Lady Behind the Stories


Behind-the-scenes interviews with Medora employees | By Jewel Eliese

You might not have seen her.

She is the quiet one, sitting in the office typing and making graphic designs for posters and scheduled events. The gatekeeper, as she calls marketing, for the guests and staff.

When you meet her, you will be greeted with a small smile and pleasant conversation. And you can tell one thing. She’s really listening to what you have to say, learning your life story.

And it’s an honor to take a moment and get to know Hannah Kroll, the marketing intern and lady behind the stories.

1. Where are you from?

I am from Long Prairie, Minnesota. It’s a small town so when people ask me where it is, I just say “the middle.” It’s the middle of Minnesota. It’s actually a small farm outside the small town.

2. Why did you choose to come from ‘the Middle’ to Medora?

Well, I needed an internship for graduation, but I came to Medora a few years ago as a tourist. And I fell in love because it was the first time I had been to the Badlands. It’s really beautiful here.

There were a lot of things about Medora that drew me here. The environment was beautiful, and I love history so it felt meaningful to work here. Now that I have been here awhile, it makes it all the better that I chose this place.

3. What does marketing mean to you?

A lot of things come to mind. When I think of marketing, it means to me having creative and effective ways to communicate with people.

It’s like being a gatekeeper for the organization because you’re kind of controlling the messages that go out, but then you’re also trying to call the audience to come in. It means that we have to be fast and creative but also keep everybody happy. 

It also means “what I did not major in at the university.”

I majored in media production and philosophy. But it fits well. I am learning lots of things in Medora that I would not have learned otherwise.

4. Why do people say, “marketing is on the ball?”

They say that because it’s a pun, because it’s true. We sit on balls in the marketing department. We have yoga balls instead of chairs which is good for your posture and balance.

Plus, it’s fun. It helps us think outside the box, sitting on a ball.

Actually, the two people on either side of me sit on yoga balls; I still have a normal chair. I need to buy my own so that I, too, can “be on the ball.”

5. Who is the person who has had the biggest impact on you this summer, historical or living?

This is hard because there are a lot of good people here. Especially because it doesn’t take me a long time to find good qualities in other people, and I like to think the more time I spend with them the more their good qualities rub off on me.

Plus, I work with a really good team: Justin, Kaelee and Dillion. At work, we are all close. So if I could call the marketing team one person, then I would say they’ve probably had the biggest impact on me.

Otherwise, and it’s probably going to sound typical or cliché, but Teddy Roosevelt. For sure, because you hear all these stories about him. It is amazing that he was a real person. Just the energy he had and how he wanted to live life to the fullest—that’s inspiring.

He didn’t really say “no” to much. He said “yes” to all the adventures. Instead of saying “no,” he said “bully.”

This is something I’m trying to work on.

6. Besides saying ‘bully’ more to adventure, what do you hope your future holds?

I love storytelling and want to be a creative writer, so I am hoping to get into the entertainment industry. I actually have an internship after this in Los Angeles where I get to read scripts. I want to become a screenwriter for film or television or a playwright.

In the far distant future, I like the idea of always coming back home to Minnesota because I love my home and my family. I love to imagine going back there and maybe running the newspaper or something like that, being a part of the community there.

My favorite script?

Well, I am a sucker for westerns. ‘True Grit’, ‘Magnificent 7’, and ‘3:10 to Yuma’. ‘Woman Walks Ahead’ was great as well. It’s a new one based off of North Dakota and the woman who painted the portrait of Sitting Bull.

7. How do you find stories in everyday life? Have you found any here?

Here for sure. Medora is full of stories. History is stories that are true. The first day I got here we were told things like how the town was built. True stories.

Every day I think it’s just listening, because every person has stories. If you just talk to people, you hear things about them and you can kind of start to see how every person has this whole world, this whole history in their family.

I grew up with that I think just because our family stays really connected with our past, our ancestry, our relatives who came over in ships from Germany. We have a five-generation farm, so I am tuned in to listening to people and knowing what their past is and what’s going on.

7. What is one question no one has ever asked you but you wish they would?

I have been asked a lot of questions that are good ones—especially today. But one question they don’t ask that I wish they would is, “Could I buy you a milkshake today?” That would be a nice one.

You never know, one day we may all be watching a play or movie written by Hannah Kroll. We can say we knew her once when she was simply seeing daily stories instead of publishing them. Until that day comes, say “hello” to the woman on the ball.

Ask her if she’d like to have a milkshake with you today.

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