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For some, working at an agency is no easy feat. Tena Hermance, however, has spent her career blazing trails at metro Detroit’s biggest marketing and advertising agencies — and now she’s bringing that expertise to SSDM.

Women leading the industry

Tena Hermance is no stranger to senior-level roles and leadership positions. At Doner, a full-service advertising agency in Detroit, Tena served as senior vice president and strategic brand leader. She immediately hit the ground running and pulled on her experience in the digital marketing and social media space to craft a pitch for Minute Maid.

Working with a cross-functional team, she helped develop unique offerings that spoke to aspects of the digital world that many brands were struggling to grasp. The agency was ultimately awarded the business — and Tena swears that the story behind the win is fascinating and truly highlights how a “success formula” can become a powerful asset for a company.

Tena actually returned to Doner for two additional stints throughout her career, each time helping the agency strengthen its client relationships and increase revenue opportunities.

Most recently, she operated her own agency – Tenacity Marketing – as “chief everything officer” (and yes, that was her official title). Tena worked with a variety of regional and national clients there, leading efforts on everything from website design and CRM strategy to CX automation and strategic lead-generation initiatives.

A serendipitous turn of events

The story really starts during the six years Tena spent at Campbell-Ewald. She was hired on to conceptualize and manage the U.S. Navy account, and then, to support the fast-paced GM Dealer Group account, where she was instrumental in helping 6.5 million dealers with advertising strategies after GM’s dissolution of four brands left them to fend for themselves.

Nick Skislak, SSDM founder and CEO, met Tena when they worked together on the U.S. Navy account. They clearly impressed one another because they stayed in touch over the years and looked for an opportunity to work together again. Now, in 2022, the timing is right!

“Tena’s track record of client success is due to her innate ability to truly connect on a collaborative and strategic level, so we know she’ll aid us in creating systems that put the client’s best interests even more at the forefront,” said Nick. “Welcoming her to the SSDM team fulfills a dream I’ve had for over a decade; I’m grateful and humbled.

Becoming an agency change-maker

Throughout her marketing and advertising career, Tena Hermance has been a team player, bringing her “A” game to coach and inspire others. And those characteristics ring true as she begins her journey with SSDM.

The elements of mutual respect and rapport among the SSDM crew (things that seem typical but can be pretty rare in this industry) appealed to Tena, and she spent her first few weeks at the agency sitting down with each team member to craft growth plans and better understand the team dynamics.

At SSDM, we share Tena’s enthusiasm for exploring new and exciting avenues and encourage our team to constantly learn about the ever-changing digital marketing industry. Putting all of our shared knowledge and experiences together makes for some incredibly innovative solutions for our clients’ challenges.

“Tena’s superpower is that she welcomes challenges with no fear. This is one of SSDM’s main pillar philosophies, so it’s a great fit,” said Michael J. Taylor II, partner and creative director. “We are so excited to take full advantage of her knowledge of B2B marketing and the agency business.”

Keeping growth a priority

SSDM is at an exciting point in its continued growth and evolution, so an optimal client partnership experience is our top priority. To provide a stellar client experience, however, it’s important that we continue to nurture the workplace culture and talented people behind all the work we do. That’s why Tena’s role as director of agency experience will take a two-fold approach:

  1. Streamline agency processes to help improve organizational alignment and facilitate the development of more robust, collaborative client partnerships.
  2. Enhance the award-winning culture to retain our brilliant team members and provide support for recruitment efforts as the agency’s needs grow.

In Tena’s words, she’s the woman responsible for “helping SSDM find that magic intersection of efficiency, collaboration and results.” And we can’t think of anyone more perfect for the job!

Lover of many things

Tena swears that she’s a direct descendant of Dr. Doolittle as she loves all animals thoroughly and completely. A self-professed foodie, she’s been known to host elaborately themed dinner parties.

She also has a distinct love of words, calling herself a writer at heart and seeking out music with captivating lyrics. And she’s acquired a knack for creating incredibly specific playlists — think iconic introductions, songs for every day of the week, or albums you’d be happy listening to while stuck on a deserted island!

Please join us in welcoming Tena Hermance to the SSDM leadership team!

Crafting a remarkable client experience is crucial. Find out our philosophy and process for making it happen.

Crafting a remarkable client experience is crucial. Find out our philosophy and process for making it happen.