Hanna Ballard joined Susan Davis International (SDI) as an intern in May 2023. She is a rising junior at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, majoring in Political Science, Spanish, and Individualized Studies.

Ballard learned about the internship through SDI’s Abby Kelly Gualdoni, a Miami alum, when she was accepted into the Miami University Inside Washington summer program. At Miami, Ballard is involved with many organizations including Women in Law and the Striders Running Club and serves as event planner for Model United Nations and Alpha Omicron Pi.

Ballard came to SDI to gain valuable experience and learn more about a potential career involving public affairs, strategic communications, and event planning.

Here’s more about Hanna:

What drove your interest in events?

I first got involved in event planning because I was told I would be good at it. Here I am a year later with quite a few successfully planned and executed events under my belt!

I’m an organized, methodical, and meticulous person by nature, so I formulate well-organized plans effectively. I’m sociable and approachable, which has helped the process of communicating with venue owners, other organizations, and people involved in the event planning and execution process. Most importantly, I find event planning fun and very gratifying, which makes me want to continue doing it.

Event planning has its ups-and-downs. It can be stressful at times. It can be hard to satisfy all groups and individuals involved in an event. However, the experiences I have had over the past few months have been extremely rewarding and have instilled in me a passion for event planning.

What is your favorite place to visit, and why?

My favorite place to visit is Avon, Colorado, near Vail. I go there frequently during the summer and other breaks from school with my family. It’s extremely beautiful. I really enjoy doing solo hikes up the surrounding mountains. It’s always nice to have some time to myself in nature, and it’s extremely fulfilling when I reach the top of the mountain.

Who inspires you, and why?

My dad! He’s a successful business owner, and, growing up, I always listened to him doing business over the phone and watched the way he would interact with others. I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to work hard, be successful, and achieve your goals, as well as a good person and friend to the people around you. He’s very genuine and not afraid to speak up. His confidence and authenticity are two things I try to emulate daily.

Hannah Ballard

What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year, and why?

The best book I’ve read recently is “Educated” by Tara Westover. It’s a memoir that follows the life of author Tara as she goes from her isolated childhood with her survivalist Mormon family in the Idaho wilderness to receiving a PhD in intellectual history from the University of Cambridge. It’s a very inspiring story about the power and importance of education and overcoming significant barriers.

Pursuing a solid education has always been one of my top priorities and I’ve been fortunate enough to do that without facing any major obstacles. This memoir opened my eyes to the severe struggles and challenges some must face to receive an education.

What is it about your work for SDI that you find most inspiring?

My work for SDI has leaned more toward the event planning side. There is nothing I find more rewarding than assembling an event plan and watching it executed and translated into a successful event. Event planning is like a puzzle and being able to contribute a few puzzle pieces through my work is gratifying. I genuinely enjoy the work here and I look forward to coming into work each day.

Working at SDI has also been inspiring for me, as I’m surrounded by so many intelligent and hard-working women daily. It’s been amazing to watch Susan, Judy, and the other women of SDI work and lead by example throughout the office. It has inspired me immensely and made my experience at SDI very meaningful.