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Hatton Gravely: Philanthropy and a Whole Lot of Family

I started my day with Hatton by meeting her in the beautiful Brookgreen Gardens. It was a sunny one, so it was perfect for our walk through the gardens as we discussed our lives and raved about our new work positions. As of August 2020, Hatton landed the role as Brookgreen’s Director of Philanthropy. She states, “Every time I drive through the gates, my mood is lifted, and my blood pressure probably goes down. Brookgreen is such a beautiful place with so much history and meaning. It’s my happy place, it always has been.”

Hatton Gravely grew up in the other Charleston, the one located in West Virginia. She was brought up by two successful parents and specifically, a mother who was one of four female law students in her class. She became an attorney and was very involved in politics. Hatton’s mother has always been a strong female role model for her to look up to and learn from. Hatton had a wonderful childhood. She was a bookworm and frequently traveled to Hilton Head, South Carolina, for family vacations.

During high school at a summer program, Hatton met a boy named Will in a Spanish class. He was from Myrtle Beach, but they became great friends and kept up with each other through the rest of high school and throughout college. Hatton studied political science and English at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. After both she and Will finished college, they took their friendship to the next step and started dating. A year later, they were engaged. Once hitched, the married couple moved in 2006 from Atlanta, Georgia, back to Will’s roots, the Grand Strand.

Hatton began working for the Brandon Agency where she learned a great deal about marketing. She loved every minute of her time as it was a very fun atmosphere and company. After two years, she became the Marketing Director for The Market Common. This job took place when the complex first opened and Hatton helped make it the established outdoor shopping center and event space it is today. After 5 years of devoting her life to The Market Common, she started a new job at SPM Resorts as the Vice President of Marketing and Development. In 2016, Hatton became the Director of Women in Philanthropy and Leadership for Coastal Carolina University. She focused on raising money for scholarships and even hosted a Women’s Leadership Conference including 800 women just before the pandemic.

During this exponentially growing time of her career, Hatton also managed to have two children. Thomas was born in 2010 and Mary Chase in 2015. She admitted, “When I first had my son, I had a lot of mom guilt about not being a stay at home mom,” but Hatton’s mother gave her some advice that has helped her along the way: “Stop making yourself crazy thinking that you’re not doing a good job, just go to work AND be a mom. Your generation overthinks it; we didn’t think that much about it, we just did it!” Hatton thinks every mom can relate to being an “overthinker” but clarifies that being guided by a pragmatic mother who centers all of her crazy thoughts has helped her tremendously.

Hatton feels that her role as a mother has shaped her as a person in every way possible. She explained, “When they are babies, you’re terrified, but once you survive that stage, you just have the most fun with your kids. You really are the same person, but your focus and motivations shift. Becoming a mother obviously makes you think about someone other than yourself and your spouse because you are now responsible for a little human’s happiness and growth.” When I asked Hatton what the most important advice is that she has bestowed upon her own kids, she said, “As young children, their only jobs are to be kind and to be a good friend. They both know that’s what they always need to do and be.”

On top of being a full-time working mom, Hatton also runs a blog called the “Good Taste Guide” which is her creative outlet. She has always been interested in content marketing and social media, and editorial type of advertising. She loves writing, photography, and design. Having a blog also helps keep her stay updated on marketing, social media, web design, and writing for an audience. In her previous marketing positions, she’s incorporated the things she’s learned from blogging into content marketing strategy for work projects. She says, “Anyone interested in marketing should run a blog because it’s good practice to track analytics and to test what works and what doesn’t.” Her blog is all about having good taste of an assortment of topics from food and wine to books and podcasts to careers and kids and Myrtle Beach living.
(Check out her website: www.goodtasteguide.com)

Another passion of Hatton’s is antiques. All of the furniture in her house has either been hand-me-downs or collected from antique stores. Her favorite family heirloom is her Grandparents’ dining room table where she used to spend every holiday meal at while surrounded by family. Now, that same table is paired with Will’s grandparent’s chairs and is their family dinner table that they use every day making their own memories. Hatton explains her love for antique shopping, “You can get such a high-quality piece of furniture for so much less, not mention all the history and timeless pieces. It’s fun to browse and there are so many cool shops around this area.” Hatton claims her favorite shop is one that was open the year they moved and although the owner closed the physical store, she still runs an Instagram account: Bunglalow17sc. Hatton says, “Every piece we have collected through the years has meaning and that makes me happy. Plus, it’s pretty and unique.”

I asked Hatton how she balances her work and family life so well and she responded with, “I don’t know if ‘so well’ is correct. I have such an incredible amount of help from my husband at home as well as my in-laws that I am able to stay balanced. Will’s parents, Mama Lee and Big Daddy are a part of our daily lives. They help out with sports practices, after school programs, and Mama Lee is an amazing tutor. Because we have so much help, we are really able to spend time with our kids cooking dinner and having fun with them on the weekends. I think Myrtle Beach in particular is just a wonderful place for families, we’ve been so lucky to have so many friends and to live in a neighborhood with so many lovely families. I love our friends who are like family.”

As far as advice to other mothers who strive to do it all, this is Hatton’s: “Although I can’t give away my Mama Lee and Big Daddy, I think a big part of mothering has to do with your mindset on life and having a reasonable outlook on what all you can accomplish. I don’t have super high expectations of having an insta-worthy perfect lifestyle. Sometimes, moms compare themselves to other people’s best – but I think when you have a blog or are creating content for an audience, you know that the behind-the-scenes clutter is cropped out of the frame. All of us have imperfections even if our social feeds don’t have it on display – and that can give some moms the unrealistic impression that perfection is attainable. It’s not.”

Hatton loves Mother’s Day because it is such a pretty time of year, especially here, so the family usually spends time together outside. They have a good afternoon meal and always have cake. She laughed as she said, “although the cake ends up being more for the kids anyway.” When I first reached out to Hatton about an interview, I explained our theme for the month, “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” to be about Mother’s Day and impressive women who do it all. She immediately replied with, “Oh, I am so flattered I give that illusion! LOL! Our family is blessed with a ton of help that not everyone has, and I do think that I have it all, but it’s 100% because of the amazing support of others.” Hatton is a humble, genuine, and inspirational mother. She loves celebrating being a mom and I think we can all agree that she certainly deserves it.

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