For One Agency, the Women’s March Brought Together Employees Like Never Before

Huge D.C. became a rallying point for staffers nationwide

The day after Donald Trump’s election, the D.C. office of creative agency Huge was a somber place, one where employees seemed uncertain and fearful of the times ahead.

“It felt like a funeral,” recalls UX lead Natalie Be’er. The atmosphere and the election’s impact on the team were clear to executives as well.

“I don’t mean to disrespect, because there are going to be some Trump supporters, particularly in D.C., so I need to be respectful of those folks and have an environment that’s nurturing for everyone,” said Kate Watts, president of U.S. regions for Huge. “But it was definitely somber overall. There were tears, and everyone was just really, really sad.”

The day after Trump’s inauguration, however, everything was different. The global agency’s D.C. office became both a gathering hub and a makeshift hostel, with cots set up on the floor for staffers arriving from other branches across the country, from Detroit to Los Angeles.

Thanks to support from agency leadership and a strong sense of cultural togetherness, staffers were working with each other more directly and more passionately than ever before. They were ready to turn their moroseness into motivation, their angst into activism.

They were ready to march.

Employees from Huge’s D.C., L.A., Brooklyn, Detroit and Atlanta offices prepare to take part in the Women’s March on Washington. Photo: Louise Palmberg

Formulating a plan

Huge’s game plan was simple yet logistically complex: to help get as many interested women and men from the agency’s 13 offices to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington.

Watts was visiting the Brooklyn office in the days leading up to the march and heard a number of New York employees wanted to attend but might not have the means to get there or a place to stay. Watts threw an idea out to the team: Anyone looking to attend the march in Washington could spend the weekend at Huge D.C. A bus was also arranged to shuttle employees from the Brooklyn office to the D.C. office.

“Management has been really aware of people feeling strange and unclear of what’s going to happen, especially on the agency level of how agencies are going to have to shift the work they do,” said Mariam Aldhahi, a design editor at Huge. “I was planning to come anyway, but when Huge rolled out this plan, it just was kind of ideal.”

While some members of the team made their own signs, Huge’s Brooklyn office sent over a few printed options for the march. Photo: Louise Palmberg

Descending on D.C.

A group of about 15 employees (along with an Adweek reporter, whom they had agreed to let chronicle the journey) arrived at the D.C. office on Friday, finding the city largely empty due to road closures for that day’s inauguration. As the crew from Brooklyn rolled in to the office around 1:30 that afternoon, the office started to hum with excitement.

The group from Brooklyn was met with warm embraces from the D.C. crew. Many recognized each other by name but had never had the chance to meet in person. Others, who spend more time traveling between the 13 Huge locations or had previously worked in other offices, greeted old friends and introduced themselves to new ones.

After everyone settled in, a group walked over to a massive warehouse next door to the agency where No Kings Collective, a creative agency run by Brandon Hill and Peter Chang, was housing a dozen 24-foot parachutes designed and painted by female artists. The Huge team walked around the space in awe, taking in the designs and discussing whether they would be able to help carry one of the parachutes the following day. (Each parachute required nearly 20 people to carry it.)