No Lack of Diversity in Hofman’s Job

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There’s always a plan A — and a plan B.    

This is one of Najah Hofman’s guiding principles when it comes to event planning.

“It’s the challenge of events — things are forever changing,” said Hofman, marketing and event coordinator for the Office of Institute Diversity. “So, for example, when Martin Luther King III spoke on campus last January, and his wife and daughter arrived at the last minute — and it was their wedding anniversary — things didn’t fall apart because I was able to adapt and adjust.”

Of course, Hofman had an excellent teacher when it came to learning the ins and outs of event planning: her mother.

“She was an event and meeting planner, so while I was growing up, I was always helping her with event-related tasks,” Hofman said. “What’s funny is that I actually majored in political science and pre-law in college. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that being a lawyer wasn’t for me.”

Recently, we had a chance to learn more about Hofman and her time at Georgia Tech.

So how did you arrive at Tech?       
After graduating from Spelman College, I did some event consulting work for Coca-Cola. About seven years ago, I made the transition to Tech, where I started as a Tech Temp. Eventually, I was brought on as a full-time employee, planning events and assisting with various administrative tasks for the Office of Academic Diversity. That position is what led to my current job in the Office of Institute Diversity.   

Tell us about an average day in your job.     
I have an ongoing to-do list that is broken down into three areas: events, administrative projects, and Web development. (I manage the office’s main website and four other diversity-related sites such as those for OMED and the ADVANCE Program.) Every morning, I check to make sure that the websites are behaving. Then, if there’s an event occurring in the near future, that occupies most of my time for the day. If not, I stay busy with all of the other tasks on my plate.

What are a few things you’d like people to know about your job?
Taking on the Web development tasks was completely out of my comfort zone. I was clueless. But I’ve really enjoyed the challenge. I’d also like to encourage everyone to use the resources that the Office of Institute Diversity offers. I think a lot of people associate diversity with race. But we’re here to serve everyone on campus — regardless of age, race, gender, job title, etc. We’re all about creating a culture of inclusive excellence at Tech.     

What piece of technology could you not live without?  
My iPhone 5. It’s amazing how it keeps me connected to everything I need work-wise and personally.

Where is your favorite spot on campus?     
I love sitting on the patio of the new Highland Bakery. It’s just so welcoming.

Where is your favorite place to eat lunch?     
Benihana offers a half-price lunch menu. I’m a fan of the chicken and shrimp hibachi.

What do you like to do in your free time?     
I like to sew. When I was little, my grandmother and I would work on simple projects. A few years ago, I took my aunt’s old sewing machine. Now I am always taking up hems or adding details to a piece of vintage clothing. Whenever I buy a new piece of clothing, I always think, “What can I do to make this better?”

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?     
It was something Joel Osteen said on an Oprah special: “Anything is possible if you have the faith to believe it.”

Tell us something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.      
I got to participate in President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. My mother was assisting with the event, and the organizers needed a child to hold hands with Clinton and Al Gore as they walked to the ceremony. I can’t believe they picked me! It was such an amazing experience to be 10 years old and meeting the new president.



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