GSAB Profile: Ryan Carty

Ryan Carty (ABJ ’09) is an emerging talent recruiter for Meta. He has 12 years of experience that includes recruiting, university career services, diversity & inclusion, corporate relations, career coaching/counseling, college admissions counseling, and training and development.

Following is a brief interview with Carty.

Carty previously served as Director of Experiential Learning at Grady College. (Photo: Submitted)
Why are you involved with the GSAB?

I want to give back to Grady students because this college is responsible for a significant part of my educational, professional and personal development. It is my honor to continue the legacy of alumni who have also contributed to the success of Grady.

What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

I would tell them to be flexible with their career path and be open to new possibilities or opportunities they previously didn’t know were available. The world has so much to offer outside of a traditional career path and it may benefit you to explore!

What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

My time working at Grady College as the Director of Experiential Learning was my favorite college memory. With the help of Grady faculty and staff along with the UGA Career Center, we planned the largest-ever Grady Career Day which resulted in so many job and internship opportunities for students. That was easily my proudest moment and had the most influence on the trajectory of my career.

Carty was worked in career services for over a decade. (Photo: Submitted)
How has the network of fellow Grady College alumni helped you in your career?

Grady alumni have always been willing to connect with students for countless opportunities including mentorship, education, hiring, you name it! I’m so happy to see alumni giving back because none of us made it to where we are now alone, so it’s great to see our network helping each other.

How has your field changed from your graduation to now?

I started interning at truTV in college and thought I wanted to be a TV producer. After some internships and studies in entertainment, as well as doing a deep dive with the UGA Career Center to understand my career motivations more clearly, I pivoted to education. I became a career counselor for students seeking jobs in media, advertising and PR, and this was such a rewarding career. Eventually, I leveraged my transferrable skills and network to pursue a career in recruiting. 


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.


 

GSAB Profile: Debbie Ebalobo

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. 

Debbie Ebalobo at the Coca-Cola office.
Ebalobo, once the president of Grady’s chapter of PRSSA, originally enrolled at UGA to study environmental sciences. (Photo:submitted)
GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

DE: Meet folks who don’t think like you. Search them out. 

Listen.

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.


 

GSAB Profile: Quanza Brooks-Griffin

Quanza Brooks-Griffin (ABJ ’01) is a public health advisor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she has worked for nearly two decades. Four years ago, Brooks-Griffin was inducted into UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 for the impact she has made in her career.

Following is a brief interview with Brooks-Griffin.

GC: What are you hoping to contribute to the GSAB during your time of service?

QBG: I can remember walking the halls of Grady. I loved my courses, classmates and professors. It was very exciting to be a student at one of the top journalism schools in the country. Now, as professional adult, my top goal is to give back to the university that groomed me into who I am today. During my time of service on GSAB, I hope to share my experiences and knowledge to keep the legacy of Grady alive. I want to influence decisions that benefit the students and staff for years to come. 

It is also my hope to be an example to students of how your initial career goals can shift in a major way. I always knew I wanted to work for a PR firm. But, look at me today. I work in public health. My Grady education has allowed me to be successful in a public health career. This field requires good writing, strategic thinking and the ability to tell the true story in an impactful way. Ultimately, I am doing PR for public health. I love it. My path is a great representation of the diverse careers that can come from Grady. 

Quanza Brooks-Griffin sits in front of the CDC sign.
Griffin outside of the CDC. (Photo: Submitted)
GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

QBG: Keep in contact with your classmates and professors! I worked alongside some amazing students and professors during my time at Grady. I wish I could call some of my classmates and catch up over coffee. But, after 20 years of life passing by, I have lost all contact with people who were really impactful in my life. It would be awesome if I could catch up with one of my favorite professors, Ruthann Lariscy.  She was amazing!

Grady College students should keep in contact with everyone – whether you are close friends or not. Everyone you meet is a part of your network. I am sure it is a lot easier now because of social media. One tip I learned from my mentor is to add contacts’ birthdays to your calendar. If possible, add other details, like their favorite store, activity, etc. When their birthday comes around, you can call or email them. You can even invite them to their favorite coffee shop! It’s a nice way to keep your professional network active.

