Digital marketing veteran, Alicia Hatch, is building the consulting agency of the future as the Chief Marketing Officer of Deloitte Digital. She is the whole tapestry – from a career that’s taken her to founding a social media startup to working at the technology giant and the leading creative digital consultancy that’s helping the world’s largest brands innovate everything from their business processes to how they connect with their customers.
Hashtag goals, Alicia has been able to do it while raising her family and four kids. Let's learn how our ShEO of the week does it all.
1. What motivated you to work at Deloitte?
In 2013, Deloitte Digital acquired Banyan Branch, the social media marketing startup I helped found. It was a great move for our company, because the potential for social marketing and insights had grown so much that we needed the resources of a larger organization to be able to deliver that for our clients.
The acquisition happened three years ago, and the values that Deloitte maintains have motivated me to stay. Deloitte has chosen to be a leader, not only in delivering client value, but in measurably demonstrating the importance of building a diverse and welcoming workforce. I mean, 66 percent of new hires are women and minorities, and we are consistently named on lists of best companies for women, minorities, and working mothers.
The more projects and initiatives I am a part of here, the more I believe that it’s not in spite of these commitments that we are successful, but it because of them. It leads to creative, insightful teams, that in turn deliver our clients with incredibly high value.
2. If I were to start my own business today, what is the first thing I should do to take action? Where do you start?
Make your vision and values your foundation. Female entrepreneurs fueled by passion are incredibly powerful.
3. What was the worst piece of advice you have gotten?
“This is just the way things are here.” Complacency is for zombies.
4. Who has always been your mentor?
My Aunt Susan, a pediatrician who is rocket smart, incredibly kind, and has both a generous heart and determined spirit. She took me under her wing when I was in high school and gave me an important model early on for what amazing looks like, before I even knew I needed a mentor. Inspiring women early makes an enormous difference.
5. Do you think the entrepreneurial spirit is innate or can it be learned over time?
Risk tolerance is something that is largely innate, and being business-minded and willing to take big risks to build something speculative, I think that tends to be a motivator for a certain type of person. Yet the creative spirit and a desire to come together as a team to fulfill an inspiring vision, I think that’s human nature. Fulfilling a vision takes a lot of different types of people, with a lot of different types of motivations – some that are motivated by invention, some customer satisfaction, some for creating beautiful products. Great leaders orchestrate those motivations toward business success.
6. What keeps you motivated when everything seems to be going wrong?
The one good thing about getting older is that you stop fighting change so much. You’re thankful when things are going well, and when things aren’t going well, you know it won’t last forever either. I’ve learned that when you buckle down and face challenges, you usually get through them faster. So that’s what I do – and then I hang on and keep my chin up till things are back on track.
7. Everyone has their two-cents, how do you decide whose advice to listen to?
I always start by putting myself into the shoes of the person giving their opinion. What is their perspective on the business or problem? What pressures are they under? What is their general temperament for risk taking or addressing conflict?
I believe each person has their unique lens on the world – I have my own as well. Once you can identify how each person’s lens skews, you can start to inform and adjust your own perspective.
You’re never going to make everyone happy, so the best you can do is to show your team that you strive for a fair and strategic path forward, one that sticks to your foundational values as a company and your promise to your customers.
8. What is your favorite gadget or app that you cannot live without?
Find my iPhone.
9. At what point did you know you would be successful?
For me, success is a mindset. Every project is just a paving stone, and by the time you begin to see real impact, you’re on to the next thing. Of course I celebrate those successes, but I also never assume they’ll last forever. I’ve been proud of many individual wins I’ve had along the way, but I still think I’ve got a lot of my career ahead of me and lots of goals I still want to achieve. I just keep trying, keep pushing, keep experimenting. I always want to stay interested in the next thing, nothing is lasting in this dynamic world, and I don’t dwell on whether or not I’ve made it to a destination.
I assume that sometimes I’ll fail, and sometimes I’ll knock it out of the park. My hope is that when I get to the end of my career I’ll look back and see more successes than failures. I think I’m doing pretty well so far – but I’m not going to stop and think about that for long. I’ve always got more challenges to tackle.
10. If you could give your former self one piece of advice that could have saved you many mistakes what would it be?
Don’t try to make everyone happy. I don’t naturally like conflict, so it’s a hard lesson to keep a hold of. But I’ve also learned that when you know your vision, and know the audience that’s moved by that vision, you change hearts and minds. You can’t lose sight of that. When you hold it as your North Star, you won’t please everyone. But you’ll know who your people are by those that get it and stand by you. Build a dream team who sticks with you while you swing for the fence and you’ll have big impact.
11. What is the key to building your own voice and brand?
Authenticity and an ability to focus your strengths without getting too self-conscious about things you’re not as good at. Instead, find it in other people, build your teams, and lift each other up.
12. What is your favorite quote?