By Hannah Harding, Account Coordinator 

Hannah Harding headshot

Starting as a full-time intern with Hoffman is like eating Pad Thai at a spice level four. It’s delicious and can be a lot to handle at first; the taste buds can become a touch overstimulated. But there’s a reason it’s my favorite food – it gets even better with time, and the flavor grows as you go.

As the daughter of a chemical engineering Ph.D. and lover of content creation, I’ve been torn between pursuing STEM or communications for as long as I can remember. Starting at University of Oregon (UO) in 2016 after growing up in Corvallis, OR (Sco Ducks, and Beavs too, but low-key), I declared as an economics major for my first three years, in which I served as vice president of the UO Econ Club, along with represented the club at UO Senate budget hearings. My listed responsibilities included just coordinating and communicating with guest speakers, but I loved it and quickly volunteered to manage the club’s social media accounts, market/plan club events and own all direct communications to students, faculty and alumni.

Assuming ownership of these tasks — and greatly enjoying building out our brand to students and speakers — I realized it was time to reassess my own career path. During a come-to-light moment one evening at the student union, I finally asked myself: if communication, branding, people and content creation have been my primary talents and passions for the past 20 years, why have I been fighting them so hard to force my way into STEM?

Guinea pigs

Needless to say, I changed my major to PR less than a month later. It was an immediate fit and became instantly clear that I was among family and matching energy. I learned what media lists and scans were, the differences between in-house and agency work, and the history of PR all while transitioning to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of my junior year.

The pandemic, along with online classes and an unrelated cross-country, solo move to start a post-grad role in Dallas this year, threw a serious wrench in my plan to gain experience prior to my March 2021 graduation. Thus, I had sub-zero idea what a full-time PR internship would look like, let alone the day-to-day asks of the industry.

In just my first week with Hoffman, I got the chance to get my hands on a bit of every team project, working with my teams to build out several media lists, review pitches, conduct outreach and even draft client emails (gasp!). The days are never boring, and there is always room to make an impact. Even as an intern, I’m helping with the kinds of projects that inspired me as a younger kid, and I’m playing a real role in telling client stories to the world.

Even when things get a little fast-paced and overwhelming, I can pause and recognize it’s the best kind of busy. Teammates are a phone call away, and I can always tap someone for help. It’s in these moments — I need to pick up the chopsticks momentarily and reach for my milk tea for backup — that I recognize: if it weren’t for the spice, I wouldn’t want it at all.

P.S. Outside the virtual office, I’m an amateur nail tech who loves fashion, beauty and hip-hop. I’ve been doing extra-long nail specialty sets since I was 13. Before you ask, the answer is yes, I can type and function with them; I have lots of practice. As for in-person coworkers, my colleagues are two Guinea pigs, NuNu and Po, who love having their mom around working from home every day.

acrylic nails

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