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Meet Three Women Entrepreneurs Who are Powering BNO’s Growth

Women’s History Month

Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony – these are some of the women we honor during Women’s History Month. They broke barriers, changed laws, and pioneered some of the most progressive movements in the history of women. It is iconic women like these and many others – both past and present – we revere during the month of March.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we here at BNO give a little extra attention to all of the amazing, strong, determined women found within our agency walls. This month we are featuring three notable women who have not only made BNO history, but who are also creating our agency’s exciting future: Joanne Obenauf, Trista Walker, and Beverly Thomas.

Joanne Obenauf, Founder and CEO

Women made career strides in the 1980’s, and luckily for us, our founder was one of them. Joanne’s entrepreneurial vision, passion for excellence, and energy provided a strong foundation for BNO in 1981 (just a year after National Women’s History Week began). And after nearly four decades growing BNO, she could have rested on her laurels as a successful businesswoman, but Joanne doubled down on women entrepreneurship instead, and continued to attract and support women entrepreneurs as fuel for agency growth. This growth has included new levels of revenue, substantial client growth, launching new capabilities, and expanding to new geographic territory. She continues to lead the agency’s future with the launch of its latest venture, BNO Creative Labs – BNO’s newly formed innovative offshoot in St. Petersburg, FL.

Obenauf representing BNO Creative Labs in Orlando, FL, meeting Vernice “Fly Girl” Armour, the first African-American female combat pilot in the U.S. armed forces.

Trista Walker, President

Trista is a digital marketing expert and entrepreneur who, prior to joining BNO, founded Blue Flame Partners, a multidimensional marketing agency. Trista engaged BNO to partner with her firm on a large design project for the USDA and, loving the energy and creativity at BNO, agreed to join forces with Joanne. Trista became BNO’s president in 2014 and led the agency through several years of historic growth. Trista is particularly proud of new client relationships with companies such as Verizon, W.L. Gore, and Danaher Corporation, and the agency’s increased focus on customer experience design (CX) and healthcare brand marketing. These capabilities have invigorated the agency in new ways and provided growth opportunities for BNO staff as well as significant talent additions.

Paying it forward:
Walker with protégé Pauline Theeuws at Theeuws’ Rider University graduation. Theeuws is now a project manager-in-training at BNO.

Beverly Thomas, VP of Marketing and Strategic Accounts

Beverly was the founder and CEO of Graphic Matter, an award-winning graphic design studio that worked closely with BNO for many years. She joined BNO in late 2017 when the agency acquired Graphic Matter. In 2019, Beverly led a year of striking growth for BNO’s package design and labeling lifecycle management business. Beverly also identified many new business opportunities for the agency through her networking efforts with WBENC, Diversity Alliance for Science, and the WPO, among others.

Women-to-women networking:
Thomas representing BNO at the 2020 Diversity Alliance for Science (D4AS) West Conference in Laguna, CA.

Please join us in recognizing our power team of women who continually forge new paths for revenue growth and market expansion, and create history for BNO every day. In addition to the leaders featured above, the power women of BNO include senior vice presidents, account managers, project managers, business managers, creative directors, production managers and other mission-critical players. They are the reason BNO is proud to be on the cusp of its fortieth anniversary and still growing strong.