#ProfilesofTenacity: Raynor Manley

Fourth year public relations student Raynor Manley emphasizes the importance of joining clubs and getting involved as a student at the University of Georgia. Her involvement in organizations such as the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and Talking Dog Agency has helped her find the things that she is passionate about.

What does “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity is the quality of persevering even when faced with challenges. It is the unwavering commitment to putting forth your best effort, regardless of the obstacles encountered. Tenacity means to display resilience in all you do while maintaining confidence in yourself and your abilities. It means to not allow your mistakes to define you and stay committed to achieving greatness.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

Without a doubt, my favorite Grady professor is Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru. Her unmatched teaching style has been a burst of positivity throughout my time in Grady. My first class with Dr. A was her Public Relations Management course, which was an exceptional learning experience. The practical and valuable PR knowledge that I gained from this class motivated me to take another course with her. And, as luck would have it, I was fortunate enough to take my PR capstone class, PR Campaigns, with Dr. A as well. Th

Manley leads a break-out session and gives other students resume advice at a PRSSA meeting. (Photo/submitted)

is was an unforgettable experience; working on an outstanding campaign with a professor who possesses a deep passion for what she teaches, and who is incredibly kind and encouraging. Dr A has undoubtedly left a lasting mark on my academic journey.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The UGA Mentor Program has been an invaluable resource throughout my time at UGA. I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with three different mentors through the program. One of my summer internships actually resulted from one of my mentor relationships! I am so passionate about this program because of its ability to match students with mentors from a diverse range of industries, allowing students to gain insight into various career paths. The program allows students to explore mentors and select one that closely aligns with their aspirations. Mentors offer guidance, expertise and unique insights. This program has been an incredible way for me to network with professionals in my field and explore new career path options that I might want to pursue in the future.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience, by far, has been my involvement and leadership in PRSSA! I joined PRSSA as a general body member after I was accepted into the PR major. I fell in love with the incredible knowledge and advice that I received in each of the meetings and knew I wanted to get more involved. In my junior year, I was appointed as the Director of Content on the Executive Board, where I managed our blog and website. This year, I have been serving as the Public Relations Director, where I am responsible for creating graphics and promoting PRSSA. PRSSA has provided me with the opportunity to gain valuable insight from various industry professionals across diverse PR sectors, including sports,

Manley smiles for a picture with her fellow PRSSA Executive Board members. (Photo/submitted)

entertainment, cosmetics, politics and more. PRSSA has also allowed me to make some of my closest friends and build a relationship with a wonderful mentor. If you don’t already know Kim Landrum, you should. I am a firm believer that everyone should have a Kim in their lives. Kim has been a phenomenal advisor to the PRSSA board, and we would not be half as successful without her. Overall, PRSSA has been an integral experience in my Grady journey, enabling me to learn from experts, enhance my leadership skills and forge lifelong friendships.

What are you passionate about?

Joining clubs and taking different classes within Grady is a really great way to discover new passions. Talking Dog Agency has been instrumental in helping me discover a new passion of mine – client engagement and management. As an Account Executive with Talking Dog this year, I have discovered a new love for serving as the liaison between my client and our team, ensuring seamless communication. I am a huge advocate for joining clubs because these experiences can lead you to new passions that you might want to pursue for the rest of your life.

What motivates you?

My campus involvement serves as a great source of motivation for me. Being able to give back to the UGA and Grady community and support my peers is something I truly enjoy. I am constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to get involved, take on leadership roles and continue making a positive impact on campus.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?
Manley poses with her Talking Dog Agency team. She serves as the account executive for their client, Shay Latte Coffee. (Photo/submitted)

Get involved early! Getting involved can definitely be overwhelming with how many different clubs are offered on campus. To avoid this, I suggest starting slow. Start by exploring the various clubs available, make a list of the clubs that interest you and then learn more about them. Then, narrow it down and be intentional in deciding which clubs you want to join. Avoid the temptation to join multiple clubs just to pad your resume. Instead, choose clubs that genuinely interest you and align with your passions. These are the clubs that will enhance your college experience in more ways than one. Once you’ve joined a club, take the time to learn about the leadership opportunities available. Most clubs offer committee positions, which provide a great starting point for getting more involved. As you gain more experience, you can then move on to higher positions, such as serving on the executive board or as a director.

