Supplier in the Spotlight: Social Driver

| By James Gleason

Communicating effectively in the digital sphere takes equal parts communications acumen and tech know-how, but Thomas Sanchez and Anthony Shop of Social Driver offer their clients both skillsets and provide the best of the best in service and digital expertise. We chat with the minds behind Social Driver to learn more about what makes their business excel.

Social Driver in the Spotlight:

  • Name of business: Social Driver
  • Name of founders: Thomas Sanchez and Anthony Shop
  • Date founded:  January 2011
  • Date certified: March 2011
  • Location of business: Washington, DC, and Bellingham, WA
  • Number of employees: 45

2. What is Social Driver?

Social Driver is a digital agency. We help our clients connect with people today through websites, social media, and video.  We’re headquartered in Washington, DC but our clients are global companies, nonprofits, and associations — including several NGLCC Corporate Partners and Certified LGBT Business Enterprises.

3. How did you get your concept or idea for your business?

We have always believed that when people connect, they can do more together. We started Social Driver with that belief. That’s why we help our clients connect with people today — so that they can do more together. Increasingly for businesses, that mean using social and digital media to unleash the positive potential of people for their goals and ideas. Our team is passionate about connecting with people today by building websites, creating videos and running social media campaigns so that we can achieve results that were unimaginable only a few years ago.

4. What is unique about your business?

We’ve built a culture of partnership with our clients that we call “Experience Digital With Us”. Each of these four words captures Social Driver’s ethos. From the inside out, we strive for excellence in service, deep digital expertise, and long-term trusted partnerships.

The key to our culture is our team. We have in-house digital experts, including web developers, designers, creative, and strategists, each with years of experience and their fingers on the pulse of what’s next. We have put in place systems, processes, and frameworks that enable our team to keep pace with the high-performance needs of our clients. And, we get to know our clients personally, developing lasting relationships and custom strategies that help achieve their unique goals.

5. What were you doing before you founded your business?

Social Driver was co-founded by Thomas Sanchez and Anthony Shop. Thomas is technologist with an expertise in digital and social software engineering. Anthony is a communications professional with a focus on nonprofits and advocacy.

Thomas studied software engineering. Before founding Social Driver, he spent most of his career at Cerner Corporation, the leading company in the healthcare informatics and electronic medical records industry. While at Cerner he co-launched uCern, which grew into one of the largest online communities of healthcare professionals in the world.

Anthony worked for nonprofits and political campaigns and then built a consulting practice of his own clients.

6. What are your goals for your business?

Social Driver’s mission is a little unique. We say, “The future is bright, all progress is social, and the drivers make history.” We genuinely want to help people connect so that they can do more together — that’s what it means to be a driver. 

7. How has being a member of the LGBT community impacted your business, if at all?

The LGBT community has been instrumental to our business success. We met our first full-time employee at the NGLCC conference. We are active members in two chambers (MAGLCC and CAGLCC). We partner with multiple NGLCC corporate partners who we met through matchmakers and do business as a supplier and a vendor with multiple certified LGBTBEs we met through this network. We also have learned so much from mentors we met through the community. I believe that by bringing everything we are to everything we do makes us more competitive as businesses, more confident as business people and more connected as a business community. So I’m very proud we have been out and proud about our status as an LGBTBE.

8. How has being a Certified LGBTBE through NGLCC impacted your business?

We have met a number of corporate partners who we now work with through matchmakers at the NGLCC conference, and through supplier development opportunities we were invited to because of our status as a diverse supplier. Over the last six years, we have worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies, and many of these relationships started because of our diverse-owned status. It’s really amazing how a piece of paper and a matchmaker meeting can be so transformative, but you do have to work at it.

9. What advice would you give to an LGBT person starting a business?

My number one piece of advice would be to become part of communities and help build them. No business happens in a vacuum – especially not in today’s interconnected world. It’s essential that business owners find communities to become part of, and then invest in those communities so that the rising tide lifts everyone. Joining your local LGBT chamber and getting involved with NGLCC is a great place to start, and there are a number of other professional and personal communities we can each get involved with, whether that’s ToastMasters, an alumni group, church or a kickball team. When we moved to DC, we didn’t know anyone, so we started a weekly breakfast for entrepreneurs. If you find your people and help others, things will work out.