Photo Courtesy of  JC Ramirez, Rainy Media.

Since January 2018, we’ve gathered groups of up to 40+ each month (just about) at different Santa Fe bars and restaurants to hear a short story from the venue owner (when available), followed by our feature storyteller.

Our storytellers hail from across industries - from food to tech and startups to multi-million dollar moguls kicking-ass for years. They generously share their insights and experiences so others can learn what it takes to make it in the Land of Enchantment and beyond.  


Our starting up story

When I (Melanie Lenci) moved to Santa Fe, NM in August 2016 I knew no one. Fast forward two months and I’m scouring Meetup to find myself some human interaction. Lucky for me I found the Startup Santa Fe group and happened to sit down at the table that night at Rowley’s Farmhouse Ale next to a Santa-Fe native (and his wife) who was launching a tech startup and another guy (and his wife) who had recently relocated to Santa Fe and was thinking about launching a food tour company. They’ve both since launched and that tech startup is Xerb and the food tour company is Wander New Mexico. And those two couples have remained some of my closest friends in Santa Fe to this day.

But back to 2016. Those Meetup events that I liked so much that brought together the entrepreneur community dried up. I missed visiting new places around town and getting to meet the people behind the businesses, so with the encouragement of Sean O’Shea (formerly with the Santa Fe Business Incubator [SFBI] and now with his own firm, HatchForm), I partnered with my co-founder, Xerb’s mastermind, Eric Streeper, and started a Meetup group of our own, Kick-Ass Entrepreneurs of Santa Fe (KAESF). We got the SFBI to sponsor us by paying for the annual Meetup platform fee and got busy pulling together all of the people and places who now make up our Events page.

You can see that it was a rather selfish reason to start this - I simply love entrepreneur stories. But what started as a Meetup group has become much more. It’s invigorating to bring people together to learn about what others are doing right here in Santa Fe. It’s inspiring to learn about the roots of a venue and the background of a business as I put together the write-ups each month. And it’s downright thrilling to see the connections made by the people who come to hear the stories - both with one another and with the featured storytellers themselves. KAESF and Entrepreneur Storytime put the people at the forefront of a business. And since people attach to people much more than basic facts or company tag lines, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to help make that happen.

That’s me. Melanie Lenci.

That’s me. Melanie Lenci.


Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.
— Seth Godin, Author, Entrepreneur, Marketer, and Public Speaker

Why What We Do Matters

  • We provide Santa Fe entrepreneurs with a venue and an audience to share their story with an engaged audience.

  • We ask our Entrepreneur Storytellers to share more than just what they do and all the other stuff you can read about online.

  • We ask our Entrepreneur Storytellers to be real and share what it was like starting up and honest (not ashamed) if they are (or were) working other gigs to get their passion off the ground (as many/most of us have).

  • We ask the Entrepreneur Storytellers who’ve “made it” what worked for them - what resources and people helped them get to where they are today, so the audience can learn from their experiences.

  • We provide time for schmoozing a 1/2 hour before and after events, so those who come to hear stories get to mingle and meet and make friends with people who share their passion.

  • We share info we feel our entrepreneur community and audience might find valuable on our Facebook Page.

  • We also celebrate our KAESF wins by sharing on our Facebook Page the triumphs of our former Entrepreneur Storytellers as they grow and change and hit the news and become even better versions of what they were before.

  • We have fun. These events are always different and never run of the mill. We’re here to have fun and hope you’re having fun with us, too.