Emily Hardman (‘15) knows that God’s faithfulness isn’t always simple, but it is always present. Through challenges and successes alike, Emily has learned to lean on a community of support and on her own internal compass. Whether it’s mentoring a teen who is struggling, or navigating the halls of the White House, the work ethic and confidence she developed at PBA empower her at every step.
Describe your current job role:
Master’s candidate attending the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC., studying International Economics, Global Theory, and American Foreign Policy. I graduated in 2018!
What professional experience(s) did you have prior to your current job role?
Prior to my studentship, I worked as a professional mentor and Direct Care Staff at Shelterwood Academy. The Academy is a therapeutic boarding school serving struggling teenagers. I also interned at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington, DC, and interned for my local U.S. Representative.
Majoring in Politics at PBA
The path to purpose always includes dedication and passion, but it doesn’t always go in the direction you think it will. That’s true in politics, and that’s true in life. Emily gained skills in her studies of political science at PBA that have served her well: adaptability, professionalism, discipline, and confidence.
What do you know now that you wish you had known about being a working professional?
I wish I would have known there is no such thing as a detour in the Lord’s will. Every step along the journey of professionalism is purposeful, and, as long as you are being productive, there is no wrong step after graduation. When I graduated I had goals and plans for my upcoming years. Now, plans are good. It is important to think about the future. But, so many opportunities are unanticipated. After graduation, I planned to attend graduate school, and felt like a failure when I was not accepted to any programs. However, I quickly learned the Lord needed to teach me about Himself and His work before I could attend graduate school. I wish I would have known there is no such thing as a detour in the Lord’s will. Every step along the way is purposeful, and, as long as you are being productive, there is no wrong step after graduation. I read an excellent book on this subject, called The Defining Decade, by Dr. Meg Jay. I highly recommend it to anyone searching for a path after undergraduate.
“I believe adept communication skills and a high level of professionalism are among the more important characteristics a young employee can possess.”
How did PBA prepare you for the world of work?
Some of the most important skills I gained at PBA came from learning outside of the classroom. My experience as a Presidential Ambassador uniquely prepared me to engage with professionals of the highest caliber. Participation in the President’s Lyceum helped me realize there are all types of paths to success. My education in the Music Department at PBA gave me invaluable work ethic and self-discipline. The books I read and discussed in the Supper Honors Program prepared me to engage intellectually with my world and to be bold in conversation. I believe adept communication skills and a high level of professionalism are among the more important characteristics a young employee can possess.
Career Preparation at PBA
What starts at PBA doesn’t end here. Openness to learning and asking for support is part of the recipe for success that you learn as a Sailfish. Both receiving help and giving it are always the building blocks of a community that works together to make a lasting impact.
What advice would you give to current PBA students and/or young alumni who are about to start their first professional full-time job?
I once heard a career development coach say, regarding young professionals, “control what you can and don’t worry about the rest.” I think this is sound advice for anyone starting out a career. You may not be able to control your tasks, your work, your supervisors, or what the workers around you are doing. However, you can control yourself. This being said, work as hard as you can, arrive early, stay late, be polite and professional, and try to volunteer for challenging tasks to broaden your skills.
Have you been mentored by anyone in your professional field since entering the workforce? If so, what impact has that had on you?
Some of my professors at PBA have been excellent mentors to me. Dr. Raeder and Dr. Anderson poured over my graduate school personal statement to help me focus on my purpose in continuing education. At Shelterwood Academy, a dear sister in Christ named Amy Hobson mentored me. She helped me understand the Lord’s faithfulness in trial, and challenged me to pursue my career dreams, even if they seem impossible. Over the summer, I had the privilege of interning at the White House and my supervisors there mentored me by letting me work alongside them and partake in truly meaningful tasks. This experience grew my love of political engagement.
Spotlight posted in November 2017. For current updates from Emily, visit her LinkedIn page.