Building a better community by building better connections

Recent graduate provides leadership through local professional group.

By Bradley Lewis '21 (Journalism program intern)


Building strong connections and networking with her community has become an important part of life for Advertising & Marketing Communications Management graduate Andrea Pohlmann ‘15.

For four years, Andrea volunteered at the Hamilton Hive, an association focused on creating networking opportunities for youth 35 and younger. Throughout this time, Andrea worked on the executive team where they provided resources and advocacy for young professionals. They also hosted social events for members, helped members build strong connections, and assisted young professionals and emerging leaders in their own professional development.

Through her role at the Hamilton Hive, Andrea was able to build many close connections with her fellow colleagues. “When I started working with the executive at Hamilton Hive, I met my friend Corey who I went on to live with for about two years. We became best friends and he is like a brother to me,” Andrea says.

Growing up around the Markham area, Andrea always wanted to ensure that her own voice was heard. Once she began working with Hamilton Hive, she sought to reach out to marginalized groups of people including members of the LGTBQ+ community and visible minorities. Andrea has taken her advocacy to her social media accounts as well.

“Through my Instagram, I try to remind people what feminism actually is and I also do things like contacting my own city counsellor to push for change,” Andrea says. “It’s all about using my own position of privilege to leverage the voices of others.”

Andrea Pohlmann speaking at an event prior to 2020.

Andrea Pohlmann speaking at an event prior to 2020.

Andrea’s time at Mohawk College gave her a lot of positive experiences and offered her many opportunities. She worked in a number of student placement positions with various departments from the Learning Support Centre, to the Sustainability office, and the ONE Card office. These experiences helped shape Andrea’s professional persona by teaching her how to make quick connections with people.

"I remember working at the ONE Card office in particular, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had working as a professional.” Andrea says. “One of the best things Mohawk showcases is diversity, it offers everyone the chance to broaden their own circles of connections and meet a diverse range of people."

Andrea has stayed connected with and tries to give back to the Mohawk College community to this day. Previously, she has taught through City School by Mohawk in various business courses. Andrea has also been a mentor with the Mohawk Alumni office, speaking to students about their transition from education to the workplace.

When interacting with fellow young professionals, Andrea highlights the importance of building a large network within the city you work in so that you can gain many connections and experience within your specific workforce.

Earlier this year, Andrea had the opportunity to organize the first online conference for Hamilton Hive. Despite Andrea leaving the Hive shortly after, she feels a great deal of achievement knowing that she was able to help make a difference in her own community.

Through her work with the Hamilton Hive, Andrea used several strategies to connect with young professionals including being genuine about exactly what you are offering them, offer resources and tools they will need to be successful, and making services accessible at the places where young professionals can have easy access to them. Hamilton Hive uses things like Instagram Live, and email subscriptions to stay connected with their members. For Andrea, the Hamilton Hive will always be close to her heart.

Currently, she works for Pavement (PVMT), which was previously known as Curbside Pivot, where she assists restaurants, bakeries and other hospitality type businesses get online and set up with a digital storefront that is custom to them. Andrea is also involved with the Period Pantry project, which provides menstrual products to those who would not have easy access to them otherwise.

One of the many difficulties COVID-19 has had on society is limiting people’s ability to connect with one another. Unlike many others, Andrea has had to work diligently to ensure that she is making connections in several ways. She has made a conscious effort to be consistent with content creation and engaging with the people who follow her on social media.

"Humans are inherently social, even people who are introverts, there is still this big need for connection," Andrea says. "So, maintaining a level of consistency by producing things like Instagram Lives every week on the same day, helps people hear another person’s voice and have some kind of virtual connection and to some degree, a level of normalcy in these challenging times."