This week’s impact interview is with Gabriella Hoffman. She is a media strategist, consultant, and award-winning outdoor writer. Gabriella is also a Young Voices Regional Leader for the Northeast.
Gabriella Hoffman Interview
You’ve done an excellent job establishing yourself as an independent professional who offers a variety of client services ranging from media strategy to marketing to photography. Tell us about your career path.
I really appreciate that!
My freelance journey has been a whirlwind since summer 2016 and I’m very blessed to have stability today. But it hasn’t always been easy. After leaving my 9-to-5 job in 2016, I took an opportunity that I came to regret, parted ways, and decided to chart my own course through self-employment.
Starting from scratch again, I had to take on some pro bono work and then work my way up again–but in media relations. It was a humbling first three years of business. It taught me to be selective with media clients and to not limit myself. The bad experiences, especially, made me stronger.
Thankfully, I had a firm foundation established from my time working in politics and started building relations with outdoor industry contacts. It didn’t hurt that I was a somewhat established political writer who cultivated media contacts, going off of existing relationships or easily forging new ones, to make pitching client stories and columns more feasible. And in many cases, it did.
Fast forward to today: I’m in full control of my client work. I have amazing clients and will be adding a couple more long-term and short-term clients soon. My position as a freelance media strategist doesn’t limit me to just journalism or podcasting. I consult, do event planning, and create/produce content, as well.
And best of all, being a freelancer allows me to continue working with Young Voices!
You’re a conservationist and an award-winning outdoor writer. What led to your love of the outdoors and what policies can we implement to conserve American nature?
My love of the Great Outdoors was cemented when I was about 8 years old. Growing up in Southern California, my father exposed me to fishing. It was our way of bonding then and remains something we do today. Saltwater/freshwater fishing opportunities, camping, and vacations to National Parks defined my childhood. How could I not become a conservationist?
With respect to putting conservation into practice politically, I recall a moment my freshman year of college that lit a spark for me. California was mulling placing more restrictions on recreational fishing opportunities – or “marine life protection actions” – from Santa Barbara down to San Diego. Something with this proposal unsettled me, because it resulted in many key fishing areas becoming no-go zones for anglers, lost jobs and revenue for the fishing industry and subsidiary industries supported by it.
That really set it off for me and led me to pen columns at Townhall in the early 2010s and more prominently, freelance writing for the Wide Open Spaces website in 2015. I brought conservation – hunting, shooting sports, fishing, public lands – to the forefront when writing for the now defunct website, The Resurgent, from 2016 to 2020. Concurrently with my political writing, I started writing occasionally for Sporting Classics, Field & Stream, and Outdoor Life—preeminent outdoor publications. One of my pieces on grizzly bear conservation being thwarted by judicial activism attracted the attention of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), where I now serve as Board Member, for their Pinnacle Awards in the conservation category. Being bestowed with that award propelled my career further and enabled me to become a trusted journalist on wildlife conservation issues.
As podcasting became more en vogue, I recognized there was a deficit in podcasts led by women, especially women in the outdoors, and thus, the District of Conservation podcast was born in 2018. My podcast covers underreported topics, publishes original interviews with newsmakers, and breaks down public policy issues that affect this way of life. I’m told a handful of Members of Congress listen to the show, every now and then.
When Townhall recruited me to write for them as a regular freelance columnist in spring 2020, I took this beat to another level and print interviews with lawmakers and candidates through it.
With my podcast, columns, and videos, I’ve been able to advance a true conservation message for political observers to take and use.
How did Young Voices help you become a more well-rounded person and writer?
Young Voices has helped me refine my writing prowess and communications skills. While our organization largely appeals to new heterodox contributors, it also helps established ones like me make stronger arguments and showcase our work to larger audiences. The training and one-on-one sessions are unrivaled. Contributors are very lucky to have access to these perks at no costs.
The Contributor Program has enabled me to be a better communicator and media consultant. For that, I’m grateful!
You’re a Senior Fellow at Independent Women’s Forum and have written articles about women leaders. What’s your advice for young pro-liberty women seeking a career in the policy space?
To aspiring liberty-minded women communicators, I want to say this: A career in public policy is doable and you should absolutely pursue it.
You don’t have to go “the traditional route” in public policy by acquiring a M.A. or PhD. Public policy can be discovered through many avenues, be it working in communications or grassroots organizing. Don’t be afraid to become an expert in a niche and run with it. Discourse benefits from having different, unique voices who don’t simply regurgitate the same boring talking points.
Start with Young Voices, of course!
Which published works or media appearances Young Voices placed for you are you most proud of?
There are SO many instances to cite – Young Voices has placed me in many reputable outlets – but I’m especially proud of the piece I did about controversial national monuments designations in Deseret News and most recently penning a column about lead usage in hunting and fishing in Real Clear Policy.
While these topics may not be newsworthy or trendy, Young Voices believes they matter and will go to bat for its Contributors ensuring underappreciated topics get the coverage they deserve.
We’re delighted that you are currently working for Young Voices as a Regional Leader for our Northeast operations. Why do you think regional and local reporting is so important? What would your pitch for applying to Young Voices be for writers in the Northeast?
It’s an honor to participate in the initial Regional Leaders Program cohort as the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast representative. Since assuming this role, I’ve seen many regional contributors placed in noteworthy publications and news outlets.
National media is a great vehicle to share one’s views. But regional news – especially daily newspapers – can sometimes carry more weight and allow writers greater latitude for creativity. Americans still consume local and state news. Having a presence in a regional publication can be far more impactful shaping opinion or opposing bad policies than in national outlets.
My pitch for aspiring Northeast/Mid-Atlantic contributors is this: This region beckons for more heredox viewpoints in print, radio, and TV. If you want to flex your writing chops and have a positive impact professionally and personally, our Contributor Program is for you. Apply today!
Thanks so much to Gabriella for her thoughtful answers! Stay tuned for our next impact interview.