A Note From Tony Fratto On HPS' 10-Year Anniversary
When you start a business during an economic recession and financial crisis, the risk is that you spend much more time thinking about the next six months than you do about the next ten years. But one of the things I’m proud of at Hamilton Place Strategies is that from the very beginning, we were focused on building a durable business – focused more on the unique quality of our work than on any individual or any political moment in time.
Ten years ago, the landscape for all firms was changing. Big issues facing firms were becoming increasingly complex, public, and global. At the same time, news organizations covering these very complex issues were devoting more resources to sophisticated reporting and presentation of news. The ability to share this news was growing as well. The kinds of deep, wonky analysis usually reserved for think tanks was now showing up on popular news sites.
Working in that news environment requires a much greater depth of knowledge about the issues and challenges facing firms. We felt that analytical, evidence-based messaging, strategies, and tactics would be most effective.
We also felt that for HPS to be a credible participant on these issues – and a partner to our clients – it was also important to show our analysis and express our views, regardless of ideology, party, or politics. We have our views, we follow the evidence, and we look to work with firms that share our views. While this means HPS is not a firm for everyone, our clients know that we are always 100% with them.
Our success in doing this kind of work is dependent on attracting people who have the ability to do deep research and analysis, who can design and execute effective communications plans. I am most proud that we created a culture that attracts very bright and curious people, that we emphasize skills training and professional development, and that we have institutionalized deep collaboration, teaching and learning, ethics, and a sense of purpose. I want everyone who works here to look back on their careers and say that HPS is the very best place to work.
In fact, HPS alumni are one of the best features of HPS. We’ve seen our people go on to further their professional opportunities in business school and law school, in government, at foundations, and with a number of our clients. Welcoming our alumni back to HPS for Homecoming every year is always a special day for us.
We’ve also been able to attract amazing, world-class clients – some of the finest companies and foundations in the world. Not a day goes by where we haven’t learned something new from our clients. Because we’re aligned with our clients, their successes and failures are our successes and failures. I hope all of our clients know that we don’t take our relationships with them for granted. I hope they understand that we’re incredibly appreciative that they put their trust in HPS, and know that we put our trust in them, too.
While I’m not completely surprised that we lasted ten years, I am surprised at how quickly it’s gone! It seems like just last week that Stuart Siciliano and I were working at my dining room table, and that Matt McDonald would be joining. All of our partners and senior leaders have committed to our way of working while adding wonderful creativity, experience, and new perspectives. It’s been a great joy for me to work with all of them.
OK, so this week we’re going to spend a little time looking back and reflecting, but not too much time – that’s the quickest way to drive into a ditch! If you want to join us for a brief trip down memory lane, you can follow along on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #HPS10. We’re also looking forward to the next 10 years, how we can continue to grow and improve, and remain effective partners for our clients. We plan to continue to work on national and global issues and to further expand and develop our service offerings.
Looking ahead, one big change for the firm is a very personal one. For the past few years, I have been spending an increasing amount of time working in our New York office, making regular commutes on the Acela from Washington. As of this summer, I am now based in our New York office, spending more time there with our New York-based clients, building our team, and growing our business there. As a longtime Washington, DC resident, and as someone who loves the nation’s capital, this is a big change! But it’s also an exciting time for me and the firm to focus on these new opportunities. Of course, I’ll continue to be deeply connected to economic and political debates and to my network and relationships in Washington – and I will continue to spend a good share of my time there. Rest assured, Amtrak is keeping my seat warm! But if you’re in New York, please check in – I’d love to see you!
Thank you for all of the help, guidance, trust, and support over the past 10 years. On to the next 10!