The Blog

Blog: Meet Candy

Meet Candy. She’s a non-profit consultant, triathlon athlete, entrepreneur, animal lover, and ELEVATE member who is always pushing herself to reach new heights.

We caught up with Candy and asked her some questions about what makes her happy, what makes her tick, and what goals she has for the upcoming New Year. Take a read here:

What do you do (for work, life and play)?

I work for myself and run my own fundraising/development consulting business. I work with local non-profits to help them with all their fundraising needs.  In life, I love to play!  I am an endurance athlete and like to focus on half ironman triathlon distances.  I love to ski, road bike, mountain bike, trail run and eventually want to learn how to rock climb and canyoneering.  I love to explore Summit County and neighboring Park County with my two dogs, Roo and Monroe. 

What’s your vision/goal for the next year? (BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

I am in the process of a new business venture with two very talented local ladies. We  are in the process of creating our website. It’s entitled Life with Altitude. We plan to launch in December so stay tuned for details.  In addition, my 2016 BHAG will be to compete in Escape from Alcatraz June 2017. It’s an Olympic distance triathlon (1.5 mile swim, 18 mile bike and 8 mile run). The swim takes place in the frigid cold waters of the San Francisco Bay where you jump off the back of a ferry boat.  The bike is an 18-mile hilly and very technical course through the streets of downtown San Francisco and the run is 8-miles along the shoreline of the bay climbing up the infamous beach ladder course!  Although it will be at sea-level, the course if not for the weak at heart.  It’s a bucket-list race for sure!

Why did you move to Summit? How long have you been here?

I moved to Summit in February 2013.  It’s going on four years. I moved from Philadelphia and it was the best decision of my life! I can’t imagine living, playing and working anywhere else.

What’s your motivation?

My motivation is continuing to step out of my comfort zone.  I love the challenge of conquering my fears or of the unknown.  Nothing is more exhilarating in feeding my soul.

What’s your biggest challenge?

I think LIFE is the biggest challenge.  Curveballs are constantly thrown and it can weigh you down but it’s how you look that those solutions to bounce back.  We only get one shot at this and I want to make the most of it.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Literally, my dogs.  Their sweet faces, unbridled energy and unconditional love is infectious.  They help me start my day with a smile on my face and a skip in my step. 

What’s your “WHY” in life or for work?

To help others.  It’s why I do what I do.  I want to help people succeed and organizations grow to help benefit the community at large.

How do you manage setbacks or obstacles?

With patience, kindness to myself, and counting on my emotional intelligence as a reminder that I am resilient.  I’ve experienced the sudden death of my father late in life, two divorces, living in a third world country with daily violence/crime and sexual abuse as a young child. Through all that I’ve still managed to move forward and never look back.  I try my best to learn from my past of course but I know once I set my mind to something, I realize I came come out stronger on the other end. That’s a powerful thing.

Why work at a coworking space?

I like the open work space, the positive energy, and the people I have met so far.  Working from home is hard and I’m a social person.  I find this is a good weekly balance to my work week. 

What’s your secret sauce or superhero power or secret weapon?

In grad school I was called “Candy the Connector”.  It doesn’t take me long to meet new people and I love the energy I get knowing I’m helping others connect in our community.

What’s your advice to other entrepreneurs?

Don’t be afraid to try. 

Favorite trail or outdoor activity/spot to be?

Two spots:  I love to run or mountain bike the Horseshoe Gulch Trail and open water swim in North Pond in Silverthorne.  There is something special swimming outdoors and looking at the mountains.  It’s the best way to feel like your problems don’t exist and why I love Colorado so much.  Nature is the best medicine.

Anything else? (favorite podcast, book, quote)

My favorite poem is INVICTUS  by William Ernest Henley.  It was the same poem Nelson Mandela read daily in prison.  The last two lines guide me everyday and it’s now tattooed on my left wrist:

“I am the master of my fate:  I am the captain of my soul.”  Words to live by!

BLOG: Meet Jill

Jill Benbow is a runner, skier, biker, mom, community manager and a member of ELEVATE’s community of entrepreneurs, tech workers and badasses. When she’s not listening to podcasts or working for a Seattle-based tech company, you can find her out on the trails running, skiing or biking. She’s also downright hilarious and one of the masterminds behind ELEVATE’s Thirsty Thursdays (our member-only Thursday afternoon get-togethers).

