A seasoned storyteller with more than 14 years of communications and marketing experience, Debbie Ebalobo (ABJ ’10) is the director of global and financial communications at The Coca-Cola Company. She is responsible for developing strategies and messaging on matters of public policy and promoting and protecting the Coca-Cola brand across the globe.
Born in the Philippines and raised in Scotland, Ebalobo graduated with a degree in public relations from Grady College, where she took advantage of many educational and extracurricular opportunities. In addition to earning a New Media Certificate, she was a member of the national champion Bateman competition team through PRSSA, served as a Grady Ambassador and was a communications intern with the College, among other activities.
Following is a brief interview with Ebalobo.
GC: What are you hoping to contribute to the GSAB during your time of service?
DE: I hope to listen and learn what students and faculty think before landing on the item I’d like to focus on. However, my passion is rooted in diversity. Grady College creates storytellers and problem solvers. Enabling diversity of thought and experience creates folks that are better at asking the RIGHT questions. I hope to contribute ideas that enable this type of experience for students and faculty.
GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?
DE: Meet folks who don’t think like you. Search them out.
Be curious and question everything.
Fail fast. Learn faster.
GC: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?
DE: I came out during my senior year of college. It was scary. I was afraid of what my future would look like as a gay mixed Asian woman. Shortly after coming out, I vividly recall receiving a text message. One of my professors, Dr. Kaye Sweetser, sent me a note reminding me that I’ll be okay and she thought the world of me.
When I think of my time at Grady, I think of the support system built underneath me. It enabled me to accomplish a lot in my time as a Grady College student. We jumpstarted diversity initiatives for the college. I recall meeting with the dean and presenting the idea of diversity councils, which he loved. I served as a Grady Ambassador. I served as the president of PRSSA. I was on a winning Bateman team.
Looking back at Grady, it gave me the toolbox to think critically, risk greatly and to listen intently.
GC: Looking back at your time at Grady, is there anything you wish you had done (classes you had taken, skills you would have liked to have learned, clubs to be involved with) that would help you with what you are doing today?
DE: I wish I would have taken more classes that had nothing to do with my major — computer science, biology, programming, French, etc. I was too afraid to fail, especially because it hindered me from learning as much as I could.
GC: What is your favorite place on campus and why?
DE: As a multicultural leader on campus, I spent a lot of my time in Memorial Hall, which is adjacent to the Grady College building. I learned a lot about different cultures roaming the halls of Memorial Hall. The building and the people in it made me feel at home.
This series profiles members of the Grady College Alumni Board who make a positive difference in our College. We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our Grady Society Alumni Board members.