When Susan Hatten was growing up in Ida Grove, her parents didn’t have a lot of money to contribute to organizations, but instead dedicated their time and talents to the community. It’s a lesson that Hatten has always carried with her. 

“I think about the nights when my parents were both juggling schedules while working full time,” Hatten recalled. “My father was a volunteer firefighter; my mother was a leader of our chamber of commerce and the women’s P.E.O. chapter in our small town. Yet they would stay up late and help me build a totem pole for my diorama due the next morning. … They taught me that giving of one’s time or ideas can be just as impactful, or even more impactful, than writing big checks.” 

Hatten, who was chosen as this year’s Emerging Woman of Influence, has established her philanthropic niche through service to several organizations in the past decade, among them Variety, WineFest Des Moines and United Way of Central Iowa. 

She began her career as a marketing and public relations intern with Sigler Cos. in 2004, and in the next 10 years worked her way up to senior business development positions. She joined Holmes Murphy & Associates in July 2014 as a senior consultant. 

Both organizations are highly supportive of women’s engagement in the community, Hatten said. “It’s one thing to support women professionally, but it truly takes the right organization to support community engagement. There is absolutely no way that I could be a part of the things that I am if I didn’t work for a company that supports and nurtures those efforts,” she said. 

Hatten counts business leaders Connie Wimer and Dan Keough as her greatest mentors, and feels strongly about giving back now as a mentor herself. She often shares a piece of advice from a book she read several years ago, “Climbing the Ladder in Stilettos” by Lynette Lewis, who wrote about the importance of building a personal board of directors.

Hatten’s role in bringing one of Iowa’s first all-inclusive playgrounds to fruition is one of her proudest achievements. “The Ashley Okland Playground was a seed that was planted over a glass of wine with a dear friend,” she said. “That seed could have ended that very night, but we didn’t let it. It does take a passion to see something through to the end.” 

She’s thankful to Holmes Murphy for fostering her engagement with United Way of Central Iowa through the Women’s Leadership Connection and the Tocqueville Society. “I believe if you have the ability to give back to your community, whether that’s your time, treasure or talent, that’s a part of our civic duty.” 

Three Areas of Influence

  • Currently working as vice president of marketing for Variety — the Children’s Charity. Hatten has served in several leadership positions at the state and international levels. 
  • Serving as board president of the WineFest Foundation of Des Moines since October 2016 and holding a spot on the WineFest Des Moines board for more than three years.   
  • Being a leading United Way of Central Iowa contributor through the Tocqueville Society and joining the Women’s Leadership Connection in 2015.