What do you do (for work, life and play)?

 I’m a Senior Community Manager for RealSelf, a Seattle-based tech company.  When I’m not doing all things community I’m an outdoors enthusiast and enjoy getting into the woods as much as possible be it via ski, bike, or run.

What’s your vision/goal for the next year? (BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

I have a pretty full plate right now so my main focus is just getting through each day.

Why did you move to Summit? How long have you been here?

I moved here after graduating from CU Boulder 13+ years ago in an effort to never grow up.  It half worked.

What’s your motivation?

Usually being able to afford the next beach vacation. 

What’s your biggest challenge?

Time management 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My annoying alarm clock, mornings will never be my thing.

What’s your “WHY” in life or for work?

To do my part to make the world a better place, even if it is just through a kind comment or a simple gesture.  Never underestimate the power of simple kindness. 

How do you manage setbacks or obstacles? 

I spend some time thinking deeply about the issue, then come up with steps to move forward. 

Why work at a coworking space?

I’m more productive at Elevate versus working from home.  When you work from home you have laundry and dishes (and a fully stocked kitchen).  It is also harder to totally disconnect from work when you are done, blurring the work/life balance.  Having a physically separate place to work has helped my work/life balance tremendously.  The social aspect is something really valuable, it is great group of people to share a workspace with.  Working at a coffee shop does not offer the same benefits.

What’s your secret sauce or superhero power or secret weapon?

I can solve any problem with a trail run.  The answers just show up and everything makes sense.

What’s your advice to other tech workers/remote workers?

Try coworking.  Seriously.  

Favorite trail or outdoor activity/spot to be?

I’m just happy to be in the woods! 

Anything else? (favorite podcast, book, quote)

Podcasts – Being Boss and My Favorite Murder

Books – Game of Thrones (patiently waiting for the next one!)

BLOG: Where to Eat & Fuel Up in Frisco

Frisco is the epicenter of Summit County, which makes it the perfect place for a meeting, power business lunch or catered event. Thankfully the town is chock full of delicious restaurants and power lunch eateries. Most of these are an easy walk from our ELEVATE Frisco coworking location and others are a quick 5-minute drive or bike ride away.

frisco2After asking about the WiFi and our favorite trails, the next question from our new coworking members or visitors to town is: Where should I eat? To help answer that, here are some of our recommendations for business lunches, a quick bite or catering options.

Of course, if you’re looking for a place to host a meeting, team training, strategy session or event, book the ELEVATE Frisco conference room here or contact us and we can help with other recommendations (


Looking for a quick – and affordable – bite? Look no further than Peppino’s Pizza. They have huge slices for $5 and when we say huge, we really mean HUGE. They definitely get the job done and then some. Our trouble is resisting the temptation to eat pizza everyday. Other than pizza they serve sandwiches, salads, pastas and more. Peppino’s is about 150 yards away from ELEVATE, but they also deliver just in case you can’t break away from your business meeting, team training or your project. If you’re an ELEVATE coworking member or a frequent visitor to town, make sure you sign up for their local’s card and get points to save on future orders. Oh, and don’t forget about their enormous gooey chocolate chip cookies. No wonder Peppino’s is our go-to lunch spot at ELEVATE Frisco.

frisco3The Smiling Moose and Which Wich are other recommendations for quick bites or catering. Smiling Moose is based in Colorado with locations from Texas to Montana. Which Wich just opened a new shop in Frisco (next to Natural Grocers and Starbucks on Summit Blvd.). These are two great options for sandwiches.

Backcountry Brewery is conveniently located across the parking lot from ELEVATE in the Mount Royal Plaza. And, guess what – they have beer, which means it truly is one of our favorite spots in town. With more than 20 years of experience brewing beers, they have every flavor figured out to a science. AJ, the head brewer is a frequent visitor to ELEVATE Frisco and hooks us up with the best and freshest flavors. We recently tasted his Breakfast Stout, a smooth dark stout mixed with coffee grounds from the local coffee shop just up the street. It’s not too dark and has rich complex flavors with hints of cinnamon. We highly recommend it. Oh yeah, about the food. We love the appetizer menu there, the Backcountry burger and if you’re really hungry, check out the Beer Bacon Mac n’ Cheese pizza. Yes, there is such a thing. And, yes, of course, we had to try it. And, yes, it is worth it.


