There are 8.3 million female-owned businesses in the United States, according to an American Express report on the State of Women-Owned Businesses, and only 1.8 percent of those businesses make more than $1 million in earnings.
Ann Oleson’s company, Converge Consulting, belongs to that 1.8 percent.
“For me to have the opportunity to lead that kind of company in Cedar Rapids is very important,” she said, “Especially since Iowa is ranked 49th out of 50 for women entrepreneurs and business owners.”
Converge Consulting is a higher education marketing company that provides digital content tools to colleges and universities that aid them in effective recruitment of new students as well as remaining engaged with alumni.
“I am a giant advocate for how the college or university can change someone’s life,” she said.
Oleson brought her full-time team of eight employees under one roof in 2011. Another 10 part-time freelancers assist in creating web content and design.
She said the group has broad expertise in marketing, advertising, analytics, adult student recruitment and web programming. They also use Google analytics, research, inbound marketing and strategic communications practices and technology to provide what Oleson refers to as “memorable marketing, measurable results.”
“We feel that that is what really differentiates us from a lot of companies,” she said. “There are a lot of companies who do really great creative work. There are a lot of companies that sell software and services. We blend those two together, so that we are bringing the art of storytelling to life through the use of data.”
“In relation to our business, I would say that technology is probably the big driver, in relation to not only how we help our clients, but in how we engage and interface with them as well.”
Oleson said the company works with 60 colleges across the country and has experienced triple digit growth in the last two years.
“Our goal is to double in size each year, and we are absolutely on track to do that,” she said.
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