40 Under 40 honoree profile: Kevin Schatell

40 Under 40 honoree profile: Kevin Schatell

September 12, 2022
schatell sits at a table inside studio 1a of the TODAY show with CEO Jeff Shell
Schatell interviews Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, inside studio 1A where TODAY  is anchored. (Photo:submitted)

We are proud to recognize Kevin Schatell (ABJ ’16) as an honoree of the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 under 40 class.

Schatell is an Emmy-winning producer for NBC’s TODAY show. He began his career by participating in the NBCUniversal Page program, working with assignments for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, WNBC’s Creative Services and NBCU’s Talent Development. Following this program, Schatell joined TODAY as an associate producer, and was promoted to a producer in 2021.

Schatell won his first Emmy in 2020, and has received multiple Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Awards at NBC for going and above and beyond on company projects.

We are pleased to highlight Schatell in his own words.

four people stand in front of Macy's in downtown New York City
Schatell with TODAY hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2021. (Photo:submitted)
What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

Serving as a Grady Ambassador changed my college experience. Once I joined that team, Grady transformed from an academic institution into a home. Dean Davis and his family welcomed the Grady Ambassadors over to their home for dinners each semester, which made me feel seen and valued as a student. That experience also connected me to Ben Mayer, a fellow Grady grad who became a mentor. Now, we’re both at NBC News – I’m a producer at TODAY, and Ben is a senior broadcast producer at NBC Nightly News. How wild that we both work together at 30 Rock? Relationships like that were made possible thanks to the Grady Ambassador program.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

I wish I could tell my 20-year-old self these words of wisdom that a friend shared when I moved to New York City: “You have nothing to prove, only to share.” I think about that phrase whenever I get overwhelmed or anxious – in an interview, a stressful assignment, etc. “You have nothing to prove…” (Your worth is not determined by what other people think of you.) “…only to share.” (You simply have gifts, talents, experiences to share with the world.) So take the pressure off of yourself! It would’ve been encouraging to hear that earlier in my journey, and I hope that helps anyone reading this now.

What accomplishment or moment in your career are you most proud of?
Schatell, in a star sweater, moves his hands as he speaks at Grady College
Schatell is always willing to share advice to current students, whether over a Zoom conversation with a club, or stopping by campus for a short chat as he did in February 2022. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with our NBCUniversal CEO, Jeff Shell, to launch a new series for NBCU employees called “Ask Jeff.” I hosted an interview with Jeff inside Studio 1A, in the seats where Savannah and Hoda anchor TODAY every morning. The whole experience was surreal, and it was an opportunity I’ll never forget!

What does success mean to you?

I currently define success with this question: “Would the younger version of myself be proud?” I like to imagine “young Kevin” getting a glimpse into my current world. To be honest, it makes me emotional! I’ve been fortunate enough to see and experience things that were once a far-off dream. So if I ever want to measure success, I just think about that younger version of myself, and how proud he’d be of the person I’ve become.

Are you currently working in your “dream job”? If not, what is your dream role?

My role is the definition of my “dream job.” I feel fulfilled, challenged, and motivated… all thanks to my team at TODAY, and the culture at NBCUniversal. Serving as the Plaza Producer, I oversee the audience for TODAY, while also producing interviews, segments, and concerts on the show. When that alarm goes off every morning, I wake up with a pep in my step. I don’t take for granted this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I’ve been given. I grew up watching TODAY with my family – and the fact that TODAY has become my family is beyond my wildest dreams.

Favorite Podcast? Making Space with Hoda Kotb (shameless TODAY plug, but nothing calms the soul & inspires quite like listening to a Hoda interview!)
One job-related tool you can’t live without: The app CapCut (great for editing videos on your phone)
Favorite restaurant in Athens: The Last Resort
Favorite place you’ve traveled: Maui, Hawaii
Item on your bucket list: Visit Australia (maybe the Brisbane Olympics in 2032?)


Schatell encourages students to connect with him on social media:

Instagram: @kevinschatell

Six Grady College graduates are represented in this year’s UGA Alumni Association 40 under 40 class. GA graphic advertising Grady's 40 Under 40 alumni panel. rady College alumni honored in 2022 include:

  • Emily Curl (ABJ ’14)
  • Lauren Culbertson Greico (ABJ ’09)
  • Christie Johnson (ABJ ’07)
  • Chad Mumm (ABJ ’08)
  • Kevin Schatell (ABJ ’16)
  • Michael Waldron (ABJ ’10)

We will welcome five of the honorees back to Grady College on Friday, Sept. 9 for a “Message to My Younger Self” panel. Please join us in the Peyton Anderson Forum (room 238) at 10 a.m. A light breakfast will be offered.