#ProfilesofTenacity: Sydney Phillips

What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

Getting to be a part of the Honors in Washington 2021 cohort and be a communications intern on Capitol Hill, and then being selected to stay in DC through the Washington Semester Program have definitely been my proudest moments of this year. 

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

In today’s world, information is everything, and I chose my major because I love getting to shape media narratives in positive, beneficial ways that inform our public. So many people outside of Grady think journalism is the only major where students get to tell stories. They’re completely wrong. Every major here is about telling a story, we just do it in very different ways.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about people. Sounds simple, but I love getting to know people, I love telling their stories and I love advocating for them. Being in Grady has given me a space and a voice to do that. 

What is an example of a time you used your studies and skills in a real-world experience?

Working on the Hill this summer felt like the perfect culmination of all my Grady studies and experiences. Every time I was assigned a task by my communications director, I was able to get to work right away because I knew exactly what to do and how to do it. That’s all because of Grady and the professors here who helped me build the practical skills I needed to compile press clips, build a media list or write a press release. 

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

A secret passion of mine is filmmaking! It isn’t something that I’ve ever mentioned to my friends or mentors but I’d love to produce a film one day. 

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The honors community at UGA has had the biggest impact on me during my time at UGA. Aside from being in Grady, the Morehead Honors College is another academic space where I thrived. It was a springboard for me to leap into so many other opportunities and connected me to friends and mentors who have inspired me, challenged me and educated me on so many issues here at UGA and around Athens. 

Who is your professional hero?

Yvette Noel-Schure! She’s Beyoncé’s publicist and an all-around icon. I deeply admire and am inspired by Black women in media and PR spaces, and she’s just one example of a woman on top of her game. Honorable mention to Olivia Pope, main character on Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal.   

Where is your favorite place on campus and why? 

I think we can all agree Snelling Dining Hall is the place to be. There’s not another place on campus where you can find students studying, sleeping, sharing a meal, having a meeting or singing karaoke all at one time. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

At UGA’s annual leadership conference my freshman year, there was a keynote speaker who gave the best advice I’ve heard in a while, and I heed it almost every single day. He said, “If you eat your frogs in the morning, the rest will go down easy. But if you don’t devour your frog it will turn into a fire breathing dragon.” Those words just remind me to tackle my toughest tasks first and not be afraid to dive in and really attack the day. 

PhD student Xuerong Lu wins 2021 IPR-Ketchum Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research

Public relations PhD student Xuerong Lu was recently announced as the winner of the 2021 IPR-Ketchum Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research. The award honors the work of a public relations scholar and helps them connect their research to public relations practice in the professional setting.

“I was on cloud nine for several hours,” Lu said. “I called my parents who were in China and proudly told them I won it.”

Lu’s research focus is crisis communication. Specifically, she examines how organizations communicate crises to audiences on social media when conflicting information exists.

The award links Lu to a legacy of renounced public relations scholars, including two members of the Grady College faculty. María Len-Ríos, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, won the same award in 2000 and Bryan Reber, Advertising and Public Relations Department Head, won it in 1999.

“I’m glad that Ketchum continues to support this award,” Reber said. “I received it more than 20 years ago and it’s exciting to have one of our own earn the honor and experience of the Bartholomew Award. I’m glad to have Xuerong in the fraternity of winners of this award.”

“It’s a huge inspiration for me,” said Lu. “Dr. Reber and Dr. Len-Ríos are big names in the PR field. It was my dream to have my name listed with their name somewhere one day.”

In her research, Lu worked with Yan Jin, AdPR Assistant Department Head, on a study published by Public Relations Review that focused on how information is vetted when be used to manage crisis communication. Jin, who also serves as Lu’s faculty advisor and dissertation chair, also guided Lu through the IPR-Ketchum Award application process.

