch
the Boulder Digital Works with CU, and other tech gatherings like Glue or TechStars
gaining national attention, Boulder continues to stir up a pot of the right
ingredients for digital media success.

Boulder also continues to grow
its reputation as an epicenter for both the natural and organics food movement
and outdoor recreation and sporting goods companies.

Organic foods veteran Barney
Feinblum predicted that the word “natural” will probably disappear from food
labeling as “organic” becomes the accepted standard. As an example, he pointed
out that organic milk producer Horizon is now the leading brand of milk being
sold in the U.S.

While organic products today are
only about 3.5 percent of the market, he believes price premiums will decline,
and organic goods will capture up to  25 percent of the food market in the next 25 years.

A company like Whole Foods,
Feinblum said, will expand beyond organic and healthy foods to selling electric
cars and home renewable energy systems.

“Our industry is looking to
get ahead of the curve on sustainability,” explained Lori Herra with the Outdoor
Industry Association. And this presents environmental challenges when most of
the outdoor recreation products are manufactured overseas.

Even on the federal level,
Herra said, the conversation is starting to change from “extraction” on federal
lands to recognizing the economic strengths of “recreation.”

Dr. Jenni Skyler, director of The Intimacy Institute of Boulder, was named the 2010 Young Careerist in the annual competition organized by Boulder Business and Professional Women. Lindsay Shaw, owner of Lindsay's Boulder Deli at Haagen-Daz in downtown Boulder, was selected as the runner-up.

This was the second year I was asked to help judge this competition, which looks at the candidates' career achievements as well as their their ability to project an image that reflects the role of today's young workforce in society. And once again, this was a tough and close contest, with each of the five women competitors taking the initiative to compete before judges as well as a final speech before members of Boulder's BPW organization.

In one part of the competition, all of the candidates join in a group discussion, looking to come up with solutions to a topic presented by the judges. With a sex therapist, an ice cream shop owner and others involved in different businesses, from architecture to financial consulting, the candidates decided they wanted to launch an community education group, providing mentoring and education on topics such as equity in pay to other women. And one idea for the name of the group? "Sex, Ice Cream & Business." Now that could certainly attract some participants.

I was always a supporter of BPW while I was editor of the Boulder County Business Report, and the business newspaper continues to be a sponsor of this competition, along with Flatirons Bank and Joining me as judges were Sue Deans, former editor of the Boulder Camera, and Wendy Reynolds, senior vice president of Flatirons Bank in Boulder. 

Skyler, a Ph.D. and board certified sexologist, was enthusiastic and kept the audience listening close as she spoke about her career as a sex therapist. She also writes several sex columns — "Sophisticated Sex" for the Boulder Weekly; "Sexy Shabbos with Dr. Jenni" for the Boulder Jewish News; and Sunday Sex Talk on She spoke on how to build healthy sexuality and how this helps men and women in our society.

Shaw also impressed both the judges and BPW members with her own life stories of how she has been a businesswoman for the past six years after encountering sexual discrimination in her first career as a teacher. Her talk about how she lost her job because she was living an "alternative" lifestyle — dating another woman — was open, honest and from the heart. 

Also competing were Julie Winslow, a investment adviser with Securian Financial Services; Katie Pekarek, a project manager for Kristin Lewis Architects; and Kathryn Matta, an event specialist with A Spice of Life Catering. All of the young businesswomen are active in numerous humanitarian and nonprofit organizations.

Funds raised from the event help support the Colorado BPW Education Foundation, YWCA and other advancement of women programs. The competition is also designed to attract new young member to BPW, and Skyler won a membership in the organization.

To learn more about the Boulder Business and Professional Women, visit their Web site at The group meets monthly with the mission of full participation, equity and economic self-sufficiency for working women.

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