By Amy Halpern
“Above all, we’re looking for someone who is kind.” Those words in a job posting four years ago intrigued Reece Quiñones so much that she decided to leave a company where she’d been happily employed for 15 years and join The Hatcher Group, a Bethesda-based communications firm focused on public policy and social change. Now a senior vice president and The Hatcher Group’s creative director, she says kindness “seeps into not just our work with clients but how we deal with each other.”
Quiñones says The Hatcher Group encourages employees to confront important and sensitive social and political issues. The firm’s “Lunch and Learn” series to promote inclusion and diversity is an example, she says. The pandemic has forced the monthly educational lunches to be held online, but they remain raw and eye opening, Quiñones says. At a recent session about environmental racism, they discussed “how minorities can feel at odds even on a bike trail with their kids and how people might stop and question them.”
About 30% of The Hatcher Group’s 43 employees are people of color, according to Maia Alexander, the company’s vice president of talent and culture.
Staff say founder Ed Hatcher and co-owner Angie Cannon had long fostered an environment of compassion and collaboration. When Hatcher and Cannon retired in January 2019 after running the company for nearly 20 years, new owners Amy Buckley and Amy Fahnestock included everyone from the interns to the executives in the process of creating a new strategic vision. “Honestly, I think people were blown away by the transparency,” Fahnestock says.