GC: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

QBG: One of the biggest influences of my time at Grady College was my senior PR project where I worked in a small group to create a PR plan for an actual client. Our client was the Athens Transit Authority. It was a real-life experience that encouraged us to be dependable, academically savvy and professional. At the time, I was working in Atlanta and would drive to Athens for our group meetings. I was committed to my group and the work. This experience helped to prepare me for my career in public health where there are similar workgroups and expectations.

A photograph of Quanza Brooks-Griffin wearing a white shirt.
Brooks-Griffin’s first internship was with the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC peer-reviewed journal). (Photo: Submitted)
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?

QBG: I would encourage every student to learn a skill that you can use as a hobby or way to earn extra cash. Learn the basics of using a professional camera or understand the concepts of basket weaving. Find something you are interested and make a side hustle out of it!

GC: What is your favorite place on campus and why?

QBG: My favorite place on campus was the Tate Student Center! It was the hub of random engagement on campus. One day there could be a step show, and the next you may have people drawing cool pictures on the ground with chalk. It was the place to be between classes to relax, have lunch and chat with friends. When I visit campus today, I feel a sense of joy whenever I am at Tate.

 


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.


 

GSAB Profile: Chase Cain

Chase Cain is a storyteller, covering climate change for NBCLX on Peacock. His reporting has earned three Emmy Awards and a National Edward R. Murrow for an innovative story about the impact of a warming planet on Southern California’s endangered Joshua trees. Chase documented firsthand the summer of unrest in Washington, D.C., the 2020 presidential campaign, and traveled to Tokyo to cover the Olympics for NBC. Previously, he reported for NBC in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but his first television job began in Augusta, right after graduating from Grady College in 2005 with a major in Broadcast News. Chase also spent three years at Hulu, creating original content for acclaimed series likeThe Handmaid’s Tale and Castle Rock. Originally from Marietta, Chase is proud to now call Southern California home.


What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

The most important advice is to follow your passion. What interests you? What excites you? Follow that! There are plenty of jobs which pay well or seem to be glamorous, but if there’s not passion behind what you do, happiness is far more elusive.

Cain alongside a classmate at the anchor desk for Newsource15 during his time in the College. (Photo: submitted)

What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

My involvement with Newsource15 remains the most invaluable experience of my time at Georgia. The opportunity (and pressure) to produce a live daily newscast absolutely prepared me for the real expectations of a career in television news. I am eternally grateful for the intentionally challenging instruction of former professors like David Hazinski, Michael Castengera and Steve Smith.


What modern challenges would you like to see current students and recent College alumni solve?

Personally, I would love to see more students pursue environmental journalism and social justice. There’s an important crossroads between the two, and there are far too few journalists bringing attention to those issues. There is no more important story than the future of our planet, our ecosystems, and the survival of our species.


What is your favorite place on campus and why?
Cain stands outside the White House in Washington, D.C. during President Joe Biden’s inauguration. (Photo: submitted)

I always loved Herty Field, and how can you not? I would also use the law library as a favorite study spot. I would feel somewhat out of place as a journalism student in the law library. Would someone ask me to leave? Could they tell I wasn’t a pre-law major? Lol. But I really loved being inside and looking out the window to the beautiful fountain. It was just a wonderful, peaceful escape — and sometimes I would actually study!


How has your field changed from your graduation to now?

The biggest shifts have been in the immediacy of news and the abundance of mis/disinformation. The “fake news” moniker has been incredibly harmful to journalism, and I would encourage everyone to stop using it, stop joking about it. While journalists work to share the truth, we’re also under increasing demands of immediacy. It’s no longer enough to spend weeks producing engaging work. It often needs to be shared while in-progress, and that is fundamentally changing how we work.

 


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.


 

Grady Society Alumni Board Profile: Sara Robertson (ABJ ’99)

We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our Grady Society Alumni Board members. This series profiles members of the alumni board who make a positive difference in our College.

