Get to know Kevin Douglas and Ronie Kononova, two employees that create content for the Entrepreneurship department at the Daniels College of Business
When Ronie Kononova joined Entrepreneurship@DU, she had no idea that this small office, situated on the second floor of the Margery Reed Building, would have such a profound impact on her life. It exposed her to inspiring individuals and allowed her to take on various roles. She enjoyed working behind the scenes, capturing photos and videos for social media, collaborating with the team in brainstorming sessions, and allowing her creativity to flourish in various directions.
Witnessing the growth of E@DU firsthand has even motivated Ronie to embark on her own ventures. She has waded into independent consulting, assisting small businesses in establishing their online presence, and has even started her own T-shirt business. However, her most recent endeavor has been a three-year labor of love: a poetry book that she is diligently working to publish. This project has taken on a life of its own and will soon lead Ronie on a two-week adventure to a residency program in Orquevaux, France.
“It’s funny how my entire life I played it safe, lacking the courage to step out and do something extraordinary,” Ronie said. “Then one day, as I scrolled through Instagram, an ad for this program caught my eye. Something drew me to it, and I envisioned myself there. I knew I had to apply. In fact, I almost forgot that I did until months later when I received my acceptance letter. It was a mix of excitement, disbelief and a hint of fear.”
Ronie will be participating in the international residency program for artists and writers at Chateaux Orquevaux, located in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. It provides artists with a unique environment in which to work and find inspiration. The residency includes artist presentations, literary evenings and outdoor activities, fostering an international environment where all artists are welcome.
For Ronie, this is an opportunity to truly immerse herself in her writing. Living in the fast-paced environment of Denver, she often finds her work taking a backseat amid the city’s hustle and bustle. When she finally sits down to write, she encounters the common hurdle of writer’s block. Undoubtedly, the opportunities and individuals Ronie encountered during her time at DU inspired her to pursue this residency, and she eagerly anticipates sharing the fruits of her labor, earning her the title of a “published author.” Until then, you can find Ronie quietly attending the numerous events hosted by E@DU, capturing moments on her phone and attentively listening to the remarkable founders and entrepreneurs, all the while taking notes for her own ventures.
Kevin Douglas joined the E@DU Team in Fall 2020 as a graduate assistant. While he pursued a master’s degree in management, he conducted interviews and wrote articles for Entrepreneurship@DU’s monthly newsletter. Since then, his role with the department slowly morphed into something bigger, branching into new creative avenues.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kevin used the unexpected free time to dive into a new passion project: Spellcheck: Spelling Bee, a podcast/game show he hosted where adult competitors went head to head, spelling grade school vocab words with a ruthless and convoluted point system. Kevin taught himself audio engineering and podcast hosting skills to make the show a reality, and the project unlocked a new sense of purpose and excitement. His theatrical background provided some experience in sound design, but Spellcheck made him wonder how he could incorporate audio podcasting into Entrepreneurship@DU’s offerings.
After many pitches and a lengthy development process, Kevin convinced his E@DU team to launch the University of Denver’s Entrepreneurship Podcast, a show where students, alumni and faculty entrepreneurs could share their entrepreneurial journeys. He took on all facets of the podcast: research, hosting, producing, engineering and editing. This one-man show helped Kevin develop his newfound passion for audio storytelling while diversifying Entrepreneurship@DU’s content offerings.
After hosting his 14th and final episode of the E@DU Podcast, Kevin transitioned into a fully remote role, as he embarks on his next adventures. This summer, he will live and work in the mountains as part of a small team for the Telluride Film Festival. After that, he is off to London for a year at Raindance Film School to pursue an MA in screenwriting.
While living abroad, Kevin will continue editing episodes of the Entrepreneurship@DU podcast and writing articles for the department’s monthly newsletter. In addition, he will continue expanding his theater company, Two Cent Lion, which has made a splash on Denver’s local theater scene. With a full season of performances scheduled at The People’s Building in Aurora, Kevin will be hopping back and forth across the pond. As the company’s executive director, marketing director and resident playwright, his calendar will be jam-packed—but any creative or entrepreneur can relate to that!