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:
- Leo Falkenstein (ABJ ’13, BBA ’14) is the co-founder and executive producer for Consume Media
- Marc Gorlin (ABJ ’95) is the founder of Roadie
- Brooke Beach MacLean (ABJ ’11) is the CEO and founder of Marketwake
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: 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.