40 under 40 profile: Ashley Callahan (ABJ ’04)

40 under 40 profile: Ashley Callahan (ABJ ’04)

September 11, 2019

Ashley Callahan is a featured panelist at “A message to my younger self: A conversation with Grady’s UGA 40 under 40 honorees.” The panel takes place Sept. 13 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in Studio 100. All are invited to this complimentary event. A light breakfast will be served.

Grady College is proud to have four alumni recognized as 2019 40 under 40 honorees, presented by the University of Georgia Alumni Association.

The 40 under 40 celebration, recognizing the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of UGA graduates under the age of 40, takes place Sept. 13.

The following is the second in a series of conversations with Grady’s honorees this year that also include:

Brooke Beach (ABJ ’11)

Will Carr (ABJ ’06)

Robbie York (ABJ ’05)


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

Ashley Callahan: “Being a part of producing Grady’s college newscast NewSource15 has had a huge influence on my career. It gave me real-world experience in reporting where I had to draft stories, meet deadlines and work within a team framework. I learned each position inside a newsroom and that knowledge informed how I did my work. To this day I still work within a team, deliver stories (now of a different nature) framed by deadlines. I’ve found it’s always important to understand the work of each role on a team and how it informs the bigger picture.”

GC: What skills and/or values and/or circumstances do you attribute to your success?

AC: “A strong work ethic and adaptability have served me well throughout my career. I’ve always worked hard to learn new skills, to show up, and do what I say I’m going to do. I’ve moved across the country, changed industries and professions and in doing so, I’ve found that being flexible and open to change has afforded me great opportunity.”

GC: What motivates you?

AC: “My team and my family serve as continual motivation and inspiration. Each morning I have the privilege of going to work with amazing, talented, smart, kind people. Even on hard days, there’s no other place I want to be. My colleagues push me to do better and together we’re building a department and a culture that I believe anyone would want to be a part of. My husband is my rock and my sounding board for everything. Growing our family has been challenging, but now we have two crazy cool kids—each day I try to make them all proud.”

GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

AC: “Go out into the world. Move, try new jobs, be open to opportunities you haven’t considered before. A wise Grady professor once told me that each time you move, you will grow personally and professionally—I have found that to be true.”

GC: What advice do you have for today’s young professionals? 

AC: “Try things—even if you’re not good at them. You’re no longer in a pass-fail environment and each experience is going to change and shape your view of the world in good ways. I’ve learned more from what I haven’t done well than from what came easily. But my strongest advice is to be kind to everyone. Most of the opportunities I’ve had in my life have been afforded to me through relationships made along the way.”

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

AC: “I miss walking on North Campus on crisp falls days. I miss having my closest friends within a few short miles. And while I don’t miss finals, papers, etc., I do miss being in the classroom with a fresh start each semester to learn and consider new topics and career possibilities. Afternoon naps—I miss those too.”

GC: How have you seen the community of Grady alumni help your professional journey?

AC: “Grady has been incredible to me. My professors provided guidance and council beyond the classroom setting, helping to advise me throughout my early career. The Grady Society Alumni Board connected me to professionals across many different industries and on several occasions those connections have led to work collaborations and deeper friendships. Grady has also allowed me to mentor students, and I’ve gained a great new perspective from those relationships that’s helped keep me current and optimistic about this next generation.”