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Adrienne Cornelsen

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Adrienne Cornelsen is an entrepreneur who founded Insite Interactive, a company based in Dallas, Texas. Insite Interactive is a digital agency that provides design and development services for technology platforms including web, mobile and digital signs.[1]

Adrienne, born in Florida, traveled to Texas to attend Texas Christian University[2] in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where she studied marketing and public relations.

After college, Adrienne took a job with a local Dallas firm that specialized in managing shareholder relations for a number of publicly-held companies. According to Adrienne, “My job was to get out press releases, financial statements and to help companies manage relationships with their shareholders. It was a lot of back and forth communication."

By 1995, digital communication began to take off, and the company she was working for at the time began focusing on email as the medium to get their press releases out faster. Email allowed companies to communicate much more rapidly than they had been able to via postal mail or fax. Between 1995 and 1998, Cornelsen helped that company expand their email marketing capabilities, and she was named president of the newly formed email service division of the company.

At this point, Cornelsen, who had gained experience in digital media and technology, saw that the media landscape was changing, and that there was significant opportunity to take advantage of the digital revolution.

Adrienne kept insisting that she should be allowed to explore this new digital industry a little farther because she was sure it was actually going to be something really big. She just knew this was something that's going to change everything about marketing. It's not just about sending press releases. After three years of being told to just focus on shareholder relations she finally left the firm and went on to found Insite Interactive.

Adrienne Cornelsen was recognized with the 2011/12 Bobby Blanchard – Member of the Year Award by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization – Dallas Chapter.

Companies and Investments

Insite Interactive, Inc

Lessons Learned

Don't give up too much ownership of your company.

Looking back, Adrienne recalls needing help to build and grow her fledgling agency. With no money, no entrepreneurial experience and a few thousand dollars from friends, Cornelsen set out to start her own company. She needed an office for potential clients to come to; computer servers for hosting; office supplies and more. She had no business credit at all, so she did what many entrepreneurs do--she made it up as she went along.

In order to get much of what she needed, she traded for equity in her new company. 17% here, 4% there, however her experience with public companies made her know to always retain 51% of her company. She got everything she needed to open the doors. She also had one employee that had “jumped ship” with her and that the person knew there would be no pay until the company had some cash flow.

By the end of three months, they had 9 clients and hired a third person and at the end of the year had achieved $90,000 gross income.

As a way to obtain resources, she offered equity in her company to the people who could help her. As she reflected on her experience as an entrepreneur, she said, "I think I way undervalued my potential (the company), because the help that I needed was very short term and very low risk." Her experience taught her a valuable lesson -- evaluate the type of help that you need while building your business, and only give up ownership when it makes sense. Believe in the value and potential of the company you are envisioning, and treat your business as if it already has that value today.

'Go with your instincts. Even if you're not sure exactly what the resulting business will look like.

When thinking back about her journey as an entrepreneur, Cornelsen says "...I don't think I ever had that much clarity about the company I would eventually create. I knew that I wanted to use technology to help businesses. I knew that it was going to move very, very fast. I knew that I had a unique ability to understand the changing technology, and to kind of keep up and teach other people how to adapt their businesses to the change. I don't think I ever really knew that 15 years later I'd have a 25 person agency.”

Inspiring Quotes

I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Ayn Rand

Adrienne Cornelsen's Quotes

A lot of people think that they have to know it all. They dont want to just say I have no idea what I am doing...

Adrienne Cornelsen

Influential Books

Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged

Jim Collins - Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't



  1. [1]
  2. Texas Christian University, Official website.


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