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Success Stories

Community supports emerging leader on pathway to success

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.

Lytle Electric

Lytle Electric achieves American dream Written by Dean J. Miller Less than three years old, Lytle Electric, co-owned by Megan and John Lytle is a successful family business that provides quality, affordable electrical service delivered with honesty and integrity. The Lytle’s credit much of their success to the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center and its strong partnership the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado. For the Lytle’s, it’s a story of the American dream:

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Ray’s of Colorado

When you think of bath and body products you may think of fancy commercials on television that show bountiful suds or perfumes that have sex appeal, normally promoted by movie stars or A-list models. Ray’s of Colorado hasn’t spent a dime on a spokesperson or buying ads to promote their product. Instead, their approach has been to promote their product to everyday people, like you and I, by promoting and selling within the avenues that

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Once Upon a Time and Clothes Mentor

Porscha and Steve Shideler were amazed at the quality of products they could find used at garage sales and on Craigslist… for the fraction of the price than buying them new in department stores. They knew the community could use a store that could be shopped for a large variety of gently used kid’s items, in one location. Porscha who was in management and pregnant with their first child, before deciding to open a store,

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Venture Surplus

Jeffry Radspinner opened Venture Surplus on January 1, 2015. It is an online Army surplus store that provides government issue uniforms and mil-spec gear for soldiers, veterans, hobbyists, and preppers. Venture Surplus is customer centric, a major differentiator from competitors. Venture Surplus offers a satisfaction guarantee and free returns on all products. Furthermore, while most surplus stores sell general military surplus, Venture Surplus specializes specifically in army surplus and carries one of the largest sections

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Bump on the Head

When Austin Shepard was 10 years old, a thrown baseball changed his life. Austin was in a coma for two and a half months. When he came out of the coma, he could barely walk, talk or do many of the things he used to do as a young, well rounded athlete. One little baseball changed his life forever. It was when Austin turned 17, his principle and Psychology teacher asked him to speak to

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