The Fire Within

Each year Embark Credit Union and the Great Falls Development Authority honor exemplary women in business. Thank you to Embark Credit Union for sponsoring so there is no charge to attend.

Each year, The Fire Within, held at the Meadow Lark Country Club, celebrates aspiring and inspiring women entrepreneurs! We will have quick inspirational stories of women making it in business and speed dating style table topics including: structuring your business, financial management, marketing tips, building your network, turning a side hustle into a main hustle, gracious space, crafting your elevator pitch, and MORE!

Inspire Award

This award will go to a Woman Business Owner in an established business that has made a significant personal contribution to its success, growth or expansion. We are looking for a business savvy woman who has helped or is helping other business owners or budding entrepreneurs. The winner will have: five plus successful years in business and mentored at least one other entrepreneur.

INSPIRE Award Hall of Fame

2011: Cari Yturri, Bennett Motors
2012: Sandra Johnson-Thares, O’Haire Motor Inn
2013: Alison Fried, Dragonfly Dry Goods
2014: Penny Rubner, Penny’s Gourmet to Go
2015: Linda McPherson, Montana Academy of Salons
2016: Katy Duncan, Happy Tails Lodge
2017: Beth Leathem, Bighorn Outdoor Specialists
2018: Dianne Meinhardt, Cogswell Insurance/MAA
2019: Kari Lane Johnson, My Viola Floral Studio
2020: Amber Hofstad, Windrift Hill; Erin Merchant, Schermele Films

Aspire Award

This award will go to a Woman Business Owner who has recently realized her dream by starting a new venture. Her early success and accomplishments show her creativity, passion and drive. The Aspire winner will have: Less than 5 years in business and a successful start!

ASPIRE Award Hall of Fame

2011: Cindy Ceiluch, Cindy Ceiluch Photorgraphy
2012: Kari Lane Johnson, My Viola Floral Studio
2013: Tracy Perry, The Blue Rose
2014: Janet Neil, Bert and Ernie’s
2015: Amber Fern, Fern Photography
2016: Heidi Reiste, Electric City Coffee
2017: Kattie Meyer, Motifs
2018: Yve Bardwell and Maggie Carr, Dropstone Outfitting
2019: Susan Crocker, The Good Wood Guys
2020: Ashley Wilkinson, Fetch Pet Boutique; Candice English, The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers; Hallie Thompson, Wholesome Hal’s; Melissa Dascoulias, Dascoulias Realty Group; Tara Beam, Roadhouse Diner; Vanessa Bucklin, Pondera County Insurance