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interview 008

interview 008

colleen heidinger

colleen heidinger. the kind of girl who sweeps in a fur coat. just kidding (the photo was for dramatic effect, but i must admit—her fur coat is pretty badass). colleen even has her name sewn in the inside pocket of her coat. how bout that? 

colleen is a young leader involved in the entrepreneurial community in buffalo, new york. she is the director of events and programming at 43north, a $5 million startup competition. her work is no small task. in fact, she’s so passionate about events and planning that she is renovating a historic two story building. the top space is a flat and the bottom floor will be an event space or yoga studio.

colleen is super kind, independent, smart, and always willing to help towards the greater good. here’s why.


what is the biggest challenge or opportunity you’ve faced and how did it shape who you are?

i was given the opportunity to travel to kenya in 2014 while i was living in los angeles. i didn’t realize it at the time, but the trip would be a life-changer. the first-hand experiences with a population that was so passionate for life awakened my soul and gently moved me to reexamine my own purpose. they were grateful for every meal, every piece of clothing, every day at school, and every family member. i wasn’t leading a life that i was proud of nor did i work in an industry that i was passionate about. it was my time with the natural beauty of the african land, wild animals, and kind souls that pushed me towards the things that i am grateful for—buffalo, my family, and entrepreneurship.

Colleen stands in front of her building in Larkinville


what’s one word, thought, or philosophy that you live by?  

live in the now.

when i lived in new york city, my yoga instructor would say this time and time again. she’d state it in any given class while we were minutes into a holding a pose. i find myself thinking of those words increasingly more as life goes on. boring dinner? spark the conversation. long board meeting? start taking notes. dental appointment? be thankful it’s not knee surgery. time with loved ones? put your phone away. out for a walk? look up. it’s the simple things that make life beautiful and we need to continuously recognize that.  

you can follow colleen and her building adventures on instagram: @the867project


our gritbabe journal features ladies from all walks of life who have persevered, overcome, and achieved great success. if you have a story to share, get in touch.

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