Founder of Strategic Partners Marketing, Amber Swenor, has completed a year-long leading global business accelerator for women entrepreneurs.
2007 University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, Amber Swenor, was selected as the first to participate from the United States in the international cohort of 39 women business owners as a part of the Vital Voices signature business accelerator program, VV GROW. VV GROW partners with women leaders across the globe who use business growth to improve their community and world.
The global network expands women’s access to markets and knowledge. VV GROW works with women leaders driven to build their influence beyond the business community, making social change possible.
Participants are selected based on their demonstrated business growth, commitment to serving their local regional and global communities, and potential for continued growth and prosperity.
Swenor was chosen as one of 39 fellows from a pool of almost 700 applicants. She is also the first from the United States to be selected to participate in the program.
About Swenor and how her business, Strategic Partners Marketing, makes societal change possible
For several years, Swenor has been dedicated to ensuring that businesses of any size have access to high-quality marketing knowledge and resources. A Shawano-area native, Swenor grew up seeing the value that local business owners and local businesses brought to both the economy, and the spirit of community, and wanted to help them succeed.
Her business, Strategic Partners Marketing (SPM), partners with companies of all sizes to provide both high-level brand strategy and tactical-level execution of those strategies, including brand strategy, digital marketing, web design, social media, public relations, media relations, and media strategy and buying. In less than 3 years, Swenor has increased SPM’s revenue from $0 to over $1,000,000 and has grown the team to 7 employees, an indicator that SPM fills an important niche in the Dane County market and beyond.
“Marketing today is no longer a one-person job, however, many small businesses don’t have the resources to staff an entire marketing department in house. At SPM, it’s our mission to ensure that businesses have access to both high-level strategy, and tactical implementation, in a way that is achievable for them.”
Her proven success in creating jobs for the local economy and in helping a growing number of area businesses through her team at Strategic Partners Marketing (SPM) were just two reasons she was selected. Swenor has also demonstrated an ability to grow her company in a sustainable way by building a relationship-centric company culture, which she also believes impacted the selection decision.
“People should be valued as people; this is the culture we’ve created at SPM. I believe in supporting each individual as a whole person, on our team. For some people, a job is just a job, but at SPM, I’m seeking to grow a company of passionate service providers who feel purpose in their work. In order to accomplish that, we must recognize everyone’s individual talents, interests, as well as acknowledge that they have lives outside of work. The more we do that as a company, the more energy, enthusiasm, and commitment that team members bring into the workplace.”
Swenor desires to continue creating jobs and make a positive impact on both local businesses and organizations with whom her company serves and partners, and to be of service to other women in business.
Time and again, Swenor has expressed her commitment to supporting other entrepreneurs who are pursuing their dreams as new business owners but may feel overwhelmed about where to turn for guidance and actionable education. As the first in her family to attend college and having worked three jobs at a time while advancing her career, Swenor knows and understands the struggles involved to overcome the daily grind as a part of the poor working class.
“From a young age, I watched my parents work hard, and struggle. They are amazing people who have worked to improve their lives, but often times, had to make sacrifices, that both they and I didn’t want to have to make my entire life. I worked numerous jobs throughout my teenage and college years, methodically building my skills and proving my abilities in sales and marketing until it was the right time for me to launch SPM. And because I understand the necessity for both brand clarity and brand strategy within a business, I’m passionate about sharing that information and knowledge with other business owners who can benefit from it.”
One way she accomplishes this is through, Amberdella Coaching & Consulting, a product line within SPM. Through Amberdella, Swenor focuses on coaching heart-centered entrepreneurs to fully realize the vision they have for themselves and their businesses.
“Growing up, I felt like I was climbing a steep hill, carrying a heavy backpack. Life felt hard like I was grinding just to get by. Now that I’m achieving my goal of building a thriving company that serves others while engaging not only strategic thinking but ALSO, my heart-centered focus, I’ve taken off that heavy backpack. I’ve transformed how I show up as a leader in my business to lead from a place of greater joy and ease, and I teach others how to do the same. I guide other business leaders in transitioning from struggle, to transition into being leaders of profitable and thriving businesses, that are also deeply purposeful and impactful. It’s my personal mission to ensure that every passionate business owner has access to the strategic guidance and marketing resources that are needed to thrive in today’s business world.”
Through Amberdella Coaching, Swenor fulfills this mission by guiding heart-centered business owners to fully engage their strengths and built companies that create massive impact, without sacrificing profit. One way this is accomplished is through her signature 4-month group coaching program, Impact Incubator, that guides entrepreneurs in getting clear on the vision they have for themselves, and building a notable and profitable high-impact business that supports their life vision.
In addition to contributing to the local, regional, and global business community through SPM, Swenor demonstrates a commitment to the community by serving in leadership roles on several boards and committees, including her involvement in the Monona Eastside Business Alliance (MESBA), Doyenne Group, Dane Buy Local, the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, and has volunteered with the Between the Waves Madison Songwriter Conference, and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year Campaign. She was previously recognized for her leadership and community involvement by BRAVA Magazine and InBusiness Madison, who named her a 2017 Woman to Watch and 2017 40 Under 40, respectively.
The importance of VV GROW and what it accomplishes
Research from the World Bank, Ernst & Young, and other institutions indicate that the real drivers of the global economy are women. As business leaders, employees, consumers, and entrepreneurs, women are accelerating economic growth and improving conditions in their communities. Despite the proven benefits of women’s economic engagement, women business owners face disproportionate barriers in growing their businesses: they have difficulty accessing business networks, technology, training, financing, markets, and equal protection under the law.
Vital Voices addresses these barriers through their signature SME accelerator fellowship, the VV GROW Fellowship.
Vital Voices was founded as a government initiative in 1997 and today, is run as a non-profit. The VV GROW Fellowship was launched in 2013, and is a leading global accelerator for women entrepreneurs and is a highly competitive one-year global accelerator program for women owners of small and medium businesses. The program includes customized business skills training, leadership development, technical assistance, and access to networks to grow businesses and increase participants’ leadership impact. Through in-person training, fellows focus on strategy and long-term business value paired with action-oriented plans. They amplify their role as leaders in their businesses and their communities to create jobs, stimulate long-term economic growth, and produce wider social benefits.
Fellows spend a full year engaging in training that examines all sides of their business to help fellows grow in leadership, build strategic networks, examine the current state of their business, and assess growth opportunities. Training involves weekly webinars, homework, 1-on-1 calls, and a week-long in-person workshop that brings together women business owners and trainers from around the world.
Madison is also home to Eugenia Podesta, UW-Madison alumna 2006 (JD and MA); 1998 BA. Eugenia is senior director of VV GROW and a founder of Synergy Coworking, a social enterprise on the west side of the city. Podesta has been part of Vital Voices for 12 years and has striven to support, expand, and diversify the entrepreneurial community with all that she does professionally in Madison and globally.
“We are at a critical time in which entrepreneurship can be key to solving many of the social challenges we face. All of this change begins with leaders with a vision and the tools to make their dreams and impactful change a reality. For me, that is what brings it all together. My work with Vital Voices and Synergy are spurred by the great opportunity and responsibility we have to find different solutions to age-old challenges by supporting entrepreneurs, fostering an ecosystem of support, and providing opportunities for continuous learning, collaboration, and support. When I met Amber last year, I knew that she would be a great fit for VV GROW and for Vital Voices. She has an infectious energy and passion that does not go unnoticed. Most importantly, she sees her continuing success as an opportunity to give back and bring others up with her. That, in essence, is Vital Voices and Synergy, and I feel privileged to work with her.”
To apply for the VVGrow Program, to support Vital Voices or to learn more, please visit: