By: Madison Weaver
Brooke Goggans, a director of client services at Hahn Public Communications, spoke with UT PRSSA about her government relations and public affairs experience spanning across the country at our meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
Originally from California, Brooke started her college career as a sports marketing major at the University of Oregon, but later switched to political science. “I was always interested in politics,” she said, and recalls that she even sent letters to governors as a child. She also minored in communications so that she could be more “marketable,” upon her advisor’s recommendation.
As a student, she headed to DC to serve as an intern. Her first day of work was September 11, 2001. She remembers that she was actually in the senate chambers when the first plane hit. “It was one of the most intense, nerve-wracking, amazing experiences of my life,” Brooke said. She was even a part of an anthrax scare involving Senator Tom Daschle. Even after all of these crises, she still wanted to stay in DC and finish her internship.
After graduation, Brooke moved back to DC, then later to Boston. She took four months off waiting for the job she truly wanted – a job at McDermott Ventures. She surrounded herself with some of the most powerful women in Boston, and stayed with them for seven years. “I was able to figure out what my place was in strategic communications,” Brooke said.
After moving to Austin, and working and meeting with different firms, Brooke found a place working with Jeff Hahn of Hahn Public Communications. A great piece of advice from Hahn is, “Sometimes a setback is a set up.”
She discussed with PRSSA her three biggest pieces of advice:
- Find a mentor and find them often.
- It is crucial to find people interested and invested in your career. She told students to hang on to the “pearls of wisdom” that each mentor can give.
- Send “thank you” notes.
- Brooke encouraged students to write one handwritten “thank you” note a week. She said that it’s what will create and maintain relationships, both in your work and personal life.
- Take and set up meetings.
- Having meetings with people of all agencies and firms will help you network and further expand your connections. “The worst thing that anyone can say to you is ‘No, I don’t want to meet,’” Brooke said. She urged students not be intimidated.
During the Q&A session, she closed her talk by saying, “spread your wings,” and told students to not be afraid to put themselves out there. “Now is the time to do it.”