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Meet Cara McCarthy Hutchins of Communications, Ink in Beverly

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cara McCarthy Hutchins.

Cara, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was raised in northern New Jersey in a close-knit family. Reflecting back, I realize my upbringing had a strong influence on my career choice. My father, a plastic surgeon, was a founder of “Operation Smile”, a charity that enables doctors to perform surgery on underprivileged children with cleft palates. Today, I am driven to work with nonprofit organizations that do work for the common good but typically do not have the discretionary funds to employ large marketing companies.

I graduated from Vassar College in 1987 with an AB in International Relations. After working in banking for several years, I accepted a position in Investor Relations for a multinational oil and gas company. In this capacity, I was responsible for developing the company’s Annual Report, communicating with shareholders and planning yearly investor conferences. I soon came to realize that telling a company’s story and branding their message was something I enjoyed and wanted to pursue further. Consequently, I enrolled at Babson College where I earned an MBA in marketing and a minor in Entrepreneurship.

Following Babson, I spent the next several years working in advertising, as Director of Advertising for State Street Bank and Trust Company and at Holland Mark Martin where I handled a diverse group of clients.

Upon moving to the North Shore of Boston and starting a family, I decided the time was right to establish my own marketing firm, Communications Ink. Utilizing my experience working in marketing for large, well-capitalized companies, my goal was to provide the same level of services to smaller operations, mainly in education and healthcare.

On a personal note, my hobbies are skiing, cooking and travel. As a child, I traveled the world with my family and I still love to travel to new and exotic places. I especially enjoy family trips with my husband and two teenage children. In the past few years, we have traveled to Costa Rica, Cuba, Turkey and Germany. On the weekends, I enjoy cooking up big breakfasts and hitting “pause.”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I would say obstacles in today’s marketing industry also provide the greatest opportunities. With technology moving at a fast pace, consumers are being inundated with content and platform options. I never thought that as the business owner of an advertising agency, it would be so essential to keep up with trends in technology. However, successful campaigns rely on using the right platforms, with the best messages and images at the right times. And it doesn’t stop there. You need to then use analytics to make sense of the choices.

At the same time technology also creates opportunities that were never available before. Technology flattens the playing fields and makes markets more transparent. With technology, I can virtually meet with clients avoiding the need to take long flights to far away. I can employ contractors who like the flexibility of working remotely. And, I use technology to help my business vie for the same business opportunities as much larger companies. Simply put, it makes us visible and relevant.

Please tell us about Communications, Ink.
Communications, Ink was founded in 1997 and is based in Beverly, Massachusetts. Our company is woman-owned and run. We offer strategic marketing, brand identity, collateral development, website development, social media campaigns and analytics to non-profit companies, educational institutions and service companies. Our main clients include schools, historical societies, financial services and travel specialists. This has been a particularly exciting year for Communications Ink as we celebrate our twentieth anniversary.

The team at Communications, Ink considers it our primary job to identify the essence of a company and find a way to turn that essence into a simple message that resonates with consumers. We currently have twenty sub-contractors who help us develop and deliver marketing strategies to our customers. Through our long-term relationships with these subcontractors, we are able to ensure high quality while limiting overhead allowing us to transfer savings to our clients.

In my job as CEO of Communications Ink, I often utilize my financial background to help companies optimize budget dollars and maximize spending power. Being a small and facile firm, all of our customers have easy access to our team. The people you see at the first meeting are the same throughout a project.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
There are many lessons I have learned. I have learned you can find something you love to do and at the same time make a difference in the world. I am proud that our company has been able to provide branding for institutions that are striving to better educate our children (which brings it back full circle to my childhood), protect women’s health and preserve the historical integrity of the New England landscape. Sometimes this can involve hard choices including limiting your client base so that you can ensure top quality service.

I also believe creative businesses have a responsibility to their Client’s bottom line. It’s not enough to design beautiful materials. You have to understand their business and create campaigns that really stretch their budgets. As a right and left brain thinker, I am as comfortable with an excel spreadsheet as I am with a color wheel. This approach allows me to be a strategic partner to my clients.

Practically speaking, I’ve also learned you are only as good as your last project. Therefore, it’s essential to stay on top of trends and find innovative ways to approach how to creatively attract an audience’s attention. I appreciate these challenges, it keeps it interesting and fun!


  • $150/Hour for principals
  • $75/Hour for designers and developers

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