“Xuerong’s passion for advancing communication theory and practice via social and behavioral scientific research is remarkable,” Jin said. “As doctoral student, Xuerong has published in some of the top journals in our field and received external research funding, with extensive experience of leading projects and collaborating with scholars and practitioners in the U.S. and worldwide. She is bright, diligent, optimistic, creative and perseverant.”

Lu says the experience with a leading global public relations agency gives her greater perspective on the field of public relations.

“Such experience really opened my eyes to the PR industry, which is also really helpful to my own PR research,” Lu said. “It helps me to rethink “so what” questions in a deeper and wider manner when doing my own research.”

Lu plans to pursue a faculty position at a research university to continue her passion and contributions to scholarly work in public relations and crisis communication.

You can learn more about the Bartholomew Award and see the full list of previous winners at their website.

Grady InternViews: Sara Camuso

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.A graphic saying Camuso is a public relations major working as a Corporate Communications Intern at Georgia Ports Authority from Garden City, GA

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

I work in the Corporate Communications office for Georgia Ports Authority so every day can look a little different from the next! I have been able to sit in on meetings to discuss event planning, take and edit photos out on the terminals, and I am currently writing two stories that will be featured in their annual employee magazine, “Great People in Action.” What I am most proud of is that I created a tagline for merchandise that will be distributed to employees soon!

It is in-person every day. It is a little challenging waking up early, but it is nice to have interaction face-to-face with people every day!  

How is your internship affecting the ideas you have about your future?
Camuso in a hard hat and yellow construction vest standing on the ship
Camuso says she will look back and remember the cool experiences from her internship, such as when she went up in a ship-to-shore crane. (Photo: submitted)

Being in a real communications environment has helped me see a bigger picture of what I would like to do one day. It is nice to see what I have learned in classes play a role in this work setting.

What is the most valuable lesson or skill you have learned during your internship?

How to interact in a corporate setting, along with how the ports work in general. They are the powerhouses of moving commerce in Georgia and it is fascinating to see it happen in person here every day, and it also helps you appreciate how all your everyday basic goods move to the shelves you buy them on!  

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job? 

I have done a lot of writing here and if it wasn’t for JOUR3190 with Lori Johnston that I took last semester, I would have been very behind! I am more than thankful for that class and her now being in this internship.  

What has been the most memorable experience you have had during your internship so far?
Camuso in black pants and a black blouse standing with a ship in the background
Camuso says she was able to tour a ship at work and narrate a Facebook Live from inside. (Photo: submitted)

The largest vessel to come to the Port of Savannah, the CMA CGM Marco Polo, docked in Savannah my second week here. We held a huge event with press and many other state and local-elected officials to commemorate it. I was able to tour the ship as well as narrate a Facebook Live from inside!

Grady InternViews: Ciara Pysczynski

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities. Graphic explains Pysczynski is a public relations and theatre major working as a Film PR Intern and Communications Intern at both PR Collaborative and NP Agency both remotely and in-person in Washington, D.C.

With both of my internships, my primary duty is basically filling in the gaps — helping out with big tasks and taking on smaller ones. There isn’t too much consistency to my day beyond showing up! At NP Agency, I get to write a lot of social copy, and I’ve also compiled clips, transcribed press calls and pitched journalists. At PR Collaborative, I’ve tracked media hits for a major film festival, identified images to share with the press and conducted research on journalists and other organizations.

I have one position that’s fully remote with only one regular staff meeting each week, and then one fully in-person, where I see my co-workers/bosses every day. With NP, I’m on the clock from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, but unless a press call or other time-sensitive task comes up, I get to decide how I structure my day. My internship with PRC has a bit more structure to it. On Thursday and Friday, my day starts with our meetings at 10, and then I’m given my assignment(s) for the day. My first-ever internship was in the middle of the pandemic last semester, so I’ve been so grateful to experience in-person work. 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Pysczynski posing outside Delta Hall
Pysczynski poses outside Delta Hall in Washington, D.C. where she is working in-person for PR Collaborative. (Photo: submitted)

In all honesty, the biggest challenge I’ve faced has been myself. Through my work this summer, I’ve discovered I like work that is a) creative or b) made up of very clear, discrete steps. So, things like writing tweets or filling in a spreadsheet. Tasks that are neither of those things – that are really open-ended and don’t allow me to be creative, like a research assignment – are much more difficult. Especially while working from home, where something much more engaging is only a tap away and I don’t have my boss in the next room, I’ve found it at times incredibly challenging to stay on task. That said, I’m learning strategies to deal with that and keep myself focused, because I know this won’t be the last time in my career that I have to complete less engaging duties.

