What is your role at Hattaway?
My title is creative director. At Hattaway, this title encompasses the traditional role of running our Storytelling (creative) group and delivering impactful and inspiring creative for clients’ campaigns, as well as working with Science (research) and Strategy to ensure that our ideas carry through the entire process, from formation to execution and evaluation. Innovation is baked into every aspect of our client work in order to communicate with maximum motivating power.
What are you currently working on that you are really passionate about, and why?
The only thing more gratifying than seeing our work out in the world is knowing that it makes a real difference in changing the narrative around important issues. Two campaigns that really stand out to me are EO Equals, a campaign to increase interest in employee ownership, and Count on Us, a campaign for UnidosUS to shift perceptions of Latinos.
Compelled to create more equitable communities and a greater distribution of wealth, The Kendeda Fund and a group of employee ownership (EO) specialists partnered with Hattaway Communications to spread the word about a little-known solution to our country’s growing income gap: employee ownership. Our research found that there was little awareness of EO among small business owners, and that EO was discussed mainly as a worker justice issue instead of as a business solution. Our campaign turned EO into a smart business solution with benefits for workers and communities by pointing out all the things EO can accomplish, from Enduring Organizations to Excellent Operations to Equitable Outcomes. The result was hundreds of new leads for our clients and a better understanding of EO on the part of small business owners all over the country.
UnidosUS, the nation’s largest civil rights organization representing Latinos, worked with the Hattaway team to understand what would motivate non-Latinos to support and celebrate Latinos’ contributions and help remove barriers they face. We found that most Americans feel warmly about Latinos but are unaware of their many contributions to our economy, culture, and communities or of the barriers they face to further success. By highlighting the tangible contributions of Latinos in an integrated strategic communications campaign, we were able to influence the narrative about Latinos in the press and increase the percentage of those who view of Latinos as contributors in Arizona by 15% in only two months.
What is currently igniting your imagination?
In addition to my work at Hattaway, I am a painter. I recently had the opportunity to take a week-long artist’s residency at Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Art Center in southern Maryland. For seven days, I did nothing but worked in the studio, convened with the other artists in residency, and viewed the wonderful art and gardens at the center. It was a reminder that stepping away from the day-to-day, whether that is an hour or a week, gives you a new perspective that brings new life to your work.
What originally got you interested in communications?
My grandfather was one of the original mad men. He worked on Madison Avenue in New York City for agencies like Young & Rubicam and McCann. He was a highly influential figure in my life. My mom is an artist, and we grew up doing all kinds of creative projects. I knew that I wanted to bring my creativity into my work in a very real way, and that I wanted to be able to see the results of my efforts. In my early career in advertising and public relations, those results meant numbers of products sold, from McDonald’s hamburgers to Washington Post subscriptions and gallons of propane. More recently, I have used these skills to change hearts and minds for government and nonprofit clients. The work I am most proud of keeps people safe and creates equity and opportunity.
What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever gotten?
Four simple words, “pick up the phone.” It is amazing to me how many issues can be resolved with a simple phone call. There is a place for messaging platforms, emails, and other forms of communication, but they will never replace the power of interpersonal communication.