Today we’d like to introduce you to Brady Hahn.
Brady, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in Cleveland, raised in Minnesota and spent a good amount of time during my childhood on a horse farm in Wisconsin. Growing up, I wanted to make movies. I got to college and instead, fell in love with philosophy at Boston University.
In particular, the philosophy of mind and perception which I combined with courses in art. I graduated a semester early and traveled throughout India, Nepal, and Tibet. It was volunteering there that turned my eye to non-profit fundraising. My first job was working for an initiative in Boston to support inner-city elementary and middle schools. There, I had some great women mentors and learned to write grants, dial-for-dollars, and fund programs.
Two years later, I met a woman named Alexa Brandt (now a dear friend) on a networking site called A Small World. We met for tea on a gloomy day in Boston and became instant friends, and a few weeks later, she suggested I apply for her job in LA at Step Up Women’s Network as the LA women’s program manager. I interviewed on a Monday, got an offer Friday, and moved here the next Wednesday.
That job transformed my life and the vision of what I could do for work. It was there that I started planning panels, conducting moderated interviews in front of live audiences, and developing corporate partnerships with national brands. On top of that, I was dropped into an incredible network of professional women who were incredibly smart, kind, and supportive.
This eventually evolved into running my own business for the last 7 years. So how I got here today, is thanks to a then-stranger from across the country seeing something in me that I didn’t even know was possible.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would say it’s been a winding road. I often joke that it would be easier to sell basic white t-shirts than to be a consultant. Creating your own business is choosing your adventure. Awesome, but not always easy to find your way.
In the beginning, it took time to define my boundaries and narrow in on the work I wanted to offer. I needed to learn to listen to my instincts. There was a year where I seriously questioned having my own business. I felt tired (which is related to not listening to my instincts).
So, I took a “soul-sabbatical” for a few months and considered going to work for someone else. Funny enough, one of those conversations turned into a company becoming a great client. From that time, I realized to design the business I wanted; I just needed to tweak a few logistics and do a better job of asking for help. It got a lot easier after that.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Insight Collective – what should we know?
Personally, I am known for having a deep network and a talent for connecting people. My gift is providing the answers to the questions you didn’t know you have. I built my consulting work on listening “between the lines” and find this method helps me understand someone’s needs, even when they aren’t able to fully articulate them.
The consultancy specializes in content focused on women, work and wellness. We translate big ideas into meaningful experiences for your community through our brand positioning, strategy, and experience design work.
Our clients are iconic brands, leading institutions, and dynamic thought leaders. They are conference organizers, sponsors, speakers, and creators. We offer holistic development across their projects that range from immersive learning events like conferences and intimate industry roundtables to developing digital products and e-courses.
To date, our clients have reached over 150,000 professionals across the globe with ideas, knowledge, and insights. The all-woman team consists of expert strategists, curators, researchers, facilitators, and storytellers. We are unique in that we are a referral only business and we have great partners like Women Online, whom we collaborate with on client projects.
To give back and support professional women, I formed the Insight Collective in 2016. We have hosted peer gatherings, offer a monthly-ish newsletter, and are home to The Speaker List, connecting professional women to speaking opportunities and event organizers to a diverse cross-section of women experts. To date, we have placed over 100 women on conference stages across the country.
Currently, I am collaborating with Dr. Emerald Archer, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s University, on The Women’s Professional Conference Experience & Impact study, which seeks to understand women’s experiences at professional conferences and how these learning and development events impact women’s career trajectories.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I am a generally outgoing person and good at remembering someone’s story. This has helped shape my work and life. My determination also comes in handy.
- Website: https://bradyhahn.com/connect
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/bradyhahn
- Other: http://insightcollective.co/about-the-list