Profiles of Tenacity: Jimena Somilleda

Jimena Somilleda is a fourth-year public relations student pursuing a minor in political science. (Photos courtesy of Jimena Somilleda.)

Profiles of Tenacity: Jimena Somilleda

December 07, 2023

Fourth-year public relations major Jimena Somilleda is motivated to be an advocate for her community. In addition to UGA’s AdPR department, she is involved with the Association of Latino Professionals for America, Students for Latinx Empowerment and First-Gen Dawgs.

Why did you choose your major? 

When I was 17, the president of the Hispanic Organization Promoting Education (HoPe) David Araya told me that “to lead is to influence, to influence is to change the world.” Since then, I’ve worked towards being a leader in my community and being the change I wish to see in the world. I decided to major in public relations because I was certain that this pathway would equip me to communicate, to influence and to lead.

What does tenacity mean to you? 

To me, tenacity is having superglue for your goals. It’s the unwavering determination and drive to keep going despite the challenges facing your way. Being tenacious means having a stubborn refusal to throw in the towel, and turn rejection into redirection to make an impact.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

Be your own advocate! Showcase your skills, your personality and your intelligence by being your best spokesperson. Being confident in your abilities speaks volumes to your character and can open so many doors of opportunities for you.

What is your most memorable Grady experience? 

This past summer I had the privilege of attending the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity through Grady. This opportunity helped me visualize the top work in the industry, connect with professionals from all over the world, and connect with my peers by exploring the south of France! This festival was unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced and helped me set professional expectations and aspirations for myself.

What motivates you? 

Somilleda, third from the right, poses at the 2023 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity red carpet.

My parents are my biggest motivators. Growing up as a first-generation Mexican-American, I always valued the sacrifices my parents made to get my younger brother and me at UGA. From a young age, they’ve instilled a passion for breaking generational cycles and being a voice for my community. I am forever grateful to my mom and dad for giving me everything when they had nothing and being my biggest supporters. Everything I do, I do for them.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why? 

Tom Cullen is my favorite Grady professor. When I took his public relations communications course I felt as if this one course would successfully prepare me to thrive in my early career. Tom created a very collaborative classroom culture that was a safe space to be curious.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

You’ll never regret being kind. Being kind, in small or big acts, can make such a difference in this world. Kindness never goes unnoticed.

Who is your professional hero?

Maria Elena Salinas is my professional hero. Throughout her years in the industry, she has made a name for herself through her work. As an author, journalist and broadcaster, she has a long list of impressive accomplishments and has set a standard of excellence that I can strive towards. Having a Latina role model in this industry is rare, but people like Salinas, are representing my community proudly.

Somilleda, third from the right, smiles alongside the First Gen Dawgs executive board.