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

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Reach out to professors, peers and those in leadership roles you might want in the future. Throughout my time in Grady, I’ve learned that people are more than eager to help and offer advice in any way they can. There is always someone willing to provide guidance and share their experiences. Asking questions not only helps you gain a better understanding but also shows that you are interested and invested in learning. It’s important to remember that everyone was once a beginner, and by asking questions, you are showing a willingness to learn and grow. So, don’t be afraid to ask, because chances are someone is more than happy to help!

Manley smiles in her Grady Ambassadors uniform while working the Dawgs with the Dean event. (Photo/submitted)
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment in the past year is being selected to serve as a Grady Ambassador. I was selected out of a highly competitive pool of 90+ applicants, with only 20-25 positions available. However, it took me two application periods to finally secure the role. This experience taught me the invaluable lesson of perseverance as well as the importance of self-confidence. This accomplishment is one that I am immensely proud of, not only because of the prestige that comes with it but because it taught me to never give up on my goals. I want all of you to know that it’s okay to try again. Don’t give up and keep trying because sometimes all you need is a little confidence boost to achieve the goals you are striving for.

What are you planning to do after you graduate?

I was just accepted into UGA’s Graduate School last week! I will be spending one extra year in Athens to obtain my Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication in Grady College, with an emphasis in Integrated Advertising and Public Relations.

PRSSA’s annual D.C. Agency Tour returns

The following is a first-person reflection written by PRSSA Vice President and Public Affairs Communications Tieger Fellow, Sarah Dorr.

Last month, eight Grady College students traveled from Athens to the Nation’s Capital for the return of PRSSA’s annual D.C. Agency Tour. For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, PRSSA members were given the unique opportunity to visit some of Washington, D.C.’s premier public relations agencies, including APCO Worldwide, PLUS Communications, Penta, Weber Shandwick and a U.S. Senate press office.

I was lucky enough to be among the eight students on the tour. As someone who previously participated in a Grady Study Away Trip in New York City, I knew I was in store for an equally enriching and enjoyable week, especially with Professor Joseph Watson, Jr. leading the trip.

“It was a pleasure to renew this trip and introduce a great group of public relations students to what our nation’s capital has to offer,” said Watson. “Hopefully, some of these students will return to D.C. one day and have productive and fulfilling careers there.”

We kicked off our tour with visits to APCO Worldwide and PLUS Communications. Both agencies gave a thorough overview of their services and hosted roundtable discussions, giving us a chance to ask our own questions on topics like daily routines, work-life balance and internship opportunities.

“The APCO and PLUS Communications teams were so welcoming,” said PRSSA internal communications director and program participant Ansley McLendon. “I really appreciated getting to ask specific questions and expanding my network.”

D.C. Agency Tour participants and Joseph Watson, Jr. (far left) meet with Amanda Maddox (ABJ ‘10, fifth from left), managing director at PLUS Communications.

Our trip happened to line up with the Grady D.C. Alumni Mixer, so we concluded the night hearing from Grady grads who have successfully made the transition from the Classic City to the Federal City. The group’s main takeaway: D.C. is smaller than it seems. We were often told that everyone in the city is connected by, at most, two degrees of separation, so take advantage of the professional connections you make, especially within Bulldog Nation.

Day two of the trip began with the highly anticipated tour of the Capitol led by Hannah Payne (AB ’21), a Grady alumna and current digital director for the Office of U.S. Senator Rick Scott. We hit some iconic spots within the building, including the Capitol Rotunda, National Statuary Hall and the not-so-secret underground tunnels. The tour was topped off with a brief visit to the Senate Gallery, where our own Senator Warnock happened to be presiding when we passed through.

“Getting the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the Capitol was such a unique experience and definitely a highlight of the trip,” said participant Lauren Kim. “It was almost surreal to walk through such famous buildings and casually brush shoulders with members of Congress.”

We finished off our trip with visits to Penta (formerly Hamilton Place Strategies) and Weber Shandwick, rounding out the diverse lineup of agencies that are leading the pack in the world of public affairs communications.

“Penta and Weber Shandwick provided such valuable insight as someone hoping to pursue a career in public affairs,” said participant and upcoming Grady D.C. Field Study student Gracie Englund. “Hearing from industry leaders created a full picture of what living and working in D.C. is like, and I could not be more excited to experience it this summer!”

As someone who is looking at working in D.C. post-graduation, I couldn’t be more grateful for this trip. It just goes to show that even over 500 miles from campus, PRSSA and Grady are there to provide helpful insights, connections and life experiences (I’m looking at you D.C. Metro!) needed to succeed in our respective career journeys.

