By Marcus Lavergne
University of Nevada, Reno alumna, 4.0-grad student, assistant director, women’s empowerment advocate and activist, business owner — these are just a few of the many hats that Kylie Rowe wears on a daily basis. Her newest venture explores ways to introduce women on campus and in the community to entrepreneurship.
Rowe’s passion is serving and representing people, which helped lead her to choose to study economics during her undergraduate term and the Master of Social Work she eventually received. She’s currently working on a second master’s in business administration.
Rowe’s talents have made her an invaluable faculty member on campus as well. This year marks a decade of scholastic and professional work at UNR. One notable milestone comes in the form of her partnership and friendship with Chris Howard, an entrepreneurial scholar and professional. Howard is the director for the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship, an organization that offers classes, lectures, workshops and more resources to help developing entrepreneurs. He recruited Rowe to open the Center about two years ago after instructing her in a grad-level course.
“Smart, engaged, involved and charismatic” are just some words Howard uses to describe Rowe. According to him, she fits perfectly into her position at the Center.
“She’s very outgoing and presents well,” Howard said. “She’s able to speak well in front of groups and people are drawn to her, and that’s helpful. She’s very involved and she wants to improve basically the entire program and the community.”
Howard calls Rowe the “perfect package” when discussing her role as an entrepreneur at the Center and within the community. He also points out her willingness to help out when she’s needed.
Matt Sikora is the founder for one of Reno’s newest start-ups, Candel, as well as another proponent of Rowe’s supportive nature and inclination to serve and connect with all kinds of community members. Sikora, who’s known Rowe for years, commends her for her impressive ability to link people together.
“She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” Sikora said. “She’s always been that. She’s always such a good friend to everybody, and that’s definitely carried over into her entrepreneurial role.”
Sikora believes there aren’t too many people that can do what Rowe does. Because of her success in building relationships, she became an important part in helping him make advances in his newest endeavor as well as broaden his own communication network.
“She knows other people and has outstanding relationships with these people,” Sikora said. “She can just call somebody up and say, ‘hey, Matt needs to talk to you about this,’ and they would take her seriously, set up a meeting and there’s very few people who are like that.”
Both Howard and Sikora point out Rowe’s leadership skills, especially when it comes to being a role model for other women in a male-dominated business world. For Rowe, being a woman is a crumbling barrier to entry. She realizes that the doors are opening wider for ladies aspiring to become entrepreneurs.
“She Pitches” is the Ozmen Center’s newest strategy to promote women in entrepreneurship. The initiative will feature some of Reno’s most lucrative female business leaders as well as passionate students who’ve started carving out their own paths toward success. Rowe hopes the program will get more women excited about the field.
“I don’t know that there’s any one thing that’s promoting all of these women,” Rowe said. “I’m really excited just from the initial feedback it seems like there’s going to be a lot of support around it.”
According to Rowe, when it comes to pitching, many different factors decide if you’ll find success through your idea or if you’ll have to take things back to the drawing board. It takes confidence and conviction as well as presentation skills and drive, but a power also lies in the support of others, something Rowe credits much of her success to.
Growing up, Rowe faced one of her life’s greatest challenges in going through the divorce of her parents, something that she called “mortifying and embarrassing” in a family that highly regarded familial values. Throughout a good part of her adolescent life it was a struggle she internalized, wary of revealing any weakness to the people around her.
After realizing that it only made things more difficult, she changed her way of thinking and shifted her lifestyle.
“I finally got to a point where I knew I needed to do something and change something and be healthy,” Rowe said. “I was still moving forward every day but I was still having a lot of internal personal issues, so my senior year in high school I finally realized I needed to do something about this, so that’s when I started seeking out this idea of holistic health.”
Rowe finally hit a turning point when she was finishing up her undergrad career. Opening up to others was a healing factor for her. Communicating about her struggles and putting trust in others helped her develop a lifestyle that’s essential in pushing her through her busy weeks.
That lifestyle focuses on not only physical health, but also mental and emotional health. According to Rowe, paying enough attention to those easily forgotten facets of life has given her strength and plays a large role in her own success. It also helped her realize just how important it was to help others take their own steps towards a healthier, more fruitful life.
“Because I had gone through this experience of struggling internally for such a long time and then getting to this point of being healthy and happier, I was so passionate about it that I really wanted to help other people,” Rowe said. “That’s why I originally went into social work because I’m like ‘there’s hope, people can do this.’”
From being yoga instructor to owning a real estate investing business with properties in Midtown, Rowe’s daily life involves being around people and holding a prominent place within the community and on campus. She’s also built strong relationships within the Graduate Student Association as the organization’s former president.
When she’s not helping to coordinate events with the Ozmen Center, or putting together TEDxUniversityofNevada talks as a team member, an extrovert like Rowe finds a little personal time to do something, well, normal and relaxing.
“I love spa days,” Rowe said. “I think a nice steam room and massage are amazing, definitely few and far between, but [I] love those. Everybody loves Netflix, and exercise is definitely [a hobby] for sure.”
Rowe’s approach to some of life’s difficulties is both refreshing and inspirational to many. Her considerate attitude has helped her construct sturdy bridges to an expansive and diverse community of people with an array of different talents and skills. Still, she awaits the opportunity to dig her roots even deeper into a blossoming area.
Marcus Lavergne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @mlavergne21.