[Name]: Ali Hart
[Area of Expertise]: Social and Sustainable Media
“English majors are actually valuable, so long as you know what to do with them,” says Hub member Ali Hart. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a double major in English and Communication Arts and has since then shown the world how versatile a degree in English can be.
You can write, of course, but more than just stories like Ali does as Director of Community Engagement and Strategy at JustShareIt. She spearheads content-creation and social media, spreading the word about the new secure peer-to-peer sharing marketplace that helps people rent their underutilized vehicles to their local community. Car-sharing is given, but JustShareIt has expanded beyond that original concept to include boats, motorcycles, and jet skis. Launched in January, Ali writes the web content, blogs and newsletters that help build its community of thousands of peer-to-peer sharers.
But then there’s film. With a knack for narrative, Ali started her career in entertainment as manager of scripted programming at Court TV:
“I worked on original movies that shed light on problems within the legal justice system in the US. We took stories of injustices of people who, for example, were put in jail for mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws, which were totally Draconian. People were incarcerated for taking a message for a drug dealer when they didn’t know a drug deal was happening.”
Court TV won a Peabody for one of them, but, four years in, Ali decided it was time to switch gears towards work a little more lighthearted. She began managing stand-up comedians in New York City for a year, yet still felt that she had more to give. “I decided that I wanted to pursue sustainability through business because I felt like, in this country, business was the quickest way to make change. I came out for Presidio Graduate School and, once I finished, didn’t want to leave San Francisco, so the Hub seemed like the natural place for me.”
Here, she is also a contributing writer for Triple Pundit, the media platform for conversations about sustainable business, as well as a consultant on a podcast on dreams for Circadian Media Lab, run by Jeff Leifer, a fellow Hub member and media advisor to the Hub and SOCAP. And she’s still pursuing film with the organization Active Voice, working on sustainability films. She’s currently working on the campaign for Fixing the Future, which is about alternative models that help create jobs and prosperity in the recession, like worker-owned coop models, community banking models, and local currencies. The film will screen in theaters across the country for one night only in July (see www.FixingtheFuture.org for info).
And, on top of all this, she’s a burgeoning entrepreneur. Her start-up, COZMOS, connects passionate people and conversations across multiple platforms so they can problem solve in one place. “There’s a lot of evidence that philanthropy often overlooks grassroots,” Ali notes, “and we feel if we can help these groups and individuals share resources and best practices in one place that it can help scale activism and accelerate progress.”
So, take heart English majors! At once a film producer, podcast consultant, online journalist, community engagement strategist and up-and-coming entrepreneur, Ali proves that there’s plenty to do before writing that magnum opus you’re destined to do.
Jasen, Your Hub Stories Writer
Jasen Talise is an intern writer for the Hub Bay Area. He is a fourth year studying Rhetoric and Theater at the University of California, Berkeley. His interests range from existential philosophy, competitive hip hop dance, to the culinary arts. He was recently a contributing writer for Issues: The Berkeley Medical Journal.