By Megan M. Seckman

Jet black hair offset with a striking platinum streak. Simple jeans and a classy top punctuated by an arresting pair of 4-inch heels. From afar, you can gather that there is more to Amelia Gandara’s personality than just business. Inside, there is the heart of an artist.

Amelia, 27, is the director of commercialization and engagement for EnterpriseCorp, a branch of Greater Louisville Inc. Her department is responsible for helping startups launch their companies and keeping the talent in Louisville. Amelia credits her ability to help her clients’ actualize their innovative concepts to her opposing backgrounds: engineering and dance.

Growing up, Amelia had two passions — chemistry and ballet — and both brought her to Louisville from Yuma, Arizona. After high school, she joined the Louisville Ballet while also enrolling in engineering school at the University of Louisville. The dancer inside of her inspires the daunting heels, the signature platinum streak, and is the root of the creativity she applies to problem-solving.

The chemical engineering degree prepared her to navigate through starting a company. “Chemical engineering taught me to take a long, three-page differential equation and break it down. It was painful, but I’ve applied that type of thinking to startups. I help connect the dots, work through the variables, find resources, and keep innovators in Louisville. It’s very rewarding to be a small part of that process,” Amelia explains.

Amelia is giving clients the essentials to move their companies in the right direction.
Here she is at The Pearl of Germantown. Photos by Sunni Wigginton 

Not only does Amelia support new business in her professional life, she is also a personal advocate for local growth within her neighborhood, Germantown/Schnitzelburg. She co-owns the building that houses The Pearl, the newest Germantown bar; lives in an apartment above Bean, the neighborhood’s new coffee shop; and is the president of the Relevé Society of Louisville, the junior board for the Louisville Ballet that helps to create the next generation of arts supporters

So, before Amelia goes out into the bustling world of business startups, she puts on a pair of Jimmy Choo heels (she has four in various colors) and grabs a berry-banana smoothie from the coffee shop downstairs. With her smoothie, designer handbag, and an added 4 inches to her height, she has the confidence to face whatever may come her way.

Accessory she’s rocking: 
My Louis Vuitton Yayoi Kusama handbag is very special to me. I love the artist Yayoi Kusama because she gets to be an artist 100 percent of the time — in the way she dresses, acts, and creates. I saw this handbag designed by her years ago and couldn’t afford it. I said to myself that that handbag is what a successful woman would have. So, years later, after I earned my degree and started my career, I found the bag on a designer consignment site. I was able to afford it, and I carry it everywhere.

Product she’s using: 
Too Faced Chocolate Bronzer. It smells just like chocolate — on Twitter there have been several accounts where kids are eating it because it smells so good. I also love the First Aid beauty line for sensitive skin care. I’m trying to simplify my routine, so I apply my bronzer, brows, and mascara and go.

Latest purchase she’s praising:
A new hand drill. I manage the property where I live and we recently took on a new tenant. I had to take down some shelves and hang some things and couldn’t wait for anyone to help me, so I went out and bought a drill and did it myself. I felt very proud of myself.

Fashion she’s wearing:
Jeans and a neutral top accentuated with Jimmy Choo heels in black, hunter green, suede, or grey.