Meet the Team
I am excited to join the Wyoming Women’s Business Center team! Since moving to Wyoming many years ago, I have always been amazed by the strength of Wyoming women. Throughout our history, Wyoming women have led the way, broken through barriers, and played such a critical role in making Wyoming what it is today.
Joining the WWBC has been a dream come true for me as I get to focus on two things I think are vitally important: helping women achieve their dreams, and giving back to my Wyoming community.
As we begin a new year, we are excited for what lies ahead. We will be here to support our clients and budding entrepreneurs as they navigate through these unprecedented times, to ensure that they are achieving their dreams. And we will be here to help build Wyoming’s economy. To that end, we want to acknowledge others who believe in and give to these values. I encourage you to become a member of the Wyoming Women’s Business Center’s Alliance of Exceptional Women. Join us in supporting these dreamers and doers, and in turn the Wyoming economy. Together, we can!
OWBO Program Director & Business Counselor
Jonathan Howdeshell is a Laramie, Wyoming native with diverse entrepreneurial experience. He is a full-service business counselor and trainer specializing in a broad range of topics including business planning, strategy, brand marketing, sales, and finance. Jonathan’s skills in assessing the needs of his clients has been instrumental in the development and achievements of the OWBO department. His clients consistently benefit from his supportive and motivational nature. Jonathan is known for his responsiveness and timely answers to client questions.
Prior to joining WWBC, Jonathan worked to help grow a technology start-up company in Laramie dedicated to building computers for financial day traders. Additionally, he grew two entrepreneurial ventures of his own in both the food and financial services sectors. His experience and Business Administration degree from the University of Wyoming make Jonathan a valuable resource for WWBC clients.
Business Education Director
Christine Langley is a sales and marketing expert with a 15+ year track record of achievement and demonstrated success driving sales growth in highly competitive markets. In addition to her corporate experience in General Management, Sales Management, and Human Resources, she is a serial small-business entrepreneur in both product and service businesses. Christine truly understands the joys and challenges associated with business ownership and her clients often praise her for the detailed and specialized assistance she provides.
Most recently, Christine was the Chief Operating Officer for the University of Wyoming Technology Business Center. Through her work with business incubators across the state, she brings a deep knowledge of the Wyoming start-up climate. She has been professionally trained in life and executive coaching from the Coach Training Institute and has been providing business advising and executive coaching to clients for over ten years. With a degree in communications and a special emphasis in interpersonal communication, she is excited to work with WWBC clients on business and personal development, business expansion, and day-to-day operational improvements.
Microloan Director & Technical Assistance Business Counselor
As the Microloan Director, Alex Smith provides development, implantation, and oversight for the microloan program in direct support of small business owners. Alex’s years of experience in the financial industry in both banking and non-profits have been invaluable in building her understanding of the lending needs of small businesses. This understanding allows her to tailor lending options that are as unique as the businesses and owners themselves. In addition, Alex has experience in small business management and entrepreneurship herself. She understands the unique challenges and opportunities of small businesses, especially female-owned small businesses. She truly believes empowered female business owners are the key to a healthy and prosperous Wyoming economy.
In her most recent role with the Small Business Administration, Alex was directly supporting business owners through COVID financial relief offered by the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Her ability to foster relationships with business owners allowed her to create effective solutions for a countless number of small businesses. On a personal note, Alex is a proud military spouse of over ten years with a certain knack for navigating obstacles and resilience to change. Alex’s family is originally from South Dakota, and she has spent quite a bit of time enjoying all Wyoming has to offer.
Works of Wyoming Retail & Store Manager
Lorena Patzer began her entrepreneurial path while in high school in Nebraska. Realizing a 9-year dream of learning hot glass lamp-working, she began selling decorative pieces at a local jewelry store and a mall store while in college.
After moving to Wyoming in 1988, she began selling lamp-work gifts at regional Holiday Shows over the next decade. Then in 1993, she took a basket weaving class and was hooked. Creating freeform baskets using mule deer antlers became a passion, and her biggest accomplishment was being accepted as one of 20 (out of 200 entries) Wyoming exhibitors, with her antler baskets, to be included in QVC's “Quest for America’s Best” when it aired in Wyoming in 1997.
In 2000, e-commerce caught her attention and she began selling on multiple venues, including Amazon and Ebay. In 2011, she was invited to join a highly trained team coaching e-commerce entrepreneurs for 3 years.
She moved to Laramie in 2013 and was hired by the WWBC in 2015 to assist Wyoming Artists in growing their business and selling their works in a downtown retail store, Works of Wyoming, which is now adding an online store (coming Winter 2019).
Lorena and her team are passionate about promoting and selling the works of incredibly talented Wyoming Artists. Customers from all over the United States (and several international countries) find beautiful and unique home decor and gifts to enjoy or share.
Justine, being a Laramie native, believes the strength of one’s character runs back to their roots. Her passion and resourcefulness have guided her path to self-discovery over the last ten years and has opened many doors to new experiences and new places. She has a degree in Animal Science as a Veterinary Assistant and after settling back in Laramie, has become a graduate of Climb Wyoming following courses in Medical Careers.
She prides herself on having an interesting outlook on interpersonal relations and believes that it isn’t just who you know but further how you know them. Her clear and concise communication is always an asset when working with clients. Justine envisions a more direct resolution for those struggling in our communities and is excited to able to work for a business that stands up for women and rises to the occasion for many others struggling in this new day and age.
“Being able to be apart of a much greater cause and really make a difference in a place that I call home is such a meaningful experience!” she says.
Jessica Brauer is a communications consultant, community cheerleader, marketer and writer. She is passionate about capturing the authentic stories of people and their places; dedicated to celebrating humanity through her work, forever exploring, learning, and sharing.
Her work has allowed her to champion for local neighborhoods with economic development agencies, non-profits, and small businesses since starting her first business in 2011. She ardently believes in the power of play, a shared narrative, a heart-centered approach, and a small-town dive.
Jessica previously worked with community organizations, non-profits, and small businesses throughout the country on strategic marketing and digital outreach as a freelance marketer. She joined WWBC as an Outreach Counselor for the COVID-19 Support Program in the Spring of 2020, where she was able to offer one-on-one support to over 150 women-owned businesses within the year.
Currently, Jessica manages the marketing efforts of the WWBC’s programs and creates educational content for the, always free, webinar series on marketing and communications. She holds a degree in Communications and Journalism, an unshakeable entrepreneurial spirit, and love for the West.
Board of Directors
Keren Meister Emerich