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Meet Hannah Jacks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Jacks.

Hi Hannah, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I moved to San Diego after graduating college in DC with a political science degree, hoping to kickstart a career in the immigration field. About a month before COVID hit the US, I found a job in fair housing, which is very different than immigration, but still scratched the itch I had to help people in difficult situations and use my privilege and education to “do good.” It was a typical 9 to 5 nonprofit job, and if you’ve ever been in that kind of job, then you probably know what I mean.

The long days of quarantine and work-from-home forced me to rethink many of my choices. I went vegan in the middle of 2020, about a week after eating a meal with a friend and commenting out loud, “Wow. I could never be a vegetarian.” See, I grew up in St. Louis with my dad grilling ribs and hamburgers almost on a daily basis. But after watching enough documentaries on animal cruelty, plant-based health benefits, and the impact of the meat and dairy industry on the environment, I swiftly made the change.

My dad was not so sure about my decision, considering the satisfaction he gets from barbecuing for his family. When I visited my family in St. Louis in the early phases of my veganism, I was met with lots of vegan “dad jokes.” He also sent me back to San Diego with a rack of ribs that I had to bring through the TSA checkpoint in the airport. He has since realized this is not a phase.

Fast-forward about a year, I quit my 9 to 5, started a vegan San Diego Instagram page (@vegananah), began tutoring on the side, and am pursuing a new full-time business venture called CLINK San Diego (@clinksandiego). The purpose of CLINK is to bring people together and enjoy all that San Diego has to offer, whether you’re a local or a tourist. We specialize in vegan experiences, such as a Vegan Bonfire Party and a Vegan Food Tour, but will also be hosting other experiences like Tequila Tours (coming soon!). My business partner and I love entertaining, connecting with new people, and simply enjoying life in San Diego.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve avoided lots of obstacles that others face because of the privilege I have as a white woman with a college degree, a financial cushion, and a great support system. But, I will admit that I’d never quite realized how much physical and emotional labor goes into starting something new like this. From the long days and nights drafting plans, organizing events, and creating content, to the emotional toll of wondering if I’ve lost my senses by quitting a stable job during a global pandemic and starting a new business from scratch, it’s been an interesting ride.

It is easy to let the pressures of traditional work culture and social stigmas take over when taking a leap like this. But, I’ve also learned how fragile and fleeting satisfaction can be when you only tie it to capitalist rewards like money and prestige. While those rewards are nice, I get more joy from bringing people together, learning about myself and the world, and staying true to what I believe. My dream for both Vegananah and CLINK is to be as inclusive as possible, step away from these capitalist structures, and use my platform to spread positivity and open-mindedness rather than judgment.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
CLINK is designed to bring people together. Our purpose is to host experiences for both San Diegans and tourists looking to enjoy San Diego to its fullest. We are currently offering Vegan Food Tours and Vegan Bonfire Parties, and Tequila Tours are next on our list!

As a women-owned business with diverse backgrounds, we pride ourselves on hosting experiences that highlight the most authentic, local, and unique parts of San Diego. We love working with other small businesses who serve the community and are always open to new collaborations. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, a vegan or a non-vegan, you will love what we have to show you.

Can you talk about how you think about risk?
Taking risks is a part of life. But, there is a difference between reckless risk and intentional risk, and that’s something I think about often. Over the last couple years, I’ve focused a lot on my intentions and making sure that my choices align with my beliefs. When I graduated college in DC a couple years ago, the world was my oyster. I could have stayed in DC and gotten a political job to match my political science degree and been very comfortable. Or I could have moved home with my parents in St. Louis and surrounded myself with my high school friends. I was lucky to have either of these options, but I instead decided to move to San Diego, find roommates on a Facebook housing group, and then drive here with my dad. The experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met, and the person I’ve grown to be are all outcomes of the risk I took. And they are priceless.

To me, as long as the risk I am taking is thought-out and intentional, it’s worth it. Because even if it doesn’t work out, something great will likely come out of it.

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