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job?

My coursework at Grady has given me a lot of confidence in my writing and approach to PR. I have to give a special shoutout to Tom Cullen and his PR Communications class, because I learned so much in that course that I refer back to, from press release guidelines to AP Style rules. If I don’t think my social copy would get me an ‘A’ in that class, I know it needs more work!

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role?

Don’t underestimate yourself. When I first started writing social copy for NP, I thought it was so terrible. Like I thought they were going to send it back to me absolutely torn to shreds. But everyone seemed to be pretty happy with it! Make no mistake, my work still gets a lot of edits, but that’s the nature of the business. You might have used the wrong dash or not known a client-specific style rule, but you probably have the right idea with the concept, which, in my opinion, is the most important thing. And even if you do write some absolutely abysmal copy, it is NOT the end of the world, and your boss will NOT think you are stupid. Everyone does that sometimes.

What lessons will you take back with you to Athens in the fall?

Pyscznski sitting in front of a laptop at her desk
Pysczynski works remotely for her role with NP Agency. (Photo: submitted)

I have a lot more confidence in my ability to do this work now, and a much better idea of how I fit into the world of PR. As I finish out my Grady coursework, I’ll be able to think about how the work I’m doing would fit in the context of what I did at NP and PRC and be able to understand and apply the lessons more fully. I’ve also learned a lot about myself and what I’m interested in, which I think is the most important part of any internship experience. I know I want to focus more on my copywriting beyond social, and on longer-form writing in general. I’ve learned I like working for a smaller agency/team, and that I am (as I suspected), most engaged and inspired when I’m applying that second major and working in the entertainment industry.

PAC Student Spotlight: Summer 2021

This summer, 11 Public Affairs Communications students lived and worked in the nation’s capital. They participated in the GradyDC program, where University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication students live and take classes in Delta Hall for about 10 weeks.

Here are some profiles of our PAC program students who had the ultimate summer experience.

Molly Sikes
  • Fourth-year Journalism and Political Science double major
  • Communications and Research Intern at the Republican National Committee
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

Without PAC, I would not be prepared to write Op-Eds or LTEs. I was asked to do this almost immediately, and I am so thankful for my PAC experience for preparing me for this. Dr. Watson’s advice and tips as well about how to make connections in D.C. have been influential in my time here.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

My advice is to say yes to everything! Even if you are unsure if you are qualified, skilled enough or knowledgeable enough, give everything a chance because you are more than likely more than qualified enough and will excel.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

My favorite part of D.C. has been living in the center of American politics. I love knowing what happens right as it happens and being around others who also love politics and have the same passions that I have.

 

Carolyn McLain
  • Fourth-year Political Science and Public Relations double major
  • Federal Relations Fellow at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (remote)
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

I think PAC helped me better understand the language and writing styles I am using in this fellowship. It taught me how to apply my writing skills to the political and legislative scene in a concise fashion.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

If you want to work in the political or government communications landscape, most definitely apply for the PAC certificate! It has provided me with so many opportunities I may not have otherwise had, and the small cohort gives you a chance to get to know other people and the speakers that come in to talk to you, which is so important. The PAC certificate classes are so fun and interesting, and it opens the door for you to also come to do the Grady DC program!