The Boat Yard just a short walk away from ELEVATE Frisco (304 Main Street, Frisco) is an American Grill restaurant frisco1with all of your favorite dishes and more. In fact, the menu is huge with a capital H. We recommend this spot for a power lunch, business meeting or cocktails. You’ll see thw who’s who of Frisco at lunch and happy hour here.

Order a sandwich or salad here. Or, if pizza is your thing, order it up. Their wood oven baked pizza rivals any other pizza shop in the county. With takeout and catering menus available, the Boatyard is always at the top of our list for places to “do” lunch.

Other options for power lunches include: Silverheels (601 Main Street, Frisco) the Himlayan Cuisine Restaurant (409 E. Main Street, Frisco) and The Rio. Pho Bay is another option for a sit-down lunch. Don’t let the decor or location (it’s in the Baymont Hotel) deter you. The food is yummy and locals flock to this spot.


Food Hedz has been recognized as Summit County’s top caterer, which we can vouch for. Patty and Dave, the owners are long-time locals. Chef Dave was formerly the creative mastermind behind the award-winning dishes at the upscale Keystone Ranch. He brings his flair for upscale with an affordable twist to their restaurant located a short drive from ELEVATE Frisco (842 Summit Blvd, Frisco) in the shopping complex near Safeway. You can either eat in or place an order for your event, business lunch or team meeting and Patty and her team will deliver it quickly, professionally and with a smile to ELEVATE Frisco. This is our recommendation for catering from sandwiches, salads, entrees, and appetizers. You can bet Food Hedz won’t disappoint.

Other options for catering: Peppino’s for pizza, Which Wich or Smiling Moose for sandwiches, The Boatyard for more upscale options. Gilchrist Catering is another local catering option for business meetings that we like a lot, along with Black Diamond Catering.


Even though we have a mack-daddy coffee and espresso machine at ELEVATE Frisco, we are regulars at Abbey’s Coffee just across the parking lot from us. They’re a mom and pop style cafe that’s always bustling. We’re fans of their over-sized bagels, affordable breakfast burritos and, for lunch, we recommend trying their veggie hummus bagel sandwich. It’s refreshing and light, which won’t weigh you down.

Other options in town: Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters are top-notch at roasting and have a great location right in the heart of downtown Frisco.

The Newbie Checklist – Our guide to moving to Summit County

You’ve decided it’s time for a change and the mountains are calling. Great! Welcome to Colorful Colorado and our amazing community of Summit County.

Before you hit the slopes or the park, there are a few things to know before going from newbie to full-fledged local. Here’s our guide on getting settled in, networking and finding the right trails to explore in Summit County.

Before you move:

Have a realistic expense report and budget. The cost of living is higher in mountain towns. Make sure you’ve saved up and have a cushion in case there are some extra unexpected expenses. You don’t want to get blindsided. It’s recommended to save for at least six months of expenses just in case.

Be prepared with a chunk of change upfront. The first month rent payment plus the last month rent payment plus a deposit is usually required to move in to a new place up here. Moving into a competitive housing market means higher upfront cost so be prepared to put down more upfront then usual. For example If your rent is $800 a month you’ll need $2,400 just to move in.

Your first “crash pad” in the county doesn’t need to be your last. Do your research and check out the towns, neighborhoods and options. Figure out what’s important to you. Would you rather be stumbling distance to the bars and restaurants and sacrifice your living space and a garage? If so, check out Breckenridge or Frisco. Do you prefer a backyard and a coveted garage? Look at Summit Cove or Willowbrook. Want a hassle-free condo or townhouse that’s affordable? Boreas Pass or Wildernest might be the right option. Or, are you seeking a family-friendly ‘hood where everyone knows your name? Wellington Neighborhood, Summit Cove or Peak One might be right up your alley.

