The Redwood City-San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year Award co-sponsored by United American Bank, will be awarded to Stephanie Kolkka, Owner of Brick Monkey and Brick Monkey Squared in downtown Redwood City.
Stephanie grew up in the retail business and her love of home and design was greatly influenced by her mother. “My mother was a designer, fabulous home renovator and art teacher; her passion for inventing clever design solutions rubbed off on me.” Kolkka saw the potential in Redwood City despite the recession in 2009, and decided to open up her now successful furniture. Her business attracts non-Redwood City and Redwood City resident shoppers to the downtown area. According to her colleagues, Kolkka is a hands-on manager, spending a majority of her time at her retail location and staying very visible in the community. Kolkka later decided she wanted to expand her business in downtown Redwood City and provide a shop that could appeal to everyone – male and female – the young and the young at heart. So in 2013, with her partner Gina Nicolo, they opened the charming Brick Monkey Squared located on Theater Way – where you can find one-of-a-kind, whimsical jewelry pieces, clothing, and accessories.
In addition to her involvement with the two Brick Monkey stores, Stephanie remains deeply involved in the Redwood City community. She is a founding Board Member of the Redwood City Improvement Association (RCIA is managed by the Chamber) and currently serves as Secretary for the RCIA Board. She has been a Small Business Owner Panelist for the Chamber’s Leadership Redwood City-Belmont-San Carlos-Menlo Park, Economics and Business Day. She has been an active Chamber member since 2010, serves on it’s Economic Development Committee, and is a strong advocate for Business in downtown Redwood City. Stephanie is always willing to speak at City Council and Planning Commission meetings on behalf of Business. She has loaned out her business space and hosted a multitude of events to support and fundraise for programs such Project READ (a Redwood City Library program); animal welfare and rescue projects; and various after-hours community meetings.
Mentoring others to be successful in small business ownership is very important to Stephanie. She has donated a great deal of her time mentoring other business owners in Downtown Redwood City to promote the economic growth of the community. Stephanie’s ultimate example of mentoring at the most devoted and successful level is that of her relationship with co-owner of Brick Monkey Squared. Stephanie first hired Gina Nicolo when she was in high school to do part time administrative work at her furniture manufacturing company. By age 22, this young woman became a co-owner (with Stephanie) of Brick Monkey Squared. “Working with Stephanie changed my life. She was and still is such an inspiration to me. Through her mentoring I realized that I too wanted to be an entrepreneur.” Stephanie continues to inspire and mentor MANY young women in the community, guiding them to become successful future businesswomen.
Stephanie Kolkka has become part of the backbone of Redwood City’s downtown. She is an advocate for retailers, and attends City Council and Planning Commission meetings to advocate in the best interest of retailers trying to establish themselves in a very competitive real estate environment. She is highly intelligent, well spoken, and a community leader with a positive attitude.
Stephanie will be presented the Business Woman of the Year Award at the Chamber’s Annual Awards Dinner on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at the Pullman San Francisco Bay.
United American Bank joins the Chamber again this year as the co-sponsor of the 31-year old award. The Business Woman of the Year Award (BWOTY) continues to recognize women who – provide invaluable business intellect to the local community for the purpose of stimulating and enhancing the quality of life – Demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession – Assist other women of all races, ethnicities and economic backgrounds to reach their professional potential within the business community and – are active and supportive participants of the Redwood City-San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce.
The recipient of the BWOTY Award will receive $1000 from United American Bank, which will be donated to the local charity of her choice. United American Bank continues to make an impact as a great partner in the business community in helping to not only recognize deserving women, but this year again help a local charity meet their financial goals.