This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
Insights from Storm Creek’s Female Workforce

Insights from Storm Creek’s Female Workforce

What is it like to work for a women-owned company like Storm Creek? We asked a few experts we know—women who are part of our team. Each has her own journey and her own perspective that she shares with you here.

It’s important to remember that any business can build a company atmosphere that encourages what these women describe. But women-owned businesses have a special opportunity to make their company a place that provides the understanding and options for growth where women can thrive. 

Storm Creek has embraced this special opportunity, led by co-owners and wife/husband team Teresa Fudenberg and Doug Jackson.

“This is a community of ‘we’ and that’s a very women-like thing—to focus on the power of community,” said Teresa. “I realize, especially today, that people have a lot of choices of where to go to work. I hope that everyone—in particular, the women who are probably trying to hold down a household, taking care of an aging parent, navigating their career for the first time—I hope they feel that they have entered a place with no ceiling. That there’s opportunity for them. That their voices are heard. And no matter what’s going on in their mind there is always someone there to listen and help them advance to where they want to be.”

Teresa Fudenberg

[Learn more about Teresa’s professional journey and the women who influenced her in this article.]


We sat down with five of the women on our team. Lisa Tollefson, Susan Haider and Rhonda Ruhland have been with us for several years. Karina Fernandes, and Stephanie Maday are much newer to our company. All are in key roles in helping advance our mission of innovation, sustainability, giving and providing an atmosphere where people love to come to work.  

Here are a few questions we asked them and the insight they offered:


What brought you to a women-owned company and how does working here make you feel empowered?

“My intent wasn’t to seek out a women-owned company,” said Lisa Tollefson, Account Coordinator. “But when I ran across Storm Creek, I thought it would be a big plus, especially for a woman of my age. I knew it was possible to be more valued and get more opportunities for growth in a company that’s owned by a woman similar to my age.” 

Lisa was especially impressed that Teresa was part of her interview process from the beginning, starting with the first phone call. It gave Lisa a feeling of connection with her right away and made her feel valued—high on her list of a company she’d want to work for. Through her interview process, she could see our company culture mirrored her own values.

“When I speak up with opinions and ideas I’m valued and heard. It doesn’t stop me from believing there’s a high bar set, though. I didn’t seek a women-owned company so I could slack off. I’m actually pushing myself more so I’m doing what I can to help her [Teresa] succeed,” she said.

Rhonda Ruhland is a Retail Account Executive. Her career background before coming to Storm Creek spanned a wide range of retail positions including merchandising, invoicing, visual displays, working as a buyer, store management, personal shopping, social media and more.

Rhonda believes working for a women-owned company gives her an overall sense of confidence. “Women in general pay attention to details. In such a male-dominant world it empowers me to be confident and push myself. I feel supported doing something I love, working in a team environment. We connect with other departments to cross-examine processes and to overall seek better. We hear other team members’ ideas.”

The Storm Creek Women of Sales

The women in Sales at Storm Creek. Sacha Florianczyk, Lisa Tollefoson, Stephanie Maday, Rhonda Ruhland.

“I come from a family with a lot of strong women,” said Karina Fernandes, Senior Designer. “Women entrepreneurs who had to work really hard to get where they are, so I respect that a lot. It makes me want to work for a company like that.” 

Karina has spent her career as a designer working in various areas of the industry. “I was a lingerie designer in New York, an activewear designer in Miami. I’ve been working in outdoor apparel for the past three years. So I’ve been in different areas and have learned different things in every one of them. I’ve been able to combine all my previous experience here at Storm Creek.”

Karina Fernandes

After her first eight months in her role she said, “I feel extremely supported here at Storm Creek. I can say that anything I bring up I have full support from Teresa and the team. So I feel extremely empowered. I’ve not felt that way in any company before.”

Stephanie Maday, Director of Sales and Customer Experience, also came to Storm Creek with an array of experience from customer service to sales management. She cites her career path as providing her with a deep understanding of the inner workings of both large and small companies, giving her a well-rounded perspective.

“What drew me here is the belief that women have unique leadership traits with new and innovative ideas. Women promote cooperation versus competition, and use rational knowledge to solve problems. These traits enhance team competence and productivity and also ensure everyone feels included, valued and supported,” she said.