Avoiding a career crisis: Former Grady College Yarbrough Crisis Fellows share wisdom

LEVICK, a public relations firm that specializes in crisis communications, hired two former Grady College Yarbrough Crisis Communication Fellows: Maria Stagliano (AB ‘19), who has been with the company for four years, and Morgan Ford (AB ‘22), who joined the company this past fall. Following a conversation with the two Grady grads about their experience post-graduation, Stagliano and Ford urged graduating students to listen to their gut before jumping into a career they aren’t certain about. Looking back on their time at the University of Georgia and in their early careers, Ford and Stagliano provided valuable wisdom for students aspiring to work in the field of crisis communication.

Stagliano and Ford agree that what drew them to crisis communication was the desire to make an impact with a sense of excitement and fulfillment in their work. Every day is unpredictable and brings on a new challenge, they say. Working in such an ever-changing industry serves as a way to gain knowledge about many different fields. It encourages versatility and requires the ability to quickly adapt. Stagliano said, “I wanted a job that was about problem solving and critical thinking. I was really looking for something that would not make life after college boring.” Both Stagliano and Ford expressed that no day is the same when working in crisis communication, making it a career that consistently keeps them on their toes.

Stagliano noted that the exposure she got from industry professionals at UGA’s Crisis Communication Think Tank (CCTT) was extremely beneficial for creating connections and dipping her toe into the world of crisis communication research and practice. Stagliano fondly described her CCTT internship experience, saying she appreciated “getting the chance to even just sit in and listen to practitioners discuss their backgrounds, expertise and stories and make those connections too.” She appreciated that she “could just grab somebody’s LinkedIn information and have a conversation with them” to expand their individual networks. She referenced Grady College’s phenomenal program for providing her with strong writing skills that she utilizes every day in her current career.

For seniors nearing graduation, Ford stressed the importance of exploring all avenues before landing on a job. She urges graduating students to not feel pressure to have the perfect job right away. Ford left her first job after only a week once she had a gut feeling telling her to quit. She encourages graduating seniors to not take a job simply because it’s their first official offer, but instead wait to find a position that feels right. Ford said, “Take your time, when the right job comes, you’ll know.” It took time for Ford to find the right fit, “Now that I’m at LEVICK, I know that this is who I am, what I want to do and who I want to be from now on.”

“It is wonderful to see our Yarbrough Crisis Communication Fellows move seamlessly into crisis communication practice, a role that is typically held by senior professionals,” said Dr. Yan Jin, CCTT director and co-founder. “We thank the CCTT members, including Richard Levick, for mentoring our students and offering career development opportunities.”

Both crisis communications professionals reiterated how normal it is to feel imposter syndrome post-graduation. Ford emphasized the importance of taking the time to get to know oneself personally and professionally in order to gain the confidence to excel. Stagliano said, “You are new and young, clearly out of college, and everybody knows that the whole point is you’re supposed to be learning, supposed to be a sponge absorbing everything you can.” In other words, it is okay to feel out of place at first — in fact, it’s normal — but, with experience comes confidence. UGA has provided students with the foundation they need to have outstanding careers. That should provide upcoming graduates with a level of comfort to take on their careers with passion and poise.

The authors of this piece, Emily Alexander and Emma Stefanik, are current Yarbrough Crisis Fellows.


New Grady Fellowship inductees announced; Dean’s Medal to be awarded

Grady College proudly announces four honorees who will be inducted into the Grady Fellowship this year.

Grady Fellowship honorees for 2023 include:

  • Regina Hicks (ABJ ’85, MFA ’90)
  • Robin Hommel (ABJ ’96)
  • Susan Percy (ABJ ’66)
  • Randy Travis (ABJ ’82)

The Grady Fellowship honors friends of the college whose accomplishments, friendship and service to the industries they serve have made a positive impact on Grady College.

The 2023 recipient of the John Holliman Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award, Doreen Gentzler (ABJ ’79), will be inducted into the Fellowship, as well.

Caroline Edwards (ABJ ’12), a U.S. Capitol police officer who responded to the Jan. 6 attacks, has been named the Dean’s Medal for Leadership Excellence recipient, the College’s highest honor.

Private First Class Officer Caroline Edwards, a public relations major and current U.S. Capitol Police Officer, will be awarded the Dean’s Medal at Grady Salutes.

The induction of Fellows and recognition of Edwards takes place along with the presentation of 2023 Alumni Awards on April 28 at Grady Salutes.

