Home » Up Close and Personal: Getting to Know Kevin Richards, SVP, Creative Director at Subject Matter

Up Close and Personal: Getting to Know Kevin Richards, SVP, Creative Director at Subject Matter

by | Oct 19, 2015



Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic.  In this “up close and personal” profile, we feature Kevin Richards. Photography for this series is by 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.

Kevin, please provide us a short bio.

Three and a half years ago, I started a journey with the good people at Home Front Communications. We’ve added accounts, built our team and put a few holes in the wall. We recently merged with Elmendorf | Ryan, a well-established government relations firm, to create Subject Matter, a perfectly balanced public affairs and creative communications agency. My job as Senior Vice President, Creative Director, is to inspire cross-disciplinary ideas for our Fortune 50 clients, industry trade associations, nonprofits and government agencies — everything from advertising and design to guerilla tactics and digital experiences. We’re entering the market as a 70-person agency with the spirit of a start-up and the experience to back it up. And my not-so-shameless plug goes here: TeamSubjectMatter.com.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

USA Gymnastics. But don’t get all excited, it’s not like I spend my free time spinning around on the pommel horse wearing a leotard. Rather, it’s my two daughters, Ginger and Chloe. I think my wife and I can safely say this has been our pastime for the past seven years. Both our girls are extremely competitive and we’re happy to be able to support them in their sport, even though it means it’s the only pastime we ever have time for.

What are the things you are most proud of?

This is easy. My family: Jenny, Ginger and Chloe are everything to me. If you ask them, they might say I’m proudest of my accomplishments at work, but they’d be wrong. The team at Subject Matter truly cares about our clients and the work we produce for them. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t stay up all night obsessing over strategy and headlines. But I have a saying, “It’s just advertising.” It’s great to be proud of the work we do, but it’s important to remain focused on what truly matters, our family and friends.

Who were your personal role models and why?

This is difficult. It’s hard to pinpoint any one person. I’m a product of all of my experiences and all of the people that have influenced me. Of course my role models growing up were my parents and siblings. I will however name drop two people, Matt Smith and Bruce Gifford. These guys took me under their wing and then gave me the reins.

Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?

– Find your ideas in life, not in award books.

– You’re only as good as your next idea.

– If your client can only afford bad stock photography, don’t concept something that requires you use it.

– The hardest part of making a great idea is getting it made, because if it doesn’t get made, it’s not worth much at all.

What professional advice do you have for others?

Be nice, work hard and take time off. In that order.

What advice do you have on what’s appropriate attire for your organization?

If you have an important meeting, wear jeans and a sport coat. If you don’t, wear jeans and a t-shirt. If you have an important meeting that gets canceled, take your sport coat off. Problem solved. If you are a woman and jeans and a sport coat aren’t your thing, maybe something flowy would be nice.

Where do you buy most of the clothes you wear to the office?

Nordstroms. They have quality stuff from lots of designers all in one place. I like efficient shopping.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

My creative team makes big things happen for me every day. Also I’m fascinated by black holes. These two things aren’t related. I think.


(Stay current with items of interest to communicators at Capitol Communicator, www.capitolcommunicator.com)

About the Author

Cade Martin

The only child of a university art professor and freethinker mother, Cade Martin grew up surrounded by shapes and images. His love of art grew out of summer vacations filled with trips to galleries, museums and art studios. At home he often found himself around the dinner table with an eclectic cast of characters – sculptors, writers and painters. They paraded through his childhood, shaping his art foundation and forming his appreciation for the candid beauty found in people from all walks of life. Cade’s been chasing characters ever since. He seeks out their stories-told through the architecture of their faces or the costumes they wear-whether he’s on a commercial production or setting up an Avedon-like photo booth at Comic Con. They are the heroes in his pictures. His thirst for capturing adventures took its hold while shooting stills on movie sets and then as a photographer for National Geographic covering the railways of India. And it is that sense of adventure that Cade brings to his productions elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary with a cinematic touch. It’s not just a picture. He’s committed to the experience, building beautiful environments and, sometimes for his portraits, simply building trust. A talented storyteller, Cade splits his time between the East and West Coasts creating images for editorial, advertising, fashion, and lifestyle clients


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