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A Gillette business owner has been named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year

Angela Hartley-Drube
Angela Hartley-Drube
Angela Hartley-Drube, owner of Live 2 Dance in Gillette, was selected as the Wyoming Council for Women’s 2023 Jan Torres Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient.

Angela Hartley-Drube, a Gillette native and owner of Live 2 Dance studio in Gillette, has been awarded the Wyoming Council for Women’s (WCW) 2023 Jan Torres Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Launched in 2007, Live 2 Dance offers a variety of dance classes for children, teens, and adults like jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop and even workout classes.

One of Hartley-Drube’s employees submitted her for consideration of the award. The application required that the person being nominated also give their permission.

“I was kind of excited, because I was like, ‘You know, what are the chances? It's the whole entire state of Wyoming.' I mean, we might be small in population, but we're a big state, so I was kind of excited to see where it would go and what would happen,” Hartley-Drube said. “The part I had to fill out was the struggles and benefits of owning your own business in the state of Wyoming.”

Hartley-Drube was notified via phone that she was selected as the 2023 recipient of the award.

“I was very thrown aback because I was literally on a dump run, taking garbage to the dump, so I was definitely not in any kind of like state of mind where I was going to think that was going to be the phone call of the day,” she said. “It was very humbling to get that phone call.”

She said operating a dance studio has proven to be a rewarding experience, although there are challenges. “If you're looking into owning your own business, don't give up, it's hard. It is hard work,” she said. “There's going to be years where or a year where you think you are rising and you there's no way you can possibly fall back and see any struggles and then bam, you get hit with like we got hit with COVID really bad…we had a year of struggle, but we thrived. So, you never know what you're going to experience, and just don't give up. Keep going. There will always be a means for your way. If you have a desire and a dream, then do it.”

Hartley-Drube added that the pandemic posed challenges to in-person instruction, which shifted to Zoom for a time. But her passion in sharing her love of dance with the community has overridden the discouragement that comes with running a small business. She said that dance teaches skills that can instill confidence and promote healthy living. Last dance season, which coincided with the school year, about 250 people participated in dance through the studio.

The Wyoming Entrepreneur Award recognizes woman-owned businesses in Wyoming and seeks to raise awareness of the contributions female entrepreneurs make to the state’s economy. The Wyoming Women’s Business Center is a partnering sponsor of this year’s award. The Jan Torres Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award is named after WCW board member Jan Torres, who played a major role in creating and expanding this recognition of Wyoming women-owned businesses.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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