Fellow Profile: Allison Ausband

Grady Salutes will be virtual this year. Plan to join our celebration on Facebook and YouTube on Friday, April 16.


 Video credit: Atlanta Image Arts

Allison Ausband continues to use skills she learned when she was a Grady College journalism student.

“I use my education and the skills that I learned at Grady on a daily basis in my 35 year career at Delta,” Ausband said. “From the writing skills, to presenting in front of large audiences, to communicating more effectively, there is no doubt in my mind that these skills have helped propel me into my current position.”

Ausband is one of six people who will be inducted into the 2020 class of Grady Fellows, a recognition honoring friends of the college whose accomplishments, friendship and service to the industries they serve have made a positive impact on the college and its students.

In Ausband’s current role as senior vice president – in-flight service for Delta Air Lines, she leads a team of more than 26,000 flight attendants, supervisory and support personnel around the globe, as well as Delta’s onboard global food and beverage operation and experience.

Her key responsibilities include leading her team to ensure 200 million Delta customers have an enjoyable flight experience while maintaining a focus on safety.

In March 2019, Ausband was a panelist at Grady’s program, “Making Today’s Workplaces More Inclusive for Women.” (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Ausband started her career at Delta in 1985 as a flight attendant, and has assumed increasingly more responsibility over the years. She has been instrumental in Delta’s growth, directing projects like the launch of Delta’s social media customer service model as well as a home-based employment program that creates a new virtual workforce culture yielding more than $2 million in savings each year.

In 2019 and 2020, she was named one of Atlanta’s most powerful business leaders by Atlanta Magazine.

Currently, Ausband is Delta’s executive sponsor for the fight against human trafficking through her role on the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion and Education (GRACE) Commission. Under her leadership Delta has won Humanitarian of the Year Award by United Nations and was awarded “Strongest Global Campaign Fighting Trafficking” by Reuters in 2020 Stop Slavery Awards. She also leads Delta’s annual Breast Cancer Research Foundation campaign, which raised over $2 million dollars in 2019. She is a University of Georgia Board of Trustee, serves on the Board of Directors for Delta Community Credit Union and is on the Board of Trustees for the William R. and Sara Babb Smith Foundation. She is also an active member of her local church serving on the personnel committee.

In addition to Ausband, other members of the 2020 Fellowship class include Chris Clark (ABJ ’61), Eugenia Harvey (ABJ ’82), Carol Ramos-Helton (ABJ ’79) and Dick Helton, and Ken Woo (ABJ ’78).


Editor’s Note: This profile was originally published in 2020.

The Fellowship induction, along with recognition of the 2020 Alumni Awards, will take place virtually on April 16, 2021 on our YouTube and Facebook pages. Visit our Grady Salutes webpage for the latest updates.

2018 Grady College Fellowship class announced

Dean Charles Davis and Grady College are pleased to announce the 2018 class of Grady College Fellows: E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark, Melita Easters (ABJ ’76), David Hazinski, Lisa Ryan Howard (ABJ ’92) and Lee Thomas (ABJ ’87).

Established in 2008, the Grady College 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 induction of the Fellows, along with recognition of the Grady College Alumni Award winners, takes place at “Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership” on April 27 at the Georgia Center.

“This year’s Grady Fellows class reminds me of the ties that bind us all together,” Davis said. “Each member of this sterling class represents the very best of us all, and has such deep ties not only to us all, but to the industries that we serve, forming another lasting addition to Grady’s pantheon of stars.”

The recipient of the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award will be also inducted into the Fellowship during ceremonies on April 27. The recipient of the Holliman Award, along with the other Grady College Alumni Awards, will be announced later this month.

E. Culpepper "Culy" Clark
E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark

Fellows to be inducted include:

Culpepper “Cully” Clark — Clark is dean emeritus of Grady College, a position he held from 2006 until his retirement in 2013. During this tenure as dean, Clark increased the number of endowed professorships and chairs from four to 15. Clark was dean of Grady when the college inducted its first class of Grady Fellows in 2008. Prior to Grady College, he served as dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama, after serving as an assistant professor and assistant to the president of UA. A historian of the South since the Civil War, Clark’s published works have focused on the New South Movement, Civil Rights and communications. In 2015, he wrote “Centennial: A History of the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia,” as a gift to the college. He is finishing a new book, “Sherman, Grady, and the Making of Atlanta.” Clark earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emory University and a doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Melita Easters
Melita Easters


Melita Easters (ABJ ’76) — Easters is the founding chair and currently serves as executive director of Georgia’s WIN List, a political action committee dedicated to electing Democratic women to statewide office and the Georgia General Assembly. She is also a playwright, having written, among other works, a series of one-woman plays about southern literary figures including Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee. She is currently finishing a new play, “The Cigar – Robert Woodruff and the Rise of Coca Cola.” Easters served on the board of The Red & Black for more than a decade, including serving as board chair in 2013 and 2014. She has also served as the state news editor for the Tifton Gazette, as a political reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as a producer for “The Lawmakers.” Easters earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Grady College.


David Hazinski
David Hazinski

David Hazinski — For more than 30 years, Hazinski has been a professor of Grady College, teaching digital and broadcast journalism. He is a Kennedy Professor of New Media and was just named a Top Journalism Educator by NewsPro Magazine. Hazinski also serves as the CEO of Intelligent Media Consultants, an international communications consulting and training company that has launched more than a dozen national television channels, including the first private and 24/7 news channels in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Prior to joining Grady College, he was the originating co-host, writer and technology advisor for “World Business Review with Caspar Weinberger,” and he served as an international correspondent for NBC News, based in New York, London, Washington, and then Atlanta. Hazinski holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Duquesne University and a master’s degree in educational communications and technology from the University of Pittsburgh. He plans to retire at the end of this academic year.

Lisa Ryan Howard
Lisa Ryan Howard

Lisa Ryan Howard (ABJ ’92) — Howard currently serves as senior vice president and general manager, media, at The New York Times. In this role, she is responsible for the newspaper’s category-organized sales team in New York, its national sales offices in the U.S and around the world, and the group’s planning and operations teams. Howard joined The Times in 2016, following executive strategy positions at WebMD and Yahoo. She has also served as publisher of Billboard and several leadership positions at Conde Nast. She was the recipient of Grady College’s Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Achievement Award in 2012, and has been recognized as one of Advertising Age’s “40 Under 40.” She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Grady College.


Lee Thomas
Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas (ABJ ’87) — Thomas is a deputy commissioner at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and division director of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office. She returned to Atlanta in 1996 to work for the Georgia Film and Videotape Office as a project manager, and then became a location specialist for the office in 1998.  After finding locations for film and television projects for 12 years, Lee became director of the film division in 2010. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication arts from Grady College and she holds a master’s degree in film studies from Georgia State University. She also attended the Tisch School of the Arts Doctoral Program in Cinema Studies at New York University.

The induction of the Fellows, along with recognition of the Grady College Alumni Award winners, takes place at “Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership” on April 27 at the Georgia Center.

Tickets can be ordered by visiting the Grady Salutes reservation website.