Grady College looks forward to celebrating the Fellowship inductees:

Regina Hicks has spent her career writing for television. She is currently an executive producer and showrunner for “The Upshaws,” a sitcom on Netflix that she created. She is also a writer and co-executive producer of “The LWord – Next Generation” on Showtime, and “Insecure,” on HBO. Other writing credits include “The Mayor,” “Marlon,” Girlfriends,” and several made-for-TV movies including Jump In and Camp Rock for the Disney Channel.

Robin Hommel is a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer and showrunner whose career spans network news, daytime talk and primetime programming. She currently serves as the executive broadcast producer of the ABC News daytime talk show, “The View,” where she has worked since 2015. Prior to “The View,” Robin served as co-executive producer of VH1’s “Big Morning Buzz Live.” Hommel was the creator and executive producer of “Grady Greats,” a panel series in collaboration with ABC News featuring Grady College alumni, ABC talent and media leaders offering insight and analysis into and decisions made behind the scenes.

Susan Percy is a Metro Atlanta-based journalist who has spent most of her career in magazine journalism. She was executive editor and editor of Georgia Trend Magazine from 2001 through 2013 and editor-at-large from 2014 through 2022. She wrote an award-winning monthly opinion column for more than 20 years and remains a regular contributor.

Randy Travis is a Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter for FOX 5 Atlanta. Randy joined WAGA in 1990. In 1994 he moved to the station’s distinguished investigative unit, the FOX 5 I-Team.  In addition to the Peabody Award, Randy’s investigative work has earned him two national Edward R. Murrow awards, plus more than 20 regional Emmy awards.  Travis is also the recipient of the 2005 Mid-Career Alumni Award from Grady College.

Dean Charles Davis is also pleased to recognize Caroline Edwards as a Dean’s Medalist. The last Dean’s Medal was presented to Loran Smith (ABJ ’62) in 2017.

Caroline Edwards is a Private First Class Officer with the U.S. Capitol Police. Her law enforcement career started in 2017 and she has served for six years on the Department’s First Responders Unit. On January 6, 2021, Officer Edwards was the first police officer injured by the rioters while stationed on the West Front of the Capitol. She was knocked unconscious and suffered a traumatic brain injury. On June 9, 2022, Officer Edwards testified to the January 6th House Select Committee. She graduated from Grady College with a degree in public relations.

More information about the Grady Fellowship and a list of past inductees can be viewed on the Grady Fellowship webpage.

The registration link for the Grady Salutes celebration on April 28, 2023, will be available in early March. 

#ProfilesofTenacity: Nolan McGinley

Nolan McGinley is a third-year advertising student with a certificate in sustainability. He’s a project manager with Talking Dog Agency, and has handled the Arby’s account for the agency. He’s very involved with the UGA Catholic Center. McGinley says tenacity is about determination.

Why did you choose your major?

Once I transferred to UGA, I was torn between majoring in marketing and advertising. The aspect of Grady that made me decide on advertising was the culture of creativity and type of courses it offered. The strategy of communicating with people was top of mind when it came to a career I would want to work in. Because of this, advertising made the most sense to me and I am so glad I made that decision!

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience is the beginning of fall semester when I joined Talking Dog Agency hoping to gain some professional experience as a project manager. I was chosen to be a part of the team that would handle the Arby’s account for the agency; it has been such an honor. To be trusted to work with a high-profile client gave me confidence in the skills I have as a professional.

What does tenacity mean to you?

Tenacity means determination to go for it – whether that be sending out that cold LinkedIn message to a professional or speaking up when you need to. I believe tenacity has opened up many opportunities for me.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I see myself continuing to work on the things I value the most. I hope to be in a leadership position that embodies these values.

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

The best advice I’ve received is the bible verse saying “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). There is a joy in living in the present moment.

McGinley (top left) is a project manager for Talking Dog, UGA’s PR and advertising agency. (Photo:submitted)
What would people be surprised to know about you?

I have transferred schools twice, funny enough. My journey to UGA was a bit unorthodox. My freshman year, I attended Georgia State University during COVID-19. Then, spent a semester at the University of North Georgia. Then, I finally started at UGA for Spring 2022 semester.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment in the past year was last summer when I had the opportunity to intern at Nasdaq as a corporate communication intern. Interning for a high-profile company showed me that my previous hard work paid off in earning this fortune.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to work in a marketing/communications role for a company that supports the values that are important to me. I hope to stay in the southeast area, but am open to work across the US. At the end of the day, I want to make sure the work that I am doing is making a positive impact on my community and the world.

Where is your go to restaurant in Athens?

