Writer: Steve Dinnen
Susan Hatten has built a solid upward-reaching career path on two fronts: the world of business, and the world of charitable giving. On the corporate side, Hatten currently wears two hats – as chief operating officer at BrokerTech Ventures, and as senior manager of corporate community engagement at Holmes Murphy & Associates. In the nonprofit world, it would take a hat tree to handle her duties, which are as varied as working to propel women into corporate leadership roles and staging wine festivals to helping children with special needs.
“There are so many worthy initiatives,” said the 38-year-old Hatten of her dive into charitable giving.
A native of Nebraska, Hatten said she was drawn to charitable work by watching her parents. They were involved with a family-run construction business, and in the town where they lived she said her mother was active in charitable efforts while her dad spent a lot of time as a volunteer firefighter.
It wasn’t long after she graduated from Iowa State University and joined the work world that Hatten dove into nonprofit work. One of her first involvements was with Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa. It serves underprivileged and special needs children and holds telethons that, over the years, have raised some $100 million. She currently is past president of its board.
Through Connie Wimer, chairman of Business Publications Corp., Hatten became familiar with Winefest Des Moines. Winefest – which hosts events throughout the year, including its signature weeklong summer festival – has long donated the money it raises to Bravo Greater Des Moines, which supports local arts and culture. Hatten helped Winefest diversify its reach so that it now also funds scholarships for students at the Iowa Culinary Institute at DMACC and the Court of Master Sommeliers.
In addition, Hatten serves on the board of trustees at ChildServe, which helps children with special heath care needs. Through Holmes Murphy, she also is involved with WOW – Women Optimizing Women – which aims to encourage women interested in professional development and community engagement. And if that isn’t enough, she also is active in several insurance industry trade associations.
All this work taps into what she calls her “time, treasure and talent.” She said she relishes it all, though, and sees it as a way to engage with the community. There also is a give-back to her, as she said she has met many people – networking comes to mind – who likewise are working to make Des Moines a better place to live.