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

It has been so cool to live in another city for a summer and explore and learn while I am here. It has been an experience like no other. I love getting to feel like a local and experience every part of DC, because it is such a cool city. This summer program is especially cool because you have built-in friends at Delta Hall, and you get to have that piece of UGA in DC. DC also has so much history, so the American history nerd in me is thriving.

 

Caroline Kurzawa
  • Fourth-year Journalism major
  • Integrated Communications Intern for Enterprise Operations at Lockheed Martin (remote)
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

The writing and strategic thinking skills I have learned through the PAC program made it much easier to start my position and anticipate what my supervisors were expecting of me.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

Apply anyway. Not sure if you’ll get it? Apply anyway. Take the risk because the education you are receiving will support your goals. To students considering the PAC program: this program is one of a kind and will provide you with the kind of skills that employers in the public affairs realm need. Professor Watson brings his real-world experience and knowledge to the classroom to prepare you for your future.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

The energy! There is always something to do and places to see. This is a great place for young professionals who want to be at the heart of public affairs.

 

Chandler Rebel
  • Third-year Journalism and Political Science double major
  • Communications Intern at the Institute for Energy Research
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

I feel that the PAC certificate has more than prepared me. I have a long way to go before writing flawlessly, but I have learned to do so adequately through the program. It has also contributed to being able to adapt with an ever-changing political environment.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

By all means, do it! You have to have an attitude that desires personal growth and an invaluable opportunity. These internships, along with the PAC certificate, are the perfect way to continue this growth.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

My favorite part about living and working in DC would have to be the friends I have had the chance of making along the way. And also an occasional Washington Nationals game.

 

Kayla Roberson
  • Fourth-year Journalism and Political Science double major
  • Press Intern at the United States House of Representatives
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

The PAC certificate has prepared me for this job by teaching me the practical skills I need to work in political communications. Skills like writing press releases, op-eds, social media posts, and creating graphics were all skills that I learned in my PAC classes that I have used as a part of my role on the Hill.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

If you’re thinking about getting a PAC certificate, don’t think about it anymore, just do it! Getting to learn about political communications under the guidance of Professor Watson has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had UGA.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

There are so many things I have loved about living in D.C. this summer, but every time I walk past the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court on my way to work in the mornings, I am overwhelmed by the fact that I have the opportunity to assist a member of Congress as they serve their Constituents in Washington.

 

Jake Strickland
  • Fourth-year Public Relations and Political Science double major
  • Digital Media and Marketing Intern at Human Rights Campaign (Remote)
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

The PAC certificate has prepared me for my internship by strengthening my writing skills, while also giving me insights into how to network with people.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

For other students looking to take on a similar role, I would say don’t be nervous to try something new within your internship. If they’re considering a PAC certificate, I would say go for it – it’s one of the best decisions I made in college!

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

My favorite part about living and working in DC has been the access to networking. There are so many people here (particularly UGA people) that have helped shine a light on what I want to pursue, and I’m truly thankful for that.

Grady InternViews: Amari Tillman

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities. A graphic explaining Tillman is pursuing an M.A. in Integrated Advertising and Public Relations and working as a Strategy Intern for Weber Shandwick NYC remotely

I am working remotely at Weber Shandwick NYC as a Strategy Intern. I use analytics tools and syndicated data for social listening and market overview respectively based on the research plan developed by the project lead. The strategy team touches base a few times in the research process to establish areas of interest or improvement in the data. Once the research is conducted, the strategy works together to come up with a cohesive strategy to present to the creative team.

I am interning through MAIP, which connected me with Weber Shandwick. The internship is remote – it took some adjusting at first but I have grown to like it. I get to research in the quiet of my home without any distractions. Much of the correspondence is done through Microsoft Teams so meetings and organization have been a breeze. 

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job?

I’ve done many projects that dealt with campaigns and from start to finish. This helped to better understand the relationship between research and creative as well as always keeping KPI’s and budgeting in mind.

What is the most memorable experience you have had during your internship?