My go-to restaurant in Athens is the Royal Peasant! Located in Five Points, it’s a small English pub that always has international soccer games on. The fish and chips with the tartar sauce are amazing.

Where’s your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is the UGA Catholic Center. I have found a wonderful community of people there and absolutely love being able to serve in different capacities. Some of my closest friends have come from the center; it feels like a second home to me.

Elizabeth Newton is newest Grady alumna to be honored at Bulldog 100

The most recent class of Bulldog 100 honorees as selected by the UGA Alumni Association will be honored Feb. 18 in a ceremony in Athens. Bulldog 100 celebrates the fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni.

Grady College is proud to have four alumni recognized this year: first-time honoree Elizabeth Newton (ABJ ’99), founder and CEO of enewton design, and three honorees who have been recognized in the past:

Elizabeth Newton is a first-time honoree and we had a chance to catch up with her about her popular jewelry, most known for their classic and stylish necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings.

Newton graduated with an advertising degree from Grady College, and she comes from a long line of Bulldogs including her husband, Ben, who she met at UGA, her parents who met at UGA orientation, a brother and grandparents, among other family members.

Newton was involved with Kappa Alpha Theta as a student, which set a strong foundation for one of her guiding principles of connecting with others.

“Relationships are so important in business development,” Newton said.

Following graduation, she went to work for a dot-com company specializing in bill pay online, long before it was commonplace. She then went to work for a furniture design company.

Her company, enewton design, started in 2011 the way many passion projects do…as a hobby. Once she had kids, she started making bracelets for friends, her kids’ teachers and others. Before she knew it, she was making sales calls to boutiques when she was on the road during traveling soccer tournaments where her triplet daughters were playing.

“People were literally buying jewelry out of the trunk of my car,” she says laughing.

Today, enewton design is an Atlanta-based company employing more than 75 people who craft all the jewelry by hand. The jewelry is available in more than 1,200 boutiques nationwide.

Here are a few excerpts from an interview with Newton. The following comments have been edited for clarity and length.

Grady College: What lessons learned from your time as a Grady College student have most helped you succeed in your professional life? 
Elizabeth Newton and her family.
For Elizabeth and her husband, Ben, attending UGA football games with their four children is a family affair. They are pictured here at the Orange Bowl Dec. 31, 2022.

Elizabeth Newton: I have been a Bulldog since birth because my family has generations and generations of Bulldogs. I can remember one thing my dad always said was that that your education is not always in the classroom, but it’s also the people you meet. As an advertising major, I recall a lot of group projects. And, as a former athlete, I learned from an early age to learn to work as a team. I have learned to capitalize on the strengths of others and make sure everyone is aligned with what makes them excited, since that is typically what they good at. In my classes, we talked a lot about the end customer—who is your audience? My entire career, that is something I try to think about. We have one focus and that’s our customer. Learning to really emphasize our audience and understand demographics is something I learned at Grady College.

GC: What skills should graduates and young alumni have for success early in their careers? 

EN: One of the first things we do before we go to interview someone is go to their social media platforms—and I am thankful I didn’t have Instagram when I was in college! I really hate it for them because it is such a liability, but understanding your personal brand and knowing what’s out there is something we want to see.

Another thing my Dad taught me is that hard work is what pays off. For example, we have a UGA graduate, Rebecca Christopher, on our executive who has the mentality to be the first one into the office in the morning and the last one to leave. She is focused and she does everything she can to learn and absorb and go the extra mile beyond just what’s being asked of her.

Another piece of advice is stay off your phone when you are at work unless you are doing work on your phone. We make our kids put them in a drawer, unless it’s for your job.

Finally, observe, listen, learn and make a difference. You are only going to be as good as the work you put in outside of what everyone else is putting in. And, it’s pretty simple, but always speak up, look people in the eye and be kind.

GC: As a working mother with an incredibly successful business, how do you manage the work/life balance?

EN: This company started when our kids were young. The jewelry was originally gifts for friends. We built the company to support our lifestyle and call on businesses where we traveled for soccer. My husband is incredibly supportive and we both have flexible jobs and my children have been involved since day one. Another lesson my Dad taught me is to surround yourself with people who excel in areas that aren’t my strength and because I have tried to do this, it enabled all of us to be successful. But make no mistake, we have worked our butts off, but we also enjoy life. And, we don’t miss our kids stuff.

GC: How has the network of Grady College alumni helped you professionally? 

