Month: May 2020

Community supports emerging leader on pathway to success

by Dean J. Miller
djmillercommunications@gmail.com

Dr. Rosenna Bakari is a published author, speaker, consultant and UCCS visiting assistant professor dedicated to helping others find and develop resilience. She is a respected community leader who credits much of her success to the El Pomar Emerging Leaders Development Program, a pathway to leadership and civic engagement.

New to the Pikes Peak region in August 2017, Bakari was challenged to establish a network and find community that would support her career change. She had a vision for her future, but it was blurry.

A survivor of childhood trauma, Bakari was on a mission to raise awareness and support for others. Her challenge was to transform her nonprofit work into a sustainable business model.

Her new vision required strong business skills. El Pomar’s ELDP connected her with experts at the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center where she completed the Leading Edge™ program for entrepreneurs developing new business models.

“Talking through challenges and having experts fill in the gaps was critical,” said Bakari. “I needed smart networking to meet the right community leaders who could put me before key audiences.”

With her business plan in sharp focus and a supportive network behind her, she published five books, was named a Woman of Influence by the Colorado Springs Business Journal and has performed transformational poetry at major Colorado Springs events.

She recently served as a diversity consultant to the Head Start program, sits on local boards, and her demand as an inspirational speaker is constantly growing.

“The experiences gained through ELDP have empowered me to represent the Colorado Springs community – a woman, a survivor, a minority business owner – everyone needs a voice at the table. No one can do everything, but when the community invites you to step forward and serve, you do it. Where we can, we must each find and share the light.”

“Dr. Bakari inspires others to step forward and understand the importance of leadership,” said Theo Gregory, El Pomar Foundation Senior Vice President and outreach programs director. “She is a great example of what is possible when training, network and empowerment come together. It was a pathway to everything she hoped to achieve.” Learn more at: elpomar.org.

Red Leg Brewing Company: PPP assures staff salary, benefits safe

by Dean J. Miller
djmillercommunications@gmail.com

“The service delivered by our tap room staff is the cornerstone of what we built our brand on. We probably have the most well-known beer tenders in town; the staff deserves all the credit for the success of our brand,” said Red Leg Brewing Company owner Todd Baldwin.

And it’s a brand with great success: in December, Red Leg celebrated ground breaking of a new brewing facility, tap room and outdoor venue. The event included the mayor and other Colorado Springs officials taking part. “We were in a great spot,” said Todd. “We had great publicity; tap room revenue was strong – we were well-ahead in sales of where we normally were for that time of year.”

By early March, regional spread of COVID-19 brought the Governor’s order closing all restaurants, bars, gyms and more. It was a gut punch to the Red Leg team.

“As an entrepreneur, I’d never experienced a challenge I couldn’t overcome; yet, here we were – shut down. It was tough; I went through all the negative emotions – anger, sadness, despair,” said Todd.

With his entire business at risk, the Army Veteran-turned successful entrepreneur made two crucial decisions within 24 hours: there would be no ‘knee-jerk’ reactions, and his valued staff would be kept on as long as possible.

“We were transparent with our staff; we told them how long payroll funds would last and that our goal was to keep them all working as long as we could,” said Todd. “Then we went to work to figure out how to sell product in a new environment, keeping staff and customers safe.”

Social distancing regulation allowed tap room curbside sales and kept liquor stores open. This kept Red Leg’s diversified line flowing through drive-up tap room purchase and in-store sales of canned brew. But revenue was down significantly.

“Through SBA and our friends at Pikes Peak SBDC, we quickly learned about the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Todd. “By taking care of our staff – keeping them on the job — we were eligible for this incredible grant.”

Red Leg Brewery submitted their PPP application on a Friday and had $100K in hand by Tuesday.

“Very few times in business, can you demonstrate the importance of your employees, their families, and their well-being in such a tangible way,” said Todd. “This program allowed my staff to know their salary and benefits were safe and that was most important to me.”

Today, Red Leg is focused on increasing sales and returning to a sustainable business model with the knowledge their payroll is covered.

“The experts at SBDC helped us to quickly learn what program was best for us – the tax ramifications and other details – needed to make the right decision. They were critical in helping us weather the storm and the support of this community has been tremendous.”

Todd Baldwin has been affiliated with Pikes Peak SBDC since before Red Leg brewed its first beer: he attended classes, received mentorship and later returned as a volunteer sharing his experience and advice to regional entrepreneurs attending Pikes Peak SBDC programs. Learn more at redlegbrewing.com.

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