For a woman who spends her career taking on different roles through her voiceover work, Kelley Buttrick (ABJ ’94) is very clear on her real-life role of giving back to Grady College.
“It’s important to give back to the institution that gave me my career, and it’s a career I absolutely love,” Buttrick said. “When I give to Grady, it’s an emotional gift. It’s a gift that truly comes from the heart because they gave me the tools to build a business driven my passion.”
Buttrick is a true entrepreneur, harnessing the education she received at Grady College, blending it with her love of theater and adding quite a bit of business savvy and marketing know-how to create KB Voicecovers, a successful business that has brought her voice into homes and corporations worldwide. While many don’t recognize her face, many more do recognize her voice as she has represented brands ranging from McDonald’s and Pampers, to Michelin Tires and Country Crock and many more between.
Her road to Grady College was not a direct route. Buttrick started out at Auburn University wanting to major in theater. When she was at a crossroads, she left Auburn and worked for a year, during which time she started working as a DJ with Chip Lyness (ABJ ‘78), general manager of WDDK radio in Greensboro, Georgia. It was Lyness who encouraged her to return to school.
“Chip’s passion for the medium of radio is absolutely contagious,” Buttrick said of her friend. “I credit Chip for inspiring me to go back to school, inspiring a love of broadcast journalism…of voiceover…for all of that, I credit Chip.”
As Lyness was a mentor to Buttrick, Buttrick is a mentor to today’s students and feels strongly about giving back to Grady College in many different ways. In addition to her financial gifts through avenues like the Georgia Fund for Grady and the Next Century Campaign, Buttrick has hired numerous Grady College students as interns, has served as a Creative Consultants (now Talking Dog) client, talked with classes and led workshops at the Radio Talent Institute hosted by Grady College in the summer.
Her commitment to individual student support through the Georgia Fund for Grady hits home for Buttrick. Since she had to work three jobs to finish her education, giving back to working students who are struggling to get through, without any stipulations on the grades they earn, motivates her to give.
“People give to people,” Buttrick said. “Knowing who’s getting it (the gift), makes me want to give more. Knowing that it made a difference to someone is important.”
Buttrick is also driven by pride in Grady College: “The opportunities these students have that I didn’t have…that Grady is offering them…these opportunities are amazing,” she concluded. “I’m proud of my Grady education, and I’m proud of what Grady does for these students. To be able to give someone the opportunity to participate in that who is working so hard to get an education…that is a fantastic feeling.”