EN: The importance of relationships built at UGA are so important. They can help catapult your career and instead of going through the chain, you can just pick up the phone. I will pick up the phone and it’s amazing how receptive Georgia alumni are in helping one another.

Elizabeth Newton founded enewton design in 2011. Today, the company is based in Atlanta and hires nearly 75 employees who hand-craft the jewelry.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Jin Lee

Third year public relations major Jin Lee is passionate about learning on the go. Some of her highlights from her time at Grady include co-directing ADPR Connection, studying abroad in Oxford, and attending the PRSSA D.C. Agency Tour.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose to major in public relations because of its versatility. It is the ideal intersection of writing, creativity, collaboration, and technical skills – and every industry demands concise yet compelling communicators. I aspire to tell engaging stories that positively impact my community.

What does tenacity mean to you?

Tenacity means curiosity. It means being inquisitive, taking initiative, and using every opportunity to learn. An individual who is tenacious leads with determination and holds themself accountable for their progress in order to achieve personal and professional success.

Lee (far left) pictured with Professor Watson and other Grady students at Capitol Hill. She was one of eight students who attended the PRSSA D.C. Agency Tour. (Photo/submitted)
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience is the PRSSA D.C. Agency Tour in January. I was so grateful to be selected as one of eight Grady students to visit the nation’s public affairs center. Highlights were touring agencies including APCO Worldwide, PLUS Communications, Penta, and Weber Shadwick, and attending an alumni dinner at the National Press Club. A visit to the National Portrait Gallery, late-night Chinatown dinners, and walking along the monuments after sunset definitely rounded out the trip. D.C. is truly a magnetic city with the most brilliant minds, and hearing from people with such diverse backgrounds ignited excitement for my post-grad plans. It was such a delight to speak to practitioners in the field and get a taste of life on the Hill.

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

Ask questions! Whether it is during office hours with your favorite professor or in an informational interview with a prospective mentor, people are so forthcoming and love helping students whenever they can, so leverage those personal connections and ask questions to better understand course concepts, gain industry insight, or learn more about whatever most interests you. This also applies to internships: no one expects you to know how to do everything off the bat, so take time to ask questions and properly familiarize yourself with the new workspace. This not only shows a willingness to learn, but also establishes your eager work ethic and character. Similarly, Grady offers an abundance of resources and I would highly recommend getting involved in organizations and building a community with others who share the same passions as you do.

Lee pictured on a tour at the National Football Museum during her study away program in Oxford the summer of 2022. (Photo/submitted)
What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about travelling and learning on the go. From holidays to architecture, every element of lifestyle tells a story, and exploring new places is genuinely the best education one can have. Over the summer, I was so lucky to have the opportunity to study abroad at Oxford University in England. From an education lens, the tutorial method was a masterclass in writing, and I greatly developed my written and verbal communication skills in just six weeks. As for leisurely travel, my friends and I explored different countries across Europe and immersed ourselves in a myriad of cultures and history. I am also an avid foodie and love sampling every region’s local cuisine.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I have lived in three countries and am bilingual! Growing up, I lived in Hong Kong and Malaysia before returning to the US for high school and college. Moving around at such a young age gave me an incredible bandwidth for adaptability and sparked a lifelong love of adventure. I have such fond memories of my multilingual childhood and traveling around Asia. With that said, I can fluently speak both English and Mandarin and am able to understand a handful of other languages as well. I am endlessly thankful to have friends and families scattered across the world and am appreciative of the cultural context and widened worldview as a result of my upbringing.

Lee co-directed ADPR Connection in 2022 with Sophia Kwan. She’s pictured here leading at the introductory event. (Photo/submitted)
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

Last fall, I had the honor of serving as the co-director of ADPR Connection: Summits of Success, a student-led two-day networking conference, and career fair, alongside Co-Director Sophia Kwan. In this role, we oversaw the recruitment and guidance of our student team, pitched the event to corporate sponsors, managed and trained event volunteers, fostered alumni relations, and brainstormed and executed all elements of programming, among countless other tasks. In addition to the career fair, we also hosted a senior mixer, a keynote address, and moderated virtual panels with industry leaders from Fortune 500 companies. The event was attended by over 300 Grady students and 33 employers from across the nation. This experience was so rewarding because we were able to create an enriching space for professional development where students feel confident I am so proud of my team and what we were able to accomplish.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to work for a multinational agency in the hospitality or entertainment space before transitioning into arts administration and education. My long-term career goal is to start my own foundation benefiting dance education for underserved communities.

