#ProfilesOfTenacity: Emily Goncalves

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I actually came to UGA as an intended international business major. I switched to Grady because I wanted a smaller college with more intimate class settings, professors that actually got to know their students and of course just a higher emphasis on creativity. Grady and public relations ended up being a perfect fit.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I have been to over 16 countries! Most of my family lives abroad, so I got to travel quite a bit growing up. I also had the chance to study abroad in Paris after my freshman year. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity is the force inside you, that innate drive to do great things. Tenacity has helped me persevere through hard times, and has been a driving force for me to continue to better myself.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

In January of 2020, I had the chance to travel to Washington D.C. for the Grady Agency Tour with Professor Watson. It was such an incredible experience and really inspired me to pursue a job in public affairs after graduation. I was the only sophomore on the tour and literally only knew Samantha Meyer, but I made friends with several seniors who gave me countless pieces of fantastic advice. Coincidentally, I roomed with Emma Crosby, an old PRSSA president, who encouraged me to run for PRSSA executive board. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

Definitely North Campus. It’s so peaceful! Every time I walk through, I am reminded how lucky I am to go to this beautiful school.  

What are you passionate about?

I love to travel and meet others from different cultures. Everyone has unique experiences and viewpoints that define who they are. Learning other’s stories helps give one insight into their own.

PRSSA holds its first meeting of the 2021 academic year. This year, Emily Goncalves takes charge as president of the club. (Photo/Sarah Freeman).
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

Destiny Loyd! She’s the mastermind behind the UGA Mentor Program, and the head of the UGA Mentor Program student team. She is such an amazing leader who cares deeply about helping others. Destiny has truly made me a better person, student and leader.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

I hope to have a job in public affairs or public relations in a large city such as Washington D.C. or New York City. After working for a couple years, I want to return to school and get my Masters of Business Administration. 

What was the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and early career professional?

Not seeing classmates in person. I, like many other Grady students, consider myself a people-person, and thrive on human connection and communication. Collaborating via Zoom or text message for the entirety of the semester was doable, but I missed having authentic conversations with people face to face. I am so thankful to be safely back in in-person classes!

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?

Instagram! I love how interactive it’s gotten with stories and reels. It’s always getting better and better. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

I was overjoyed when I was elected president of UGA’s PRSSA chapter. PRSSA has given me so many opportunities, taught me so many things, and given me so many great friends. I am so proud that I took the leap of faith in pushing myself to take on such a big leadership role. I know it’s going to be a great year!

Hispanic Heritage Month Alumni Spotlight: Cristian Delgado (ABJ ’15)

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of spotlights highlighting the work of some of our alumni in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Please watch for more profiles in the weeks to come.

Cristian Delgado is an account supervisor for Xbox PR at Assembly Media, Edelman. Delgado graduated from Grady College in 2015 with a degree in public relations. On campus, Delgado was president of the International Association of Business Communicators, a Grady Ambassador, a member of the UGA Redcoats band, a PRSSA member and wrote for Ugazine.

What clubs and activities did you participate in at UGA and Grady that were instrumental to your success as a career professional?

The opportunities to lead beyond the classroom undeniably helped me get my start in PR. Listening to alumni speak at PRSSA helped me visualize a career path. Being part of the Bateman competition also pushed me to work as a team player and get a taste of real-world problem solving. I also had the chance to network as president of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) at UGA, where we invited marketers to speak to our growing chapter. And very close to my heart, I’ll always cherish being part of the Redcoat Marching Band. I made lifelong friends there and picked up valuable skills in confidence and coming together as a team.

Looking back, what these experiences had in common was teaching me to be accountable and resourceful. When you start your career, you realize there isn’t always a secret formula to success – we’re all equally capable and have more control over doing great work than we think. We just have to take our shot and put ourselves in the best position possible to succeed.

How does your Hispanic and/or Latin heritage influence your work? 

