DMM & Associates is a performance-management firm that assists its clients in three core areas—project management, organizational development and government policy and regulation compliance.
Now in its eleventh year, just a few of DMM clients reads like a who’s who list of local, regional and national corporations, higher education institutions and government entities, including the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Loyola University, Entergy New Orleans, the state office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Royal Engineering, Louisiana State University and local real estate firm HRI Properties—to name a few.
Highlights of DMM’s work over the last decade include developing and implementing a strategic communications plan as well as organizing outreach and engagement for the Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) program for the development of New Orleans East Hospital; assisting Jefferson Parish with developing and implementing a diversity and inclusion program; and conducting a citizen participation and outreach engagement for the Regional Planning Commission. In the process, DMM has made work available to dozens of professionals, hiring 20 contract workers for one of their largest projects.
Pretty good for a firm that traces its formation back to a kitchen table in Baton Rouge in the weeks and months after Hurricane Katrina.
DMM’s principals, Dottie Reese and Margaret Montgomery Richard, like so many other displaced New Orleanians after Hurricane Katrina, were just trying to figure out their next move. Between the two of them, there was a combined 50 plus years of management experience in higher education and the healthcare industry. And while it may have been a fleeting thought, retiring or taking it easy was not an option because both ladies say there was still much more they wanted to contribute to the business world.
Montgomery Richard, who began a career in higher education administration in 1979 as the director of faculty and staff development at Delgado Community College and ultimately served as chancellor of the Louisiana Technical College, says she had always planned to one day transition into entrepreneurship.
With a background in public health and social work, Reese spent two decades in administrative leadership at Methodist Hospital where she started the hospital’s Office of Diversity. By the time Hurricane Katrina came along, she had already branched out on her own, owning a successful consulting firm that focused on providing support and assistance to companies in the healthcare industry. But the storm’s upheaval resulted in the loss of some clients. For Reese, they were replaced by the unexpected opportunity to evaluate her next steps.
The result, Reese and Montgomery-Richard created DMM & Associates, which officially launched in July 2006.
“We decided to combine our skill sets,” Reese says. “It all just kind of came together and evolved.”
Both Reese and Montgomery Richard say perseverance, hard work and self-reflection are critical to business success. Those ideals top their advice to budding business owners.
“(Owning a business) requires perseverance,” says Montgomery Richard. “You have to know that this is what you want to do. You have to believe in what you are doing and surround yourself with like-minded people.”