Make sure to research the average price of homes, condos, apartments and townhouses. Got kids? You’ll definitely want to scope out the schools first. Looking to save a bunch? Check out the roommate options.

And, if you have a dog or cat, good luck. It can be a little more tricky. It’s not impossible to find a dog-friendly rental, but be prepared to pay a little more either for your security deposit or per month or both. There are a LOT of HOA’s that restrict or forbid pets in rental units so be sure to do your research. Once you and your four-legged friend are moved in, you’ll love it here and all of the trails, the Breck dog park and swims in the lakes and ponds.

If you’re ready for your own home sweet home, there are plenty – and we mean plenty – of agents who can help you buy a home. Do your research. Ask around. Shop around. We recommend Rick Eisenberg with CornerStone Real Estate. He knows the local market, hosts a networking meetup at ELEVATE every other week and is an all-around good guy. Check him out: (

Ideally you’ll want to have a job lined up before you move or make arrangements with your employer to work remotely. Or, maybe you’re looking to start a business or relocate your own business. Good for you.

If you’re job hunting, start early. Network and get some prospects before you even move. Check out these resources to help lock down a job:

The Colorado Workforce –
Temp Agency –
Vail Resorts –
Copper Mountain
And an independently owned job board

Networking at ELEVATE coworking spaces in either Frisco or Breck can lead to some not-yet-announced opportunities and job openings. So, check out our events and meetups: (

Decide if you need your car. Having a vehicle isn’t necessary but can be convenient getting around. Luckily Summit County has a free public bus system that makes getting around easy and free ( Download the app to have quick access on your smartphone.

If you do have a car be sure to register your car for Colorado within 90 days. Breckenridge Motor vehicle can take care of that for you ( Getting a drivers license is done at the Frisco Community Commons (

After you move here:

Now that you’ve moved in, got a job or relocated your business, it’s time for the fun. It’s time to get outside and explore all the things that makes Summit County great. First a fair warning, altitude sickness is real. Living at 9,000 feet above sea level will take a few days to acclimate. Be sure to hydrate accordingly and take it easy at first. And avoid drinking your favorite adult beverages for a few days until you’re in High Country shape. 

Winter Activities

If you’re a skier or snowboarder, make sure to buy your season pass before the prices go up in November. The Summit Local, Epic and Epic Local passes are some of the most popular passes sold by Vail Resorts. The top level, top-notch, most expensive Epic pass is around $800 preseason and gets you unlimited riding days at Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Vail, and Beaver Creek as well as access to all the other Vail Resorts owned mountains. Not a bad deal considering prime rates on weekends are $120+ a day at most of these resorts. Check out all the details here:

Looking for a more affordable option? Try the Vail Resorts’ Summit Local pass, the Arapahoe Basin-only pass or try Copper Mountain’s pass. Copper isn’t part of the Vail Resorts family, so their pricing tends to be a little bit lower and the crowds tend to be a lot thinner on weekends. Check ito out:

If you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, try nordic skiing, skinning or snowshoeing for a slower paced adventure. There are nordic centers in Frisco, Breckenridge, Keystone and Copper. If you have your own gear, just strap on the skis or snowshoes and go explore!

We just touched a few of the many sports you can do out here. Check out this list of winter activities by GoBreck for more activities:

Summer activities

Many people come to Summit County for the winter activities and world class ski resorts but many locals will say that summertime is the best time to be in the High Rockies. Whether you’re into biking, fishing, rafting, hiking, or camping, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the warmer season here.

Hiking is the gateway to exploring new trails and sights without forking over hundreds if not thousands of dollars in new gear and equipment. You can experience steep mountaineering on Colorado’s famous 14er’s (or 13’ers) or find a family friendly hike with beautiful scenery everywhere you look.

