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Meet Four (of the Many) Accomplished Women in the Uncompahgre Valley

Make no mistake, there is a fairly long way to go before we achieve true equality between the sexes, both here in the Uncompahgre Valley and the country, but there are lots of women here that refuse to be constrained by traditional gender roles or by any kind of glass ceiling

From CEOs to artists, we have some incredible women who not only call the Uncompahgre Valley home but are working to make it better. Here we profile a few of these women in what will be, hopefully, the start of a series of profiles on women in the Uncompahgre Valley that are as impressive as they are inspirational

Alexis Baca-Spry | Photographed by Savannah Conley

Alexis Baca-Spry, licensed professional counselor and owner of thriving Majestic Counseling, found that COVID opened the door for her practice to expand through telehealth, connecting with adults in new, comfortable ways. She is EMDRIA ( trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and in Equine-Assisted EMDR therapy. EMDR therapy provides clients rapid relief by reducing symptoms such as anxiety, stress, panic attacks, complicated grief, performance anxiety, addictive behaviors, disturbing memories, phobias and trauma reactions. Alexis recommends this therapy for anyone “who is finding that things are not working for them anymore and they are open to trying something different, non-traditional, to heal what’s happened in the past causing issues now.”

Alexis started her own practice after thoughtful contemplation and evaluation. What was most important to her was integrating balance with a lifestyle of flexibility, nurturing time with family, and managing her own schedule to include self-care. In talking with friends and business owners to learn how to be successful in operating her own practice, she left community health to start out on her own. She asked herself “just try it, what is the worst that can happen?” And answered, “I go back to working for someone else, like I have already experienced.” Alexis felt there was no downside, only an upside with new possibilities for growth.

She is an avid runner, back-packer and enjoys freestyling in the kitchen. You may see her out hiking along the Western Slope with her Blue Heeler/Aussie dog, Soro, as she is preparing to complete the entire 800 miles of the Arizona Trail.

Dr. Yuliya Jurnov | Photographed by Savannah Conley

Dr. Yuliya Jurnov, a licensed Doctor of Oriental Medicine and licensed Acupuncturist for over 10 years, owns the successful Come For Health, Acupuncture and Natural Health clinic in Montrose. Dr. Yuliya uses Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in her approach to healing physical pain in the human body. Some services offered are gentle acupuncture, cupping, herbal medicine, and bioenergy. Physical pain is often the messenger calling out to get our attention. She helps her patients heal their physical pain, which is often accompanied by emotional pain, to move them back into balance. Many patients come to her with depression, anxiety, stress, lower back pain, PTSD, and sleep problems.

She found relief herself as the recipient of acupuncture and herbal medicine. She knew this Eastern medicine approach to healing was what she wanted to intensely study and share with others to help them heal. This is her life purpose, not just a job. She loves her work and wakes up excited each day to make a difference in the lives of others. Her entire life is devoted to learning, growing, and helping people not stay stuck in their pain.

“I never really wanted to work under somebody else. However, owning my own business was a gradual process, an evolution of sorts, that consisted of many steps,” says Dr. Yuliya. “Even if you are starting something new, learn from others who are already successfully running businesses.”

While away from Come For Health, Dr. Yuliya enjoys cross-country skiing and hiking with her family and German Shepherd, Gesser, along with soaking in local hot springs.

Kelley (Field) Sanburg | Photo by Savannah Conley

Kelley (Field) Sanburg, a fourth generation family member in the Uncompahgre Valley, successfully owns and operates Coffeepot High Country Outfitters, a premier hunting outfit with drop camps and DIY packing services for archery, black powder, and rifle seasons for elk, mule deer and black bear. Coffeepot specializes in big game hunting opportunities, however, they also offer summer vacation adventures including trail riding, fishing, pack trips and special family outings.

She cannot imagine doing anything other than living by her own hands, farming, raising sheep and horses, running cattle, and packing. The knowledge and wisdom of the land and animals is in her blood and is inseparable from who she is. The only time away from the land for Kelley was to attend Colorado State University to earn her B.S. in Agricultural Business.

Running her own business allows her the freedom to be who she is 100 percent. “I like the fact that I am my own boss outside all day, not stuffed into an office,” Kelley said. “It is a wonderful life, although it is a tough living. It is more than driving around fancy tractors, you have to be ok with living out of trucks and tents,” she added.

She loves working hard to provide food, fiber, and clothing for the community. And putting the painstaking attention into cultivating beautiful fields that people admire along the Valley. It feels so rewarding to her when she receives a simple ‘thank you’ from the community. When a person recognizes and respects the fruits of her labor with genuine appreciation, that means the world to her.

Megan Kimmel | Photographed by Savannah Conley

Megan Kimmel, owner of the flourishing Ridgway Natural Foods, is passionate about contributing to positive change. She has created a place for the community to connect and support each other through local, farm-based food. Her market and deli provide organic, fresh, consciously sourced foods, to take on the go or to enjoy on the patio.

As a world-class, professional mountain athlete, Megan understood the value of high-quality food as it directly affected her running performance. Traveling around the world to compete, Megan was exposed to both low-quality airport food and small, organic grocers who offered fresh produce and local goods. This contrast inspired her to bring the concept back home. Ridgway Natural Foods was born as a way for Megan to feel grounded and create a healthy community that supports itself to economically thrive.

Megan is a socially and environmentally conscious business leader, who feels fulfillment through her work as an expression of her values. “My whole heart is into it. It is rewarding to be around really great people everyday who are excited about the store and products,” Megan shares. She believes that “we have the power to change things in small communities” and that fuels her desire to persevere with focused intent and patience and she continues to grow Ridgway Natural Foods. “Good things take time to build, one step at a time. However, one step at a time can make grand changes.”

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