The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (the GSF)

Grey Matter Marketing is focused on helping innovation-driven healthcare companies that are changing people’s lives tell their brand story.  We bring clarity to the intricate issues facing the healthcare industry to deliver marketing solutions that enable companies to build strong connections with healthcare providers and patients.

We’re part of an important network, like the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (theGSF), which believes that things can change, be better, be cured. And today we’re honored that Bill and Victoria Strong, founders of theGSF, have graciously accepted our invitation for an interview to share their experience on building a successful business.

  1. For our readers that do not know, can you summarize what the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation is?

    The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (theGSF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing global awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the #1 genetic killer of young children, accelerating research focused on ending this cruel disease, and supporting families impacted by SMA and other life-altering conditions. theGSF was born out of our firsthand experience with our daughter, Gwendolyn, who was diagnosed with SMA Type I at 6-months-old.  Our passion to make a difference quickly grew well beyond just two people, and within a short time theGSF and its supporters were having a material impact on SMA.

  2. From a marketing standpoint, what avenues have you found generated the most awareness for your cause?

    After Gwendolyn’s SMA diagnosis sunk in, our first thought was, “Why doesn’t anyone know about the #1 genetic killer of young children? That must change!” Bill spent his entire career in the Internet space and so our knee-jerk reaction to reach as many people as possible has always had an online focus. We immediately created ways for people to get involved from anywhere in the world. And have continued to use social media in creative ways with direct and specific requests, which has allowed us to have a far greater reach, in a faster period of time, with a limited budget.

  3. With regards to social media, has there been a particular tactic that has worked best for you and why?

    Our tactic has always been to keep our messaging direct, to the point, and to continue to answer the “What is SMA?” question in a visual and relatable way that leaves an impact. For a little known disease that means talking about the good, the bad, and the reality. SMA is far more than its brutal statistics. It is families. It is their love, their determination, their resilience. It is children. It is their joy, their bravery, their zest for life. It is mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grandparents, friends, newborns and college graduates. It is perseverance. It is perspective. It is courage. We continue to ask ourselves if our messaging resonates and are always thinking of new ways to open up the conversation and keep people engaged.

  4. What’s a “business rule” you broke that has made a meaningful impact to your mission?

    Asking for favors — over and over and over again. Normally we’re not comfortable asking for anything from others and we would never ask twice. All that changed the day our daughter was diagnosed with a terminal disease. We continually have to push that discomfort aside and ask for favors, ask for help, and ask for money to support our programs. We wouldn’t have been able to create programs to the extent we have without the continued help from others.

  5. What are some lessons learned that would be valuable for any business?

    Work hard, think outside of the box, and don’t be afraid of hearing “No.” Eventually you’ll get a “Yes.” And NEVER GIVE UP.

Like the GSF, Grey Matter Marketing is committed to never giving up. We hope our readers feel the same way. To get involved or help, please visit

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