Cyd Hatch, The Girl Who Brands: Wastebooks, Photography and Storytelling

Whether it's through design, photos or the written word, Cyd knows how to tell stories that get people to do something.
Cyd's story, in her own words:

I'm a tea and polka dot junkie, bulldog momma, and passionate supporter of women's empowerment…But most of all, I'm a storyteller.

As a kid, I would regale friends and family with my retellings of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. As an adult, I still love to tell stories, but now I don't talk about silly goats and trolls. Instead, I tell the stories of people, their passions and brands.

In college, I fell in love with the story of mankind: history. I loved researching, writing and presenting about the people and events that shaped our society. After graduating, I decided that it was time to help make history, so I hit up Capital Hill and joined US Senator Jeff Flake's Press Office. It was here that I truly came into my own as a storyteller.

In Senator Flake's Press Office, I had the opportunity to see firsthand just how big an impact the right story could have. I managed the Senator's social media accounts, wrote press content and ensured that the right photos were taken at the right time and ensured that the Senator's public image helped build support for his goals and ideas. One of the Senator's projects was to expose and eliminate congressional waste. Unfortunately, most of that waste was described in reports so bland and boring that reading them was downright painful. We needed a story, a narrative that would make people sit up and pay attention.

So, we created the Wastebooks. 

The Wastebooks were digital reports that poked fun at all the strange things Congress spent money on. By translating congressional speak into an engaging, easy-to-read format, we created something people wanted to read. 

We told a story. 

As a result, the Wastebooks were a total grand slam being  featured in USA Today and other major news outlets and put Senator Flake's campaign against governmental waste on the map—and all because of good storytelling. (We also were able to end Paid Patriotism at American sporting events which is a tangible win and impact many people cannot say they accomplish in the Senate.)

In the years since, my own story has taken unexpected twists and turns. I went through a difficult divorce, but that experience forced me to explore new options on my own. I discovered that I could tell the stories of people through photos and started my own business: Afton Photography. In the early years, I went door-to-door handing out flyers for $25 photo-shoots…Today, my photos and the stories they tell have been featured in Cosmopolitan magazine, the Washington Post, The Hill, and many other major publications. I have worked with major fashion and lifestyle influencers like Danielle of Blonde in the District, Anychi Wei, and Krista Salmon and shot photos for multiple US Senators. I also shot under D.C. lifestyle photographer Tony Powell.

I eventually managed PR, social media and fundraising for the Boys and Girls Club National Capital office, where I helped raise millions to support children in need across America. I moved to Utah where I worked at a localized marketing agency helping to bring in millions in new revenue through effective branding, social media management, and great content. I worked for various other organizations and brands including active wear, educational non profits and museums.

My secret? Storytelling. 

Over the years, I've learned how to identify a business's brand story and communicate that story in a compelling way. Whether it's through design, photos or the written word, I know how to tell stories that get people to do something.


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