Hanson R. Hosein and Heather R. Hughes are principals of HRH Media Group LLC, a Seattle-based communications strategy and content production agency.
Heather is a veteran journalist (NBC News, Ha’aretz newspaper, CHBC TV, KING 5), award-winning documentary filmmaker and communicator (Premera Blue Cross, Sahale Snacks) and a journalism graduate of Western Washington University.
Hanson began his professional journey as a real-time storyteller in journalism. His first job out of school was at NBC Nightly News in New York City. This rarified experience inspired the pursuit of a creative life on the edge. Hanson soon moved to the Middle East with NBC to cover conflict, disaster and stories of hope for nearly four years. He also earned Emmy and Overseas Press Club awards for his work in the Balkans.
During this time, Hanson grasped the promise – and peril – of the nascent digital revolution. He began to shift his energies to storyteller and sense-maker. Hanson became an early-adopter of social and streaming media. He honed his skills as such during an 18-month stint with CBC News in British Columbia – as a solo TV correspondent equipped with laptop and digital video camera.
Hanson was invited to leverage this new approach to storytelling in a return to NBC News in 2003. He reported on the early days of the Iraq war, live from the deck of the U.S. Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier. Hanson then bore his digital broadcast toolkit in a backpack to Damascus, Beirut, Jerusalem, and Baghdad. He filed hundreds of live reports for NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, CBC and Global News.
Now an independent contractor, Hanson created with Heather. Together, they produced two award-winning Independent America documentaries about the power of small business in struggling local economies (The Two-Lane Search for Mom & Pop and Rising from Ruins). Those pivotal feature-length films were broadcast worldwide. They were also streamed by then-startups, Hulu and Netflix. This unique approach to digital storytelling led to adventurous new projects: an online series for Intercontinental Hotels in Central America; a short film on the Panama Canal for Discovery Mobile; and a five-chapter video treatise on trade and capacity-building in Southern Africa for the U.S. government.
This body of work fueled Hanson’s methodology, outlined in Storyteller Uprising: Trust and Persuasion in the Digital Age. It would serve as a textbook for the Communication Leadership graduate program that he would co-found at the University of Washington in Seattle (and for a while, for the bachelors honors program at University of California Santa Cruz). Storyteller Uprising also framed the c-suite masterclasses Hanson taught at companies such as MasterCard, Verizon, Microsoft, Intel and CVS Caremark.
He was now the director of a master’s program in digital media and communication. In this capacity, Hanson took to the podium, public stage and screen to make sense of an intense period of innovation. He guest lectured at other universities —Harvard, Boston, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Portland State — and participated in significant gatherings at the United Nations, European Commission and the Nippon Foundation.
Hanson hosted the inaugural TEDx Seattle. He was recognized among “Seattle’s Most Influential” because of his role at that event. It led to Hanson’s participation in TEDx Change (on stage with Bill Gates Sr.), and eventually his own keynote at TEDx Oregon State University (“Why I drop the mic”).
The TEDx franchise motivated Hanson to conceive a new public-facing learning series, Four Peaks. Through it, he engaged in exclusive on-camera conversations with leaders such as Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Jessie Woolley-Wilson (Dreambox Learning), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), as well as luminaries Meklit Hadero, Edgar Martinez and Eric Liu. This later led to Hanson’s significant one-on-one interactions with Microsoft president Brad Smith and AWS CEO Adam Selipsky. He would capture the ethos of his community-building engagement as guest features editor for design environment magazine Arcade, Designing Communities through Communication, Building them with Social Capital.
Hanson has contributed to leading edge projects at the University of Washington. He supported the creation of the Center for an Informed Public in 2019. During a global pandemic, Hanson hosted the 15-episode UW Public Lectures series, Co-Existing with COVID-19. He convened the university’s 2021 commencement through a live, globally-streamed graduation. Hanson designed new learning vehicles and certifications. In that same period, he also advised the national small business recovery initiative, Backto.Biz in partnership with CreativeLive.
This unusual confluence of leadership, learning and content creation — best exemplified by this Creative Mornings keynote — has propelled Hanson into a number of consultative roles. He has guided startups (Factal, Artifact Technologies, Tableau Software), supported well-established organizations (Adobe, REI, CreativeLive, the King County Prosecuting Attorney), and provoked new thinking at agencies (Weber Shandwick, WE Communications, Edelman).
Hanson has served as a trustee to the Pacific Science Center, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Climate Solutions, Puget Sound Public Radio (KUOW), the University of Washington Club and the Evergreen School. He’s especially inspired by new approaches to community power, sustainability and trust. Due to this, Hanson has played a founding part in endeavors such as Prosperity of the Commons and MIRA! (Mobilize Innovation, Re-Imagine Agency!).
Hanson has degrees in law and in journalism, from McGill University, the Université de Paris and Columbia University. He was admitted to the practice of law in the states of New York and Massachusetts. Hanson was part of one of the first cohorts of French Immersion students during his childhood education in Canada. He was born in England, to parents who emigrated from Trinidad & Tobago.
Hanson and Heather have two kids, who are a constant source of inspiration, amusement and distraction. With their future in mind, their latest focus is A Wind Rose Can Make Sense of Forces Beyond Our Control (Sixteen Tenets for Real-Time Leadership) [PDF]. Hanson debuted the Wind Rose Leadership method at Microsoft’s “Public Affairs University” in November 2021.
Their Wind Rose Studio crafts new narratives that foster trust and persuasion — a necessary bulwark against the anxiety and confusion of our present moment. This near-future is manifested through podcasts (Learn/Earn/Re-Learn), CEO consultations, strategic company visions (Iterable), stories in support of theories of change (Children’s Home Society), and community connectivity in historic places (Selma, Alabama).