I grew up in a largely Hispanic community in Gainesville, Georgia, and with each change in my life (e.g. going to college, starting an internship), it was hard not to notice when others around me looked less and less like me. These changes helped me realize just how important it is to bring my unique viewpoint as a Hispanic of Mexican descent to my work and community. 

I always fantasized about working in video games and I know the positive impact gaming had on me and my childhood friends. Gaming brought us together and kept us out of trouble in a neighborhood that wasn’t always the safest. Now that I work in the gaming industry, allowing that kid from Gainesville to be heard is something I carry with me to work every day.

What advice would you give to young students of Hispanic origin who will soon enter the workforce?

Aside from getting as much experience as possible through clubs and internships, my three pieces of advice are to be confident, be pushy and be polished. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say being confident is just a little bit harder as a Hispanic. We’re often first-generation college graduates with no familiarity to office life, which can bring out imposter syndrome big time. The truth is we’re all capable of anything and our unique point of view as Hispanics bring even more value to any team. My advice if you’re starting out is to shake off those insecurities and know you’re going to be great. Your confidence will be obvious in interviews and as you set the tone for who you will be on your team.

Related, being pushy, or perhaps I should say relentless, is key to making your plans a reality. This is especially true as a Hispanic student since building your network might be entirely in your hands. For most of my career, I’ve been fortunate to work in my dream industry of gaming as a PR rep for Xbox. I didn’t accidentally stumble into this job or get approached out of the blue. I had to be very intentional about asking the right strangers for help. I remember being an intern at Edelman in Atlanta and consistently messaging members of the team in Seattle asking to learn more (and no, I did not know any of them). If there’s a passion area that interests you, don’t hesitate to get to know people in that field and ask for informational interviews (and help when you need it). More often than you’d think, people want to be helpful and will go out of their way for you if you’re genuine. 

Once you do land your new internship or first gig, always be polished in your work. Early in your career, your manager or team lead is likely going to review most of your work. Don’t lean on this crutch to skip checking your own work for typos or errors. Any work you submit to your manager should be final to the best of your ability. The more you take a step back to review and understand your own work, the more you’ll be trusted to take on larger projects. 

What classes at Grady College did the most to prepare you for your career?

The classes that stood out to me were News Writing and Reporting, which taught me to work under pressure, and PR Research, which taught me to back my work with real evidence. As a PR person, writing and proper research are fundamentals for every project. PR Campaigns was very helpful since it tied everything you learn at Grady together in a realistic setting. This is also where I learned to be scrappy and resourceful, which is valuable when working at a fast-paced PR agency. I’m thankful that Grady gave me these experiences to help make the transition to full-time work much easier.

Students attend the 2020 PRSSA D.C. Agency Tour

Editor’s note: MG Coffee, the Yarbrough-Grady Public Relations Fellow for the spring 2020 semester, attended the annual PRSSA D.C. Agency Tour with other PRSSA members.  

During the last week of January, 12 Grady students and PRSSA members, including myself traveled to Washington, D.C., for the annual PRSSA D.C. Agency Tour. The tour, led by Grady faculty members, Professor Joseph Watson, Jr. and Samantha Meyer, included visits to APCO Worldwide, Edelman, Powell Tate, National Geographic and the Office of Senator David Perdue.

Through office tours, round table discussions, company overviews and Q&A sessions with employees, this trip offered students an exclusive inside look into the agencies’ cultures. For many students, D.C. is the end goal post-graduation. This trip allowed those students to experience the city and get a feel for what day-to-day life there looks like.  

At the end of the tour, we all had the opportunity to shadow an agency or organization that interested us and aligned with our future career goals.  

“The trip gave us a holistic view of the communications industry, as we were able to visit public affairs agencies, government offices and non-profit organizations,” said student, Claire Gordon. “After experiencing each interest area, I have a better understanding of where my passions and skills are most applicable. I am so grateful to our advisers, Samantha Meyer and Joe Watson, for organizing this trip.”

