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When the 16th annual Women of Influence awards are handed out in Albuquerque next month, Dr. Kelley Coffeen, an award-winning cookbook author and faculty member within NMSU’s Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, will take center stage as one of 24 honorees whom Albuquerque Business First has identified as having made a positive and influential impact in the New Mexico business community.
“I was honored to be nominated and then completely overwhelmed and humbled to find out I was an honoree,” Coffeen said. “There are many women in our state from every socio-economic level and ethnicity, all working hard for themselves, their families and their communities. My story is just one of many.”
The author of six cookbooks – including one targeting diabetics who love Mexican cuisine – Coffeen has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America for her work. She’s been writing cookbooks for more than 25 years.
“My mother was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in her 60s,” Coffeen said. “Her love for Mexican cuisine -- chile rellenos, tacos and enchiladas -- made her daily struggle with diabetes challenging. As a result, I started researching and developing Mexican and Tex Mex low carb and diabetes-friendly recipes.”
Coffeen said hers has been a life of both struggle and achievement.
“As I reflect on my life I want to be seen as a woman who serves others in many ways. I offer hope and encouragement through my life experiences and what I have learned from them. I have persevered through many of life’s struggles to become an accomplished cookbook author and educator,” she said. “Through it all, I have successfully written six cookbooks that have been nationally recognized. I have been a single mom, working three jobs to make ends meet. At the age of 50, I ventured back to college, graduating with my Ph.D. with the goal of teaching students at the college level. I am not unique, just driven to succeed.”
The selection process for the 2020 Women of Influence awards began with an open call for nominations. Those who were nominated were then asked to submit an application with information for a panel of judges who represent a cross section of leaders in the business community. Many are alumna of the award.
Collectively, the judges evaluated the applicants on professional achievement, leadership and community involvement. The top scorers were named honorees. Judges recused themselves from voting on any applicants with whom they had close ties.
The top women-owned businesses in New Mexico reported a total of over $464 million in 2018 revenue.
The awards will take place on Feb. 24 at Sandia Resort and Casino, preceded by Bizwomen Mentoring Monday, an event in which attendees will have the opportunity to participate in one-on-one coaching sessions with various mentors, as well as take part in roundtable discussions.