Meet the Women Behind the Moment

Earlier this month, the Colorado Business Journal named Aslan as one of the Top-100 Women-Owned Businesses in the state. It’s one of the greatest awards Aslan has received – and surely one of the most meaningful. 

But there’s more to this award than the recognition. For the women responsible for launching Aslan, this is the validation of a life-long dream. We asked the lead lionesses of Aslan to share more of their story, sharing more detail and insight into all that went into this defining moment. 

Q: What spurred you to start Aslan, a woman-owned lending company in a male-dominated industry?

Carrie Gusmus: I wanted to build a company that fully embraced the feminine qualities that show love to our employees, our clients, and our business partners. As women, we have a different skill set. We are naturally more collaborative, empathic and intuitive. I wanted to create a business that used those strengths to our advantage. 

Valerie Sheeley: In the finance industry, a field dominated by men, it was next to impossible to push for inclusion and equity.  Instead of pushing for acceptance, why not change the game and play it on our terms? It was that thinking that really pushed us to go our own way. A mortgage company started by women, owned by women, run by women. We could be the change this industry so needed. 

Q: Looking back on your hard work developing Aslan, what does being a woman-owned company mean to you about the industry’s evolution and future?

Kimberly Starnes: It didn’t even dawn on me that being part of a women-owned lending company would be such a big deal. It shouldn’t be. It should be the norm. But right here, right now, I’m very aware that what we’re doing is changing the very face of the industry. 

Jennifer McCain: We're badasses!  I didn't realize we were such a rare commodity.  After looking around - especially in the mortgage space - I now realize how needed we really are.  Women need a voice, and an example of what we should be doing for our clients.  That's us.

Q:) What advice would you give to women looking to launch and lead their own top 100 woman-owned business? 

Carrie: Plan ahead. Think through every step and craft a clear vision of what your successful company would look like. Bet it all and don't have a plan B.

Kimberly: I would tell these women there are no limits to their potential. We can be our own worst enemies, believing there are limitations for how far we can go. When you can identify and clear the barriers holding you back, both real and perceived, there’s nothing you cannot accomplish.

Valerie: Jump right in and get it done. There hasn’t been a single day where I was not thrilled with my decision to open our business. It has been so rewarding to introduce a disruptive company like Aslan to the mortgage industry. 

Jennifer: Go for it! Yes, it's scary. Yes, you'll make mistakes. Yes, it's a TON of extra work. And yes - it's totally worth it!  Without question, working to launch Aslan was the best decision of my life.  ROAR!