Sandy Hillman

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Sandy Hillman

Sandy Hillman, a 1963 Penn State arts and letters alumna, discovered her passion for leadership at a very young age.

“I was a lucky kid who was president of the student council in both my junior and senior high schools,” Hillman said. “That certainly helped to set me on my way to feeling comfortable with assuming leadership positions. At Penn State, I was my sorority president and a Panhellenic officer—two leadership positions that ultimately contributed to who I became as an adult and the roles I assumed.”

Hillman advanced her leadership skills by establishing her own company, Sandy Hillman Communications, for which she currently serves as president. Hillman’s priority is to maintain a high level of client service and motivate her team. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, the public relations firm provides a variety of communications services to clients ranging from government agencies to Fortune 500 brands.

Prior to establishing her own firm, Hillman was the CEO of Trahan, Burden & Charles and served under previous Baltimore mayor, William Donald Schaefer. While working under Mayor Schaefer, Hillman helped rebrand Baltimore and develop it into the urban hub it is today. She helped the tourism in the city grow following the closing of many factories, and her work was largely recognized as integral for creating more jobs in the city.  

In her day-to-day work, Hillman appreciates the liberal arts background and education she received at Penn State.

“Beyond learning about the greater world and things that are not directly linked to the more pragmatic aspects of a job, I think one of the most important aspects of a liberal arts education is critical thinking and writing,” Hillman said. “Those two basic educational tools continue to hold anyone in good stead in any business environment.”

Hillman continues to be an active alumna in the College of the Liberal Arts and welcomes the opportunity to engage and work with current students.

“I believe there is no substitute for the voice of experience, and that those of us who have been able to enjoy richly rewarding careers have an obligation to pass on a positive message and inspire future generations,” Hillman said. “Being the first in my family to go to college and raised to believe that there were no limits to what I could achieve, I am particularly committed to mentoring and supporting women in the workplace.”

Hillman hosted the Penn State Women: Leaders of Today and Tomorrow panel presentation and participated in the one-on-one meetings held September 25–26, 2019. 

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