Hannah-Catherine -- from TV News Reporter to Media Trainer
Enjoy getting to know Hannah-Catherine Smith, LI’s new Communications Training and Studios Coordinator. This is an informal interview series with employees of the Leadership Institute to let you get to know us beyond our trainings. The questions ask them to describe what makes them tick and their experience with LI at various levels.

What made you want to work at the Leadership Institute? 

I wanted to work at the Leadership Institute because I truly believe in the value of education and equipping students with the necessary tools to be successful.

During my internship at The Heritage Foundation, I learned a tremendous amount about public policy and how conservative policy can positively impact our local, national, and global community. With my communications background, I realized the importance of effectively disseminating these messages, particularly through media.

LI seemed like the perfect marriage of education and conservative values. I am so excited to be in the field I love for a cause I believe in.

What unique skills and background do you bring to your new position and how do you hope to use them? 

I was a television news reporter here in Northern Virginia for about a year after college. I covered Fairfax, Prince William, Arlington, Loudon, and Fauquier Counties so I know the area very well and am excited to be in the NOVA community!

I was a multi-media journalist which basically means I did absolutely everything by myself. That meant pitching stories, shooting and editing all of my video, reporting, writing, and even going live on-camera alone. I also worked the nightside shift, so that came with its own challenges. My first job stretched me in a variety of ways because I had to learn so much, so quickly. Although it was hard work, I’m so thankful for the spectrum of skills I gained from that experience and can’t wait to apply them at LI.

Because I was a member of the media, I understand how reporters think, and most importantly, how media bias happens. I think it’s so important to train conservative leaders for success in communications.  

If you moved here from another area, how does the DC area differ from your hometown? 

I’m from the D.C. area! I grew up in Huntingtown, MD (right on the Chesapeake Bay) and am so happy to be here to stay!

Who has had the most impact on your political philosophy? 

I look up to my dad for my political philosophy the most. He’s a colonel in the United States Air Force, so I grew up with an understanding of service to one's country.

For my father, his service stems from a posture of gratitude to those who came before him, something I believe to be a key piece of conservatism. I admire him for being part of something greater than himself, putting mission first and people always.

What are your thoughts about pineapple on pizza? 

As a conservative, I respect each individual’s liberty to live how they choose, but for me, pineapple on pizza is a hard pass.