AAF Alumni Spotlight – Hanna Cannell

By Alice J. Lee

As a recent graduate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with an Advertising degree, Hanna Cannell currently works for Will Ferrell as a Marketing Intern at Funny or Die in San Francisco.

Originally from Rockford, Illinois, Cannell is passionate about “setting personal records for how fast [she] can eat a large one-topping pizza, [while also] helping people in some way.”

However, coming from the 3rd worst city in America according to Forbes, Hanna has come a long way in pursuing her career and ultimately finding a major that she loves.

“My high school didn’t offer any advertising-related classes, but I did take the only marketing class offered and immediately fell in love with the industry,” she said.

Since then, she went on to pursue advertising at the University of Illinois and joined AAF at the start of freshman year.

“I was a hardcore AAF member for 4 years,” she said. “I will always thank AAF for helping me grow professionally. I think our chapter is #1 in the country for a reason and offers the professional development that you may not receive from college classes.”

Beyond her complete dedication and passion for AAF, Hanna co-founded “Students Against Sexual Assault". She was then accepted to the College of Media’s first SXSW Millenial Research Project, which gave her the opportunity to travel to Texas and Los Angeles for multiple campaigns and projects.

Touting an impressive resume, Hanna gives credit to AAF in that it enabled her to network even though it was very time consuming due to her complete dedication.

“If it wasn’t for AAF, I wouldn’t be obsessed with networking and I’m grateful for all the connections I’ve made throughout my four years at UIUC,” she said. “You definitely can’t succeed with connections alone, but it’s so much harder to land an interview without a referral these days.”

On top of all the networking benefits, Hanna also points out that “immersing yourself in AAF will provide you with more experience than most people applying for the same jobs as you after college.”

Hanna hopes to eventually work in marketing at a major tech company due to her love for advertising and recommends “making as many friends in AAF and the College of Media.”

“These are the people that are going to help you get the best jobs in the industry, so definitely take advantage of all the networking opportunities,” she said.

And lastly, some words of advice from Hanna: “use this time to find what you’re truly passionate about and apply that passion to everything you do in and outside of college.”