A virtual career path

by Adrianne Morales

July 17, 2020

Emma Henzes ’20 has gone from intern to employee with Australian company Leaders of Evolution, all while living in the states

Emma Henzes
Emma Henzes '20 Photo courtesy of Emma Henzes

Even before the coronavirus shut down offices worldwide, Emma Henzes ’20 was no stranger to remote work. A graduate of the broadcast and digital journalism program, Henzes has been working remotely for Leaders of Evolution, an e-learning company based in Queensland, Australia, since late fall 2019.

“I first met Damian Hecker, one of the two partners in Leaders of Evolution, when I was studying abroad in Australia in summer of 2018,” says Henzes. During the spring semester of 2019, she got the opportunity to meet the other partner,  Jon Shepherd, when he was invited to speak in a class she was taking with Falk College professor Rick Burton. “I told [Jon] that I loved Australia and would be happy to be their American liaison if that meant I would get to visit Australia again.”

"Long story short, networking and putting myself out there—and shaking hands when you could still do that—allowed me to get my foot in the door,” says Henzes.

Shepherd asked Henzes to send him her résumé and they kept in touch. In the fall, Shepherd returned to Syracuse University and met with Henzes to discuss a possible opportunity. Henzes has been working with Leaders of Evolution since.

Henzes started out creating blog posts from existing material. “Now, I am creating my own content for blogs, building and providing content for e-learning courses. I am moving into the social media space and optimizing our brand with SEO [search engine optimization] and CRM [customer relationship management] tools.”

There is no such thing as a “normal” workday for Henzes. Since there is a 14-hour time difference between her and her supervisors, her work hours tend to be atypical. “Yesterday I ended a meeting at midnight which was only their early afternoon,” says Henzes, who emphasizes that she doesn’t mind the time difference. “It allows me to have more flexibility to work on other freelance projects and enjoy my summer and school activities.”

Damian Hecker takes a selfie of himself and Emma Henzes in a virtual meeting.
Emma Henzes '20 from a virtual meeting with Damian Hecker at Leaders of Evolution in Queensland, Australia. Photo by Damian Hecker

One of the benefits of being part of a small team, says Henzes, is the personal attention and mentoring she receives. “They need my help so I have been able to get my hands on all sorts of different work."

Henzes says that creating a personal connection with her co-workers has been possible through direct messages and video chats, which she says Shepherd and Hecker keep personable.

“Working virtually requires strong communication skills,” she says.

Leaders of Evolution is now looking to hire a small team of Newhouse students to write for them, according to Henzes. Students interested in learning about these opportunities and more can email the Career Development Center.

“This pandemic has shown how interconnected our world truly is and that holds true for our workforce as well,” she says.

Adrianne Morales is a senior in the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.