Chicago marketing firm voted 2021 Small Business of the Year

Chicago marketing firm voted 2021 Small Business of the Year
(L to R) Ahmad Islam, CEO; and Sherman Wright, COO (Photo courtesy of TEN35)

Established in 2016, TEN35 is a full-service marketing and communications agency that thrives on being an agent of change by turning digital communications on its head. The founders, COO Sherman Wright; and CEO and managing partner Ahmad Islam are experts in marketing communications.

Their brand has attracted talent who are passionate about what they do. Employment at the agency has grown to 80 people from 25 a year ago. Some 80 percent of the employees are people of color, 70 percent are women and 20 percent LGBTQIA+. Specializing in all types of communications and experiences, they have a roster of heavy-hitter clients, including Amazon, Lowe’s, Lipton and Pepsi.


Ten35 was recognized as the 2021 Small Business of the Year by U.S. Black Chambers Inc.

What has the experience been leading up to being recognized as the 2021 Small Business of the Year?


Ahmad Islam: The TEN35 team are creators first. We’re creatives, visionaries and artists at our core. Being recognized as Small Business of the Year felt like a manifestation of all the hard creative work we did this year, as well as a physical manifestation of the culture of growth and strength that is emblematic of Ten35.

Explain your company’s employment growth. Why do you think your employees enjoy working for TEN35?

Sherman Wright: Our belief is if you put your people first, success is inevitable. We try to meet and greet people on their terms, and how they choose to show up in the world. We believe this philosophy is what attracts diverse, talented and passionate people to TEN35. While diverse in makeup, our team members share similar experiences, ambitions and goals that creates a sense of community through the collaborative nature of our culture allowing individuals to collectively thrive at work and enjoy what they do.

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