Both MAIP and Weber Shandwick NYC have the interns work on (hypothetical) campaigns that is shown to the agency. It’s very reminiscent of days in Grady when we had campaign projects we worked on throughout the semester and is super fun to do. As a strategist, your role in creative execution is limited but doing a campaign from scratch is fun as you get to bring many of your ideas to life. Since it’s hypothetical, the sky is the limit!

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role?

The analytics or software certifications and research you do for classes helps a lot with the role. It helps to have fundamental knowledge in how to conduct research and ask meaningful questions because it will help you think like a strategist.

Grady InternViews: Valentina Drake

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities. Walk me through a typical day.

I’m currently working at Georgia Power Company as a social media intern. Our headquarters are in Atlanta, G.A. but I’m currently working remote. My internship responsibilities include strategizing social media posts for two out of the six content pillars, taking ownership of the value channel calendar, working with the brand strategy team, brainstorming new campaign concepts and executing my ideas. Everyday looks different depending on where we are in our calendar. Right now, we are in Q3, so we are really trying to drive up our J.D. Power score. J.D. Power rates utility companies based on key messages like reliability, billing, rates, customer service and more. My typical day includes waking up, checking emails and prioritizing my tasks for the day. I can do anything from working in our social media calendar deck to updating our vegetation management creative brief to analyzing a media flowchart and inputting that information into our value channel calendar. I also love to sit in on meetings that don’t necessarily pertain to my job but clarify the brand on a holistic level. For example, I’ll be a fly on the wall during our economic development meetings, media relations or email strategy. I learn a lot from just listening and taking it all in. 

How is it structured? Is it remote or in-person and what has that been like?
A view of buildings
Drake’s view from her office. (Photo: submitted)

There are four social media interns, including myself. We report to either the brand strategist or the digital media manager. I absolutely love my higher ups, and they are both Grady alumni! Since I also work with the brand strategy team, I have weekly one-on-one’s with the brand strategy manager. I am in the corporate communications department where there are several different teams like media relations, internal communication, public relations, brand strategy and more. If we were in person, we’d be on the top floor with an amazing view. The different areas may technically be separate, but we all work together to make Georgia Power the best brand it can be. My job can be fully done remote and I don’t mind working in my pajamas. That being said, I’ve gone in-person twice and can’t wait to be back. I have met all these people through Teams, I want to meet them in-person and get to know them a bit better. We are thinking that it’ll be a hybrid remote / in-person situation once the pandemic is over. 

What has been the biggest growth you’ve experienced so far?

My biggest growth is my creativity. I brainstorm new ideas every day and this role has really pushed me in terms of how I think. My company posts almost every day, that’s a lot of content! It takes time, effort and new ideas to keep the stories engaging and fun for our customers. Sometimes topics like energy efficiency and rebates can be boring, but we try and figure out how to make it interesting. Once you have the idea and it’s been approved, you must execute. In creative fields, there can be a lot of talk, but you must act on the idea or else nothing is going to happen. That’s my other area of growth, execution. I’ve seen many of my ideas come to fruition because I pushed and advocated for them to come alive. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your ideas and make it happen!

What is the most memorable experience you have had during your internship? Tell us a story if you have one!
Drake and the other interns standing in front of a lake in white t-shirts under blue sunny skies
Drake and the other Georgia Power interns at Lake Oconee. (Photo: submitted)

My most memorable experience during my internship must be when I got to be in a Georgia Power commercial. All the social media interns as well as some line workers from the citizens chapter drove to Lake Oconee for a commercial shoot. We staged a volunteer lake clean up event for our sustainability commercial. My role included carrying the soil, planting a tree, picking up trash, etc. I haven’t seen the commercial yet, so hopefully they got a good close up of me (just kidding). It was incredibly cool to see the level of production that goes into shooting a commercial. Our clip is probably five seconds long, and it took two hours to film. How crazy! 

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job?

