After eight years of university and schooling, Rebecca Kolbenson was ready to become an optometrist.
One thing she wasn’t ready for was to own her own business.
After years of working in various clinics and for different bosses, she took a leap of faith and decided to go into business for herself, opening up her own practice, the Golden Optometric Clinic, six years ago.
As the first business she’s ever owned, Kolbenson says it’s a dream come true.
“I always say optometry is the easy part, running your business is way harder,” said Kolbenson.
“The first couple of years were tough to figure out, but Tim Styles, the old optometrist, was a great mentor and it’s super helpful to have someone supporting your business like that.”
Kolbenson’s passion for her business stems from a desire to have control over what she does, allowing her to provide what she considers to be the best possible care she can.
While doing that, she also works to help support and lift up other women in the community, which she considers a crucial part of her role as a woman in business in Golden.
With her team of female staff, every day they strive for excellence in what they do.
“I think women face challenges in the workplace so I wanted to not have anyone tell me what I could be paid or how I could run my practice,” said Kolbenson.
“It’s so important to support other women because a lot of the time we’re pegged against each other and that’s not the way it should be. We should be lifting each other up and making sure we succeed.”
Kolbenson tries her best to make sure that she supports other women in business across town by purchasing products from female-owned businesses and incorporating these businesses in the clinic’s social media to help promote them.
With many women opening new businesses in Golden this past year, Kolbenson is excited to see the support from the community that arises for these businesses and has some words of advice to share.
“Don’t be scared to get out there, it can be scary to think about taking on all this responsibility and sometimes you feel like you have no business doing this,” said Kolbenson.
“But you have to preserver because you’re smart and you will get it and you can do it, and in the end it’s so rewarding.”
Looking down the road, Kolbenson has her sights set on the long term, with five, 10 and even 20 year goals that she’s constantly trying to work towards.
The clinic strives to have the best equipment to offer full-service care so patients don’t have to travel as far to get basic eye care.
Kolbenson wants to provide the level of care to a small community like Golden one might expect to see in a larger urban centre.
She also gives back the community throughout the year, such as providing glasses to a needy individual around Christmas or free sunglasses for kids in the summer, her way of saying thanks to a town that’s supported her so well over the years.
Editor’s note: In 2020 it should be no surprise that more and more woman hold positions of power. Whether it’s business, politics, sports or the non-profit sector, woman continue to achieve new milestones. This story is part of a series of stories highlighting four women in Golden who are leaders in their fields. You can read all of their stories in our annual publication called Women in Business in the March 12 issue of The Golden Star.