By Catherine Woo
Welcome to NYWIFT, Hannah Niebielski!
Hannah is a former National Director for the Olympic Sport of Dressage, where she led 36 US Teams to earn the highest podium finish rate among Olympic medal nations at Championships and Games. She organized talent and teams for the 2016 Olympic Games, 2018 World Games, and 2019 North American Youth Championships. Now, she brings her skillset in managing talent, public relations, event operations, and hospitality to the world of film and TV.
Hannah tells us about the overlaps between Olympic sports and entertainment, her passion for connecting others, and the importance of talent support.
Describe yourself. Give us your elevator pitch!
I’ve been working in talent relations and high-profile event management for the past ten years. My career started out in sports, where I worked up through the ranks to become the National Director for the Olympic Sport of Dressage.
To succinctly describe my role, my work was all in efforts to “win a medal” for Team USA — whatever was needed both strategically or with physical resource. No duty was too small or too trivial and always connected back to the bigger picture of sport and entertainment success. I worked to support athletes at international events, create talent, and competitor development programs, organize operations of major live productions, and develop long-term strategy and regulations for the longevity of sport. I was an athlete, and after an injury, I pivoted into making a difference from outside of the arena.
After a fulfilling career in Equestrian Olympic Sport, I’m looking to transition my skillset to the entertainment industry. Why, you may ask? It’s simple. I love TV and film, and I love the communities and villages that rally to put them together. I have a passion for storytelling and connecting people. It’s what I have always cared about since a young age — connecting people through shared experiences in an appreciation of talent.
What brings you to NYWIFT?
NYWIFT is an incredible organization that offers both educational and engagement opportunities. But more than just that – I love that the organization’s focus is to not only educate, but to connect and advocate for women to accelerate in media. Working in sports for so many years, I am no stranger in working to make a seat at the table, or in many cases, just bringing in your own table. The NYWIFT community is the perfect place for me to network with talented, creative, and inspirational people to develop my skills and create opportunity.
How do you apply your background as an equestrian director to your work as a talent relations and production management professional?
Olympics sports are a different world in many ways, but there is so much overlap to film and TV production with the focus on performance, art, and connection to unite both national and global communities. You need to focus on the details to configure a pipeline that will not only develop, support, and prepare talent for high-profile events, but also establish long-lasting partnerships that will make an impact on not just the artist or the company, but the consumer – the person who is watching to be entertained or to be informed.
I’m so grateful to have had some wondrous opportunities and experiences in my life – traveling and supporting teams that have been recorded in history. When you work alongside someone, encouraging and supporting to help them reach their dreams, you are a part of something bigger. That’s why we all are in this, I think, to connect with others on something grander than ourselves, even if just for a moment, and to inspire someone or the next generation to be something greater.
On your LinkedIn, you ask people to connect with you on your favorite movie, show, incredible moment in sport, or outer space fun fact. What are your favorite movies, shows, sports moments and space fun facts?
Yes, of course! I’m originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in an entertainment-focused family who had a love for all things science. I enthusiastically consume all forms of media and am always eager to connect and learn from others.
I recently had a colleague ask me what where my top four favorite movies. It seems like an impossible ask, which I know so many can relate to, but my top are Silence of the Lambs (1991, Dir. Jonathan Demme), My Cousin Vinny (1992, Dir. Jonathan Lynn), Spirited Away (2001, Dir. Hayao Miyazaki), and Soul (2020, Dir. Pete Doctor & Co. Kemp Powers).
What is your dream creative role? What kind of work speaks to you?
I strive in roles that work to develop genuine relationships with people. I’ve always served as the connecting bridge between talent, organization, and the media, and my focus is always on cultivating partnerships, ensuring that they are mutually beneficial in terms of development, visibility, and/or positioning. I thrive in roles that are heavily involved in talent support, partnership developments, and on-camera event production — all in efforts to ensure a positive experience for both talent and company.
What’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects that you’re excited about?
This is a new start for me, and I’m looking forward to opportunity! We never know what is next, but I’m looking forward to new, exciting adventures on my horizon.
Connect with Hannah on LinkedIn.
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