Location: Denver, CO
Gretchen Gaede’s journey could be described as a rags to riches story. Despite being a child from a poor small town in Indiana, Gaede knew she would achieve her dreams. With the gift of intellect and uncompromising ambition, she created one of the fastest growing and most recognized women-owned businesses in Colorado.
“Was it enterprising or survival?” asked Gaede. “I think it started as survival, grew through sheer determination and audacious dream goals and landed where it is today. Few successful people think they’re successful or know when they’ve ‘made it.’”
She achieved her goals and dreams by launching A-Train Marketing in 1998 where she currently serves as president and manages approximately $2.75 million in revenue with eight employees. She received no formal training, no investment dollars and no road map to tell her how to build a career as a marketer and branding mastermind.
“I have overcome my early circumstances by reinventing who others thought I would be into what I can be,” said Gaede. “I help every brand that I work with do the same with a unique understanding of how to engage the human psyche through authenticity and emotional connection.”
In the last 18 months, A-Train Marketing has grown its client base in Colorado and has anchored its position as one of the state’s fastest growing and most successful marketing agencies. The company has evolved services, advanced the digital media and analytics division, further developed internal training systems and maintained a commitment to employees’ professional development.
“We look forward to growing our team by recruiting more top-Colorado talent with plans to add at least three new positions,” said Gaede. “As the one driving A-Train, I take the concepts of advancement and acceleration very seriously.”
She also takes leadership very seriously, choosing to lead by example and giving back to the communities that supported her. “During the early stages of my business, I developed a robust corporate giving program,” said Gaede. “I’ve always been compelled to remember how critical it is to give to those who have less.”
That’s why Gaede lives by the philosophy that no matter what you have and where you are in life, there will always be someone who is in more need than you. This philosophy and her success in the industry has led to the Enterprising Women of the Year award by Enterprising Women Magazine in 2019 and the Elizabeth Stone award from the Women’s Resource Center in 2005 for her charitable contributions to women in Larimer County. She was also honored with the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Colorado Business.
“Leadership isn’t when people work for you; it’s when you work for people,” said Gaede. For her perseverance, success and generosity in giving back to others, Gaede has earned a spot as a Titan of industry.
Greatest Leadership Lesson
Leadership isn't when people work for you; it's when you work for people.
When you're going through hell, keep going.
Gaede is a published poet; winner of the Colorado poetry prize for 4 consecutive years; she’s never had a speeding ticket or any type of traffic violation, she has traveled to 35 countries and she met husband, and current business partner, Ryan Keiffer at age 14.