Here are a few of our favorite hikes for beginner hikers:

  • Sapphire Point Overlook on Swan Mountain Road – A quick hike less than a mile with breathtaking views of the 10 mile range and Lake Dillon. This is a hike without any steep terrain and lots of parking. If you have friends and family who are not acclimated this is a good place to start. Check out more info here:
  • Old Lake Dillon – In the early mining times around 1800 the original town of Dillon was located under where Lake Dillon is today. Old Lake Dillon is high above and very easily overlooked if you have driven around Lake Dillon. On the Dam road, there’s a small trailhead with parking. The hike is only 1.7 miles and you will come across a small pond which hold Golden Trout. Fun fact, Old Lake Dillon is the only place outside of California to hold Golden Trout. Check out this hidden gem that many tourist and locals overlook:
  • Mt. Royal in Frisco – A steep hike but you can make it to the peak in an hour. At the top you are rewarded with a refreshing view of Lake Dillon and all of Summit County. The trailhead is right off of Main Street in Frisco so reward yourself with a refreshing beverage at one of the numerous bars and restaurants right in town after the descent. If you want to push yourself keep going up the trail to Mt. Victoria and Peak 1. A little more demanding and only recommended if you’re in good shape but this towering hike is very rewarding once you accomplish it. More info on Mt. Royal –

Finding a group of friends can be difficult when moving to a new city. We recommend coming to one of our ELEVATE coworking meetups to network with cool, smart, driven, fun locals and visitors. Sign up for our meetup group here:

Our last bit of advice is to respect nature and the community and you will receive respect back. Respect your fellow gaper because they help fuel our county when they’re traveling through even if they’re going 10 MPH below the speed limit. We are all here to experience the wonderful place called Summit County and we want to cherish it for future generations to come.

NEWS: Hickenlooper to sign Mobile Learning Labs bill in Summit County

Hickenlooper to sign Mobile Learning Labs bill in Summit County

“Hickenlooper and Hamner will meet at Elevate CoSpace in Frisco (771 Granite St.) at 1:45 p.m. for the public signing. Following the brief ceremony, Hamner will give a brief explanation of the bill and how it can benefit Colorado businesses.”

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NEWS: Summit County small business center hosts seminar on pitching to the media

Summit County small business center hosts seminar on pitching to the media

“This morning at Elevate CoSpace in Frisco, Denver-based marketing expert Michelle Ellis leads a workshop on the dos and don’ts of pitching business stories directly to the media. It’s part of the brand-new Business Mentor Series, a yearlong series presented by the local office of the Northwest Colorado Small Business Development Center with help from a rotating corps of business experts.”

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NEWS: Summit County Startup Weekend brings budding entrepreneurs to Frisco

Summit County Startup Weekend brings budding entrepreneurs to Frisco

“Time moves a bit faster in the startup world.

Just ask Ryan Sullivan, the founder and chief executive of Parkify, a 1-year-old startup based in Denver. After several months of nonstop coding, marketing and customer engagement, plus a stint with industry mentors through the Boomtown Accelerator in Boulder, his company’s real-time smartphone parking app for urbanites is set to launch in late April.”

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NEWS: Joel Gatz of OpenSnow tapped as keynote speaker for Startup Ski Summit in Frisco, Arapahoe Basin

Joel Gatz of OpenSnow tapped as keynote speaker for Startup Ski Summit in Frisco, Arapahoe Basin

“The summit, hosted by Elevate CoSpace in Frisco, brings entrepreneurs and start-ups from across the Front Range and the Colorado Rocky Mountains to the county for a full day of tech-friendly panels, presentations and, of course, a morning on the slopes at Arapahoe Basin.”


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NEWS: Social Summit: Women of the Summit host holiday party

Social Summit: Women of the Summit host holiday party

Women of the Summit recently held a holiday party at Elevate CoSpace in Frisco. The group was founded in Summit County decades ago as a way for women to network before they were allowed to be members of the local Rotary Club.

“This is a truly amazing group of fun, festive women who are incredibly successful in business and who are dedicated to making our community stronger and more vibrant,” said Amy Kemp, of Mountaintop Media, who recently got involved with the group.”

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NEWS: Startup Ski Summit pairs powder turns with Joel Gratz keynote, tech panels

Startup Ski Summit pairs powder turns with Joel Gratz keynote, tech panels

“High Country entrepreneurs don’t quite abide by the typical 9-to-5.

Just ask Amy Kemp of Elevate CoSpace. Rather than launch yet another business mixer with brainstorming sessions and startup strategizing and a cheese platter or two, the founder of Frisco’s first co-working space took a cue from Entrepreneurship 101 and tapped her environment.”

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