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Launch of Marketing Firm Combines Business and Desire to Make a Difference

Donna Leigh Bliss has an impressive life resume. As a child she operated multiple businesses. As a young adult she received degrees in psychology and social work, earned a PhD, then held the position of associate professor. She has worked years in both clinical and administrative roles in the addictions field, and consulted with both businesses and nonprofits. So how do those life experiences lead to the launching of her own marketing firm? For Bliss, it was a natural progression.

“I got my love of business from my father, who was a successful businessman when I was growing up,” says Bliss.  “I saw firsthand how his success helped to support the families of his employees and make a difference in the community by providing needed services.  I am more of a social entrepreneur at heart, because while making money is nice, I really like to make a difference in the lives of others.”


That entrepreneurial spirit along with her work in psychology and social work joined seamlessly with her belief in the need to help make a difference in the lives of others. Bliss decided to pursue her dream of creating a marketing business that emphasizes entrepreneurism and making that difference. 


However, as Bliss began to see the vision of creating her company and dive into the business scene, she looked for more business resources that would give her the confidence she needed to move forward.  In 2015, she reached out to the Wyoming Women’s Business Center (WWBC) for resources, after learning about their business roundtables.


“I respected the WWBC’s commitment to helping women business entrepreneurs and thought they would be a great resource in helping me develop my marketing company,” says Bliss. “The level of professionalism with the roundtables was excellent. I was surprised with the caliber of people putting together the roundtables, and the amount of energy put into it.”


Bliss met with the WWBC for one-on-one counseling on business practices and financial topics with both Jonathan Howdeshell and Waldo Smith of the WWBC, and attended several roundtables and group trainings. Then in 2016, Bliss opened the doors to Creative Tension Marketing. The firm offers marketing research and evaluation, marketing strategy development, business model development, branding, grant writing, accreditation, web design, social media marketing and videography.


“It can be really daunting putting together business plans,” says Bliss. “The people at the WWBC are always personable, and do such a great job of working with people and their individual business. I really think it’s a natural first place to start, and great resource for the Wyoming community.”


As Creative Tension Marketing grew, Bliss soon recognized that there was also opportunity to expand the business into Colorado. She explored the possibilities with the help of Smith at the WWBC, and soon opened a second location in Boulder.


“For me, working with the WWBC was about getting feedback on how to find financial resources with regard to growing my business,” says Bliss. “They really helped me to see that this business and growth was possible, especially with the opening of an additional office in Boulder. They gave me the confidence I needed to move forward and make the investment.”


“The people at the WWBC are their biggest asset. They care about what they’re doing, and that comes across when you work with them.”


Creative Tension Marketing is thriving and hiring employees, four part-time positions to date. And above all, Bliss gets to watch the work of her company make a difference for her clients, a goal that has been consistent through her life’s resume.


“I believe helping entrepreneurs succeed is not only good for them and their families, but also promotes community well-being,” says Bliss. “To me, making a difference in the lives of others and being financially successful go hand in hand.”

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