Success breeds success and learning from fellow women business owners will only provide a leg up to cowgirl entrepreneurs attending the inaugural “Lead the Herd” two-day workshop at the 2024 Art of the Cowgirl in Queen Creek, Arizona, as they hear from Jody Brooks, owner of J.W. Brooks Custom Hats, and Lavonna “Shorty” Koger, owner of Shorty’s Caboy Hattery, and also from Jessie Jarvis, founder of Of The West, during the Boss Mares, Inc. Lunch-and-Learns. Boss Mares, Inc. and Art of the Cowgirl combine forces to present the two-day, two-hour workshops celebrating the women who create Western lifestyle businesses and engage in entrepreneurial opportunities in order to provide a positive atmosphere for women to learn, connect, mentor, support and create a path to follow their business dreams.
The workshops, held Friday, January 19, and Saturday, January 20, will provide an info-packed session with Brooks and Koger both leading Friday’s discussion and Jarvis leading Saturday, as well as “Ask Me Anything Q&A’” with registered attendees. The questions will be answered by experts in law, accounting, marketing and leadership.
Jody Brooks, who with her husband, J.W., runs J.W. Brooks Custom Hats based in Lipan, Texas, spent years as a senior paralegal before pivoting her business knowledge to aid her family’s company. Today, she spearheads marketing, sponsorships and advertising drawing on her 20 years’ experience in the Western industry.
“As women, we wear many hats such as being a wife and/or mother or also running a business,” says Brooks. “I think it’s safe to say that we all struggle with juggling these hats from time to time. I feel that through my own personal experiences, I can be helpful to other cowgirls through mentorship and motivation to help guide them through some of the challenges of owning their own business or just managing a busy life. Cowgirls supporting cowgirls—is there anything better? Short answer: no.”
Koger, a National Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee, has crafted Western hats for more than 30 years. With a base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Shorty’s Caboy Hattery is a staple seen at Western performance events and the custom hats grace the head of many World Champions. Art of the Cowgirl attendees will recognize Koger as a former Master Hat Maker.
Of The West is known for connecting job seekers and employers, as well as interns, with sought-after agriculture jobs around the country. Jessie Jarvis has expanded the Of The West brand to include a newsletter that showcases the latest Western news, as well as her podcast, “Leaders of the West,” all based in her home state of Idaho.
“Being an entrepreneur can be challenging, especially for those of us in the agriculture and western space, because most of us balance that endeavor alongside being a spouse, a parent, and a number of other irons in the fire,” says Jarvis.” I want to continually create conversation and opportunities for other women in our industry so that we can lean on and learn from one another because I know that when one of us does well, our whole industry continues to rise.
Launched early in 2023, Boss Mares, Inc., a 501(c)(3), is offering two entrepreneur empowerment “Lead the Herd” workshops and awarding business and education grants in 2024. The January event in Arizona kicks off both goals. The workshop will meet Western women where they are already gathering then bring in powerful expertise to motivate, educate and support them in targeted areas that impact professional success. Additionally, grant applications will open in January with the award date of June 2024, following a selection process that is detailed on bossmaresinc.com.
Co-founded by Anna Morrison, PhD, Patti Colbert and Kate Bradley Byars, all owners of businesses, Boss Mares, Inc. will support female business owners and entrepreneurs by providing access to resources in five key areas: accounting and finance support, continuing education, leadership and career coaching, legal counsel and marketing expertise. The leadership role in a herd of horses is held by a mare, known as the “boss mare.”
Boss Mares, Inc.