Grady College announces four 40 under 40 Recipients: Mamie Shepherd and Heather Teilhet

Grady is proud to announce that four alumni are being recognized this fall as recipients of the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 under 40 award: Tricia Chastain (ABJ ’00), Ashley Edmonds (ABJ ’05), Mamie Shepherd (’13), and Heather Teilhet (’98).

Selections were based on the graduates’ commitment to a lifelong relationship with UGA and their impact in business, leadership, community, artistic, research, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors.


Name: Mamie Shepherd

Graduation Year: 2013

Current Occupation: Program Coordinator for Seacrest Studios

Grady College: What motivates you as a successful professional? 

MS: In my current job with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation at Levine Children's Hospital, I am motivated by the people I come into contact with, as well as the mission of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. I have been able to take the education and intense training I received at Grady and put it to work for the good of sick and injured children.  My work impacts a spectrum of the population that may never know live entertainment, radio, or broadcasting beyond the confines of the hospital I work at.  That is an incredible responsibility – and reward.  

GC: What class at Grady did the most to prepare you for where you are today? 

MS: Every class at Grady gave me a different perspective, and prepared me to handle the job I have today.  I can't begin to count the pearls of wisdom I gained from being trained by the professors there.  The classes that helped me the most were ones that were hard and challenging.  NewSource is a game changer for most broadcasting students.  I cut my teeth on everything news-related there.  Professor David Hazinski mentored me from the time I was in high school until this day.  He honed my skills, challenged me to dig for a story, implored me to be curious, insisted I consider all options, and helped me get over my fear of talking to people.  Professor Steve Smith graciously took me under his wing in NewSource.  He gave me countless opportunities, taught me to consider all angles, and led by example.  Professor Michael Castengera, Professor Dan Keever, and Professor Bob Furnad prepared me to be professionally ready for anything that could possibly happen in a busy newsroom!  There was no room for nonsense, and that is an important thing to remember when you are working.  Professor Shumway taught me how to shoot, write, and edit my own packages — skills I use to this day!  Each and every faculty member, AND the supporting staff, mentored me during my time in Athens.  The incredible part is that it didn't end there!  These gentlemen, and the Grady staff, have continued to keep an open door when I needed consultation about job opportunities and salary negotiations – INVALUABLE help that extended beyond my time as a student.  There aren't enough wonderful things I could say about my incredible experience at this premier broadcasting school!  

GC: What advice do you have for current Grady students and/or young professionals? 

MS: Soak up as much as you can while you are at Grady!  There is not another school like it!   Take advantage of every opportunity given to you – every class, every internship, every meeting, every lecture, and every field trip.  Spend time with your professors and bathe yourself in their experience and knowledge.  It will stay with you.  The lessons from Grady will follow you.  Work hard – really hard – and ALWAYS believe something wonderful is about to happen!


Name: Heather Teilhet

Graduation Year: 1998

Current Occupation: Vice President for Government Relations at Georgia EMC

Grady College: What motivates you as a successful professional?

HT: In my line of work- government relations- a healthy dose of competitiveness is a strong motivator. In some cases our team’s goal is to increase awareness and educate lawmakers about important energy issues.  But other times in the field of lobbying there is a clear winner and a clear loser based on the number of votes cast for an issue or whether a bill passes or fails.  A win or loss can offer great clarity and reflection on your effectiveness.

GC: What skills or values do you attribute the most to your success?

HT: A lobbyist is essentially a communicator and an educator. It is my job to educate lawmakers and opinion leaders on the impact of legislative proposals on the energy industry, our employees and most of all our consumers.  Strong written and verbal communication skills, (of which I fine-tuned in Grady’s hallowed halls!) are the most important.  I would argue that interpersonal skills are equally important, because in government relations, your audience changes from one conversation to the next. Unquestionable integrity is essential for a successful lobbyist because your reputation for truthfulness precedes every argument you make.  A can-do attitude and willingness to hard work and hustle never hurt anybody.

GC: What advice do you have for current Grady students and/or young professionals?

HT: Find an internship. Then find another one. Try a few careers on for size before you make a commitment. While interning, be resourceful. Don’t wait to be handed a task, and look for opportunities to add value.  Find a way to make your boss’ life easier. Be curious, ask questions, show up early, stay late, ask for more responsibility. You will be noticed for being proactive.  Keep all the business cards you collect and follow up with hand-written thank-you notes after you go back to school.  Consider getting a graduate degree at night after you start your first job. You may not need it now but it’ll propel you later. Do it now! Once you’re married with kids it’ll be a lot harder. Make Grady proud and Go Dawgs!

Date: September 8, 2015