Broad of the Month: Krystal Covington
Lisa Ingarfield | @tritodefi
Women of Denver, a network of (mostly) Denver women, provides opportunities for connection, education, and meaningful, authentic engagement with business women in Denver and beyond. Krystal Covington is its founder, and she began four years ago with an idea. Many of us have ideas; big or small, long and short. Many of us find excuses why we cannot self-actualize those ideas. We tell ourselves we can’t do it, or it’s too hard, or there isn’t enough time. And while time is a finite resource, and our self-doubt can envelope us, Krystal’s path to success reminds us sometimes the risk is worth it.
In the Beginning
When Covington moved to Denver in 2013, she left a struggling job market in Detroit, Michigan. She and her husband chose Denver, not because of friends or family, but because of its potential. They saw something in the city; something that would support their success. And indeed it did, both she and her husband found great jobs. Actually, Covington refers to the job she found as her dream job.
Yet, despite Denver doing its thing for Covington in the 9 to 5, after a year or so she realized she wasn’t making the connections she needed to move her success forward. She was lonely. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, either. Covington joined networking groups, attended socials, and tried to build a support system. What she encountered was a lackluster landscape. She’d leave events with a handful of business cards and a few too many sales pitches from eager networkers, but she never left with authentic relationships.
Connecting with people means doing things together--talking about a topic, not just exchanging business cards, she thought at the time. After several months of complaining to her husband about the mediocre support for women entrepreneurs and business women in Denver, he said to her: “instead of paying money to other groups, why not create your own?”
The ‘A-Ha’ Moment
Ding! Of course! Surely, if these groups weren’t meeting her needs, they were likely not meeting other women’s either. In fielding her idea to a few connections, she surprisingly encountered lots of naysayers who said it wasn’t needed, couldn’t be done, or women wouldn’t pay for it. Fortunately, she pushed past this feedback and forged forward with her idea. From its humble blog beginnings in 2014, Women of Denver has grown to become a formidable presence, connecting women from a variety of industries for training, education, and support throughout Denver and beyond. When Women of Denver hosted its first event with a focus on the limiting stories women tell themselves, there were five attendees. Now, the organization hosts over 50 events a year, and boasts over 1000 members, with a goal of reaching 3000 members by the end of 2018. Women of Denver hosts a blog, TV show (on Public Access Network, Comcast ch. 56, Wednesdays at 6pm), podcast, has a robust social media presence and most recently, added a quarterly magazine to its repertoire.
The Future for Women of Denver
Covington has big goals for Women of Denver. She wants it to become a stronger voice for women in Denver; a platform to share women’s diverse experiences. It’s important for Covington that she support women in feeling they can grow and expand in every part of their lives through their membership with Women of Denver. Much like she was able to self-actualize her desire to build a meaningful and authentic networking group of women in the community, she wants Women of Denver to provide this for other women.
She admits she didn’t ever intend on being this person--a connector. She did something that mattered to her and it ended up mattering to other people, too. Women of Denver is at a growth point, one Covington hasn’t seen before. She didn’t start the organization with a singular mission and now, as she begins 2018, she wants to develop and cultivate something that has lasting power and sustainability. What has evolved over the last few years is beyond anything Covington could have designed on her own. She speaks humbly about her role in developing Women of Denver, stressing the organization’s direction is determined by its members. Members provide the talks and the trainings and it is through members’ brainstorming and new Women of Denver has become what it is today.
Denver is a Special Place
Denver is growing, and so are opportunities for women. Covington shares an observation from a woman traveling through Denver: “there’s a spirit of collaboration and a special connection” that’s unique about Women of Denver and Denver itself. The traveler had not experienced this same feeling in other cities. And Covington hears this a lot. Denver is a special place, she says. She encourages investors to broaden their horizons and look beyond their traditional male-owned businesses and start investing in women and their ideas. There is a diverse market and an exciting set of opportunities in Denver, and women are at the helm. Covington and Women of Denver are helping raise the profile of women in business, not through competition, but through meaningful connection and a resolute belief in all women’s capacity to bring their ideas to life.