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Heidi Ganahl

Businesswoman, Entrepreneur and Elected Member of the University of Colorado Board

Travels From:
Colorado
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Heidi has faced extraordinary adversity in her life. Beginning with the loss of her husband at the age of 27, to losing a million-dollar insurance settlement, Heidi’s entrepreneurial spirit and extraordinary leadership skills helped her pick herself up and found Camp Bow Wow, a $100 million leader in the pet and franchise industry hitting the Inc 500/5000 list 5 years in a row. For this effort, she has received many accolades including Fortune Magazine’s Top 10 Most Promising Entrepreneurs, and the 2016 Colorado Brave Leader Award.

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Heidi Ganahl has dealt with extraordinary adversity early in her life. Beginning with the loss of her husband in a plane crash at the age of 27, to losing a million-dollar insurance settlement. Heidi’s entrepreneurial spirit helped her pick herself up and found Camp Bow Wow, a $100 million leader in the pet and franchise industry hitting the Inc 500/5000 list 5 years in a row. For this effort, she has received many accolades including Fortune Magazine’s Top 10 Most Promising Entrepreneurs, and the 2016 Colorado Brave Leader Award.

After selling Camp Bow Wow a few years ago, Heidi dedicated herself to “giving back.” She was elected in a heated state-wide race to the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado and is on several other boards focusing on entrepreneurship and education. She also founded the Fight Back Foundation, an incubator built to support social entrepreneurs that want to tackle the most pressing societal issues confronting kids today. In 2015, she was appointed by the Governor of Colorado to the School Safety and Youth in Crisis Committee—established to study issues relating to school safety. She is the Chair of Job Creators Network board, and a leader in workforce development and small business startups.

Heidi has an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder in Business Administration, as well as a master’s degree from the University of Denver in Healthcare Administration.

Heidi dealt with tremendous adversity early in her life, but her entrepreneurial spirit, and love of giving back, helped her pick herself up and found Camp Bow Wow, a $100 million leader in the pet and franchise industry, and the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation that helped find homes for over 10,000 dogs. For this effort, she has received many accolades including Fortune Magazine’s Top 10 Most Promising Entrepreneurs, and the 2016 Colorado Brave Leader Award, and launched the Fight Back Foundation, an incubator for social entrepreneurs to help Colorado kids facing the toughest social issues.


Women are integral to the success of our economy and society now more than ever. But success looks different than it did even a decade ago. Women are shaping a new economy for technology, retail, family, workforce and above all, culture. The SheFactor is a new approach to inspire women to know and live their true talents with authenticity and confidence, in turn, driving higher personal performance, delivering greater value to our economy and society, and empowering needed innovation.


For the first time in the history of America, children born today are worse off than TWO, not just one but TWO, generations ago. 55% of parents believe our children’s America has its best days behind us.


Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”


Americans are recognizing that the decisions made at all levels of our society have a direct impact on them and their families. America isn’t perfect, but it’s the closest thing we’ve got and it’s founded on some amazing principles that have changed the world – and our world – for the better. Heidi was blessed to live the American Dream and wants to make sure all children can do the same. This talk is about her journey from job creator to elected official, and why all of us should brave the political landscape to fight for our children’s future.


Heidi has been blessed to live the American Dream, her passion is to keep that opportunity alive for generations to come. As a University of Colorado Regent, she’s on the front lines of the cultural shift that’s happening with young people across America. We must teach young people how to think, not what to think.


The university exists for no greater purpose than to encourage students to challenge their beliefs through the guarantee of free speech and open inquiry. What’s taught in the university today will be practiced in our culture tomorrow. Graduates will be hired by companies, get elected to political office, join the military, become lawyers and judges. Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas breed bad people, a bad culture, and bad government. That is how liberty is lost. Heidi will speak to leaders in higher ed, students, faculty, and alumni about her effort to preserve free speech and diversity of thought through her organization, the Free to Be Coalition.


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