Where’s your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite study spot is the ELS room on the first floor of the Tate Student Center. I enjoy the sunlight let in by the floor-to-ceiling windows and like hearing the hustle and bustle of student life in the background. Although others gravitate to the low-traffic peace of the libraries, I enjoy studying in a space where I am bound to run into familiar faces and thrive off the electric energy that comes with being at the center of campus life.

Former Coca-Cola executive to teach new course on corporate communications

The Department of Advertising and Public Relations at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is excited to offer a new course this spring that will give advertising and public relations students an overview of corporate communications and the critical role it plays in protecting and enhancing an organization’s reputation.

The course, Introduction to Corporate Communications, an upper-level elective one, is taught by Ben Deutsch, former vice president of corporate communications at The Coca-Cola Company.  Deutsch retired in 2017 after a 25-year career at Coca-Cola, the last 11 years of which he led external and internal communications for the global beverage company.

In the course, students will learn how to develop integrated communications plans that involve all aspects of the corporate communications mix: media relations, brand PR, internal communications, crisis communications, social & digital communications, government relations, investor relations, executive communications, and corporate social responsibility.

“I want to leverage my 30 years of working as a communications professional to help students learn communications skills and strategies through theory and real, practical experiences,” Deutsch said. “Having worked as the communications leader of a publicly traded, multi-national company, I bring to bear the experiences – good and bad – that can help shape and guide students as they learn about corporate communications as a career.”

Ben Deutsch talks at a conference with a display in the background.
Ben Deutsch is a former vice president of corporate communications at Coca-Cola and serves on several non-profit boards. (Photo: courtesy of Ben Deutsch)

“Thanks to Ben’s rich professional experiences and networks, our students will be able to learn from and interact with a good number of Chief Communications Officers and communications leaders from a wide range of sectors and organizations such as Home Depot, Coca-Cola, UPS, Delta, Chick-fil-A, and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee,” said Juan Meng, head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. “To have top leaders in our profession to share their real-world learnings and experiences will help our students have a deep understanding of the latest trends and functions of corporate communications.”

This is important, Deutsch said, because it gives students a ‘behind-the-scenes’ perspective on the challenges and opportunities that communications leaders face every day.

“At the end of the day, I want my students to understand the critical and valuable role communications plays in any enterprise,” said Deutsch. “I want them to be able to think strategically about communications and to be energized, excited and motivated to pursue a career in communications. And finally, I want them to have fun, and enjoy the process of learning.”

#ProfilesofTenacity: Coby Seriña

Third year public relations major Coby Seriña understands the importance of hard work and surrounding himself with good people. Throughout his time at UGA, Seriña has been able to build community on campus by getting involved in various clubs and organizations.

What does “tenacity” mean to you?

Had to google to make sure, and I’m glad my definition aligned with the internet’s. To me those with tenacity have a grit to them that you don’t see everywhere. I think it’s important to understand that you have to grind things out, and that things are going to suck, but Jarad Anthony Higgins said, “Hard work pays off.” I always say, “Flowers are planted in dirt.” Everyone wants flowers, but nobody wants dirt. Truth is: you can’t have one without the other.

Seriña poses for a photo with some of his friends in the Filipino Student Association at the Homecoming Parade. Seriña and some of the other students are wearing face paint and other traditional Filipino wear. (Photo/submitted)
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

My dad, Raymond Seriña, first and foremost. Secondly, my friends. My dad definitely helped me build a strong sense of integrity and helped me understand how a young man should operate in the crazy world that is college. Growing up, I never really understood why he would do or say certain things, but now it just makes sense. I mentioned my friends because I always say I am what I surround myself with. This world is too big to be doing anything alone. If I didn’t have my community backing me, I couldn’t imagine progressing forward. I owe everything to them, and I’m truly so blessed to have people that care for me the way they do.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?
Seriña smiles in Washington Square Park in NYC, where he participated in a Maymester study away program last summer. (Photo/submitted)

My Maymester in New York was definitely my most memorable Grady experience. The people I met and the things I saw were all so crazy to me. I’m from Albany, Georgia. Before the trip, I would always feel some type of way driving through Atlanta, looking at her skyline. But New York’s? It’s been said before, but that city truly is magical, and I’m so grateful Grady gave me the opportunity to experience it.

What are you passionate about?

I care about being the best human I can be. I just want to do things worth remembering while staying true to myself and my values.

