What's in a name? For a new business, quite a bit.
In 2009, Thomas Sanchez founded Wamwaw LLC, a D.C.-based firm focused on digital strategy and development, which from its inception has been recognized as a leader in web development and strategic consulting. In 2010, the company made the strategic decision to start doing business as Social Driver.
"When one of our clients joked that Wamwaw sounded like something Barbara Walters would say after one too many martinis, we knew it was time to choose a name that truly represented what we do," Sanchez chuckles.
Social Driver's tagline, ''Get With The Future,'' suggests the company's strategic thinking to develop digital solutions for organizations to engage their audiences and achieve success. Anthony Shop, director of client services, says, "We find that a lot of companies develop online solutions based on what was done yesterday. We take a different approach. We spend a lot of time researching trends in technology so we can anticipate what's going to happen in the months and years ahead. Clients come to us because they want their investment to last; because they want a strategy.''
In a time when web development companies abound, Social Driver faces tough competition -- or very little, as the case may be.
"We both have experience working and volunteering for political campaigns, so we take that approach to working with any organization,'' says Sanchez. ''We start with what the goal is and work backwards. For us, a website is not just something you passively look at. It's an action center that motivates your audience to do something: donate, buy, sign up, volunteer. If your audience isn't taking action, then what's the return on investment?''
Sanchez and Shop moved to D.C. from Missouri in 2009, when Shop was accepted to the MBA program at The George Washington University. A few months earlier, Sanchez decided to quit his 9-to-5 job with a Fortune 500 company, to pursue his 5-to-9 passion: building websites. Shortly thereafter, in 2010, he was awarded CAGLCC's Emerging Entrepreneur Award.
"I was really honored,'' says Sanchez. ''Receiving the award made it possible for me to meet a lot of great contacts, such as potential clients and business partners. But the best thing about winning was that it really got me connected with the Chamber. CAGLCC has been the most important resource for me personally to expand my network since moving to D.C. And it has also been invaluable for our business. We met our banker, our accountant, and our insurance agency through CAGLCC, and it continues to produce quality leads for us.''
Mega Networking = Mega Success
In the past three years, CAGLCC has attracted over 3,000 LGBT people to what has become one the largest business events in the city. Building on the success of previous years, this year's Mega Networking brought a record 1,600 attendees, 24 community partners and 14 Corporate Partners to Town Danceboutique on March 9 for two hours of meeting, greeting and promoting. The determination of CAGLCC's leadership, who launched a social media and email campaign, an event website -- mixed in with good old-fashioned phone calls and one-on-one meetings -- yielded a record 107 new CAGLCC memberships over the course of the three days following Mega Networking.
CAGLCC is not resting on its laurels. As the Chamber grows in size, relevance and importance in the LGBT business community, so do the Chamber's programs, events, initiatives and membership benefits. Another top CAGLCC event, the Annual Awards Dinner, will be held at the Park Hyatt Hotel on April 8. Space for this event is limited, but that's not the case for the many other opportunities to continue CAGLCC has to offer this year. Sign up to receive CAGLCC email notifications online.
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Author Garrett Peck crafts a history brimming with stories of vice, topped off with eleven vintage cocktail recipes and garnished with a walking tour of former speakeasies in Prohibition in Washington, DC--How Dry We Weren't. More on Peck and his new book are available on www.garrettpeck.com.
CAGLCC means business. For more information about the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce visit www.caglcc.org.