A diverse career journey shaped me into a strategic storyteller

By Abby Hassler, Content Creation Manager

I have worn many hats over the years. From working as a Senior Writer at a content marketing agency to pursuing qualitative research as a master’s student, my career trajectory hasn’t been exactly straightforward.

However, one thing that has remained constant over the years has been my passion for crafting a good story. The medium, content and audience of storytelling have changed with each industry I operate in or job I hold, but one thing that has remained the same: All of us have amazing stories to tell. 

I didn’t start out in strategic communications. Fresh out of my undergraduate studies, I received a job offer from a fast-paced content marketing agency in Boston, Massachusetts. Not one to say no to an exciting new challenge, I moved 1,000 miles away from home to pursue my first “adult job.”

It was a wonderful learning experience where I worked alongside many other fresh-out-of-college writers, crafting content for clients in a range of industries. On any given day, I wrote for a healthcare organization in the morning and then switched gears, writing for a higher education program in the afternoon. Fun fact: I may or may not have drafted copy for Rob Gronkowski’s Gronk Party Bus website at one point in time (though I doubt the terribly pun-ridden copy ever saw the light of day). 

There, I learned how to write fast, effectively and in a variety of different industries — skills that are still relevant to my work today. This ability to write quickly and accurately helped me land numerous short-and-long-term freelance opportunities after moving back to Tennessee before and during graduate school. As a freelancer, I built up my professional network, collaborated with innovative clients and learned how to find the “so what” in any kind of story I was telling.

My master’s program at the University of Tennessee was another incredible learning experience that molded me as a writer, researcher and creator. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received came from my mentor when I was stressing over defending my thesis. She told me, “You wrote this. No one else knows more about this than you.” While simple in nature, this advice has shaped how I view myself in any situation or job I find myself in. Graduate school, despite its difficulties and challenges, taught me to believe in the work product I put out into the world. Whether it’s crafting an entirely too-long master’s thesis (guilty) or a feature story for a client, if you believe in the value of your work, others will too.

Now, I am the Content Creation Manager at Piper Communications. Over my two-plus years of working here, I’ve learned a lot from Cortney, my colleagues and the clients we serve. I’ve also developed a new appreciation for the depth and breadth of opportunities Knoxville has to offer its residents and the rest of the country. Our city has some of the best and brightest innovators, researchers and professionals who are making incredible contributions to their respective fields. 

I have loved every minute of interviewing and writing about our clients. While my journey to this point has been full of twists and turns, I’m grateful for the lessons I have learned along the way that have allowed me to get to this point. Whether I’m promoting the work of Dr. Peter Tsai, the architect behind the essential material in N95 masks, or learning from leaders in the advanced energy industry in Tennessee, everyone has an incredible story worth telling and it is a privilege to be able to do so each day. 

Find out more about Abby Hassler, Piper Communications’ Content Creation Manager, here.