2023 Business Awards Woman or BIPOC-owned Business of the Year Finalists
Each year, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce recognizes organizations that are writing Denver’s next chapter in business. Join us for the 2023 Business Awards presented by BOK Financial on April 27, 2023 to see the winners announced live! This year’s Woman or BIPOC-owned Business of the Year finalists are: Dope Mom Life, Point b(e) Strategies, LLC and New Community Transformation Fund – Denver. Get to know each organization more below.
Diane Myles, CEO/Executive Producer of Dope Mom Life, got her start when she first recorded her and her children’s activities. The intention of the “mommy blog” was simple – to be a representation for her children and her community. The idea for the blog came about one day when Myles had decided she wanted to go skydiving and invited others to join her but was told, “Black people don’t do that.” After doing some research and speaking with those she trusted, she found that the phrase, “We don’t do that” is formed out of a trauma response.
Myles has always had a love for videography, and she wanted to share her and her kids’ adventures so that they could see themselves reflected in visual content. “I had a mentor that told me, ‘Don’t just be a pretty face; know how to do the things behind the camera,” shared Myles. Myles ended up going to school for video production and editing, and eventually brought on others to help with the blog project, which later transformed into the video production company it is today. “We kept the name [Dope Mom Life] because I always wanted to make sure I came back to my ‘why’ if I ever forgot why we started the work,” said Myles.
After some time, the crew started taking on video projects with the same intention of being a voice and representation in the community. Myles is proud of how far Dope Mom Life has come and is proud of how the company reflects its work in a culturally responsive way, not just a performative way.
Julia Alvarez, CEO and Senior Catalyst at Point b(e) Strategies, LLC, started the organization almost seven years ago when she saw a need for a different approach to social change consulting. “We think of ourselves as a one-stop shop for organizational development and capacity-building work,” explained Alvarez. “Essentially, we serve as extra hands for organizations in the social sector that need help to be more efficient and effective in their work.”
Point b(e) Strategies, LLC specializes in areas including grant writing, strategic planning, program evaluation and design, justice and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultation, board and staff training and other change management initiatives – just to name a few. “I started this company because I wanted to do that work differently,” expressed Alvarez. “I wanted to take a more equity-centered and human-centered approach to consulting. I also wanted to think differently about what it means to run a business that leverages the strengths, talents, assets and needs of my team to honor them as people not just employees.”
On the Metro Denver business community, Alvarez said she very much believes in a “spirit of abundance.” “The Metro Denver region is drowning in amazing work to do. There is more than any number of consultants or organizations can take on – which is a real blessing. We come from a space of true collaboration and abundance,” she said.
New Community Transformation Fund – Denver is a venture capital fund that invests in founders of color and women in Colorado. After a long career as a CFO, Danielle Shoots, Founding Partner and Managing Director, launched the New Community Transformation Fund to support early-stage startups. “We really wanted to put our stake in the ground in Colorado to think about how we can grow and scale business using the tools of wealth-building and capitalism,” said Shoots. “We’re starting to make investments in some amazing Coloradan companies and bringing companies to Colorado.”
Since launching the New Community Transformation Fund publicly last July, the team is now up to six employees and growing. “I’m so fortunate. I built my career in Colorado. Everybody who came to join me in this adventure has worked for me in another capacity. They trusted what we were doing to do this work that’s revolutionary.”
The New Community Transformation Fund serves small business across versatile sectors and industries with Colorado-based goals. To operate and support the growth of other companies, the organization has raised operating capital through grants and contracts with the City and County of Denver, Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado Trust and Bank of America Foundation.
The 2023 Business Awards Woman or BIPOC-owned Business of the Year award is presented by Xcel Energy.