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At one international medical equipment manufacturer, she was the first woman to be hired for that position in their 100+ year history and taught a department with 800 men and 4 women. It was during that time that Adams realized there is something wrong with the way we train employees - specifically engineers and technicians. "Employee training sucks," Adams deadpans, "Everyone dreads falling victim to 'Death by PowerPoint'."
Frustrated by the limited change she could enact within a corporate structure, Adams quit her job and embarked on a one-year sabbatical. During this time, she helped co-found and launch a scholarship program at her alma mater, CWRU, that awarded students giving Ted-style talks on the experience of minority groups in the STEM field.
At the completion of her sabbatical, Adams moved to Denver where she started her own technical training company. She threw herself into this new initiative, taking advantage of the many free services Denver offers entrepreneurs.
"I knew I was an inexperienced business owner that had a lot to learn, so I just went to everything!" She began regularly attending the consulting sessions offered by the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center.
Through the SBDC, I’ve met with consultants in various realms of expertise. They’ve helped me create a business plan, develop content for my website and marketing my company. I can honestly say my business wouldn’t be where it is today without the SBDC’s assistance,”says Adams. She also became a Gold Level member of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to take advantage of the networking opportunities.
Her company, Ristole, was accepted into prestigious local programs including the Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s "Leading Edge for International Opportunities" and Rockies Venture Club's Hyper-Accelerate. During this time, Adams also scored the highly coveted "Outstanding Women in Business" by the Denver Business Journal for the category of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction as well as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic's (IEEE's) "Outstanding Engineering Educator Award".
At the end of September, Ristole is celebrating its one-year anniversary. Adams expresses the debt she owes to the incredibly supportive entrepreneur community of Denver for her company's success. "This city has given me the opportunity to empower myself as an entrepreneur. I'm grateful to all the organizations and resources this city has made available to people like me, as well as the countless small business owners and industry leaders who have gone out of their way to take me underwing during this past year."