Christina Koebel (ABJ '07), Chief of Staff to the CEO at The Weather Company, gives credit to her time at Grady Newsource for helping her with early career success. She is being honored as a 40 under 40 recipient by the UGA Alumni Association. (Photos: courtesy of Christina Koebel.)
40 Under 40 honoree profile: Christina Koebel
Congratulations to Christina Koebel (ABJ ’07), Chief of Staff to the CEO at The Weather Company, an IBM Business. Koebel is a Grady College alumna and an honoree in this year’s UGA Alumni Association 40 Under 40 class.
Koebel began her career at an advertising agency, then worked in strategic planning at Turner Broadcasting, before transitioning to The Weather Company, where she has worked in a variety of roles and won numerous awards over the past 13 years.
Outside of her role at The Weather Company, Koebel is currently working on her first fiction novel and is heavily involved in her community. She serves as a volunteer engagement coordinator with the American Red Cross, supports the nearly one million adults in the US living with MS (multiple sclerosis) through advocating and fundraising, and volunteers as a literacy helper at her children’s elementary school, assisting kindergarten children with reading in a one-on-one setting.
Following are responses she provided about her experiences at UGA and working in the industry.
Looking back at your time at Grady, is there anything you wish you had done (classes you had taken, skills you would have liked to have learned, clubs to be involved with) that would help you with what you are doing today?
I wish I’d learned more about public relations. As consumers, we gravitate toward brands, companies and people we admire and trust, but rarely get a peek behind the curtain into the care that’s taken to ensure their values and external messages are consistent. Adding in the element of crisis management makes savviness in public relations more important than ever. Even if you don’t have P.R. in your title, better understanding how to approach problems and measure risk is critical, especially at a time when a seemingly innocent mistake can result in a sea of headlines that even Scandal’s Olivia Pope can’t fix.
What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?
Without question, being a part of Newsource. I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, but what I learned through that experience allowed me to stand out early in my career. In addition to teaching us how to tell a story with accuracy and integrity, it forced us to respect deadlines, be accountable to a team, and be decisive under pressure.
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Growth happens at the intersection of opportunity, difficulty and perseverance.
What skill(s) or advice should graduates and young alumni have for success early in their careers?
It’s okay not to have all the answers or a defined path to what comes next—the best adventures rarely do. Find your strengths early on, prioritize non-transactional relationships and contribute to something that feeds your sense of purpose. If something seems impossible, try anyway; if you fail, give yourself grace and try again. Embrace acronyms.
Is there a piece of advice from one of your Grady College professors that still guides you today?
Always assume your mic is hot.
How do you get inspired?
When I need creative inspiration, I ask my kindergartener outrageous questions and listen to what equally outrageous responses she dreams up. Exchanging these what if scenarios challenge that voice inside saying, “that would never happen” or “don’t be ridiculous.” Adults tend to poke holes in ideas before they’re fully formed, whereas children’s imaginations are slower to self-censor. It’s a reminder that we’re all capable of raw, unleashed creativity. It’s up to us to resurrect it.
What do you believe is your biggest strength and how has it helped you in your current role?
I listen more than I speak. As a Chief of Staff, the strength of active listening allows me to connect the dots between information that isn’t inherently obvious. I’m better able to identify opportunities for collaboration or spot a dependency that was missed. Active listening also results in stronger self-awareness and emotional intelligence which foster trust. The impact of a CoS is highly dependent on trust and genuine relationships within the business. Active listening is the broccoli of superpowers—we know the positive impact it can have, but are often tempted by the faster, cheaper ways of communicating and building relationships. But it makes all the difference in the world.
Right now, I’m enjoying “Owned with Rex Chapman”, an unfiltered view into the world of professional sports team ownership.
One job-related tool you can’t live without
My reMarkable e-writing table
Favorite restaurant in Athens
Favorite place you’ve traveled
Item on your bucket list
Become a published author
Six Grady College graduates are represented in this year’s UGA Alumni Association 40 under 40 class. Grady College alumni honored in 2023 include:
Kim Gebbia Chappell (ABJ ’06)
Kaitlin Miller Febles (ABJ ’13) *
Christina P. Koebel (ABJ ’07)
Mallory O’Brien (ABJ ’12)
Mandy Rodgers (ABJ ’08, AB ’08)
Stacy Willingham (ABJ ’13)
Please plan to join us on Friday, Sept. 22, for a breakfast reception to help welcome them home. We will gather in PAF 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. All faculty, staff and students are invited.
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