Membership Spotlight | Candace Hamana

Updated: Dec 3, 2019

Candace Hamana

Position: Business Owner

Company: Badger PR, Communication Strategies for the Fearless

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations

Years as a PRSA member –

I first joined PRSA in 2008 and have been an active member for most of that time, I took a couple of years off to volunteer on other boards but have since re-joined the PRSA community.

What attracted you to PR and Communications?

I consider myself a life-long learner and I love exchanging ideas, meeting new people, and seeing all the fascinating ways our work as practitioners are applied to industries everywhere. I think that's what I love the most about PR and Communications, you never stop learning. 

What do you wish you would've known when you started in PR and Communications?

Honestly, the student chapter of PRSSA at the University of South Carolina and the faculty advisors did a phenomenal job of preparing me for what to expect. As a smaller, niche community, they were able to partner frequently with businesses and organizations and exposed us to all levels of PR professions. 

You recently transitioned from in-house to independent, what has that transition been like?

The transition from in-house to independent has been mentally and physically exhausting at times but exhilarating, and by far, the biggest challenge as a professional. On one hand, I have been able to work on projects that are at the core of what I value as a human, but I've never taken business courses so the majority of my time was spent learning how to manage a business. If I had to break it down in percentages, realistically in my first year I've spent about 40 percent of my time providing services to my clients, 30 percent establishing the business structure, taking free courses and workshops offered through the Small Business Administration and the other 30 percent trying to secure new clients and build a successful sales pipeline.

What's the toughest lesson you've learned about becoming your own boss? You will bring both your best and worst work habits to your business. Whether it's being indecisive, a perfectionist, a procrastinator or workhorse - whatever your challenge areas are, they become more evident when you're starting a business. It has helped me with thinking more intentionally when it comes to adopting healthier work habits and in light of everything, forgiving myself when I make mistakes. 

Tell us a little bit about your new company and what is it that you specialize in, if any?

Badger PR is a boutique public relations firm servicing clients located in the Phoenix metropolitan area and tribal communities throughout Indian Country. Our services include media relations, content creation, community outreach plans, and grant project management.

How has PRSA helped you in your career? Or what are the advantages of being a PRSA member?

I have personally benefitted from the network that exists coast to coast. When I moved from South Carolina back to Arizona, the first thing one of our Columbia chapter directors (Kelly Davis) did, was get me in touch with fellow Director Abbie Fink here in the Valley. I immediately felt welcomed into the Phoenix chapter and have since built many great professional relationships and friendships. Relationships I have cultivated from one chapter to another have added so much value and richness to my life, I honestly can't say enough about it. 

You proudly represent the Hopi Tribe in all the good work you do, why is that important? Badger is my Hopi clan, that's where the name of my business comes from, spelled in Hopi it's Honanngyam [Badger] - I didn't grow up learning my language but it's something I am trying to learn as an adult. I proudly represent Hopi in all that I do because I was ostracized for it as a child growing up in the city. I don't ever want to feel like I have to apologize for being who I am - it's at the forefront of how I see myself, how I represent not just my tribe but my brand, as a business. There are a lot of wonderful and amazing Native Americans doing really impactful work for our respective communities and I'm just happy to be a part of telling our stories, with our own voices. 

What’s your favorite thing to do in Arizona? Hobbies, enjoyment?

I love attending concerts and playing golf. When I really want to unplug and get away from it all, my boyfriend's mom has about twenty goats and lives in a very rural community on the Navajo reservation, so we'll go up there, haul water, chop wood and help take care of the animals.

Dinner with any living person? Who and what question?

I would love to have dinner with Winnie Byanyima, the executive director for Oxfam International and I would ask her everything under the sun about how she got started and what does she feel is the biggest impact she has had on social justice with her organization. I'm so incredibly inspired by Oxfam and the work they do. 

Personal Twitter: @cmhamana

Business Instagram: @HelloBadgerPR

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