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Women in Business

The women of Colorado Springs are some of the most intelligent and successful in the country. Even as statistics across the country continue to show positive movement in this area—four of every 10 U.S. businesses are owned by women, female-led businesses have grown 58% from 2007 to 2018, businesses owned by women generate $3.1 trillion in revenue—in many ways the women who shape our city are leading the pack. The amazing women on the following pages have made their mark in industries as diverse as real estate, finance, fashion, and more and on our community at large. They are well worth getting to know.

Chante Wrecke​

Born and raised in southern California, Chante’ Wrecke recalls begging her parents to join them on house-hunting outings. “Real estate is something I’ve always been interested in. It’s funny to recall how great an appreciation of a well-thought-out floor plan I had at a very young age.” After a successful run as a sales associate with a local new home builder, Chante’ decided it was time to launch her career as a broker associate, joining RE/MAX Integrity. She feels fortunate to have been mentored by Managing Broker, former President of Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, and three-term MLS President Darrell Wass.

The daughter of a contractor and former owner/lead designer of an interior decorating business, Chante’ has a keen eye for detail, especially when helping a client see potential that may not be immediately apparent. A graduate of the Turner School of Construction Management, she’s able to help clients understand structural issues, options, and processes involved with construction. Chante’ is a client-focused agent; she’s determined to address all her client’s needs in a timely manner.

With her husband Brennan and their three sons, Chante’ enjoys traveling, golf, hiking, and cheering on the Rockies and Nuggets. Always the foodie, she loves to check out Colorado Springs’ new restaurants and especially enjoys our budding craft brewery scene. The Wreckes love opening their home to exchange students and are excited to host Rocky Mountain Vibes players this summer.

Chante’ feels blessed to be featured among other wonderful local women in business and hopes she does the honor justice. “When you look to a sales professional for your needs, you must feel confident that they have your best interest at heart. That’s exactly how I hope my clients feel when they trust me with finding the place they’ll call home or the best fit for the home they so loved.”

RE/MAX Integrity

2424 Garden of the Gods Rd., Colorado Springs, CO 80919

(719) 684-3799 / www.CDUBSELLSCO.com

Jennifer Erdley

I can honestly say that I look forward to each and every day working as a Real Estate Broker in the Pikes Peak region and have been doing so for over 22 years. Originally born and raised in the State of Maryland, I grew up enjoying snow skiing and water skiing but particularly the equestrian sport of Three-Day eventing. I competed Nationally for 6 years with a National Championship in 1979. I obtained my Real Estate license in Northern Virginia, where my equestrian trainers resided, in 1986 and moved to Colorado in 1991. Upon relocating to the Teller County area, I have been very active and supportive of our local community organizations with my passion being the rescue and wellness of our animals. I co-founded the Rescue Animal Fund in the mid 1990s, which expanded to privatizing our local no-kill shelter and responsible foster and adoption services.

My selling of homes, land and light commercial in the greater Colorado Springs and Teller county areas has provided lifelong friendships. Consistently a top producer in these areas my awards include the Presidents Award Club, Peak Producer and for the last six years the prestigious Platinum Award. I enjoy assisting sellers achieve a successful and harmonious sale and enjoy helping buyers find their Colorado dream property. My continuous repeat and referral customers remind me that selling real estate makes me the best at what I do. I look forward to many more years of being involved with our community and working in this beautiful Pikes Peak region.

Remax Performance, Inc.

300 Sunny Glen Court, Woodland Park, CO 80863

719.339.4583 / www.JenPro.com

Kristie Bender-Carey

A FORMER BANK PRESIDENT CAPABLE OF HELPING ANY BUSINESS ACHIEVE THEIR FULL MARKET POTENTIAL.

Kristie Bender-Carey, CEO of Bender-Carey Group, leverages her extensive and successful business background to help companies succeed.

Kristie leads a group of experienced specialists in the Bender-Carey Group of companies, each of them performance-proven leaders in Business Advisory, Marketing, Capital Financing, Real Estate, and CPA services. The Bender-Carey Group provides individualized structured financing solutions, simplifying the complex needs of the premier business owner with a focus on rapidly growing small businesses. We can provide commercial financing for: real estate development, medical and legal industries, hotels, multi-family, retail, and equipment acquisition/financing. We can also provide asset-based lending along with business startup capital. Bender-Carey Group specializes in equipment financing, invoicing, commercial real estate, and driving sales with digital marketing. Clients can expect excellence in service and exceptional outcomes, always with integrity.    

