The Story of a Start-Up

Let me tell you a story about a start-up.

It begins in 2008, with a graduate student working towards her Master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin. Fascinated by the new phenomenon that was Twitter, she wrote her thesis about the microblogging site, delving deep into the brave new world of social media marketing.

One year later, Shama Hyder had founded her own online marketing agency – The Zen Media Group. From its humble beginnings as a grad student’s shoestring start-up, it has grown by leaps and bounds each year, so that now, it boasts an international team of digital marketing experts and a clientele that has included impressive names such as Haggar Men’s Clothing, the YMCA, and KD College.

Not only did this start-up continue to grow by 400% on average each year – but it was also regularly recognized with national and international awards for its innovative work and its success.

And those awards continue to come.

Today we are proud to announce that this year, we’ve been selected for inclusion in the 2014 Empact Showcase. This is the third year in a row that Shama and Zen Media have won this prestigious award, which showcases the top U.S. companies started by young entrepreneurs under 35.

Along with the other winners, Zen Media will be honored at the United Nations in New York this month for our “revenue, employees, social impact, growth over the past year, and innovativeness,” according to the judging criteria of the competition.

“Young entrepreneurs are having a big impact on our economy, and it’s so powerful to have so many of these leaders in a room together,” said Sheena Lindahl, Co-Founder of the Empact Showcase. “Many of the companies are social enterprises that are also making a huge difference in people’s lives. It is never an easy road to build a successful organization, and we believe it’s important to celebrate all the spirit and grit these entrepreneurs have put into making the world a better place.”

With a judging panel made up of entrepreneurs like the CEO of Hooked on Phonics, the founder of the USA Network and the ScyFy Channel, and one of the founders of, it’s a real honor to have been chosen from among the stiff competition.

We are so excited to have received this honor, but more than that, we are beyond grateful to our wonderful clients, who have made winning this award possible for us the last three years. Thank you for your continued support!

If you are not yet a client and would like the chance to work with an award-winning digital marketing agency, why not fill out our online contact us form today? We will get in touch and chat with you about your company’s online marketing needs, and help you develop a customized strategy that will move your business to the next level.



She is the founder & CEO of Zen Media. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc have all recognized her as one of the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the field of marketing. Shama has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. She is a bestselling author, an international keynote speaker, and has been named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Marketing for four years in a row.



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