Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring in-depth profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this “Up Close and Personal” profile, we feature Thomas Sanchez. Photography for Capitol Communicator’s profile series is by Cade Martin. Wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup was by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.
Thomas, please provide us a short bio and your current title.
I am the founder and CEO of Social Driver, and am an innovator and entrepreneur focused on the intersection of marketing and technology. Under my leadership, Social Driver was named the seventh-fastest growing agency in the United States (The Agency 100) and one of “DC’s Coolest Companies” (DCInno). I’m an advocate for innovation in education, diversity in business, and inclusion in technology. I was named a Minority Business Leader by the Washington Business Journal and appointed by the mayor of Washington, D.C., as an advisor to the district government.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I serve on the boards of The Trevor Project (the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people ages 13-24), and my alma mater, Northwest Missouri State University. I also have made financial contributions and provided support to LearnServe, which identifies high school students with the passion to make a difference and equip them with the knowledge, business tools, and relationships they need; and I also support the Capital Area Food Bank. In addition, Vincent Gray, former mayor of Washington, D.C., appointed me to the innovation and technology inclusion council in 2014, and I took an active role in meetings with civic leaders and the Metropolitan Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Unit after the shooting in Orlando in June.
What are the things you are most proud of?
I am most proud of how my colleagues and I have built Social Driver on values and relationships. We believe the future is bright, all progress is social and the drivers make history.
Who are your personal role models and why?
I look up to figures such as Robert Kennedy; I love his quote “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” In business, I look up to figures like Dave Ramsey, Gary Vaynerchuk and Seth Godin. These are all leaders that believe in sharing their values and perspective with others. I also always remembers the quote from Walt Disney: “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing—that it was all started by a mouse.”
Did these role models offer advice that helped you in your career?
Noted financial commentator Dave Ramsey advised me to never take out debt, a mandate I have followed; entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck passed along the wisdom to give more to your customers than anyone else; and, author Seth Godin’s advice was to “be remarkable.”
What advice do you have for others?
My best advice is to feel good at the end of the day in terms of what one has personally accomplished, achieved for clients and secured for the business.
What’s appropriate attire for Social Driver?
The business’ dress code is called “Social Driver Casual.” It means they need to be professional, but keep in mind they’re the social media folks, not the accountants.
Where do you buy most of the clothes you wear to the office?
I mix and match higher-end items with disposable or fast fashion. For instance, an Eton shirt is often mixed with an H&M blazer—it’s a great look!