Kristina Hahn ’98, Head Of Innovation At Google And Newhouse 44 Gives Some Great Advice

Kristina Hahn ’98, Head Of Innovation At Google And Newhouse 44 Gives Some Great Advice

Last semester, I had the pleasure of meeting Kristina Hahn ’98, head of Americas partnerships solutions and innovation at Google. She is the head of Newhouse 44 and one of Syracuse University’s most esteemed alumna, as she left a magnificent impression on students across the board at the Newhouse 44 panel.

Hahn double majored in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science while at Newhouse, and she has taken lessons from her time in academia into her impressive career path.

“Two key things I learned are presentation skills and clear, concise writing,” Hahn told me in an online interview. “When you are on camera and have 30 seconds to tell a complex story, you train your brain to identify the three key things you want the audience to know. I use these skills every day in both written and spoken communication. Journalism is about curiosity, learning, probing and asking questions. One key attribute I look for in all my hires is curiosity.”

This sentiment rang true in the presentation she gave to my COM 600 class when talking about digital assistant technology of the future. I’m not sure how much detail I’m allowed to go into, but she cohesively described three key attributes technologies like Siri, Alexa, and Google’s digital assistant must have in order to satisfy users.

Ultimately, Hahn’s experiences at Google allow her to enjoy her life holistically, as she gets to work with smart people every day and plays a huge role in making our technological world a better place.

“At Google, innovation is embedded in our culture. All employees are encouraged to take on 20% projects to explore their own ideas or work on someone else’s,” Hahn noted. “Ideas come from everywhere. We have different types of feedback tools to help various teams throughout Google test and learn.”

“As with any job it’s what you make of it,” Hahn added. “It’s up to the individual to seek opportunity out. It will rarely land in your lap.”

This inspires me to continue pursuing my goal to finding a sustainable business model for my news/educational startup. As a visionary, I see Doodle the News becoming the perfect tool for young citizen journalists to build a professional portfolio of writing, art, and entrepreneurship. Students who create art to only showcase it on their social media handles can apply their talents to the everlasting context of world news, helping them understand what’s going on around the globe.

Also, the market is rapidly moving towards shortened journalism linked to original, credible reporting. I am trying to join this wave while helping the next generation become more civic minded. This platform I’m creating will need more people, and Hahn’s advice has really made me self-analyze a weakness hindering me from scaling this business: I have a difficult time asking for help.

Opportunities simply won’t land in my lap, so I need to start figuring out exactly what I want help with and how to ask. This will propel me to seek more opportunities that add value to Doodle the News, so crafting my business structure with Professor Jeff Mangram in my independent study will give me the confidence to want to expand.

To be critical with myself, Doodle the News is a fun project I absolutely enjoy working on. I can move the gears until 4 a.m. just to get a post out for the day, but I need to realize building a business is bigger than that. I’m still learning the tricks of the trade, and I accept the challenge of working in uncertainty head on, especially while I’m at Newhouse. It’s a blessing to be able to talk to industry experts like Hahn during this one-year program.

We can’t thank Hahn enough for coming back to Syracuse in November 2017. Every graduate student I spoke to about her thought of her as a beacon of knowledge and expertise they strive to become one day. It helps us realize the dreams we envision for ourselves are more tangible than they appear. All it takes is taking the effective steps to get there and acting on curiosity to uncover opportunities for yourself.

Kristina Hahn

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Tobenna Attah
Transmedia Entrepreneur
Tobe V. Attah is a multimedia entrepreneur with a mission to innovate in today’s new media landscape while making a meaningful impact in the world. He founded Doodle the News in October 2017, a mutliplatform hub for people to have their voices heard and help them become more civic minded through bite-sized journalism.
He has been published across a wide variety of media outlets, including Sports Illustrated, the Cornell Daily Sun, SportTechie, Clutchpoints, Cavs Nation, the Cornell Chronicle, and many more.
Tobe has a plethora of hobbies, including writing, athletics, drawing, acting, and collaborating with others about ideas and startups working in the multimedia space.

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