Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring an in-depth look at communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this “Up Close and Personal” profile we feature Cary Hatch, CEO of D.C.-based MDB Communications. In addition, Hatch was recently recognized as one of the POWER 100 on Washington Business Journal’s list of the most influential business leaders. She also serves as chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Board of Governors for the American Association of Advertising Agencies, is on the Washington DC Leadership Committee for the Ad Council and is a board member for the University System of Maryland Foundation.
Photography for Capitol Communicator’s profile series is by award-winning Cade Martin. Wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.
Cary, please provide us an overview of your career at MDB.
I joined MDB Communications in 1981 as an account executive. After a promotion into a management position in 1983 and growing the business for several years, I purchased the company in 1987 and became the CEO. Since then, we’ve established a formidable track record in business and consumer communications, both domestic and international. Our clients have included National Geographic, Fannie Mae, Destination DC, the International Spy Museum, Sprint, the U.S. Mint, and many others. And, our work has appeared both nationally and internationally in Graphis, Print, and Communication Arts. Creative recognition includes numerous, London International Awards, Tellys, Silver Microphones, and ADDYs as well as MAXI Awards for excellence in direct marketing.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I’m a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Greater Washington Board of Trade, International Women’s Forum, The Economic Club of Washington DC, University System of Maryland Foundation, Leadership Greater Washington and Heroes, Inc.
What are the things you are most proud of?
There are four things I’m most proud of: First, working with and for good people; second, doing great work for great brands; third, contributing to “change” that elevates the profile, stature and success of brands, causes and organizations; and, fourth, doing what I love.
Who were your personal role models?
There are so many role models that have shaped my life: My parents, my grandmother (who lived to 106), Charlotte Beers (former CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, former Under Secretary of State), my peers who have navigated and led industry change, and my colleagues – who for more than 30 years have inspired me every day.
Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
Charlotte Beers said, “There are hundreds of beautiful ideas lost every day. In advertising the idea is premier; not our titles; it’s not the people, it’s the power of the thinking. Women need to share it, think it and make it part of who they are.” That’s the advice that I try to follow.
What professional advice do you have for others?
Here are three pieces of advice that I share with others:
-Remain curious about life and your profession. Consumption of information on innovation and consumer trends is critical to leading client brands. Everything counts. For why would a client look to us, if we cannot be a renaissance resource to leading the way?
-One wise woman put it this way “when you’re through changing – you’re through.”
-Know that life can be unkind, competition is considerable– but for those that are passionate, tenacious and persistent — they are the notable leaders of our time.
What advice do you have on what’s appropriate attire at MDB?
Your attire should reflect your personal brand, support the role and stature you aspire to, and never undermine your credibility. Of course it also depends on the audience you’re playing to as well; internally and externally.
Where do you buy most of the clothes you wear to the office?
As a seasoned “treasure hunter” I find fun and elegant pieces from Goodwill Thrift Shops and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as “off-the-beaten path” boutiques.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I love advertising; the history, the power of persuasion and the cultural impact of it. My office has over 150 advertising icons in it. From Mr. Peanut to the RCA dog “Nipper”; Michelin Man (Bib) to Bud’s “Spuds McKenzie” and Mr. Clean to Big Boy – it’s inspiring and fun to surround yourself with legendary advertising icons.