Phyllicia Hatton ('95)

July 8, 2016

Reverend Phyllicia M. Hatton, M. Div. (’95), is the President of Phenomenal Productions LLC (PPLLC), a conference and meeting management business. For more than 25 years, Ms. Hatton has worked from leadership positions in the creative and business spaces to deliver her clientele educational and hands-on experiences in the human relations, nutritional, design and fine art fields. 

Rev. Hatton has supported a variety of organizations with her expertise, representing local and national non-profits, associations, corporations, faith and community-based organizations and other public/private entities in North America. Under her leadership, PPLLC has supported multi-day conferences, sales and trade shows, fundraisers, and community outreach events. Her clients include the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, PrimeVest Financial Services, Hargrove, Inc., S.E. Children’s Fund, Inc., African Children’s Fund, the multi-state Mid-South Delta Consortium conference, the Tavis Smiley Foundation, and The Wall Foundation on behalf of professional athlete, Tra Thomas. Most recently, she worked to manage artisanal and farmers’ marketplaces designed to share unique startups and small business products to the general public. 

Rev. Hatton is a recipient of the Samuel Lucius Gandy Award for academic achievement, and the D.C. King Award for her devotion to learning, love of the ministry of the church and for her efforts at improving her proclamation of the Gospel. She is the Founder and President of Hannah’s Grace, Inc., a faith-based ministry and is a member with the CMCA and Religious Conference Management Association. 

Rev. Hatton also serves as a member for the Food Equity Council in Prince George’s County, with the Community Advisory Group/Cancer Prevention Coalition, and the University of Maryland Extension for Market Managers. 

How did you involvement Leadership Greater Washington start and what has LGW come to mean to you now? 

PH: My journey with Leadership Greater Washington started at the foundation of LGW from the Greater Washington Board of Trade (BOT). At the time, my sister served as Executive Assistant to Barbara Davis Blum, then-chair of the BOT’s Human Development Bureau (and eventual LGW Board Chair). She helped me get my first position in that department and I worked as an Administrative Assistant for Lori Seader in the Human Development Bureau. 

It was around the one-year-mark of my tenure with BOT when Jim Culp, then-President of PEPCO, approached John Tydings and indicated it was time to revive an effort to initiate Leadership Washington; an earlier attempt came three years prior. Fortunately for me, the program started in the Human Development Bureau, and I was in the right position at the right time to be included in the conceptual development of Leadership Washington. I remember one of my first contributions to what LGW would later become was to define the new institution as a ‘connector of people’ around the region. 

Like all non-profit organizations, I worked closely with the lawyers and Lori in cultivating the organization across multiple projects. I assisted in the developing the Articles of Incorporation and by-laws, filing with the IRS, setting up the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, identifying and working with accounting consultants, and collaborating with the Jr. League to ensure the procurement of Leadership Washington’s first seed money. I also helped in creating the core of the Signature Program – its application and selection criteria. 

I did everything at the incipient Leadership Washington. My various responsibilities included editing the newsletter, initiating the first directory in 1989, photographing and managing its membership, keeping the books and banking on behalf of LGW, coordinating and attending all programs, events and board meetings, and delivering beer to the first LGW Member Dinners. I served in whatever capacity was necessary to keep the organization moving; you name it, I did it! In between my various tasks building the earliest form of the organization, I made time to cartwheel down the halls of the Board of Trade offices to break up long hours, which would regularly span from 6:00 AM to after midnight the following day. In many ways, the BOT and LGW were the training grounds for my career in managing multi-level projects. 

In 1989, I was named Chief Executive Officer! 

In the fourth year (1990), major change was on the horizon for Leadership Washington. The organization was growing, as was the demand on staff time. By 1995, LGW’s rapid expansion required more changes, and it was at that time that I elected to pursue other opportunities. 

There were 4 individuals instrumental in my releasing of my beloved LGW. One of them was Lyles Carr, who wrote me letters from time to time. He shared with me that in life, sometimes we must let go of something dear in order to encourage growth. He assured me that it was okay for me to depart the organization and explore other experiences, and if I wanted to return to LGW down the line, I could consider it then. 

Letting go of LGW allowed me to travel to other lands, meet new people, and to answer my call to the ministry. 

Can you describe a truly special moment from an LGW experience - a connection you made, something you learned or a memorable experience? 

PH: All of my experiences were memorable, and there was never a dull moment! I learned that people are simply people, no matter what they do in life. I could never say definitively which of the many classes of Leadership Washington is my favorite, as I loved them all equally during the ten years of my living and breathing Leadership Washington. 

I will say that one of the most important relationships that came out of my tenure at LGW was with Denise Cavanaugh, an oft-facilitator who help guide LGW’s nuanced-dialogues on diversity, leadership and effectively running an active organization. She taught me so much and has been one of my most effective mentors for several years, now. 

How would you describe LGW - the alumni, leadership, staff and overall mission of the organization? 

Leadership Greater Washington is an organization of committed individuals who desire to affect and realize change in the macro community. 

What is the most rewarding part of being a member of the LGW network? 

The most rewarding part of being in the LGW network is being associated with like-minded people, and being able to offer my support to those people because of a shared cause. 

What advice would you give other members looking to become more active within the LGW network? 

Each member is always looking for something, and for people privileged enough to participate in the program, that can mean professional support, guidance, information, business opportunities, ways to get involved in the community, or simply looking for a friend. Staying connected is the best way to bridge needs among LGW’s members. 

What is one of your biggest concerns for the future of the region? 

I’m concerned at a lack of equal opportunities for all residents and hope for equal opportunities for all people. 

How did you come to live and/or work in the region? 

I am a native Washingtonian and recently, after 25 years, have relocated back to the city from Fort Washington, MD. My professional life was devastated while attempting to manage two households and run a small business in a residually-struggling economy; this experience has been a true eye-opener. It is a true testament to the value of LGW that I’ve been able to call on members who have been very gracious to help me. 

Whom do you admire for their leadership? 

President Barack Obama. 

Tell us something most people might not know about you. 

I possess a degree in micro-environmental sciences and art. For my first “profession” I was a practicing space planner/designer and an artist. I graduated from Howard University’s School of Human Ecology (1980) and was ordained in 2006 after graduating from the Howard University School of Divinity (2004). As a matter of fact, I met with a few ministers in LW from the 1987, 88, 90 and 92 classes and asked, “How do you know if you are being called into the ministry?” It was ten years before I figured it out. 

What is one of your hopes for the future of the region? 

I hope the region’s leaders sincerely embrace the challenges facing our residents – diversity, employment obstacles, displacements of its citizens, homelessness and addressing the transportation crisis. 

Phyllicia Hatton ('95)