Sara Robertson (ABJ ‘99) has an extensive background in production for broadcast and digital platforms. As Senior Vice President for Production at Austin PBS, she is responsible for strategic planning and execution of station produced content. Robertson has increased community impact through programming, grown national audiences for locally produced and presented shows and developed a digital-first production strategy. Before coming to public media, she worked in broadcast news. 

Robertson is active in her community and is the vice chair of the board of directors for CLOVES Syndrome Community, whose mission is to support, educate, empower and improve the lives of those affected by CLOVES Syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by tissue overgrowth and complex vascular anomalies. She also serves on the Grady Society Alumni Board.

In 1999 she received her degree in Telecommunication Arts from the University of Georgia. Sara and her family live in Austin, Texas and enjoy exploring the outdoors.

Why are you involved with the GSAB?

I was inspired to join the GSAB after a reunion trip to Athens. I had been living in Austin for 20 years and was finding it harder and harder to stay connected to my Georgia roots. At the same time, I was exploring ways to volunteer in an area of media, education and/or mentorship. The GSAB helps me fulfil these goals and more, including introducing me to an inspiring network of colleagues.

What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?
Robertson and her classmate, Kellie, work in the College newsroom on the broadcast show, then called Newsource 15.

If you are a communicator, often your role is to be a translator of ideas and issues. I would encourage you to take classes on different topics. Experiment with storytelling and media platforms. Feel free to explore your interests and find new interests. Hopefully college won’t be the end of your education but just the beginning. Embrace learning now and it will make you a better communicator forever. 

What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

Hands down my biggest influence and fondest memories from Grady College are from my time at NewSource15. I have incredible friendships to this day and still have a lot of pride from the work we did during that time. I was also extremely prepared for the workforce and was hired on my first two jobs because of the reel and experience I had gained.

What modern challenges would you like to see current students and recent College alumni solve?

Everyone working in media has a responsibility to put representation at the forefront of their work. There continues to be a lack of diversity in all aspects of our industry, on camera and behind. When communities don’t see themselves represented, they disengage and bad things happen from there. Representation is empowering and necessary for journalism to succeed.   

How has your field changed from your graduation to now?

The media world is nothing without constant change but social media has transformed my field. Individuals no longer need to rely on broadcasters or a company with an established audience to promote their message, they are able to do that themselves with tools that are very affordable if not free. I believe that means building trust with our audience is more crucial than ever.

Grady Society Alumni Board Profile: Chuck Reece (ABJ ’93)

We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our Grady Society Alumni Board members. This series profiles members of the alumni board who make a positive difference in our College.

Chuck Reece (ABJ ’93) majored in newspaper journalism. His career has been divided between journalism and corporate and political communication. He became a business journalist immediately after leaving UGA, then became press secretary to former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller. He then moved into corporate communications at The Coca-Cola Company and then in various consulting roles until 2013. He returned to journalism as the founding editor-in-chief of The Bitter Southerner.

Reece’s career has spanned journalism, corporate communications, and political communications. (photo submitted).

What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

Reece: “I advise current students to learn broadly, to remember that to be effective journalists, they must be more than journalists. They must dive into the subjects they cover with great enthusiasm. They must know the history of those subjects. Any additional knowledge they can gain about the beats they cover is critical, because without it, your work will never have the context great journalism should always have.”

What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

Reece: “Working for The Red & Black. I had my first story assignment before I even went to my first class. The experience of working in that newsroom every day made me feel alive and gave me the sense of what it means to be proud of work well done.”

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

Reece: “My favorite place on campus — well, slightly off campus — is the offices of The Red & Black. Through all my time at UGA, I worked at the R&B, and as alum, I’ve served on its board of directors. In that place, I learned more about journalism than I ever expected, and prepared me to hit the ground running in my career. There simply is no substitute for the experience students can gain in such a place.”

How has your field changed from your graduation to now?