On the first day, we visited APCO Worldwide where we spoke with a number of employees and specialists about the company’s mission, collaborative environment and entry level program, APCO+. Overall, the meetings educated us on the different specialties within the agency and how much work goes into each client’s case.  

Students meet with alumna, Jenni Sweat (front row, second from left), on Capitol Hill. (Photo: submitted by Joseph Watson, Jr.)

Later that day, we visited Senator David Perdue’s Office at the U.S. Senate and spoke with Grady alumna, Jenni Sweat (ABJ ’17). Currently Senator Perdue’s Deputy Press Secretary, Sweat shared with us what led her to D.C. and how she has grown professionally since graduating. Following the visit, we were led on a tour of the Capitol.  

The next day, our first visit was Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick where we watched a case study presentation and listened to a panel of past interns talk about their experience and advancement in the company. After, we attended an information session at Edelman and learned about the different sectors their D.C. office specializes in.   

That evening, we were able to network at the Grady Alumni Mixer in D.C. This special opportunity, set up by Grady College, allowed us to speak with former, now experienced Grady graduates about how they have excelled in their careers and how we can best position ourselves in D.C. 

To finish the trip, we each were assigned an agency or organization to shadow. This opportunity allowed us to expand on our previous agency visits and see a more in-depth view of what agency life entails.

“Being able to shadow at an agency was a perfect ending to the trip,” said student, Nell Warnock. “I had the opportunity to get a glimpse into the daily operations of Scott Circle Communications, a small agency founded by a former Grady Dawg, Laura Gross (ABJ ’95). After sitting in on a few client calls, I was offered great career advice from multiple staff members. I loved having the chance to see the inner workings of an agency and hope to keep those connections as I move forward with my job search.”

This year was the 11th anniversary of the tour, and we, as students, are grateful for the continued tradition and effort that goes into planning it every year.

“I’m so thankful that PRSSA offers its members so many unique opportunities to network and shadow in the field of public relations” said PRSSA president and program participant, Emma Crosby. “The D.C. agency tour was by far one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career, and I left D.C. with a renewed love for PR and communications.”

#GradyGrit: Meet Gustavo Cervantes

Why Grady?

Since senior year of high school, I knew that I wanted to study public relations. I also wanted to stay in-state, and when weighing the options for PR programs in this state, studying at Grady was the obvious choice after doing a little bit of research. I did debate between getting a smaller-school atmosphere at GCSU, but when I thought about what would be more beneficial to my career in the long-term, I knew that I had to pick Grady.

How do you feel Grady celebrates diversity?

I remember my freshman year of college I met this guy at my church who I found out was a senior advertising major. His family background was really similar to my own, and I remember paying extra attention to this because I had never really had a professional/peer role model that looked like I did. He reached out often to me and I later found myself wishing I had talked to him more. Anyway, I won’t forget when I found out that he was going to be the convocation speaker for the 2017 Grady graduation. It was honestly big for me, picturing him up there, a guy who really made it despite being a first-generation American like me. At that point as a freshman, it renewed my excitement and determination to get into Grady.

What is your dream job after graduating from Grady?

My dream job after graduating from Grady would be working with the Entertainment Software Association in Washington DC. Working for this interest group would perfectly combine my Grady training and my interest/passion for the video games industry.

What has it been like to take on a leadership role in PRSSA?

Leadership for PRSSA has been very rewarding. It certainly has come with its trials and tribulations but getting to know my peers in public relations on a more personal level is always a joy. Being on the publications committee specifically, I am always floored by the amount of talent that my committee members display in the articles they put together for our newsletter every month.

How did you get started in Model UN?

In high school I always loved to do speech and debate competitions, and I started the Model UN club at my school in my senior year. Once I got to UGA, applying to be on the Model UN team was a no-brainer for me. I felt really lucky to get in as a freshman because of how intense the application and interview process is. Having done the club for three years now, it has definitely been the defining experience of my college career up until now. The UGA Model UN team is filled with some of the most motivated, talented and brightest people I have ever met, and I have been lucky to get to learn how to refine my speechmaking and debating skills alongside them. It has been my constant up until this point in my college career, and I will always be grateful for the experiences it has afforded me.