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

Do everything you can. Look around and listen when your classmates talk about the clubs they’re in. Network. Talk to older Grady students. Ask them for help. They’ll be glad to. Make friends everywhere you go. Never stop talking to people, and most importantly: BE KIND. Kindness goes a long way.

Seriña and Maria Taylor (ABJ ’09) smile for a picture on the field at SoFi Stadium after the national championship game. Seriña said that Taylor is an inspiration to him. (Photo/submitted)
Who is your professional hero?

I don’t know about them being a “hero,” but there are definitely a couple of people I look up to because of where they are and how they operate. Firstly, Josh Schultz at PhD and Sanay Lemus at Edelman are some pretty cool people; both Grady grads too. I had the opportunity to meet them during my New York Maymester and they were very kind and honest to me. Two other names, I’d like to mention are Kristine “KB” Brown and Kate Maldjian at Klick Health. I also met them during the Maymester, and they create some really cool stuff as a copywriter-creative duo. All of them have helped me to some extent and serve as great examples of people in the industry.

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

Two things. One, I do not want to pursue sports journalism or broadcasting post-grad. Two, I do not work for the football team. I always post football stuff, and people always assume I work with Georgia Football, so I get it’s confusing. I intern for Bulldawg Illustrated, a media outlet and magazine local to Athens. They give me a lot of close up access, so it can look like I work with the team.

Seriña poses with other Ignite staff members at the Catholic Center, where he serves as a small group leader. (Photo/submitted)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

My dad always says, “Go with the flow.” I don’t care to focus on five years from now. Focusing on right now is hard enough. I’m hoping and praying that I’m somewhere cool doing something cool.

What motivates you?

My dreams motivate me. I keep them to myself though. I’ve formed some vision of what I want my future to look like, and sometimes I think about that. I just want to do cool things with cool people in cool places.

Capstone AdPR students boost brand of local BBQ sauce

They fit together like BBQ sauce and a pulled pork sandwich. 

Students in the Integrated AdPR Campaigns capstone class pose with their client, Katie Throne of Porky Goodness.
The students’ efforts have already led to sales, said Throne. (Photo: submitted)

When Kim Landrum, a senior lecturer in the Advertising and Public Relations (AdPR) Department at Grady College, reached out to Katie Throne, the founder and owner of Porky Goodness, Athens’ first female-owned BBQ sauce brand, she knew the brand would be a perfect fit for her Integrated AdPR Campaigns capstone class. 

In the class, students pair with local brands, such as Porky Goodness, to serve as their agencies for a semester. The idea is that students are able to gain real world experience while they support the advertising and public relations efforts of the brands they pair with. 

“I always try to find small business owners or student organizations, because then we’re able to make an investment back in the community and support small business,” said Landrum. “Porky Goodness was just right. Katie had tangible requests that students could meet. It aligned really well for our team.”

Early on in the fall 2022 semester, Throne met with the seven-student team assigned to the Porky Goodness brand. The students interviewed her and asked her about the challenges she was facing. From there, they wrote up a plan. 

Throughout the semester, the students took a deep look at the analytics behind Porky Goodness’ social accounts, developed content designed to do well on social, helped Throne shoot cooking videos, put wholesale information on the website, allowing interested retailers to easily submit a request for the Porky Goodness product, gave Throne a few lessons on creating TikTok videos and Instagram Reels, and put together a template for a recurring newsletter, which Throne said has already led to several orders. 

“The students listened really well to what I needed done in a short period of time and knocked it out,” said Throne, who started Porky Goodness in March 2021. “At the end of the semester, I was blown away with all that they had completed for me. I hope they learned something from me, but I really learned a lot from them.”  

For senior advertising and public relations students, this class is a chance to put what they’ve learned to the test and gain practical experience in their future industry. The value of the class is not lost on the students. 

“Working with Porky Goodness has been such a rewarding experience,” said Coley Warren (AB ‘22), a December graduate who was on the Porky Goodness team. “From being able to work with a local client to producing portfolio-quality content, my classmates and I were able to gain real world experience far beyond the classroom setting.”

“Katie was so good about giving the students access and really listening to what they had to say,” added Landrum. “It made the experience as good for the students as it was for her.”

It became clear, throughout the term, just how passionate the students were about working with Throne and the Porky Goodness brand. One student, who drives race cars, put a Porky Goodness decal on his car before an upcoming race, Throne said. Another student, Nina Boone, still works with Throne and the Porky Goodness brand. 

“When you’re a little company like we are, you don’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing, photos, graphics and so on,” said Throne. “The students were a tremendous help. I appreciated everything that they did.”