Reece: “It has changed immeasurably. When I entered journalism, there was no internet. Everything I wrote while in college came from a typewriter. But the internet has turned the journalism world topsy-turvy, and I believe that the only way journalists can break through the clutter is do something I was trained never to do in J-school. I was told never to make myself a character in one of my stories. But these days, I find myself attracted to stories where the writers are fully transparent about how they interact with those they report on, where they admit to readers that their own presence affected the story they wrote.”

Grady Society Alumni Board Profile: Ashley McMaster (ABJ ’06)

We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our Grady Society Alumni Board members. This series profiles members of the alumni board who make a positive difference in our College.

Ashley McMaster (ABJ ’06) has worked in editorial, communications and public affairs, and business development. Currently, she is the vice president for membership and development at America’s Essential Hospitals, the leading association and champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all.

Why are you involved with the GSAB?

McMaster: “I wanted to get involved with GSAB to reconnect with my former Ambassadors and classmates, as well as meet other journalism school alumni to grow my professional network.”

McMaster teleworks and monitors homeschooling during the pandemic with her son, Marshall, and dog, Wally. She says this is how typical work day has recent looked.

What are you hoping to contribute to the GSAB during your time of service?

McMaster:” I’m supporting the effort to change the school’s namesake and recognize contributions of individuals that have made positive change in media, public affairs and journalism.”

What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

McMaster: “I give the same three pieces of advice to all college students:

“(1) Study abroad. I know it’s expensive, which is what prevented me from doing it, but the experience will be worth it. You can pay it back later, and there are scholarships available if you can’t manage to find the money. In fact, my husband and I recently endowed a scholarship at UGA for this exact purpose — Dr. Bobby Friedmann Passport Terry Scholarship.”

“(2) Get to know your professors. Each semester, pick at least one professor and get to know him or her on a first-name basis. These relationships are invaluable when you want to know more about the subject, require a letter of recommendation for grad school, or need a professional introduction. It will enrich your educational experience and pay dividends in your career.”

“(3) Go to class. As with most of life, half the effort is just showing up. Also, you’re a student, so treat class like it’s your job. You’ll learn more, get to know your classmates, and develop discipline. And if you find you absolutely hate the class … deal with it? Most of adulthood is suffering through stuff you don’t really want to do.”

McMaster and her husband attending a pre-pandemic event.

“Oh, and one other thing: ditch your high school boyfriend/girlfriend. You don’t need the baggage, and there are so many people to meet. Trust me on this one.”

What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

McMaster: “Tapping into the resources of the Grady Career Center had the biggest influence on where I am today. Cecil Bentley suggested I apply for an editor job at a little-known company in Washington, D.C. – a city I had never visited or considered moving to. I interviewed with two weeks left in the semester, got the job, graduated, and moved a week later. I’ve been in Washington ever since, and my career has taken twists and turns that I never could have imagined.”

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

McMaster: “The dorms (specifically, Russell Hall’s 10 North). The friendships were what I loved most about UGA. Making friends as an adult can be challenging. College is such a special time – you’re out from under your parents, have very little responsibility, and get to spend unchecked amounts of time with your friends to build lasting memories, make mistakes, and define who you are and want to be.”

Grady Society Alumni Board Profile: Stephanie Gallman Jordan

We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our Grady Society Alumni Board members. This series profiles members of the alumni board who make a positive difference in our College.

Stephanie Gallman Jordan graduated from Grady College in 2002 with degrees in Telecommunications and English. After driving a big rig across the country for CMT, Jordan joined CNN, where she has been a tour guide, writer, assignment editor and producer.  Currently, Jordan is a Special Events Producer, covering the network’s biggest editorial events like the 2016 and 2020 Republican National Conventions, the 2017 Solar Eclipse and too many presidential summits, debates and town halls to count.

What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

My advice to Grady students is to never stop learning. Stay curious about people and the world. Surround yourself with interesting people and experiences that challenge you. Create a life that makes you happy inside your guts and not just because it gets you likes on social media.

Jordan interviews actor Tony Goldwyn at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

Writing radio commentary and recording it for broadcast on WUGA and writing a full length film script are two Grady assignments that I was consumed by, in the best way. I would lose track of time working on them — something I never thought was possible for a school assignment. I fell in love with and grew confident with my storytelling and knew it was how I wanted to make a living.

