Every year, Edify magazine shares it’s Top 40 Under 40 – a group of Edmontonians who are making an impact on our city. This year, five MacEwan alumni made the cut, including Linda Hoang. She graduated from MacEwan’s Journalism program in 2009 and is now an influential social media strategist and content creator.

We caught up with her recently to discuss her career, her passions and her time at MacEwan.

Why are you passionate about what you do?

I love stories – consuming them and sharing them. In my current work, I share stories each and every day using different platforms – sometimes I'm telling stories with video, sometimes through photos, sometimes through longer-form writing or different types of social media posts, sometimes the story is in a communications plan or a strategy. I love that the stories can be so different, and how the words you choose, or the format you use to share them, can change the meaning or how the message is taken. I love that stories make people feel more connected to you and what it is you're sharing. And I also love that the right stories or the right message can make people take specific actions.

What would you say has been your greatest achievement so far?

I'm really proud of how I've been able to use my platform to support small businesses and advocate for social issues. During the first year of the pandemic, I coordinated a number of "support local" campaigns that saw hundreds of people spend thousands of dollars to help small business owners around Edmonton. Altogether, $50,000 was injected into the local community during a time it was needed most, and the message of spending at small businesses, if you're able to, was seen over a million times on social media. I was really proud of that. 

I'm also proud of the work the Edmonton International Cat Festival, which I founded in 2014, was done for local rescues. We are the first event of its kind in Canada and remains the only event of its kind in Alberta, celebrating cats, cat culture and cat people, while raising money ($126,000 since 2014) for cat rescues. 

What moment or memory from your time at MacEwan stands out to you the most?

I remember being so nervous joining the MacEwan student newspaper and so thrilled when ideas I pitched, and articles I wrote, got published. My first official byline was in the MacEwan student newspaper. I had been writing to my personal blog up to that point but there was something very legitimizing about writing something "professionally" like that. Now what I write for my blog is part of my professional writing too, but I do remember being so excited to have something physical to hold and to be able to show my parents that words I was writing were being read and reaching wider audiences. 

How did your MacEwan experience help you get to where you are now?

My MacEwan education helped set me apart, and the Journalism program gave me writing, storytelling and interviewing skills that I've used in every part of my career. I no longer work as a traditional journalist, but the principles I learned at MacEwan, including the importance of accuracy, context and ethics, still apply to everything I do today. 

Read Linda’s Top 40 Under 40 profile.

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