Stephanie Maday

“Here at Storm Creek, I’m encouraged to express my own opinion. To advocate not only for myself but also for others, especially other women. I’m also encouraged to learn and expand my own skill set.”


How does Storm Creek help provide a supportive work environment for you as a woman? 

You’ve probably noticed the over-arching theme for these women is feeling heard and respected in their jobs.

Lisa was approached by Teresa shortly after she started with the offer of personal mentorship. “We met monthly for my first six months,” said Lisa. “Teresa gave me any guidance I needed. Nothing was off the table. Her door was always open. That made me feel really valued that the owner of the company was willing to take time out of her busy schedule to sit down with me and help me in my growth and career.”

[SIDE NOTE: Our Employee Mentorship Program gives new hires the chance to match with a current employee for growth, learning new skills and learning about each other. It doesn’t have to be job-related, and it’s not restricted to new employees. It’s been a very popular program with our team members.] 

Lisa also provided her thoughts about our giving emphasis. “It’s refreshing to work for a company that prioritizes giving back,” she said. “Storm Creek doesnt just give back to organizations were involved with [at a company level], they donate monetarily and in-kind to a foundation thats important to my family. Theyre willing to give to the small guy, not just the larger organizations that the big companies think about.”

Susan Haider, Data and IT Specialist, also notes what it means to her to work for a company that prioritizes giving back, “I’ve always wanted to be able to support those in need, and Storm Creek has allowed me to serve and donate within my FMA Senior community. When I’m involved and feel like I can make a positive change in our community and the world, it makes me feel happy and accomplished.”

Finance and IT group of Storm Creek women
The women of Storm Creek on our Finance and IT team. Alexis Neubauer, Nicole Drotning, and Susan Haider.

Rhonda has noticed several ways the supportive work environment matters. She said, “Women are detail-oriented and can multi-task. They tend to prioritize social responsibility, community and diversity which can lead to a more equal and sustainable future.”

Stephanie added, “Having women in leadership positions serves as an inspirational role for other employees, especially women. They demonstrate that success is attainable, and it’s possible to balance a thriving career while providing support to ones family. I believe this encourages individuals to pursue their own goals with confidence and determination.”


What have been your biggest challenges navigating your career?

Karina’s biggest challenge has been her constant moving across the country and even across the world. “I went to school in LA, lived in New York and got my fashion Masters in Italy. Moving comes with a lot of challenges, especially living in a different atmosphere with different people. My most recent challenge was moving to Minneapolis for a job and within six months being told the company was moving to Miami where I had just come from! I’ve learned to just go with it. There are things we can control and things we can’t control.”

Rhonda has welcomed the challenges she’s faced. She said, “I never give up. Learning along the way is huge, asking a lot of questions. I’ve learned to help wherever needed, even if it’s not my department. To empower teammates to grow with me and face those challenges together. Working with your team overall, I think, is really essential to success.”

Stephanie also sees all her experiences as valuable opportunities for personal growth. “Some experiences can be seen as obstacles,” she said. “So its crucial to maintain perspective and recognize those are simply moments in time. Although I dont dwell on challenges and setbacks, I do make it a priority to reflect on them, learn from them and gain insight from each experience. This type of mindset allows me to continually evolve and improve both personally and professionally.”


What advice would you like to offer others for their professional life?

We’ll leave you with some wonderful advice these women offer based on their work and life experiences so far: 

“First, follow your heart and passion,” said Rhonda. “That’ll define your path. Have a learning and growth mindset. Be open-minded. Develop diverse skills. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! Always network. Get out of your comfort zone.” 

Karina said, “I’ve learned challenges might take you on a different path, and that might be an amazing path. You never know, you might end up getting into a new career. Embrace the challenges and go with them.”


Stephanie urges people to see a non-linear career path—if that’s you—as an advantage. “It can lead to an unexpected opportunity as well as personal growth,” she said. “So embrace the journey. Stay resilient. Embrace your uniqueness, keep an open mind and continually learn as you go. Most importantly, define your own success and continue to pursue your passions with confidence.”

Well said! Thanks to Lisa, Susan, Rhonda, Karina and Stephanie for their time, insight and encouragement.


Read more from our Women's History Month Series:


Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping You are $99 away from free shipping.
No more products available for purchase

Your Cart is Empty