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It’s All About the “JRNY”

Hello, again! Hannah here. I hope everyone is staying safe and washing their hands. I’m looking forward to the time when we can all see our friends and family in person again. I sure do miss greeting my loved ones with hugs. However, I’m not all that upset about our current circumstances because they have made me reconsider work processes and even forced me to become more organized in order to keep the team updated on all that’s going on within our project.


Speaking of our project, I want to use this blog to talk about how thankful I am for the opportunities it has given me. As my time with the project comes to a close, I have done quite a bit of reflecting on who I was at the beginning of the semester and who I am now. It’s been a transformation, that’s for sure! So, in the spirit of being thankful, I have a few very special people to thank for my journey to becoming a more well-rounded student, a more polished professional and a stronger leader.


To my girls,

Thank you for patiently allowing me to grow alongside you. You all have always been encouraging and thoughtful, especially when I felt like I had failed you. You respected me as your Brand Manager and gave me room to make mistakes while figuring out the whole process. You pushed me to go first, not to be afraid of certain obstacles, and jumped in to help alleviate stress whenever you felt it was needed. Most importantly, you knew my head and my heart well, and I didn’t have to tell you when I needed you, you were just there. You allowed me to go from a “natural-born leader” to a disciplined, motivated team player.

The Spring 2020 BrandJRNY team before the Brand Launch on March 3 | Source: Seth Seebaugh, Brand Storytelling Team

To our fabulous GA, Sam,

Thank you for setting the tone. This project is a lot of work, and it can get stressful, fast. Every Monday, you greeted me with the same calm, cool and collected attitude, and it assured me that all the stress wasn’t as big as it seemed. At times, your consistent tone is what got me through. I appreciate you for many reasons, but especially for taking extra time to walk me through things, provide resources, or for a much-needed pep talk. You’re everything you could want in a mentor (and friend). You’re talented, caring, positive, dependable and so much more. You assured me that, at the end of the day, I am not my work, and that’s something I will always keep with me. You let me be who I was, but you gave me the encouragement to be even better.

GA Samantha Stocksdale preparing t-shirts for the Brand Launch on March 3 | Source: Seth Seebaugh, Brand Storytelling Team

To our fearless leader, Dr. C,

Thank you for pushing me. You embody a strong work ethic and passion for the work we do. You’ve shown me that it’s okay — and even necessary, at times — to be “large and in charge.” You didn’t correct my mistakes, but instead allowed me to correct them myself by providing constructive criticism and thoughtful feedback. Upon first meeting you, I was intimidated. You radiate confidence and wisdom, and that’s a lot to take in for most people. Now, it just serves as a driving force for me to be the best version of myself. You constantly reassure me that it’s okay to ask for help, even though that hasn’t always been easy to hear. You let me be goofy and were goofy with me. You let me be anxious and calmed my nerves. You fostered a learning environment that didn’t just allow us to grow, but forced us to.

Dr. Rita Colistra speaks to community members during the Brand Launch on March 3 | Source: Kristian Davis, Brand Storytelling Team

I’m the same person I was before entering this journey, just a way better version. We’ve heard it a million times, “there’s no ‘i’ in ‘team.’” So, while this is about my personal growth over the past several months, it’s been more about the people who made it possible.


At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned looking forward to hugging my loved ones. But, what I’m most excited about is getting to show the world all that I have to offer after being on this project. While my time with BrandJRNY is coming to a close, the journey we shared will stay with me forever. 


I might be signing off for the last time here, but I am always around. Feel free to follow me on Twitter for a whole other journey!


My name is Hannah Williams. I am the Brand Manager for BrandJRNY’s Point Pleasant project. I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with hot dogs, dancing, and rainy days. Follow me for artsy things, embarrassing life tidbits, and all things BrandJRNY — @itsnothantastic.






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Housed at the WVU Media Innovation Center, BrandJRNY is a community branding initiative that is a grant-funded collaboration between the American Electric Power Foundation and WVU Reed College of Media.

The Initiative was previously funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for our three pilot projects.

Original website designed by Mariah Elliott, under the direction of PI and Director Dr. Rita Colistra.

Photos and content may not be used without written permission by contacting brandjrny@gmail.com.

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