Creating a culture where people can thrive has always been the vision at DH, a locally owned advertising, public relations and branding agency.
CEO Michelle Hege – the “H” in DH – draws on her own experience as a working mom to find ways to put their people first, whether it’s flexible schedules or work-from-home opportunities.
“We work in a demanding and deadline-driven business,” Michelle shared. “We’ve really tried to create an environment where people don’t have to choose between taking care of a sick child or attending an important client meeting.”
Michelle’s parents were small business owners, and from a very young age, she always loved the no-limits aspect of it, the idea that you can create something and take it anywhere you want to go.
When Jim Desautel founded the agency 25 years ago, Michelle was the very first employee. She and her three business partners have since grown the agency to 29 team members, serving clients throughout Spokane and the Pacific Northwest.
In an industry ruled by big multinational companies, it’s unique to be independent like DH. This has allowed them to pursue the kinds of projects they’re passionate about, especially in the social change space. Their campaigns have tackled tough issues such as opioid misuse prevention, traffic safety, vaccine hesitancy and COVID-19 information in underrepresented audiences.
After years of leasing, when the space came up for sale in the Morgan Building on Riverside, Michelle and her partners jumped at the chance to buy an office condo downtown.
“We just love the energy of downtown,” Michelle said. “It’s the heart of the city.”
One of the biggest perks is the walkability to all the amazing locally owned bakeries, coffee shops and restaurants. And in a profession where creativity and fresh ideas are a must, nothing beats walking meetings and brainstorm sessions conducted along the scenic Centennial Trail.
Although several of their projects got delayed when COVID-19 hit, much of DH’s work in the past year has been pandemic related, helping organizations get vital information into their customers’ hands. The ultimate compliment is when they hear, “I don’t know how you guys do it, but I feel like I’m your only client!”
Michelle’s goal for the future is to continue growing a strong and sustainable business.
“We’re not trying to dominate the world,” Michelle said. “We just want to have a company where people want to work, where they can produce great work, and where they feel like they can make a difference.”