Grady has given me the tools to succeed in this role. From being a leader in PRSSA, to networking at meetings, to working with clients in Talking Dog, Grady has given me everything to be successful. I wouldn’t have this job without Grady. I met my current manager at a PRSSA meeting during my junior year of college. I added them on LinkedIn and followed up when I saw a job posting. My biggest advocate was my PRSSA advisor and campaigns professor, Kim Landrum. She really believed in me and put in a good word to the hiring manager. I am forever thankful to Kim and everyone at Grady for helping me get to where I am today. 

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role?

My biggest advice is to network, network, network! Your professors, speakers at your clubs, and faculty members are very connected in the industry. Don’t be shy and reach out. you’ll be surprised how many people want to help aspiring young professionals. You just have to go for it, you’ll never know what will happen unless you do.

Alumni Who Podcast: Heather Adams

Editor’s note: This is an example of many different podcasts our alumni produce. Visit our Alumni Who Podcast Pinterest page for a full list.

Heather Adams (ABJ ‘98) has not only proven she’s a PR expert by starting her own company, Choice Media Communications, but she also has entered the podcasting realm with Make Me Known to deepen her skills and expertise. 

Make Me Known has four key pillars the podcast focuses on: communications expertise, entrepreneurship, empowering women and leadership, and relationships. (Photo: submitted)

In the weekly podcast, Adams talks with guests and shares “professional insights, encouragement and practical advice” about all things communications, relationships, entrepreneurship and empowering women, according to her website.

Following graduation from Grady, Adams immediately entered the communications industry. Her work took her from Atlanta to Nashville, where she currently lives with her family.

Adams launched Choice in 2014.

“We started out doing a whole lot of book publicity because that was my background, that’s what I knew, that’s what I was good at and what I love. And then we evolved and grew from there,” she said. “And we really do a lot of different kinds of communications services based on the need of the client. Publicity and media relations is certainly our bread and butter.”

While Adams has seen her company grow in the past seven years, she says she has been able to further refine her skills. In 2019, Adams said she realized that podcasting was coming into the conversation and she wanted to advise her clients on how to take advantage of the up-and-coming medium. While she could tell it was something worth looking into, Adams was relatively unfamiliar with it.

Adams said she wanted to know the ins-and-outs of podcasting, so she decided to start her own.

“When you’re a communications expert, and there’s a format that’s really permeating the culture, you want to make sure that you have your finger on the pulse of it, so it was for us to know the ins and outs of everything connected to a podcast,” she said. “It sets us up as the experts in our industry.”

Adams said creating a podcast would help her clients realize that Choice employees knew what they were talking about when it came to best practices and the inner-workings of podcasting. Additionally, she describes it as a “business development tool and lead generator” that brings clients to Choice who many not have heard about the company before listening to the podcast. 

Before long, Adams and her team had created a podcast called This Intentional Life in June 2020. After reflecting on the podcast, it’s successes and it’s areas for improvement, Adams decided to revamp it. 

“People liked it and they enjoyed the content and we had great engagement and they loved the guests that we had and they thought we were fun and all of that, but it wasn’t ultimately serving the purpose that we had created it for,” Adams said. 

Now a year later, the series is rebranded and has relaunched as Make Me Known. While the elements are similar to the original elements, the biggest difference is a specific core focus on four pillars: communications expertise, entrepreneurship, empowering women and leadership, and relationships. 

Adams says this key focus is based on Choice’s ideal client: a busy, ambitious, working woman who juggles a successful work life with her personal relationships. 

“What we’re trying to do is equip her with the tools that she needs to go and be successful in work and in life and the dynamics of the two, but growing her business and her career, while managing the strong quality of life that she desires at home,” Adams said. “And so we develop all of the content through one of those four pillars with that ideal woman in mind of who we want listening to Make Me Known so that we are deliberately and intentionally serving her.”

Through this podcast, Adams says she’s successfully become an expert in the medium. From learning how to interview to going after and securing guests to creating, producing and taping episodes, she’s seen it all. 

