PAMELA KOSTER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, AND MINDY HALE, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER/CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER OF FALLING COLORS
Falling Colors, a data analytics company that specializes in the social determinants of health and builds software to collect data and process funds, was co-founded by CEO Pamela Koster and COO/CFO Mindy Hale in 2015.
Q: Describe your path to where you are now in your career/Falling Colors? Any significant moments or mentors during your path?
Pamela: I did not grow up with real life mentors or role models, and it was before the internet existed, so I found my mentors and role-models in books. Jo March of the book (and movies) Little Women. She was independent and daring while still deeply caring about her family and her world. I was also inspired by historical figures like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Eleanor Roosevelt to always strive to make the world a better place.
Mindy: The person who I think of often and use as a guide in how I approach so many tasks in my life is my former position coach from the UNM Volleyball team, Lang Ping “Jenny”. While working with her, I developed a very strong and ingrained work ethic. Always putting in the extra time, the extra effort to be stronger, learn more, and fine tune my approach. I also learned that words mean very little if there is no substance to back them up. Be your truth.
Q: What is it like to be a woman in your industry?
Pamela: It is hard and fun both. I enjoy my work; and I need to prepare for being underestimated but that can work to our advantage. If you are underestimated, they never see you coming until it’s too late. We are often dismissed by our competitors until we after we have the job they thought they were going to get. That’s very fun.
Mindy: I agree with Pamela. You must prove yourself as a woman in this industry. You will not be given the automatic authority or be seen as an expert straight out of the gate like many of your colleagues will.
Q: Did you face any challenges on the way to becoming successful?
Pamela: Oh yes, many. Just about every day brings a new challenge but I like that. I am constantly learning still, even when my career is pretty mature. A significant challenge throughout my work life has been getting taken seriously but that goes back to being underestimated. There is a way to turn most obstacles into advantages.
Mindy: Sure. There has been – surprising to me – people who are very envious of success. Some people either think they should have what you have without putting in the work for it or they actively work against your success because they themselves can’t achieve success. That can create headaches and waste time. However, it does serve as a driver to overcome all obstacles. I don’t care what you throw my way, I will find a solution. I will thrive. I will conquer. Bring it.
Q: What advice do you have for girls who may be interested in pursuing a career in your industry?
Pamela: Don’t give up when you hit a roadblock. Take a minute or two and think about it from all the angles you can imagine. An idea that will help you get over that block or turn it to your advantage will come to you. Trust yourself.
Mindy: Again, I agree with Pamela. Go for it. Do it because you love it and ignore any noise (distractions) that would take you from your path. You know what you are doing. Stay confident and if a path does not open for you on the road you have chosen, create your own path.
Q: What is your hope for the future of women and girls?
Pamela: That we all believe we can do anything. I want to see women and girls doing, involved in, and running everything and it starts with believing in ourselves.
Mindy: A kinder, gentler and smarter world in which women and girls are looked to for answers, solutions and direction as a first resort. We must support each other and each other’s successes. Together we can gain equal footing in the world.