Our journey of creating connection began in our own backyard, literally. Montage was founded in a 200-square-foot garage loft located behind CEO Mercedita Roxas-Murray’s Maryland home.
Despite the humble setting, Mercedita and co-founder Teresa Pipia ambitiously imagined Montage as an agency defined by meaningful connection and impact. Where better to start than right here at home?
From those early days through now, we have prioritized support for the places we live and work and the people in those communities. It shows in the clients we pursue to how we spend our spare time. Today, as we conclude our Quarter of Connection series, we highlight some of the ways we create connection here at home.
Peek at our portfolio. Spot a trend? Most of the clients featured are based in the D.C. area. From corporations like Fannie Mae to local government offices like the Montgomery County (MD) Volunteer Center, we have always leaned into opportunities to make an impact in our community.
Pursuing local clients has several benefits. Perhaps the most rewarding is that we get to witness the tangible difference our efforts make. Take our work with the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, for example. As we produce educational materials to promote food scraps recycling, we move our own neighborhoods one step closer to zero waste.
We also become experts in effectively reaching the local community. When KinderCare wanted to engage families in advance of opening multiple new learning centers in the D.C. area, the Oregon-based childcare company employed Montage. The National Park Service similarly hired us to design and produce a mobile visitor center to educate area residents and visitors about the abundance of natural and historical landmarks along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
We’re all familiar with PTO (paid time off), but what about VTO? A few years ago, we introduced volunteer time off (VTO) to ensure our employees had the chance to give back to their communities. All staff can use paid annual leave to step away from work and support causes they care about. Some recent VTO experiences include presenting to elementary students on Representation Matters Career Day and assembling resources to help victims of violence and injustice in the Hispanic community access linguistically and culturally-specific services.
In addition to our individual community service, we embrace opportunities to volunteer together. Before COVID, we joined the AARP Foundation on the National Day of Service to pack meals for area seniors struggling to put food on the table. We also support our colleagues who organize the Montgomery County Volunteer Center’s MLK Week of Service, assisting and participating in various local projects.
The brilliant Amy Poehler hit the nail on the head when she said, “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” In Montage’s case, several groups—membership organizations, professional associations, and advocacy groups— have provided avenues to connect with other committed individuals and businesses in our community and contributed to our success.
We belong to the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC), which advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises and connects them to corporate members in the region. Montage CEO Mercedita Roxas-Murray sits on the CRMSDC Board of Directors and serves as the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee Secretary. We are also members of the Montgomery County Small Business Association. Herein, we facilitated a partnership with the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless to provide cleaning products and other essentials to support individuals moving into permanent accommodation.
These membership and leadership roles have infinitely enhanced our local and regional connections, resulting in opportunities to give back and to do business in our community.
We’ve always believed that you get further by collaborating with others. But we’ve repeatedly seen what’s possible when we team with area companies with expertise that complements our own. Whenever viable, Montage partners with local and women- or minority-owned business to pursue bigger opportunities than could be achieved alone.
We partner annually with Occasions, Inc., a minority- and woman-owned business to execute the Montgomery County Volunteer Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. We outsource printing and graphic production projects to woman-owned Alpha Graphics and woman- and minority-owned Signarama. We work on an ongoing basis with the certified MBE Velocity Sense to support Montage’s analytics capabilities. We collaborate with LGBTQ-owned Clyde Group to provide earned media support for our work with the All of Us Research Program.
Needless to say, we share the sentiment that “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” We are fortunate that forging connection with so many reputable local businesses has granted us the chance to support the economic growth of our community and achieve shared success.
One of the most fun ways we connect with our local community is through our sponsorship of the Avalanche, a Falls Church, VA Little League baseball team! For the past three years, Montage has backed this squad of pre-teens on their path to several championship titles. It’s a pleasure to watch them grow in their game, but also to see how they, too, connect with their community through fundraising efforts and entertaining nights at the ballfield.
Want to continue learning about how we create connection with communities? Check out our second installment on how we connect with diverse communities through grassroots outreach and cultural relevance.