image of Laura trailblazer

2016 Trailblazer Awards

“Women business owners continue to serve as important role models for potential job creators across the state,” Governor Walker said, “Wisconsin’s history of women-owned businesses is long-standing, and are a key component to the economic success of our state.”

The 2016 Governor’s Trailblazer Awards brought together a mix of special business leaders in Madison on Wednesday. Governor Scott Walker noted during the Women in Business ceremony that the similarities showcase a rich legacy of women-owned businesses from throughout the state, including Laura Gallagher who received the Pioneer Award. It honors businesses owned by women for more than 25 years. She was nominated by Vickie Wenzel, Director of Learning and Development at Atmosphere Commercial Interiors.

Laura started The Creative Company in 1991, and has won numerous awards including the Gold Award for “Best Ad Agency in Wisconsin”.

Most recently, Laura was honored as an Athena Nominee for The Business Forum. She has served on the National Retail Federation’s RAMA Board of Directors, as well as numerous community and non-profit boards. She is a member of Downtown Madison Rotary, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and PRSA Counselors Academy, the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin and is a Wisconsin State Certified Women’s Business Owner.

Her new book, #180in120® – How To Recharge Your Business in 120 Days, has recently been published.

The 2016 Trailblazer recipients come from across Wisconsin. They represent businesses, both large and small, and a wide range of industries. These businesses have sustained families and anchored communities.

InBusiness Madison Magazine Photo Album

seated – Janey Brandt (Wauwatosa Day Care & Learning Centers), Loriana Armstrong (Armstrong General Contracting), Latrice Milton (Milton Family Law), Lise Meyer Kobussen (Meyer Insurance Agency), Joan Collins (Joan Collins Publicity), Laura Groenier (Silver Leaf Design)

standing – Rosemary Krause (Wauwatosa Day Care & Learning Centers), Cheryl Treeland (Treeland Resorts), Nan Zamdars (Nan M. Zamdars, Inc.), Penny Myers for Carol Oxley (Target Corporation), Governor Scott Walker, Mary Brazeau Brown (Glacial Lake Cranberries), Peggy Coakley (Coakley Brothers), Melanie Lichtfeld (Lichtfeld Plumbing), Ann Schlaefer (Schlaefer Optometrists), Bela Roongta (belabela), Laura Gallagher (The Creative Company)


According to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Business Report by American Express OPEN, the number and economic contributions of women-owned firms continue to rise at rates higher than the national average – with even stronger business formation rates seen since the recession.

Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45%, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses. Therefore, over the past nine years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate fully five times faster than the national average.

To put that in perspective, here are a few more stats from the report:

Women are now the majority owners of 38% of the country’s businesses, up from 29% in 2007. These firms employ 8% of the nation’s private sector workforce – up from 6% nine years ago – and contribute 4% of the nation’s business revenues, a share that has not changed over the past 20 years.

As of 2016, it is estimated that there are now 11.3 million (11,313,900) women-owned businesses in the United States, employing nearly 9 million people (8,976,100) and generating over $1.6 trillion ($1,622,763,800,000) in revenues.

There are an estimated 1.9 million African American women-owned firms, employing 376,500 workers and generating $51.4 billion in revenues. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of African American women-owned firms increased by 112% – more than doubling in number and far out shadowing the overall 45% increase among all women-owned firms. African American women-owned firms constitute a 61% majority of African American-owned firms.

There are just under 1.9 million Latina-owned firms, employing 550,400 workers and generating $97 billion in revenues. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of Latina-owned firms increased by 137% – the highest increase seen among minority women-owned firms. Latina-owned firms comprise 46% of all Latino-owned firms.

As of 2016, there are an estimated 922,700 Asian American women-owned firms, employing 964,900 workers and generating $170.4 billion in revenues. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of Asian American women-owned firms increased by 76%. Asian American women-owned firms comprise 41% of all Asian American-owned firms.

Some statistics about Laura and The Creative Company:

  • First year The Creative Company did over $1 million a year in sales: 2002 (Only 1.74% of women owned companies do over $1 million in sales)
  • Average number of employees since 1999: 7 (89% of women owned businesses have no employees other than themselves)
  • The Creative Company’s first client: Wisco Hotels
  • Longest running client: Half Price Books (15 YEARS!)
  • Laura published her first book in 2015, #180in120 and you can read the first 10 pages of the book here absolutely free!

A note from Laura:

“Leadership slumps happen but you can recharge your life and your business. In my new book, I share high challenge ideas and tools and ideas that will help you to live your best life. You can save 25% with the coupon code 25off180.

Just click this link to get your copy. That spring in your step and passion that brought you life, can be yours again. If you want 10 or more books, please email me at”

The Creative Company is certified by the State of Wisconsin as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise.