Gun Denhart, a native of Sweden, has lived in Portland, Oregon for more than 25 years. Gun received the equivalent of an MBA from Lund University in Sweden.
In 1983 she and her husband Tom, founded the Hanna Andersson children’s clothing company in the garage of their Portland home. Through her leadership, the company became known for its quality clothing made from soft cotton materials, family friendly employee policies and innovative contributions to the community through non-profit and school partnerships. She pioneered, and was nationally recognized for, many family friendly work place policies including childcare reimbursements for employees and flexible working hours.
In 1992 Gun received the Business Enterprise Trust Award for Social Entrepreneurship. The Business Enterprise Trust was a nonprofit group founded to laud companies for integrating social vision into their business plans. In 1996 President Bill Clinton invited her to the White House for a meeting of Socially Responsible Entrepreneurs. Hanna Andersson was repeatedly recognized by Working Mother magazine in their annual 100 best companies for working mothers and by Working Woman magazine as one of the top 500 woman owned businesses in America. Gun was featured in Business Ethics and Inc Magazine for her business principles and practices around sustainability and family friendly workplaces.
Before it was widely fashionable Gun was an early supporter of the use of organic cotton requiring vendors to meet the Oko-Tex standard – a European ecological certification process that tests garments for harmful substances. Hanna Andersson became widely known for organic cotton products, which coincided with the growing market for organics in the U.S. and abroad.
Gun co-authored the book Growing Local Value, showing how to leverage every aspect of a business – from product creation to employee recruitment, vendor selection, and raising capitol – to benefit both the community and the bottom line.
Gun’s passion lies in her work with local and national groups on children’s, environmental and sustainability issues. She is keenly interested in making sustainable improvements in our society, be it through business practices, socially responsible investing, advocacy, public policy or philanthropy.
Gun is well known as a civic leader in Portland. She is the Vice Chair of Ecotrust and currently serves on the boards of Mercy Corps and Threshold Group. She is a founding member and past chair of the Oregon Business Association, and past board member of the national organization: Business for Social Responsibility, of which Hanna Andersson Corporation was a founding member. She is a member of the International Women’s Forum.
Denhart is an enthusiastic hiker and yoga devotee. She lives in Portland and has three sons and five granddaughters.