Eight Questions With: Denise Hart

The President of O2 Lab confesses she’s obsessed with potato chips and lives by Nike’s slogan

What is your secret vice?

My not-so-secret vice is potato chips. I love them and have since I was little and got Charles Chips delivered in a can to our door – we ordered one pound of barbecue and one pound of plain, and they were all mine. I ate both cans in a weekend and still buy all kinds of chips and eat them regularly. They are best with either homemade or store-bought dip. I even made my adult soccer team stop at the Route 11 potato chip factory on the way to our winter ski trip. We purchased about a quarter of our food budget in chips and got to see them made. So fun!

What is the best business advice you have ever received?

What is the matter with you? You can always change, but just start. I have an executive coach and wanted to start my own business but didn’t know in what. She got exasperated with all my objections, but that did the trick. My employer at the time stole my 401K funds, and I needed to do something. So, I just started and then changed over time. It’s been very successful – 14-plus years to date.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Currently, it’s putting my perfect home for 20 years on the market. I didn’t think I’d be so emotional. It’s a lot of work purging everything, painting everything, staging, looking for somewhere to move when I don’t have a clue. I know I will love where ever I go, and I’ll be involved (hoping it’s in my general area, but maybe not), so it will be great; but boy is it stressful and hard.

What is the smartest marketing, communications or PR thing you’ve ever done?

Lately, the smartest move I’ve made is asking my LinkedIn connections for referrals to specific people in their networks and suggesting what I’d like them to send. It’s time-consuming but allows me to touch base with my connections and to meet new people who want to improve their marketing.

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to?

I read all the time: Washington Business Journal, smart briefs, AMA, Arketi content and copy from other firms. For fun, I veg out on “NCIS” and “NCIS Los Angeles” – it’s mindless and I can do other things while they’re on. And I’m glued to MSNBC. In the car, I listen to the news station or alternative radio on Sirius.

Who is the person you most admire?

Cary Hatch, an incredibly nice local entrepreneur who bought a design firm and turned it into a powerhouse ad agency in our region. She used to sell to me when she worked for another company and is always out and about, promoting our region for marketing and advertising. She’s always included in the 100 most powerful people in D.C.

What is your motto or favorite quote? Where is it from?

Nike’s Just Do It – so cliché, I know. I like it because it is my life – not necessarily for sports but for everything I do. You just need to start: It will work out, and if not, you can regroup.

If you weren’t in your current profession, what would you be?

If I only knew! I considered residential real estate, but I don’t want clients like me. I volunteer to get more women on corporate (paid) boards in the metro area. And I love animals, so, perhaps in that area if I wouldn’t be tempted to bring all the animals home.



Eight questions with… is an occasional series where we ask marketers to share a little of their professional and personal insights. To suggest someone you’d like us to ask eight questions – or to answer them yourself! – go to https://arketi.com/8questions.

By Arketi – December 19, 2019

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