December 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm EDT | by Ernesto M. Santalla J. Max Barger
The rewarding business of art

‘I had to learn that a good life is a result of living in the present and great projects come through relationship building and being visible,’ says Romain McLean. (Photo courtesy of McLean)

An artist’s priority is most often to pursue art. They are often introspective and prefer to spend time alone.

Those who work in the applied arts such as graphic design and work for a firm as designers and creative directors are able to devote themselves to their craft. Talented designers eventually develop their own point of view and strike out on their own. Graphic artist Romain McLean is part of this elite group of designers, who in 2005 founded Wildfire Design, LLC, a woman-owned, minority-owned, small business specializing in brand identity development.

“As a creative director I was trained to concentrate on doing the work and oftentimes I became obsessed with ideas. That frame of mind led me to live in my head resulting in an introverted life. I had to learn that a good life is a result of living in the present and great projects come through relationship building and being visible,” McLean says. “It’s been a long-term goal of mine to be more active in the LGBT and business community. In the past I worked in isolation and now I understand the importance of being connected to a positive network of professionals. It’s vital for me to get Wildfire Design in the mix. Being involved in CAGLCC gives me the opportunity to build strong business relationships with like-minded people.”

McLean has more than 10 years of experience as a graphic designer, creative director and brand identity specialist, working with clients ranging from non-profit organizations to government agencies. Wildfire Design has done work for such organizations as D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (DCWASA), Special Anti Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT), ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership, Katrina Aid Today, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Technology/City of New Orleans, Tech International Corporation, Amglobal Consulting among many others. These commissions are the product of multiple skills: exceptional talent, effective business development and healthy client relations.

For more information and examples of Wildfire Design’s work, go to

Programs and events

Each Thursday morning, CAGLCC members convene at Intelligent Office (1425 K St., N.W.) for breakfast and a large dose of business edification at MasterMind Group. “A mastermind is defined as two or more people working in perfect harmony and alignment for the attainment of a definite end,” says group leader Jay Vilar, president, Plan A Consulting. “Each member of CAGLCC’s MasterMind Group participates because of who they are, who they represent in the world, and the positive impact of their work. Successful people surround themselves with like-minded individuals in order to find the solution for current and future problems that they couldn’t solve on their own.”

MasterMind Group arises from the need to come together as a community of individuals to learn and discuss business-related topics in an environment conducive to open deliberation and peer support. The sessions run the gamut of business topics from finding the right business path to achieving personal and business goals. Each week, Vilar sets the subject, introduces talking points for the group, who takes over the discussion.

Mark Guenther, CAGLCC executive director, observes “The richness of the dialogue during the interactive ‘think tank’ help me see ways to be more effective at my job. The collective input and energy put toward problem solving is an amazing tool. As the executive director of the Chamber, I am very proud we are able to offer this program.”

For more information on MasterMind Group, go here.

CAGLCC member news

Local author Garrett Peck has signed with History Press to write “Prohibition in Washington, D.C.: How Dry We Weren’t,” which will be published in spring 2011.

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