Our Story

susan hager

“What you do for your family, your friends, and your community is far more important than the title you carry. Making a personal difference brings really big rewards.”

–Susan Hager

Whether that meant beginning a Head Start program in a small Eskimo village in Alaska or blazing the trail for women business owners, our founder, Susan Hager, devoted her professional and personal lives to helping others. Early on, she saw that marketing and communications were powerful tools for change.

“Make a difference” has been our core value since Susan and Marcia Sharp founded our firm in 1973—and the reason why Susan continued to lead the firm until she passed away in 2008.

While she is no longer with us, Susan’s commitment to meaningful change lives on in our culture, the work we do, and the clients we serve.

Her uncompromising desire to do well by doing good still defines us, more than 45+ years after opening our doors. Our purpose-driven staff operates with an eye not on driving corporate profits or increasing sales figures, but on helping do things like fight disease, eradicate hunger, minimize vulnerability, and make sure quality education is both a priority and a possibility.

Today Hager Sharp’s employee owners continue to be driven by Susan’s passion: to use their professional skills to craft, create, and cultivate ideas that make a difference. One client, one campaign, one cause at a time.

1970s

1973

1973

Susan Hager and Marcia Sharp open their office at 1700 K Street NW; after a year, clients include the National Center for Voluntary Action, the Center for Women Policy Studies, the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, and the New Century Education Corporation.

1975

1975

Susan is named first president of the National Association of Women Business Owners, the organization she helped found; in the years since, NAWBO has become the unified voice of more than 10 million women-owned businesses worldwide.

1977

1977

Susan represents the National Association of Women Business Owners at a White House meeting for small business leaders.

1980s

1980

1980

The Peace Corps/VISTA program signs on as a Hager Sharp client. Making a difference extends to helping solve the problem of poverty in the United States.

1983

1983

Hager Sharp becomes the largest women-owned PR firm in Washington as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

1986

1986

Hager Sharp makes a major leap into health, with a $6 million, five-year contract from the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Communications.

1990s

1991

1991

Hager Sharp announces the addition of three new environmental clients: The Earth Conservation Corps, Water Quality 2000, and the Global Environment Management Initiative (GEMI).

1993

1993

Hager Sharp hires its 25th employee.

1997

1997

The firm begins work on a communications program for the newly formed National Diabetes Education Program, a joint effort of the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2000s

2002

2002

Hager Sharp wins a contract with the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics to develop communication strategies and a range of services to promote the National Assessment of Educational Progress, its results and resources, and its value to education stakeholders.

2008

2008

In honor of the firm’s 35th anniversary, Susan Hager sells the company to its employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

2012

2012

HHS Office on Women’s Health consolidates all communications and social marketing activities with Hager Sharp.

2010s

2013

2013

With the addition of in-house research and evaluation, creative, digital, and video production services, Hager Sharp becomes a full-service agency.

2017

2017

The HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention campaign for CDC earns top honors in multiple award shows including Thoth Best of Show, Thoth Best Use of Research, Measurement & Evaluation, PR Week National Finalist, and National Association of Government Communicators Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards.

2018

2018

Hager Sharp begins work with FDA on multiple projects, including communications work on menu labeling and the new Nutrition Facts label.