Interview Series Pt. 1: Emily Smedley

For the first part in our Who Knows How Long interview series, we spoke with Emily Smedley, an Associate at The Hatcher Group (a communications/public affairs firm). She is a self-proclaimed grandma who loves sleeping and knitting. But, this girl is everyone’s #goals. She’s the girl who hangs out at hip coffee shops, and sets up her hammock along the hiking trail she’s tackling with her running-machine boyfriend, Tim. We sat down with Emily to learn more about her career at Hatcher and how she keeps a work/life balance.

Emily Smedley is an associate at The Hatcher Group in Baltimore, Maryland. She lives with her playfully-mischievous other half, Tim. Emily graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a degree in Communications and Digital Media, and a minor in Marketing. She uses her communication skills for good, mainly consulting with nonprofits and mission driven organizations that pursue positive social change. When she’s not working, she’s reading, hiking, knitting, practicing yoga or binging Netflix documentaries. Fun fact: Emily and Tim met  at a mutual friend’s wedding. Emily thought Tim’s dance moves were on par – she claims he made the Cupid Shuffle look like a Magic Mike bit – and gave him her number. He texted her that night.

Rapid Fire Question Round:
  • Full name: Emily Anna Smedley
  • Single/Taken: A little bit of both. I never really feel like I’m in a relationship because Tim doesn’t tie me down.
  • Favorite color: Green
  • Favorite food: Burritos
  • Spirit animal: Squirrels (they make decisions as well as I do)
Quiet Curiosity: What made you want to pursue a career in communications/public affairs?

Emily Smedley: When I first started looking at colleges, I was interested in journalism. I liked writing, reading, meeting new people and learning new things — so journalism, why not? I imagined breaking a big story, notepad in hand and pen scribbling away. For about two years I was set on pursuing journalism… then someone mentioned journalists don’t have traditional hours… and long nights may be a thing. As an avid sleeper, that WASN’T anything I wanted to be a part of. So I decided, instead of journalism, I’d study communications. I’d still be able to write all the time, learn new things and meet interesting people with incredible stories. I’ve never regretted studying communications over journalism.

QC: What is the favorite part of your job?

ES:I get to learn all the time! In school, I was the nerd that enjoyed book reports and projects — it’s fun to learn about new things! Working in communications, especially working with different clients, I’m always learning or expanding my knowledge in different fields.

QC: What is one part of your job you want to explore further?

ES: I’ve recently started exploring videography a bit more seriously. It’s always been a secret passion of mine, along with photography. So when I get a free moment at work, I’m researching lighting tips, figuring out the camera and imaging different camera angles for upcoming projects. Again, I’m always learning!

QC: What advice do you have for anyone beginning (looking to begin) a career in communications?

ES: Always stay curious and be willing to learn new things! If you don’t enjoy learning something new every day, communications is not your field. Even in a practical sense, the willingness to learn is invaluable when you’re looking for a job. When I started working a year ago, I didn’t know half of the things I know now. My now-boss and colleagues saw my willingness and took a chance on me. Even they admitted, “You can’t know everything, but you can learn a few new things.”

QC: How do you (or how do you plan to) keep up work life balance?

ES: When I’m at the office, I’m working. I don’t take work home with me. If I have to stay late to finish up a project, that’s fine. But I don’t take work home. Don’t get me wrong, it is SUPER tempting to just say “I can finish that up at home” but I’ll never live up to that statement. I take one look at the couch, think about the next episode of New Girl on my Netflix que and I’m a sloth. Now, that’s not to say I don’t get roped into doing some work after hours. That’s going to happen, but that’s just PR.  

QC: You’re an avid hiker. What is your favorite hiking trail? What is one trail you want to hike?

ES: My favorite hikes are Old Rag in Virginia, Mount Le Conte in Tennessee, and Glen Onoko in Pennsylvania. Old Rag and Mount Le Conte were extremely challenging. Old Rag (9 mile loop) is known as one of the hardest and most dangerous hikes in Virginia, and Mount Le Conte (11 mile out and back) takes you to one the highest peaks in the Smoky Mountains. Glen Onoko wasn’t a difficult hike (3 mile loop). It was actually pretty simple, but the views are amazing — the trail is right along a waterfall. Pitch a hammock at the top and enjoy the views.

Any avid hiker dreams of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (kudos Cheryl Strayed!) or the entire Appalachian Trail. I would LOVE to do that, but for now I’ll be realistic… I’m planning a trip to the Adirondacks and Burlington, Vermont in the coming spring. I hope to log at least 30 miles of hiking on that week-long trip.

QC: Besides hiking, how do you unwind and relax?

ES: I run,  practice yoga, read, knit and binge original Netflix documentaries. I usually try new things here and there, but those five things remain a constant part of my life. I’m always looking to knit new projects — contact me if you want something hand-knitted with love!

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Emily after a 5k for Charm City Run

QC: Do you have a mantra or quote you live by?

ES: “She took the leap and built her wings on the way down.”

My life has a ton of moving parts, so to stay sane I’ve learned to take what’s thrown at me, be a little spontaneous and just figure it out as you go along. To my parents’ dismay, I also enjoy taking risks. So it’s important to be quick-thinking when you get into a bind or things don’t pan out as expected.

Thanks Em!

Inspired? Yeah, us too. Like we said, this girl is #goals. Whether she’s perfecting her yogi abilities or conquering another trail, Emily can do it all. But, our favorite part about Em has to be how real she is. She strives to be better and learn more at work, but also keeps up a great work/life balance. And shh… we love her life motto so much we might steal it!

Thanks so much to Emily for being our very first participant in this Who Knows How Long interview series!

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