Cervantes’ participation in Model UN has been a constant in his college career while refining his speaking skills.

How do you use your Grady skills working with the UGA Neuroscience Program? What have you learned from doing it?

I actually got into my current job at the UGA Neuroscience Program before I was admitted into the public relations major. There was a for-sure a huge difference in the quality of my communications work for the Neuroscience Program before and after I started taking classes in Grady. Being in Grady has really elevated my value at my job – my superiors really respect what I have to say about our communication strategy, and thanks to that I get a lot of agency in what I do for the program.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I would say that winning second place in my Model UN committee at NYU’s collegiate competition. It was my first time winning an award at a Model UN competition, and I know it’s kind of lame to say it, but I beat out this person from Harvard in my room. At the beginning of the weekend I wasn’t sure I had it in me.

Do you have a go-to restaurant in Athens?

My go-to restaurant in Athens is Tlaloc. On the surface they are a Mexican place with great prices and great food, but they also serve a lot of the Salvadoran cuisine that I grew up with, so going there always feels like getting a little taste of home.

Summer plans?

Right now, I’m still on the hunt for internships! I hope to stay in Athens again for the summer.

All-time favorite video game?

My favorite video game is an indie classic from 2004 called Cave Story. It holds a special place in my heart because it came into my life at just the right time – I’ve been playing it again recently and it holds up really well!

10th Anniversary PRSSA D.C. agency tour allows students to network and learn

Editor’s note: Anna Alyssa McKoy and Jessica Twine are two of the Yarbrough–Grady Fellows for spring semester. McKoy and Twine attended the PRSSA D.C. Agency Tour with their fellow PRSSA members.   

At the end of January, the two of us and seven of our fellow PRSSA members ventured to Washington, D.C., on the 10th Anniversary PRSSA D.C. Agency Tour. We were able to network with PR professionals, communicators and government officials while in D.C. Our peers, accompanied by Victoria Cooper and Bryan Reber visited the American Red Cross, Edelman, Weber Shandwick, Finn Partners and Porter Novelli.   

On the last day of the trip, each student shadowed at an agency or with a government official.  

This trip provided a unique opportunity as each visit allowed us to get a glimpse of the agencies’ cultures through company overviews, Q&A sessions with employees from different positions and tours of the office spaces. It also allowed us to get a feel for the city, where many of us are thinking of living in D.C. after graduation.   

“I knew that I wanted to work in D.C. at some point following graduation, but after visiting and experiencing the tours, city, networking, etc., I knew it was the city for me,” remarked Chis Shea a graduate in the 4+1 program. “I learned a wide variety of tips from professionals ranging from non-profit, agency, govt. Offices, gained countless networking opportunities with UGA grads and industry professionals and realized if you want to work in public affairs, there is no better place to be.”   

On our first day in D.C., we learned about crisis communications from Peter Macias, director of communications for the Armed Forces division. His career and life tips inspired the whole group. At the end of the visit, the entire group completed a media training workshop that concluded with a mock press conference. This was a highlight of the visit as it was interesting to gain hands-on experience in the crisis communications world.   

Later that day, we visited Edelman where two recent Grady alumni work, Emily Johnson (ABJ’17) and Annie Swenson (ABJ’15). Emily and Annie led us in a crisis communications simulation that Edelman does with their own clients. The group also met with different employees at Edelman for resume critiques. Both experiences at the Red Cross and Edelman allowed us to get real-world application of public relations.  

