Two Grady College alumnae among UGA 40 Under 40 Class of 2016

The University of Georgia Alumni Association annually recognizes some of UGA’s most outstanding young alumni through its 40 Under 40 program. Grady College is proud to have two honorees in the Class of 2016: Allison Alexander (ABJ ’99) andMeredith Seacrest (ABJ ’03). Selections were based on the graduates’ commitment to a lifelong relationship with UGA and their successes in both personal and professional endeavors.

The 40 Under 40 class will be recognized at a luncheon on Sept.8 at Flourish Atlanta.

For more information about the 40 Under 40 program, visit

Name: Allison Alexander
Graduation Year: 1999
Current Occupation: Vice President, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

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

AA: I think it’s about paying attention to the details, and being a good team player. I always look for opportunities to pitch in, and I make an effort to understand how my talents can be complementary to my colleagues’, and how their skills may be complementary to mine. I listen and learn from people throughout my professional circle.  And I never give up—if I don’t know how, I find out how. I look for solutions that help me say yes, rather than reasons to say no.

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

AA: Don’t decide on your path too early. Setting goals is definitely important, but keep an open mind. You never know where the road may lead. Something that might not seem like the right direction at first may really be a doorway to an unexpected opportunity. Sometimes getting lost ultimately helps you find your way. And going outside of your comfort zone professionally is always worth it, because at the very least you’ll learn something.

GC: What do you miss the most about being at UGA?

AA: Absolutely everything! But there is nothing I can compare to team spirit. No matter who you are, where you come from, or your political affiliation, come Saturdays in the fall, everyone bleeds red and black. School pride and loyalty carries well beyond graduation and is the tie that binds alumni. Even if you don’t know a touchdown from a tackle, you’re still–and always–a Bulldog.

GC: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

AA: I’m embarrassed to admit that I almost changed my major my junior year, but a fluke string of events and a kind and conscientious department coordinator reminded me I was in the right place. Being treated like the professional that I was about to be was really critical to how I comported myself when I actually moved into the working world. There are so many people working so hard to give the students at Grady not just the education, but the experiences that are important foundations to future success. The compassion, the determination, and the grit that the faculty and staff have in launching students’ futures is really quite remarkable. The bar is set high, but there’s no one at Grady that thinks you can’t clear it by a mile.

Name: Meredith Seacrest
Graduation Year: 2003
Current Occupation: Executive Director and COO, Ryan Seacrest Foundation

Grady College: What motivates you as a successful professional? 

MS: I love when a project, idea or deal I’ve been working on comes to fruition. I find it rewarding to see all the hard work and hours I have contributed to accomplishing a goal finally amount to something. Knowing that not all ideas or projects will thrive, my desire to try to reach a positive end result motivates me day to day.

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

MS: I think it is important to have a true understanding, knowledge and passion for your profession, but I also believe having strong communication and interpersonal skills are very important as well. I have found that being able to create meaningful relationships between co-workers and business partners can positively impact the process in which work is conducted. People want to help you more when they respect working with you and trust that you will honor your word to get things done to the best of your ability. I believe that building significant relationships has helped me along the way in my career.

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

MS: My advice to anyone entering the business world is that they don’t have to have their career all figured out when they graduate. It’s great to have a sense of direction for your career path, but don’t overwhelm yourself thinking you must have your entire professional future planned right away. When I graduated from Grady, I started working in entertainment PR, which eventually led to a job in hospitality PR. After my experience in hospitality, I transitioned back into the entertainment industry, but this time into the field of reality TV development. I now run a non-profit organization that uses education and entertainment to help provide a positive distraction for patients in children’s hospitals through radio, TV and new media. Overall, my profession has taken unexpected turns, but each experience has allowed me to gain new skills and learn more about myself and my interests.