Susan Major has a favorite moment when she helps startups and businesses. There’s no name for it, she says, but it’s the moment a client begins to lean into their own idea and see that their dream can become a reality.

That’s when they stop asking “what if,” and start asking, “OK, how?”

“You just want to be there to champion them,” she said. “And I take that incredibly seriously and with a tremendous amount of responsibility.”

Major’s new consulting firm, The Hatch Project, officially launched in Frederick on March 1. She hopes to have lots more lightbulb moments with clients in the future.

The firm, which consists of Major and a few consultants she’s partnered with, provides strategy, organization and project management to help businesses get off the ground or pivot in a new direction.

The leap into starting her own company comes after more than 20 years in the business world. Major has previously worked with Allegis Group, HP Bank and Deutsche Bank, usually in liaison roles.

“My space of specialty for better or for worse has always been the bringing together, creating of new products, new services, standing up new parts of the organization,” Major said.

Major is sure that a lot of startups and businesses will be thinking about how to innovate in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last year has been proof that successful businesses must be able to adapt and change, Major said. She hopes to build what she calls “22nd century businesses.”

“So what that means is yes, they’re profitable, that goes without saying in terms of business,” she said. “But they’re also innovative, they’re integrated in terms of their environment and their local economy, they’re adaptive, they’re resilient, and they’re able to really deal with the accelerating change that is our modern landscape.”

This type of approach to businesses is different than the narrative she heard earlier in her career. Then, it seemed like businesses had simple top-down structures, sold products or fit a need, and each individual had a clearly defined role. But to adapt to change, she believes businesses will have to also make changes themselves.

“In order to deal with this accelerating pace of change, we’re gonna have to listen like we never have before, we’re gonna have to pivot like we never have before, and we’re also gonna have to learn at what I call an absorption level,” she said.

Her favorite types of clients to work with are entrepreneurs, who are just starting their new projects, and intrapreneurs, who are starting a new project within a company in which they are already established.

“I love to serve those two personas of sorts,” she said. “Because they just feel this need to create and sometimes the drive is there, but how do we actually bring that into fruition?”

Major is also a candidate for a Doctorate of Organizational Leadership at Hood College, where she is working on her dissertation.

Open for Business is an occasional feature highlighting new businesses around Frederick County. Contact Erika Riley at [email protected]

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