Name: Hannah Brencher
Job Title and Description: Social Entrepreneur + Professional Love Letter Writer, founder of MoreLoveLetters.com. Yes, I am a professional love letter writer. I founded an organization called The World Needs More Love Letters. We use social media to write and mail love letters to individuals in need around the world.
College/Major: Assumption College - Double major: Journalism + Sociology
Twitter Handle: @moreloveletters
Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Hannah Brencher: It is really exciting to feel like I’ve sculpted my dream job only two years after graduating from college. On a typical day I am spending the mornings writing and developing creative projects for More Love Letters while also doing some freelance writing for other sites and organizations. My afternoons are more reserved for meetings, strategy sessions, and actual email and maintenance of the site. Some days the routine switches up and I am traveling to speak about More Love Letters and host love letter writing workshops. I like to shut off from actual logistical work by 5 pm so I can pour into writing the love letters that need to be answered and work on book writing.
HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
HB: My first entry-level job was as a communications associate for Save the Children, a global NGO that deals specifically with the rights of children. Before this first paying job, I did a year of service upon graduating from college and worked for a human rights NGO at the United Nations. The experience was volunteer and I began classifying it as an internship on my resume but it definitely allowed me to gain good experience that was applicable to the job listing at Save the Children.
I found Save the Children through the job boards but I also recommend reaching out to your networks and letting them know you are looking for a position in ______ field. I’ve come across a variety of opportunities since then by doing that.
HC: What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
HB: It is a ton of work (obvious, right?) and you really have to love what you do immensely to make it work. Start-ups are no joke. I quit working my 9-5 job to focus more on my organization’s opportunities but the work has only doubled and tripled in time. There are long nights. There are nights that just seem to trickle into the next day. You’ve got to learn to have an eye for business and to be on the ball with every company you are beginning partnerships with. I feel like I’ve gone through a crash course in start-ups in the last ten months. Never, ever did I think that there could be so much to learn in the industry of “love letters.”
HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
HB: Selena Soo. She is a publicist and a business strategist who is really taking the world by storm right now. I met her about two weeks ago and she has guided me in some serious directions, but direct conversations and “dreamstorming” to just by learning from her example and how she operates in the field. When I was looking to nail down that first paying job, Selena stepped in to help me through my nets in the right direction and pull in something really wonderful but learning to be intentional with my goals and by really sitting down to figure out: What kind of job do I really want to have?
HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
HB: I must say this all the time but I get the best pearl of wisdom from Lindsey Pollak. She presented at a She’s the First Leadership Summit two years back and what she said will always, always, always stick with me. “Your dream job doesn’t exist yet. You have to create it.” I’ve taken that to heart almost every day since then. It is the sole sentence that helped me to sculpt the dream job that I have right now.
HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
HB: I can tell you it has happened most recently. Four words: Tears in the Thai food. I’m referring to a breakdown that I had in a Thai restaurant. Tears everywhere—a slobbery, blubbering mess. The lesson I learned from that is that you must take breaks. You must detach from work. You must schedule vacations. And you must, must, must make it so that your business and all the parts of it can stand to operate without you. Otherwise, you’ll surely suffer a breakdown of sorts or a burnout—both of which aren’t healthy for yourself or your company.
HC: What is the best part of your job?
HB: The chance to help people in a real and radical way on a moment’s notice. We can brew up a Love Letter Bundle in 24 hours or less. We can plan campaigns that change people’s days, weeks, years, and even lives. It is amazing to receive emails on how the found letters have impacted and changed people for the better. I love most just the chance to be a light for a stranger out there who needs one.
HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
HB: A real heart-on-sleever who takes initiative in their work. I like to work with people who have core values and believe in sacred truths when it comes to business and good business. I know that it is a cutthroat business world out there but, at the end of the day, it is no excuse not to act with morals and values. My mama raised me well and I like to see that in other people, that they stand by what they believe in and act consistently with integrity. Drive, yes. Ambition, definitely. But integrity first and foremost.
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
HB: If you have a crazy dream, an idea in your head that keeps you from sleeping at night, then pursue it. Go for it. Pour your heart into it and see what comes. It will be a lot of work and there will be days when frustration gets the best of you, but follow it and I can guarantee you won’t look back wishing you hadn’t.
Impressed with Hannah’s passion as much as we are? You can help send her to the TED2013 Talks in Long Beach, CA by checking our her official finalist audition for TED’s global talent search. Rate and comment on the video to help her spread the More Love Letters gospel around the country—and the world.