Kristie began her financial services career in 1980 with Shearson American Express in Iowa. For 20 years she was owner and president of American Finance Inc., a commercial real estate lender in Colorado Springs. She transitioned into the banking world as Vice President for Business Development with one of Colorado Springs’ largest banks and then Market President for two other large, publicly traded banks in town.

Kristie is a member of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, the Colorado Springs Housing and Building Association, Realtors Commercial and Industrial Society, e-Women Network, and the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors. She has been recognized as a community top business performer, having been voted one of Colorado Springs’ “Women of Influence” and interviewed on KCMJ 93.9 FM. Kristie has been featured in Colorado Springs Business Journal’s “One-on-One” column and in Style Magazine as one of Colorado Springs’ “People to Know”.

Jackie Gunn

Jackie Gunn is a seasoned, dedicated, and fearless entrepreneur who has spent over 30 years in the ladies apparel industry with her business, Kirk & Hill. Born and raised in a small town in Iowa, she began working in fashion at a young age. From creating displays to conversing with customers and building close relationships, and finally being given the opportunity to go on a trip to New York City to purchase a new line as part of the buying team, Jackie knew that she had found her life’s calling.

Today, Jackie is proud to say that many of her very first customers still shop with Kirk & Hill. And each and every one of them point to Kirk & Hill’s timeless and affordable fashion, Jackie’s expertise, and her team’s commitment towards ensuring their satisfaction with each and every purchase.

When building Kirk & Hill, Jackie knew that she wanted to offer something different. Instead of offering cheap merchandise that doesn’t last, she wanted to focus on helping women create wardrobes that they could build on each year. They set out to offer investment dressing that offered women a timeless aesthetic without neglecting some of those classic fashion pieces that belong in every woman’s wardrobe.

And while teaching their customers how to style their outfits, how to build on their collections, and how to feel confident, comfortable, and elegant in each piece, Jackie has also placed a large emphasis on serving the community that helped her to build Kirk & Hill. For 33 years, Kirk & Hill has been the premiere fashion shop in Colorado Springs, and for the last 15 years, they’ve offered shopping events to help benefit local nonprofits by donating a percentage of their proceeds from each event. Today, several stores in the area have followed suit, but it all began with Jackie Gunn and her vision for what Kirk & Hill could be.

Proud to be involved in the Colorado Springs community, Kristie shares, “This community has been amazing to me. It has made me who I am. Now it’s time for me to give back.”

Kirk and Hill

1710 Briargate Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80920

(719) 635-7038 / www.kirkandhill.com

Renee Behr

Renee Behr is a great believer in giving back to the community. As a successful businesswoman, she has managed to combine her deep community spirit with her profession, building up one of Colorado Springs’ top real estate companies and bringing people from all walks of life together.

A proud owner and partner of Behr and Behr, of The Platinum Group Realtors, Renee loves nothing more than helping people who want to relocate to the great city of Colorado Springs by introducing them to its many charms. Her enthusiasm and commitment are reflected in her success. Renee’s team sold a total of 125 homes in 2018, far ahead of the national average of 12 per year.

Outside of work, Renee is also dedicated to the nonprofit A Daughter’s Heart, which she founded 22 years ago. She still serves as CEO, helping to foster the relationship between fathers and daughters.

Her work as a strong community advocate also sees Renee sit on both the Ventures Board of the Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership and the Board of Governors of Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, two organizations she is honored to represent.

For Renee, community is all about sharing with others and giving back. It is about coaching her son’s soccer team and being the lead parent for her daughter’s class at The Classical Academy, hosting volleyball games and dinners for multiple Young Life Campaigners groups. It is also about organizing exciting events, such as backyard concerts and even an annual themed black and white party for her friends and clients.

In life there is always room for improvement and Renee’s life goal is to listen and learn more, stretching her mind to see beauty in all things.

It is this desire that has led to new creative outlets. Not only has Renee formed a group for women where they can come together and listen to podcasts, discussing their thoughts with enlightened conversation, she has also created a COS Women to Women semi-annual panel, where millennials and baby boomers gather to speak and listen about life experiences.

It is all part of her mission to bring people closer together and make her motto a reality: “live to love.”

Behr and Behr / The Platinum Group Realtors

6760 Corporate Dr. #300, Colorado Springs, CO 80919

719.536.4355 / behrandbehr.com