Thursday, August 9, 2012

Swimming Against the Current

Natalie graining out at Coopersmith'swhere she shadowed at a brewery for the first time.    

I have never been one to listen to others when they tell me that I am incapable of accomplishing something. I was always the smallest girl in my classes and at a very young age had to learn how to hold my own.

My mother signed me up for my first martial arts course at the tender age of 6. Being the stereotypical Italian mother, she didn’t want anyone pushing me around. I had several people tell me that I wouldn’t be able to tough out sparing with men twice my size long enough to become a black belt. At the age of 13 I had earned my first-degree black belt in three styles (Kempo, Kung Fu, and Tae Kwon Do) and received the title of “Assistant Instructor”.

As a result of several family hardships, completing my college degree was another accomplishment that many people told me I would not do. In 2011 I graduated with an honors diploma in Biochemistry from Colorado State University.

During my undergraduate career, I took the Brewing Science and Technology course taught by Dr. Jack Avens. That was just the beginning of my journey to discovering what my true passion is. I made it my mission to be hired into the brew house at a brewery because I knew that it was what I was meant to do. I was lucky enough to have two individuals believe in me enough to hire me. In March of this year I received a call from one of the Funkwerks owners, Brad Lincoln, offering me a position in production. That was the happiest day of my life.

Natalie along with her Brewing Science and Technology instructor, DrJack Avens (center).    

As a woman in the brewing industry I have encountered my fair share of difficulties. I frequently hear “You aren’t strong enough to carry that” and “You are a girl, you don’t know anything about beer”. A lot of people thought I would have had quite enough of it by now. But I haven’t. I enjoy showing people that women can be just as much of an asset to a brewery as men. Every woman I have met that works in production at a brewery is an amazing person in her own way. I am incredibly proud to be part of the small percentage of women that work in a brewery.

Never let someone tell you what you are incapable of when it comes to seeing your dreams come true.

Until next time,

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