Featured Member Cary Hatch ('00)

Cary Hatch ('00)

CEO, Brand Advocate, MDB Communications

Every month LGW highlights a new member of the Leadership Greater Washington Community. This month we had the pleasure of getting to know Cary Hatch ('00), a graduate of the Class of 2000: Millennial Mosaic.

Can you give us some background or insight into your personal leadership path – including your sources of inspiration and most important lessons learned? 

I’ve always admired and been inspired by entrepreneurs. The mantra of: “Decide, Commit, Succeed” resonates with me. I’d add to that “Give Back” and “Repeat”.

A novice CEO at 30, my adventure as an entrepreneur was a true test of faith, humility, tenacity and relentless learning from aspirational, national and regional role models. Charlotte Beers (former Chairman of J. Walter Thompson) and Barbara J. Krumsiek (former CEO of Calvert Investments), Robin Koval (CEO of Truth Initiative) come to mind, among others. Early advertising and business greats James Burke (Johnson & Johnson), Steve Jobs (of course) and leading authors including John Maxwell and Daniel Pink rounded out my thirst for illustrations of grit, perseverance and the value of instinct.

Being part of the Greater Washington community of so many strong and generous leaders has been my good fortune. To seek out their counsel, and learn and grow from their generosity and example is a true blessing.

Giving back to the region that has allowed me to achieve whatever level of success I’ve had by simply doing what I love is truly remarkable. The greatest gift for me is to help brands realize their destiny. We’ve been so privileged to work for global, national and regional brands – Fannie Mae, DC Lottery, Destination DC, the Newseum, Sprint, Samaritan Inns for the homeless, Heroes, Inc. All of which make my heart sing. I'm very grateful; I feel very fortunate, to be able to make a living with what I do and what I love.

Central to my career path is the joy that comes from reciprocation. I’m a true believer in the joy of giving back and reciprocating kindness. Also, I feel a responsibility to be a resource to people in our community and those young professionals entering the industry. My volunteer time at the regional university systems, the Board of Trade, Year Up, Federal City Council and many others provides a sense of contribution and pride for the region – which warms my heart. 

How did you first become involved with Leadership Greater Washington and the Signature Program?

As a life-long student of leadership, it was natural to follow and admire the organization, its stellar membership and the truly compelling regional impact stories that have been realized. As an evolving leader, I sought to join a group of notable people who, like me, were dedicated to using our collective intellect, passion and stations to advance LGW and the region. After joining the LGW Class of 2000 (Millennial Mosaic) I went on to serve on the Board for 2 years, on the nominating committee several times as well as on the recent LGW Host Dinner Committee honoring my dear friend, Rosie Allen-Herring. I was also honored to contribute to the foundational strategy for the Rising Leaders program. 

How would you describe LGW - the alumni, leadership, staff, and overall mission of the organization? 

LGW is a truly unique organization and experience. Key to that is the dedication to leveraging leadership clout (in many forms) to advance the region, better our communities and provide a pathway and model for future leaders. Additionally, the endearing friendships, life-long lessons and ongoing opportunities to learn and grow are priceless.

Central to the LGW legacy is the notable wisdom and passion of the leadership and staff along with the heritage they continue to honor and advance. Since its inception in 1986, LGW has been the home of advocates for regional leadership that change our communities for the better.

Can you describe an extraordinary LGW Moment from your experience - a connection you made, something you pursued because of LGW, or a distinctive memory?

There are so many moments and memories I’ve been so fortunate to experience. Through the Signature Program, I was able to better understand our judicial system in the District by observing the DC Drug Court as well as learning about the educational challenges in our public school systems. More recently, I cherish the wisdom that is imparted at the Lessons in Leadership breakfasts with Don Graham, David Rubinstein, Martine Rosenblatt...and many more. Each a notable profile in leadership, courage and integrity. I am both spellbound and humbled by listening to their paths to success.

How do you envision the future of the region? What about LGW’s role in that future?

