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It takes more than business acumen to be inducted into the Mountain Area Women in Business Hall of Fame.
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It takes community involvement, commitment to others and an unceasing love for Evergreen. This year’s three new inductees are Alexa Cowley, Pandora Erlandson and Beth Riser, who were honored on May 12 at the annual Women in Business Luncheon sponsored by the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce. Their biographies provide a laundry list of causes and organizations they have been leaders in.
They join 10 others who have been inducted since the Hall of Fame was created in 2018: Peggy Eggers, Gail Riley, Kristin Witt, Gail Sharp, Rita Felde, Kay D’Evelyn La Montagne, Linda Kirkpatrick, Betsy Hays, Linda Lovin and Susanne Robert.
Also nominated this year were Stephanie Riggi and Valli Crockett.
Cowley, owner of Mountain Home and Alexa Interiors, serves on the boards of the Evergreen Legacy Fund Foundation and Center for the Arts Evergreen. She hosts artist receptions and holiday open houses, and is involved in sponsoring local nonprofits.
While Cowley couldn’t attend the luncheon, she said through friend Gail Riley that she was honored to be named to the Hall of Fame with the other women who donate so much time to benefit the community.
“If you know her, I’m sure you adore her,” Riley said of Cowley. “She is a downright doer. She is professional, and she takes tasks and wraps them up.”
Riser, owner of the Evergreen Gallery in downtown Evergreen, has been heavily involved in the Evergreen Artists Association, including serving as its president and as manager of the Main Street Fine Art Gallery. She took over the Evergreen Angel program and sponsors other programs that benefit Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice, Resilience1220, the Cat Care Society and the Evergreen Garden Club.
“This is quite an honor,” Riser told the group. “I have enjoyed being part of the community for the past 12 years. I love everybody who was nominated. I appreciate all of you.” She noted that the nominees and winners were a large part of the community.
Real estate agent Erlandson and her husband John, operate PandoraJohn Properties, after Pandora had a long career with Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity where she created fundraising events for the organization. The Erlandsons created the Boogie at the Barn fundraising concerts, and Pandora serves on the Leadership Evergreen Advisory Board and the Mountain Area Land Trust board.
Pandora, in accepting the award, quoted John, who says, “You are who you hang with.” She said that so many people here do so much for others both in business and giving back to the community.
“After (being inducted into the Hall of Fame), it gives me the inspiration to do more,” she said.
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