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?

I wish I would’ve gotten involved in Grady Newsource. I’m not sure what I was thinking or how I talked myself out of it, but the program is just so impressive and produces the best of the best in broadcast news. There was quite a bit of a learning curve I had to climb when I finally decided to lean into my love of news and join CNN.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

Without question, North Campus.  I love its history and how little it has changed in the 20 years since I was a student. The grass stays green year-round and regardless of how many people are there, it always feels peaceful and serene to me, especially considering its juxtaposition to the lively downtown scene.

How has your field changed from your graduation to now?

Two words: Social. Media. Social media has changed how we tell stories and how we consume them — literally anyone with a phone and a Twitter account can call themselves a journalist.  While this has made finding stories and content easier, it has made vetting those stories and content even more challenging. Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t make it true and it’s imperative that journalists go beyond what they see, beyond what the loudest voices are screaming to really get the full context of what’s happening.

Grady Society Alumni Board Profile: Nick Fouriezos

We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our Grady Society Alumni Board members. This series profiles members of the alumni board who make a positive difference in our College.

Nick Fouriezos is a national enterprise reporter for Open Campus Media, where he covers the role of higher education in rural America. Before that, he served as OZY Magazine’s Washington D.C. correspondent for six years, covering two presidential elections and writing from six continents. In 2017, he created and led “States of the Nation,” a year-long reporting project where he spent a week each in all 50 U.S. states to spotlight under-covered communities and reintroduce people to their neighbors. A former editor in chief of The Red & Black, his byline has appeared everywhere from the New York Times and Baltimore Sun to USA Today, the Daily Beast, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and elsewhere. He can be found on Twitter @nick4iezos.

Grady College: Why is it important to you to be involved with the GSAB?

Nick Fouriezos: My time at UGA and at Grady set me on a path that I never could have imagined for myself while growing up and thinking that I would live a quiet life as an English teacher writing on the weekends. It was with the help of my classmates and my professors that I was able to learn how to interview, report and write — and also how to care, deeply, about my fellow journalists and the work they put in every day to seek the truth and report it. It’s important to me that I pass on that care, so that future Grady grads can continue to help create the first draft of history.

GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?
Nick Fouriezos talks with Ambassador Megan Mittelhammer
Nick Fouriezos talks with Megan Mittelhammer, a journalism student, during the Grady Ambassador and GSAB member lunch Oct. 15, 2021. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

NF: Be committed to your purpose but be creative in the way you fulfill it. The way we tell stories about the world around us is changing rapidly, and those who are able to adapt regardless of medium will succeed. Work at The Red & Black and do internships! You won’t know if a newsroom is for you until you’re in one — and it’s OK if it’s not for you. The skills you learn here will transfer across industries, as powerful communication skills are a must at every organization. Finally, once you enter the workforce, diversify your revenue streams. Personal finance can be empowering when you allow it to be, and there is nothing more freeing than being able to pick and choose the work you do rather than be reliant on taking any project possible just to make ends meet.

GC: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today.

NF: There is no substitute for hands-on experience. Journalism is less academic and more like blacksmithing; you learn with each strike of the hammer, each sword in the furnace. Repetition is key, so write as much as possible, and write in different genre: while at The Red & Black, I wrote and produced stories for the sports, variety, news and opinion sections, and each genre helped shape my reporting in different ways. When I first arrived at Grady, it did not seem like there was as much of an emphasis on tangible experience. Thankfully, programs led by people such as Keith Herndon, Vicki Michaelis, Welch Suggs and others have changed that, giving you the unique opportunity to commit real acts of journalism while still having the room for error, and growth, that an academic setting allows.

GC: How has the network of fellow Grady College alumni helped you in your career?

