Sea me now

Lisa Bonatz graphic

By Lisa Bonatz, Intern

As a child, I was never afraid of drowning. I loved swimming out far into the churning ocean to feel the frothy waves crash over my thrashing body, dragging me deeper.

I yearned to be one with the sea’s overwhelming power. 

My parents were frightened by this passion.

They would watch nervously from the shore yelling, “Get out! The sea is dangerous. One day, you are going to sink!”

Perhaps it is these words that stuck with me — transforming my fascination to fear.

As I grew, I became terrified of a different sea: the unvisited tombstones overgrown with weeds, consigned by mediocrity to be forgotten. I wished for a dramatic event that would put my skills to an ultimate challenge and ensure a legacy. I believed that was the only way to escape a safe, suburban life. The only way to matter.

I was wrong.

For a long time, I rigidly believed that worthiness was defined by comparative achievement.
I have learned what is worthwhile is a matter of perspective. No event is truly unremarkable.

I am captivated by storytelling’s power to elevate the everyday and make academia accessible. When people ask why I study public relations, nutrition and nursing, I tell the story of an oncological researcher; I would write to him and explain that he is my life muse, but he may not like the reason.

In high school, I was as close as you can be to a fangirl for a 68-year-old man who lives like a hermit and studies cancer in a lab (aka I had read his published research articles). I went to see him speak at a conference. To my dismay, he whipped out a 150-slide PowerPoint deck with 300 words on each slide and no pictures. He mumbled through the deck in a hushed tone. A quarter of the audience fell asleep.

At that moment, I knew my life purpose: leveraging my skill for creative storytelling to make astounding scientific innovations approachable and interesting.

Most PR students entirely remove themselves from the world of math and science, believing such skills are unnecessary for a career in communications; that is a short-sighted mistake. It is much harder to build a compelling narrative if you are unfamiliar with the setting!

During my time in college, I have embraced my passion by working with PR clients to implement initiatives that make complex topics understandable and raise money for STEM grants and medical research. I am the creative director for multiple medical clients, work as the vice president of an education program for “at-risk” youth and advocate against community nutrition inequalities. I craft messages that transcend socioeconomic barriers without compromising organizational values.

However, like my people my age, I still worried about what my career path would look like after college.

When I heard The Hoffman Agency present on leveraging storytelling to elevate technology clients, I felt that I had finally had my direction. I wanted nothing more than to work somewhere where people with such mindsets thrive.

This is my bold ambition — to become an esteemed PR practitioner by returning to my childlike passion and embracing what I once feared: the ordinary. I want to join The Hoffman Agency’s effort to discover the everyday greatness that often goes unnoticed and tell its story.

As ceaseless tides threatened to extinguish my flame, I defy the ominous flow and forge my own current at Hoffman.

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