April 11, 2016
Women In Business 2016

Kathy Boucher maximizes productivity in work, life

PHOTO | Steve Laschever
PHOTO | Steve Laschever
Kathy Boucher is president and CEO of Decker Creative Marketing.

President and CEO Decker Creative Marketing

It is not often you meet a marketing agency president whose career started in the accounting department. But that was the career path for Kathy Boucher. After 30 years at Decker Creative Marketing, her drive to learn all aspects of her business and generate quality work has energized her and shows no sign of stopping.

"Kathy is a strong woman but has no edge to her," says her longtime friend and business partner Irene Makiaris of Makiaris Media Services. "She is always focused and doesn't get rattled. She sees a problem and finds a solution."

That tough but steady presence has served Decker well on both the client side and internally, as Boucher is seen as a strong mentor.

"She truly is a role model. She will bring someone on board at a mid-range level and really work with them to make sure they understand the philosophy of the company, and to make sure they set professional goals. She wants them to blossom, and see the strengths they have in their job," says Makiaris. "She also doesn't micromanage, preferring instead to let her staffers exercise their opinions to see what works. If it does, great. If it doesn't, she will encourage them to look for another solution."

In addition to helping grow Decker Creative Marketing's client base, Boucher has also enriched the company's community outreach efforts. Support recipients include the Rob Branham Foundation for families fighting leukemia, The Seeing Eye guide dog training program, The Connecticut Commission on Children, the Greater New Haven United Way, and the Riverfront Recapture effort to reconnect downtown Hartford with the Connecticut River.

Boucher also encourages Decker staffers to roll up their sleeves as a group to give back. Her team recently joined Team Cares, an international effort focused on the travel and lodging industry, to spend a day painting and landscaping at the Mystic Seaport Museum as the attraction prepared for its busy summer season.

For her clients, Boucher is willing to go the extra mile, whether it's getting to know their goals as intimately as possible, or putting her accounting background to work to watch every budget dollar.

"In our business, you have to adjust to new people and new personalities all the time," Makiaris says. "It's an educational process, and you have to really dig down initially before you go down that path together. Kathy takes the extra time to get acclimated. What I also admire about her is that she will show her clients how they can save money along the way, whether it's budgeting for a print job, or the entire project, she always presents options and opportunities."

Boucher says the advertising industry has changed over the years, and gone through several tough economic times, which has caused clients to become much more conservative with their spending.

"One of the keys to our business success has been financial transparency," Boucher said. "We manage our clients' budgets as if they were our own."

Work-life balance is a hot topic for women in business, including in Boucher's situation. As she has risen through the ranks at Decker, she has also been busy raising five children. Her own juggling act has led her to bring more working parents onto her staff.

"I am lucky to have a husband who supports my career and who has been a true partner in raising our children. The key is planning out each day, while being agile enough to shift and change depending on family and work needs," she says. "At Decker we've employed many working parents and have found that by accommodating their personal priorities, we have happier and more productive employees."

On Decker's website, Boucher's profile says she is the "World's Most Productive Human," a title she has earned through her drive to offer exceptional work to her clients as well as unwavering support to her employees. Makiaris says her friend has been an inspiration to her in the way she can run her business, do a fantastic job and be an all-around great person.

"She's a great business partner and I love working with her," she says. "She has lots of energy and she knows how to use it."

What are your keys to …

Maintaining business success:

One of the keys to our business success has been financial transparency. Always striving to give our clients the best return on their marketing investment, we manage our clients' budgets as if they were our own. This requires a careful balance of right brain and left brain thinking - delivering break-through creative with a go-to marketing strategy that delivers results for our clients.

Keeping a competitive edge:

We've remained competitive by keeping current with what is going on in our industry, focusing on our core strategic and creative capabilities, and aligning with specialized partner companies, like Makiaris Media, to offer our clients best-in-class services. For every assignment, our clients get a customized team that delivers the best return on their marketing investment.

Who was an influential mentor in your professional life?

I believe the one person who has been most influential in my personal and professional life is my mother. She instilled in me the core values that drive me every day. In fact, they are our cultural drivers at Decker Creative Marketing, which we call the six senses: having a sense of pride, a sense of initiative, a sense of urgency, a sense of ethics, a sense of humor, and last but not least, having common sense.

Read about the other outstanding 2016 Women in Business.

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