When David Warschawski, founder and CEO of Warschawski, a national boutique marketing communications agency, began working to establish his new company, he knew he wanted it to focus less on being a “vanity play” and more on generating a return on investment for its clients, he said in an email.
“I also wanted to focus on a more personal boutique style of service with senior people working on a client across all levels,” said Warschawski, 50, a member of Beth Tfiloh Congregation and Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim. “I’m very glad that I struck out on my own, and 25 years later, I think it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has afforded me the opportunity to work with so many great business leaders, top brands and household name celebrities and athletes.”
Born and raised in Basel, Switzerland, Warschawski moved with his family to Pikesville when he was 10. He received an education at a Jewish day school from kindergarten to ninth grade, before attending Pikesville High School and then Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.
Currently, Warschawski lives in Baltimore County with his wife Rachel Steinberg Warschawski; son Micah, 17; and daughter Leah, 13.
Warschawski got his start at some of New York City’s marketing and communications agencies, where he felt proud of the opportunity to work with brand name clients, he said. With a growing desire to do things his own way, he founded his own agency, Warschawski, in 1996.
While it has offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., Warschawski’s headquarters is currently located in Baltimore. On Oct. 4, the agency announced it had completed a $6 million renovation of a nearly 100-year-old church in Mt. Washington that is now its new headquarters.
“When we bought the building it was a shell of its former glory,” Warschawski said. “But we saw the beauty of its bones, and we love the Mt. Washington neighborhood – so we decided to completely renovate and transform this old building into a new, modern office space.”
Warschawski’s agency currently employs 35 full-time staff, he said. Some of the brands that Warschawski has worked with have included Microsoft, Boeing, the International Olympic Committee, Penguin Books and New Balance.
Citing his company’s 4.9 out of 5 rating on the review site Glassdoor, Warschawski said that his most important accomplishment was creating a winning culture where doing great work could go hand in hand with having a great time.
“Doing great work is one thing,” Warschawski said. “Doing great work and having a place where everyone loves to come into work, including me, is another. I’m delighted we’ve been able to successfully accomplish both.”
Warschawski credited his team with handling much of the day-to-day operations of his agency, while he focuses much of his attention on big picture strategy and brand building, he said.
“I’m often a figurehead for the agency and host numerous events, panel discussions and serve as a key-note speaker for other organizations,” Warschawski said. “I enjoy networking and recruiting the best possible talent. Lastly, my most cherished role is being a mentor and having an opportunity to share the knowledge and experience that I’ve been fortunate to amass over my career with others.”
Aside from his work at his agency, Warschawski is also a professor for the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business and co-authored the book “Building Customer Relationships Through Public Relations.”
To those with ambitions of becoming CEO of their own company one day, Warschawski advises them not to overthink every detail, and to get started by taking the leap.
“Lastly, start when you are young,” Warschawski said. “It makes it much easier. Being an entrepreneur requires hard work, long hours and an insatiable drive to be the best. These elements are easiest to capture when you are young.”