40 Under 40 honoree profile: Kaitlin Miller Febles
40 Under 40 honoree profile: Kaitlin Miller Febles
We are proud to recognize Kaitlin Miller Febles (ABJ ’13) as an honoree of this year’s UGA Alumni Association 40 Under 40 class.
Febles is a principal category lead at the Chick-fil-A Corporate Support Center and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She joined Chick-fil-A shortly after graduating from UGA, and has served in a number of roles in the organization including hospitality program lead and menu & packaging senior project consultant.
Febles was a triple major at UGA graduating with degrees in public relations, international affairs and economics. While at UGA, she actively served with a number of groups including Student Government Association, Sphinx and as a campus tour leader. She was a member of the Dean William Tate Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa, among other honors.
In 2020, Febles earned a Master of Biblical and Theological Studies degree at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Following are responses from Febles to questions asked about her experience at UGA and what drives her work ethic.
What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?
Professor Barry Hollander, who we lost in 2018 to thyroid cancer, instilled in us a relentless drive for writing excellence – grammar, punctuation, spelling, and otherwise. I think that has impacted my communication in every job since, and a lot of roles outside of work, too – whether in articles, presentations or emails. Mistakes will happen. But he taught us to approach our writing with intentionality, precision, and care …and it still makes me nervous to imagine him proofreading these answers.
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Hold your plans loosely. Some things you’re expecting won’t happen, and some things you could have never imagined will instead. Embrace the outcomes you can’t control and live them to the hilt. Love your people deeply. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities, but never at the expense of being faithful with what’s entrusted to you today. Be sure your life, and calendar, reflect your highest priorities. Anytime you feel overwhelmed, focus on doing the next right thing…and then the next one again after that. Pray for wisdom, humility and power in weakness to the God who promised to give them.
What skill(s) or advice should graduates and young alumni have for success early in their careers?
First, don’t underestimate the compounding interest of long-arc faithfulness. In a world that defaults to, or even applauds, jumpiness and newness more often than consistency and perseverance, it’s remarkable to stay devoted to people and responsibilities for the long-haul – especially when it’s difficult, frustrating or boring. Devote yourself to being a good keeper of the opportunities in your hands today and run your race with servant-hearted endurance. Others tend to realize that those who can be trusted with little can be trusted with much.
Second, don’t network — make friends. As you walk through the hallways of your office, make eye contact with the people you pass and say hello. Use the couple of minutes on the elevator or walking in from the parking lot to speak to those beside you. Know the custodians in your building by name. I’ve never had a new role or experience come from a networking interaction aimed at my own self-centered interests. But I’ve had some amazing relationships and invitations from people I sincerely wanted to know and was never looking to get anything from.
Finally, I’m convinced two of the most remarkable traits that set people apart in workplaces, organizations, or anywhere else, are excellence and kindness. As to excellence, care for your work with diligence. No responsibility has to consume your life – count the cost of what you are agreeing to lead. But once you’ve agreed, follow through on your promise. Answer the email on time. Submit the report with everything they requested, and maybe a few things they didn’t, but will appreciate. Proofread that presentation again. Be punctual. Take notes. Stay to the end. And do it all with kindness. Smile at people. Remember their names, and the names of their family members, too. Ask about their weekend. Thank them for their work. Call out people’s talents. Overflow gratitude, not grumbling. Be a trustworthy confidant, encourager, and friend.
What inspires you?
Reminding myself of the “why” that’s driving my work and of the people I get to do it with is always a fresh wind in my sails. I work for an organization with a corporate purpose I deeply believe in: “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that’s entrusted to us, and to have a positive impact on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” I also work with people I sincerely respect and admire. I hope it’s true that you become like those you surround yourself with, because I would be thrilled to know they’re rubbing off on me.
What does success mean to you?
Success is living toward the end of what I want to be remembered for and what kinds of things I want to be said at my funeral. It’s not a list of the job titles I’ve held, although I’m grateful for my work. It’s not our net worth, although I’m grateful we have what we need. It’s not the clothes I wore, or the house we owned, or the miles I ran, or how many books I read, or how full my calendar was. I hope to be known for loving God and loving people with everything I had in ways I was uniquely created to do.
“That Sounds Fun” with Annie F. Downs – who is actually a fellow UGA grad!
One job-related tool you can’t live without
My Outlook calendar – generally-speaking, I hope I’m still running it, because day-to-day, it definitely runs me.
Favorite restaurant in Athens
Cali N Titos – chicken tacos and a side of maduros (aka plantains).
Favorite place you’ve traveled
London – I’ve been for both work and fun, and it’s still my favorite.
Item on your bucket list
Build a life with my husband that we love and are proud of.
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.
* Will not be in attendance