I’m openly bullish on the region and LGW‘s ability to help shape our future. We have the “whole package”: talent, capital, wisdom and willpower to advance our region. LGW is a noteworthy catalyst that can help us emerge from being what some say is “just” a Federal city to an even more established destination as a global region known for innovation, inclusion and change advocacy.

How do your efforts and leadership at your current organization impact the future of the Greater Washington region?

Our firm has been privileged to contribute to the current regional dialogue around shaping several key initiatives. We’ve helped to lead the Branding Greater Washington initiative, to transform the image of the region into one that is less government-centric and positions the region based on its positive attributes such as its skilled workforce, high quality of life, cultural diversity, and the uniquely attractive business ecosystem created by our proximity to government, top universities and research centers, and major airports.

Most recently, we’ve contributed to and managed the MetroNow coalition’s campaign efforts to successfully secure $500 million in dedicated Metro funding for the first time in the system’s 40+ years of existence, despite significant jurisdictional and organizational challenges.

We’re now focusing our efforts toward regional collaboration to address housing affordability and workforce development. 

What is your favorite LGW event?

I truly relish the LGW Annual Meeting, the recent LGW 2018 Leadership Awards Dinner, and the Lessons in Leadership Breakfasts.

These events are the best way I can possibly imagine to meet, appreciate and admire our region’s leaders. They allow us to honor those who are a beacon of inspiration and leadership while learning from the endearing stories that encourage and inspire us all. 

In what ways has LGW been able to shape the region since you joined? 

LGW has emerged as a significant and recognized regional organization – a truth teller, collaborative body and convener addressing vital issues of collective import. Recently, these include supporting the Branding Greater Washington (inaugural Future of Greater Washington event) and the MetroNow coalition initiatives – both of which my firm and I support.

Additionally, LGW’s role in addressing housing affordability in Greater Washington is vital. As a trusted regional convener, this will become even more critical for the foreseeable future as pending decisions from Amazon, Apple and other opportunities become a reality. 

How has LGW played a role in your professional life? 

LGW is a valued constant in my professional life in so many ways. The organization, the mission, the staff, the causes, and my friends are the common thread in my LGW-centric life. I’ve been so blessed to know and count on my LGW eco-system. Whether it’s encouraging LGW involvement in regional branding conversations, relying on LGW friends to advance causes I believe in, seeking counsel on matters or learning at the feet of notable leaders, LGW enriches my life.

What are some keys to staying innovative in your field or some tips for success? 

Simply put, be a humble learner, investor and advocate for change.

I learned early on that our success at MDB is based solely on the value we provide (and continue to provide) for our clients. In our industry (as with most) that means “leaning forward” to pursue knowledge and to examine and vet methods and channels that can advance our clients brands.

I continue to challenge our team, partners and vendors with one simple question. If we don’t continue to be a renaissance resource in brand leadership, why would anyone hire us? That philosophy compels us to continue to lead the charge on new and emerging marketing fronts.

The rewards for adopting a lean-in approach are clear; including our 36-year history in an industry not known for longevity. A few milestone examples include being an early champion of SEM (search engine marketing) which resulted in Google lauding our national client case studies and our current Google certifications. Also notable was advanced brand sentiment and social media monitoring for our clients, among other initiatives. Today, we advance brands with a full understanding and arsenal of traditional and digital platforms and channels. Programmatic media solutions with innovative, creative story telling assets and ROI reporting are key to successfully launching and managing the B2B and consumer brands we represent. 

What do you love most about your LGW Class?

Without reservation - our class, as our name suggests (Millennial Mosaic), is a welcoming, supportive and authentic champion for each other. Qualities that are both rare and welcomed.​

Please tell us something most people might not know about you.

Often mistaken for a lawyer, you might be surprised to learn that I started my career as an Art Director in an advertising agency and transitioned to account service and strategy – or as the creative teams call it, “the dark side” of the business.

As an unabashed, native Washingtonian, I’ve been fortunate to “Decide, Commit, Succeed, Give Back and Repeat” in my hometown after moving across the country seven times as a child. 

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