The Benevolent Dictator


As the owner of a small business, it is sometimes easier to be a friend than a boss. You’re working in close quarters, and you want to maintain a good relationship with the people you work with. This can blur the lines between supervisors and employees, so it’s important to remember that the boss is the boss.


I’ve noticed that many colleagues over the years, resplendent with creative ideas, enthusiastic for change, and full of democratic ideals, will attempt to take control. This is where the phrase “lunatics are taking over the asylum” comes from. At our company, the Madison+Main-iacs have lots of creative freedom, but they do not run the asylum.


In some organizations, the rank and file have taken over the decision-making process. It usually starts innocently enough, as a way to elicit feedback from teammates and occasionally someone will say “let’s take a vote on this.”


The problem is that without administrative control, even the most basic functions of a company become crowd-sourced. Instead of the boss saying “we are going to have pizza for lunch today,” you may find that this simple process could grind productivity to a screeching halt. If the process of ordering lunch became a democratic process, it could lead to a company-wide discussion of local eateries, dietary restrictions, food allergies, vegan vs. vegetarianism, various payment methods, splitting the tip, explaining what Venmo is, and launching a highly-spirited debate among colleagues in the hallway over which pizza place delivers the most realistic New York-style pie.


Madison+Main is not a Democracy. Madison+Main is a benevolent dictatorship.


As an example of why benevolent dictatorships work, the last time we took a vote on things, Office Manager Katie Rossberg shoved 15 cheeseballs in her mouth.

Katie’s Cheeseball Challenge




Monday, August 20 – Hanging in the Winner’s Circle 

On Monday, Business Development Manager Brandy “Oh Say Can You” Seay and Communications Manager Kent “Start Your Engines” Brockwell travelled down to Dinwiddie, Virginia to meet with the Herzhauser Racing team. The new Virginia-based NHRA team just started competing nationally and is looking for a new marketing firm. I just happen to know a great one.


While popping corks is a regular occurrence for our client CrossKeys Vineyards, today they’re celebrating with the best Rosé on the Atlantic seaboard. The Rockingham County-based winery’s 2017 Fiore recently earned Best of Show at the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association‘s 14th annual wine competition in Tysons Corner, Virginia. #Cheers




Tuesday, August 21 – New Clients & Benevolent Deeds


On Tuesday, for only the second time in company history, Madison+Main welcomed two new clients in one day. We are very excited to announce that we have been selected as the agency of record by Chewning & Wilmer and ARTon Products. Chewning & Wilmer, founded in 1924, is the mid-Atlantic’s leading industrial and commercial electrical contractor. ARTon Products is one of the nation’s leading screen printers of custom glassware and ceramics. (That wine glass you sipped from at CrossKeys Vineyards or the pint glass you drank out of at Capital Ale House was made by our client in Lively, Virginia.) We are so excited to be working with both of these great companies.


Part of Madison+Main’s brand strategies include developing affinity partnerships and I was so proud of our long-time client Yard Works this week for digging in (literally) to help Richmond Public Schools during their RPS Beautification Week campaign. The crew from Yard Works, along with several of their industry partners went back to school and volunteered to clean up the entrances of Fisher Elementary School, Southampton Elementary School, and Huguenot High School.



Kent took a break from his PR duties to get his hands dirty

helping out Yard Works during the RPS Beautification Week.




Wednesday, August 22 – Old Friends & New Brands


On Wednesday, our dear friend Bobby Kelland dropped by the office to enroll everyone in a Personal Cancer Indemnity plan that we are now providing for all of our employees. After my bout with colon cancer earlier this year and the excellent benefits provided to me by Aflac, I decided to pay it forward and get all of my Madison+Main-iacs covered. I’m a fan of Aflac and I’m a fan of Bobby Kelland.


I’m also a fan of VHHA Foundation, formerly known as the Virginia Hospital Research & Education Foundation. We helped them recently with their rebranding, reducing their name from a whopping 44 letters down to a manageable 14. Account Manager Leanne Ferry and I had the pleasure of meeting CEO Tracy van Marcke and Program Development & Engagement Manager Lauren Martin for lunch on Wednesday at Can Can Brasserie. It was a great to catch up on all the work we’ve done over the past six months. Who says real men don’t eat quiche? BTW, if you are looking to improve your business process improvement skills, The Foundation is holding a very cool and affordable LEAN Six Sigma Certification Course on Sept. 18-19. Check it out!



Thursday, August 23 – Carnegie Congrats & Casino Chips


Senior Graphic Designer Carissa Gaffari and Graphic Designer Erin Rebmann have spent the last eight weeks learning “How to Win Friends and Influence People” through Dale Carnegie Training. Thursday was graduation, and my chest was puffed out like a proud papa as Carissa won a Outstanding Performance Award and Erin won a Breakthrough Award. Regular readers of the Weekly Report know that I am a big fan of Dale Carnegie Training, and so is Warren Buffett.


Erin, Art and Carissa practice rule #5 at Dale Carnegie Graduation.


On Thursday, Account Manager Haleigh Lader and Kent tested their luck at the “Cards, Dice & Delights” open house event we helped arrange at Lucy Corr. Casinos By DelVecchio set up a wonderful day of games for Lucy Corr residents and guests with tables for blackjack, Texas Hold’em, craps, and roulette. Fun fact: If you need an extra person for your next poker night, just call Haleigh. She lost $100,000 in play money in less than 10 minutes.





NASCAR Race Weekend, Presented by WhosYourDriver.org

Richmond Raceway

September 21-22


Boogity, boogity, boogity! The fall NASCAR races at Richmond Raceway are right around the turn and we can’t wait! This year’s September race weekend is being presented by our client Who’s Your Driver? and race fans will finally get to see and experience the new $30 million infield improvements at the track. Tickets are still available.


Madison+Main’s 13th Anniversary

Virginia State Fair

Wednesday, October 3


The Madison+Main-iacs will be eating giant smoked turkey legs and deep-friend Oreos on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 3. We’ll be closing the office early and heading to the Virginia State Fair to celebrate our 13th birthday. How cool is that? If you’d like to join us, email brandys@madisonmain.com.


Richmond Home Show

Richmond Raceway Complex

October 12-14


This year’s Richmond Home Show will feature 250+ vendors, presentations by “The House Counselor” Laurie March (HGTV and DIY Network), an event-filled Senior Day, new products showcase, an upcycle challenge & more! Get your tickets today!




I took my head shot this week in front of a giant head…

to make mine look smaller.




“Different perspectives, experiences, and insights improve decision making and lead to superior performance.”

       -Lynn Doughtie – Chairman and CEO of KPMG (Sister of my client, Vera Caniglia)