Founded in 2011, Women on the Move (WOTM) is a nonprofit, donor-advised fund through New Horizons Foundation. WOTM encourages and supports local women to grow and succeed in business by awarding a specialty scholarship to a deserving woman each year.
With a three-legged stepstool of mentorship, scholarship and training—a structure unique to nonprofits in our region—WOTM ignites woman-owned businesses for future growth and job creation.
Women on the Move has partnered with three major organizations in our community: Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Colorado Springs Rising Professionals (CSRP) and Leadership Pikes Peak (LPP). Each organization has committed to having a board member, or another member, as part of our WOTM committee.
Staff and Board of Directors
Dee Anna Thompson – Executive Director
As a single mom trying to support a 2-year-old son, Dee Anna created her own business, which quickly grew from a one-woman operation to the fastest-growing commercial cleaning service in Colorado Springs. Vericlean Springs has won numerous awards, including Best of the Springs in both The Gazette and the Colorado Springs Business Journal. She has been an active local volunteer, lending her efforts to Habitat for Humanity, The Woman’s Resource Agency, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Cystic Fibrosis, Race for the Cure, CASA and Marian House Soup Kitchen. And it does not stop there. Dee Anna believes in positive change, and so she is actively involved with Leadership Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs Rising Professionals and the Small Business Development Center.
In 2012, having a desire to help other women entrepreneurs succeed, Dee Anna started Women with Hat-itudes, which has changed to Women on the Move. This non-profit, donor advised fund, supports women-owned businesses by providing them with a scholarship to directly help them stay in business, become profitable and create new jobs for the community.
Women On The Move Board Members
Laraine Saldivar Gillespie
Laraine joined Leadership Pikes Peak as their Executive Director in April, 2015. Laraine’s resume includes more than 20 years of management, fundraising, business development, training, sales and marketing experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and master’s degree in human resources development. Laraine has lived and worked in the Pikes Peak Region since 1998 and served as a board member for several local nonprofit organizations, including Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity and United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council. She has been active in Colorado Springs Rising Professionals and is a member of El Pomar’s Hispanic Advisory Council. Laraine was in the 2014/15 Signature class.
Aikta joined the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) team as the director of the Colorado Springs center in May 2012. Prior to the SBDC, she was the director of partnership marketing with the Professional Bull Riders (PBR). In that role, Marcoulier managed a team which provided all aspects of sponsorship and account management.
Marcoulier first began her work within the Colorado Springs community with the Native American Sports Council, a community-based organization of the United State Olympics Committee, where she received the experience of acquiring grants and local support to meet broader goals of the organization. She is currently a committee member for the Regional Business Alliances’ Entrepreneurial Sector Committee and Better Business Bureau’s Women in Business Committee. Aikta is actively involved in the El Pomar Emerging Leaders Program and Rising Professionals. Past memberships include board membership of the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Women to Women Mentoring and the Executive Leadership Committee for the Leukemia Lymphoma Man/Women of the Year Gala.
Jessica is a Branch Manager at a location of Security Service Federal Credit Union in Colorado Springs. She is in charge of sales and service, hiring, and employee development at her location. In this role, she was instrumental in developing a branch-specific vision statement that helps empower employees to make decisions to provide the best service to members. Jessica has 15 years of experience in service and project management in the financial services and education industries. Jessica volunteers locally for many organizations and works to provide financial literacy education to local non-profits. She is an active member of Colorado Springs Rising Professionals program, including chairing the Civic Engagement Committee. Jessica is a Business Administration graduate from Florida State University.
A Colorado Springs native Janel, founded EMPOWERED Colorado, a non-profit organization that empowers people to change the way they view themselves and help them find their inner beauty, while trying to survive life’s ups and downs. During a difficult time in her own life, she noticed so many other people hurting, paralyzed with fear and regret, possessing no coping skills. “I couldn’t find any programs that offered lasting and life-changing help,” says Amella. It was then, Janel knew her calling in life was to provide guidance and help for others in need. Prior to creating EMPOWERED Colorado ~ A Self-Image & Self-Esteem Center, Janel spent over 25 years in the talent industry where the majority of her time was spent traveling all over the world as a professional model, then running her own modeling agency. During her successful career however, Janel hid a very different life. She was made to fear and feel worthless by an alcoholic and abusive husband. Her self-worth diminished completely. In order to cope, Janel turned to drugs and alcohol. It’s been less than three years since Janel quit her job and founded EMPOWERED Colorado. The program consists of 12 workshops that offer fun and life-changing classes like Health & Well-being, Art Expression, Self-defense, Life & Financial Planning, Yoga, Nutrition, Fitness, Dance Expression, Responsibility, Self-Image & Self-Esteem through improve and a Photo Finish. Each of these comprehensive, hands-on workshops are facilitated by licensed experts in their respected fields.
Lorrie is originally from Georgia but has lived in Colorado for more than 10 years. Her college experience led her into the education field, but she has pursued other fields. She is a mom of two beautiful teens and has owns an event planning company. She loves volunteer work in event planning and fashion shows. She is an entrepreneur at heart, is a devout gym rat, loves hiking, and did her first 14er this year. She enjoys making a difference in people’s lives and believes in treating others as you would want to be treated.
Katherine is the CEO of Sigma Metals, the Springs’ premier metal fabricator and erector with 30-plus employees. Katherine also owns and operates Katherine Marie Photography, specializing in portraiture for women at all ages and stages of life.
Katherine’s professional career started at 14 as a classically trained ballet dancer. Seeking her next challenge, she joined the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty for over 12 years. Katherine is currently a member of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, Saint Mary’s STEM board, USAFA Former Faculty, Veterans Transition Assistance Program panel, Business Women’s Network and Colorado Springs Rising Professionals. Katherine’s education includes a Civil Engineering BS from the University of VA, Structural Engineering MS from UC Berkeley and PhD in Structural Engineering from the University of Maryland, where she was appointed guest researcher at the Army Research Lab in Aberdeen, MD. Katherine is married to her military-sweetheart and has two little girls.