Gossip Jan. 27, 2012 - Colorado Politics
Opinion

Gossip Jan. 27, 2012

Author: - January 30, 2012 - Updated: January 30, 2012


OWENS (MONICA) MOVES UP IN THE WORLD

I’ve come down with a little bout of nostalgia… I find myself humming the lyrics from “Sunrise, Sunset,” the sentimental standard from the Broadway show Fiddler on the Roof. You remember when Golde sings, “I don’t remember growing older, When did they?”

And then everyone joins in with the chorus, “Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset, Swiftly fly the years, One season following another…”

Enough, I’m embarrassing myself, but that’s what I was feeling upon learning last month that Monica Owens has started her own political consulting company. I was almost going to say “little Monica Owens” because I’ve known her since she was just a wee baby and have known her parents, former Frances and former Gov. Bill Owens, even longer than that.

With apologies to Monica, who is now 28 years old and clearly all grown up, we humbly share this information with those of our readers who didn’t already know about her career change.

Earlier this month, Monica left the Starboard Group, where she’d been working for the past year, in order to launch her own company specializing in corporate, government and political affairs, as well as event planning services. It’s called, no surprise, Owens Public Affairs. She told us she really enjoyed her work at Starboard as well as the previous five years she spent with PhaseLine, another top Republican consulting firm in town. “But I’m looking forward to making my own decisions,” she candidly acknowledged, “picking clients I want to work with.”

With a Master’s degree in Public Administration and direct experience working in the White House as Vice President Dick Cheney’s scheduler, Monica has the bonafides to go out on her own.

There will be a number of opportunities, she explained, although she’s naturally going to limit herself to working with Republicans. And perhaps some initiatives down the road. She’s had experience working with candidates and campaigns so that also opens up the possibility of campaign management. And with all her volunteer experience with so many non-profits, it’s a doubly good utilization of her PR skills.

Owens is scouting the area for office space (right now it’s just her and she doesn’t anticipate starting out very large) and in the interim she’s working out of her father’s downtown office, which is handy since she’s helping him out on a couple of projects. “Dad’s on the boards of Fortune 500 companies,” Monica mentioned. Although he has terrific help from longtime executive assistant Shelly Schafer, “he said he has stuff for me to work on in the meantime.”

She added, “I have a really good support system. It’s okay if everything’s not done right away.”

Sounds pretty adult to us!

The new entrepreneur is still volunteering on Mitt Romney’s campaign in Colorado, and she traveled to New Hampshire a couple weeks ago to help with the primary there. She hopes to become a delegate again for this summer’s Republican National Convention.

As for all our gushing over her being all grown up, even Monica admits she’s not immune from the effects of the time lapse. “It’s weird to be old enough to work with people who babysat me,” she said. “And to go out to lunch with Mort Marks, my mentor.”

ABOUT ANOTHER ENTREPRENEUR

As long as we’re dishing about local entrepreneurs, how long has it been since you were able to nab that perfect booth at The Palm during the crowded lunch hour? The one on the right side when you first walk in to the “see and be seen” restaurant, a few tables down? The one that provides you with a direct line of sight to the entrance so you can keep track of which politico is coming in with which lobbyist? That one?

If you happened to be lucky enough to get the prime spot lately, it might just be because one of its main occupants over the years has left town. ‘Tis true. Josh Hanfling, officially Denver’s Honorary Consul of Morocco, a former candidate (and still an aspirant for higher elective office someday), political consultant, bon vivant, off the record source, uncle, business owner, civic fundraiser, tennis player, media darling etc. etc. (who could also land the top table at many a local eaterie and/or bar in town), has relocated to London, England for a couple of years. He departed town mid-December and by the time you read this Josh is probably unpacked in his new apartment — rather his flat — in the tony Mayfair section of London, half a block from the U.S. Embassy.

Josh has moved to the Queen’s land in order to pursue business opportunities, more specifically he’s running some foundations based over there. And he’s getting involved with a private equity group called Corniche, which is actually a company based in Virginia with a branch in London. Three days after settling in there he closed a deal, he told us. He’s also working at Silver Bullet, a water treatment company for office buildings that his dad, Robert, started.

Everything is going lovely, he told us not too long ago via the telly, except for the local fare. British food “sucks” (his words exactly), he says, although he’s dined on Lebanese cuisine three times so far, and says the Italian fare is wonderful.

Much in the style of which he’s been accustomed, Josh threw himself a little farewell shindig before leaving Denver in December. It was actually held at District Meats in Lodo, the new “in” spot for foodies, and there were about 500 people in attendance. (Seriously.)

The evening included local shutterbugs —or “paparazzi”— capturing pics of the host with just about every important guest there, and enough food to keep the masses satisfied. Servers breezed through the huge crowds with trays of delicious samples, and as Josh himself said of the evening, “It was everything I wanted.” Among the politicos who dropped by were Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver DA Mitch Morrissey, political consultants, council persons, state legislators, staffers from the mayor’s office, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, lots of young sweet things, etc. etc.

By the way, Josh won’t be feeling too homesick for long. There’s a Palm restaurant in town there. Cheers!

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