 The next day, our first visit was to Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick. There we were given a presentation on the different specialty practices that Weber works in. Our next stop was to Finn Partners where we met with Grady Alumna, Hadley Dreibelbis (ABJ’14). In addition to learning more about the agency and her role in the higher education sectors, Hadley shared her career journey to joining Finn Partners and how her participation in the D.C. agency tour was influential in her decision to join the agency. To conclude our day, we visited Porter Novelli and learned about the different clients that the D.C. office specializes in.    

On the last day of the trip, each of us shadowed at a different professional in their office. Some of the group shadowed in traditional agencies like Weber Shandwick, Ketchum and MSL Group while others in the group shadowed in governmental offices like the U.S State Department and with Rep. Buddy Carter.   

“Shadowing at the U.S. Department was one of the most exciting opportunities that I have ever had! I was able to get insight on some of the day-to-day operations from a PR standpoint.  It was an amazing experience being able to clip different video clips, preparing tweets and attending the morning meeting,” said Ivy Smith, a fourth-year public relations major. “By observing a day in the life of a PR Professional, I learned what the job is really like. Not only did the Washington, D.C. tour show me what work life was like in different types of PR agencies, it allowed me to build a network among people who work in the D.C. area. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity.”  

Later that night, we were able to network with Grady alumni in D.C. This experience was special because we could ask questions about their jobs in a personal environment. Betty Jones and Reber spoke on the impact of the trip for the students. Jones organized the 10th Anniversary agency tour this year and we, as students, were appreciative for her planning.  

“It was my privilege to direct the Washington DC Agency Tour for seven years,” reflected Jones. “I am immensely grateful for all the program alumni and other professionals in Washington who hosted our students and shared their time and expertise with them for the past 10 years. I look forward to seeing the tour go forward under the leadership of Victoria Cooper.” 

Know the Five UGA makes mental health a priority at UGA

Mental health literacy becomes a common topic of conversation at the University of Georgia thanks, in part, to the efforts of a public relations campaign to decrease the stigma surrounding emotional suffering on campus. The campaign, Know the Five UGA, has worked in combination with several student organizations, including the Student Government Association and the Public Relations Student Society of America—Drewry Chapter. Together, they have collected more than 500 pledges, gathered a robust social media following and hosted several successful campus events since launching on February 15.

Their benefit concert alone, “Nuçi’s Knows the Five”, held February 28 at Nuçi’s Space attracted nearly a hundred attendees and raised $525 for mental health awareness. Featuring live performances by local artists Son and Thief, Hill Elliott and Tommy Trautwein, the event created an open, positive dialogue about mental health in the local community through music.

“The concert was so fun,” said Hill Elliott, 21, of Roswell, Georgia. “I can always get behind performing for people when I see eye-to-eye with everyone in the room about a certain issue. In this case, we all shared a focus on raising awareness for mental health. It just felt right.”

Concert attendee, Bailey Smith, 21, of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, said, “Combining a concert and a social issue was a great way to make it easy to talk about a difficult topic.”

Know the Five UGA believes that understanding the five signs of emotional suffering—personality change, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care, and hopelessness—is an important first step in mental health literacy. With this knowledge, people can help prevent pain and suffering and get those in need the help they deserve.

“Our emotional well-being should be valued just as much as our physical well-being,” said Jordan Calhoun, 22, of Kennesaw, Georgia, and one of the coordinators for Know the Five. “Sometimes the battle for mental health awareness can feel like a losing one. Our concert proved to me that people care about breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness and want to learn how to better care for themselves and their friends. Seeing people care about the five is nothing short of humbling, inspiring and encouraging.”

Know the Five UGA encourages everyone to take the next step in becoming an advocate for mental health. Sign the pledge to know the five signs online at knowthefiveuga.com.

Know the Five UGA is a student-run, independently organized campaign benefitting the Campaign to Change Direction. The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness of the five signs of emotional suffering and increase mental health literacy within the Athens-Clarke County community. For more information: please visit knowthefiveuga.com or email knowthefiveUGA@gmail.com.


Update 6/30/16

The UGA Know the Five campaign earned an Honorable Mention by PRSSA National.