The Grady network has been huge. My old professors have been people I could rely on for advice, guidance and support even almost a decade after I left school. One of my most important career building blocks, my time at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was shaped by my friendship with Greg Bluestein, who convinced me to give political reporting a shot after having mostly covered sports. He also gave me great advice to pass on becoming a “forever intern” and instead become a freelancer in Australia and Indonesia, where I had amazing personal and professional experiences that led to me landing the job that shaped my career and helped me report from six continents and all 50 states. The Grady College alumni network gives me a home away from home…one that allows me to have a taste of Athens everywhere I go.

GC: What modern challenges would you like to see current students and recent College alumni solve?

How to find a sustainable business model for good journalism! Nobody has quite figured it out, although I think there is a lot of hope in nonprofit news, which can remove the profit incentive that drives so much of the content mills and combative, clickbait-driven coverage that exemplifies the worst parts of modern journalism. I also hope that current students and recent alumni absolutely reject the toxic work cultures and absurd expectations that have too long existed in media—particularly the noxious idea that because this is a calling for many, they should be willing to be paid less than their worth and work more than is healthy and sustainable. I hope they are brave enough to demand better, in ways that some of us did not or could not when we were recent grads. Finally, I’d like to see more journalism that is driven by empathy, that helps people better understand their neighbors—whether friend or foe—in order to better bring about meaningful change.

Grady Society Alumni Board Profile: E.R. Anderson

We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our Grady Society Alumni Board members. This series profiles members of the alumni board who make a positive difference in our College.

E.R. Anderson (ABJ ’88, MMC ’89) is the director of public affairs for the global staffing firm Randstad.  She is establishing the company’s first-ever public affairs and government relations function in the nation’s capital where she is building relationships and telling the story of a Netherlands-based company with its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta that puts people to work. Anderson spent 20 years at the nexus of government, politics, policy and communications. She served as the communications director for U.S. Senator Pat Toomey in the four years leading up to his reelection. Prior to that, she was the committee spokesperson for Ranking Member Susan Collins on the Senate Homeland Security committee. In the George W. Bush administration, Anderson held roles of increasing responsibility at the U.S. Commerce Department. She began as the communications advisor to the undersecretary of economic affairs, later chief of staff and finally deputy undersecretary for economic affairs. Anderson started her time in D.C. working in the U.S. House of Representatives. She observed elections in Cambodia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Slovakia and Ukraine. 

E.R. is an avid golfer and Georgia football season ticket holder.

E.R. Anderson received a degree in public relations from Grady College. In her spare time, she is an avid golfer.
Why are you involved with the GSAB?

The GSAB has been a great way to reconnect with the J-school and with Athens. I enjoy meeting the other members of the board and learning about their cool jobs. It’s a good way for me, as a mid to late career person, to learn what’s new in communications and storytelling. 

What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

Do not turn down a job that hasn’t been offered. You aren’t too big to hold the Senator’s purse. Don’t talk in the elevators on Capitol Hill. Nod and say good morning to the janitors and the lunch ladies. 

What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today? 

Professor Roland Page and his experience as the press secretary for the governors of Florida and Pennsylvania made politics-centric public affairs sound exciting and meaningful. I enjoyed his real world experience, and because of him I never use the word “utilize.” 

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?

Oh yes. I wish I had written for The Red and Black every week, not just every semester. I wish I had volunteered with Claude Felton in the sports information office. I wish I had studied for a term in St. Andrews, Scotland and played the Old Course every afternoon. 

How has the network of fellow Grady College alumni helped you in your career? 

When I started at Randstad this May both my contract lobbyist and my public relations vendor were Grady grads. I knew I was in good hands. 

What modern challenges would you like to see current students and recent College alumni solve? 

I’d like for students today to put the phones down. I see a lot of people watching life on the three-inch screen. 

How has your field changed from your graduation to now? 

Everyone thinks politics is more divisive than ever. I am not sure that’s true. I mean we had a Civil War, duels and one congressman beat a senator with a stick in the 1800s. But it is divisive today. I think there are several reasons but here are three: siloed media and social media where you only see news you agree with and the increase of “safe seats” in the House. Technology and demographic trends allow the redistricting to be so precise as to carve out a neighbor or a house, eliminate purple seats and make it more difficult for moderate candidates to win.