“We intend fully to grow and enhance our offerings as the podcast grows and continues to evolve, and it being just one format and avenue or channel with which we’re trying to serve the women that are our ideal client choice.”

Listen to Make Me Known on Apple Podcasts.

Countdown to the Olympic Games: Dick Yarbrough

This year officially marks 25 years since the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. These games have gone down in history for bringing international attention to the south and also for the tragic bombing in Centennial Park. 

University of Georgia broadcast journalism graduate Dick Yarbrough was instrumental in planning these Games and in the subsequent crisis management after the bombing. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Atlanta Games, Yarbrough has re-released his book And They Call Them Games detailing his experience. 

He served as managing director for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games from 1993-1996 where he was responsible for media relations and government relations. Yarbrough worked hard for three years alongside his team to ensure that the United States — and the state of Georgia — was prepared to host an event with as great a magnitude as the Olympics while the entire world was watching. 

While there were certainly stressful times that came along with the Games and the planning, Yarbrough says this time in his life was filled with fond memories.

A page from Yarbrough’s book.

“There were many. Seeing the Olympic Flame lit in the ancient city of Olympia. Having the opportunity to travel to many countries across the globe. Watching young Olympic athletes interacting with each other in the Olympic Village, not caring about their own countries’ political positions,” he remembered. “It was brought home to me that no matter how well an athlete fared in their competition, they were and always would be known as Olympians. I was also heartened by the enthusiasm of the five million who attended the Games and the 50,000 volunteers who showed everyone the true meaning of the term ‘Southern Hospitality.”

After the Games had ended, Yarbrough said he kept waiting for someone to write a book about everything that had happened, from the idea to host the Olympics in Atlanta to the planning stages to the fruits of the ACOG’s labors to the bombing. 

While working on the planning committee, Yarbrough recorded tapes of what had happened each day on the way to and from work. His habit of documenting everything had been reinforced by his career, which had him regularly visiting the White House, working with Congress, navigating “high-profile issues” and traveling the globe.

“After the Games, it became clear no one was planning to do a book on the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games,” Yarbrough said. “I asked if I would be interested in taking on the project. With 82 tapes as a resource, I produced the book in roughly six months.”

Yarbrough’s book is available for purchase on Amazon. (Graphic by Sam Perez)

His goal for his book is that readers would see the complexity surrounding the planning and staging of the Olympics. As for the name, And They Call Them Games, Yarbrough says it holds a very intentional meaning.

“It is easy to forget that the Olympics are a chance for nations to put aside their differences for even a brief period and allow people to engage in peaceful competition,” he explained. “With all the politics, money, controversy, special interests involved, the title was meant as a dig at those who forget that.”

Dick Yarbrough graduated from Grady College in 1959 and has gone on to accomplish many impressive achievements. Most recently, he has been named Georgia’s most widely-syndicated columnist with his name appearing regularly in over 40 newspapers across the state. 

“The Georgia Press Association has recognized my column with first place awards for humor, although a number of politicians would like a recount. They don’t find me that funny,” he said. 

Throughout his exciting — and impressive — career, Yarbrough has managed to stay connected to his alma mater. He served as president of UGA’s National Alumni Association, received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995, was recognized as an Outstanding Alumnus and Fellow of the College at Grady, has the C. Richard Yarbrough Laboratory named in his honor and established the C. Richard Yarbrough Chair in Crisis Communications Leadership

“I owe more to Grady than I have the words to express,” he said. “A chance internship led to a job in radio upon graduation. That led to an opportunity to join Southern Bell as a public relations manager. Twenty year later, I was a corporate vice president of BellSouth Corporation.  Having developed a reputation for crisis management, I was offered a once-in-lifetime opportunity to become a managing director of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.  And it all started with a dedicated faculty who saw some merit in a raw kid from East Point, Georgia.”

The revenue from Yarbrough’s column goes toward fellowships for students at Grady. He also funds the Crisis Communications professorship under the leadership of Dr. Bryan Reber, which he says is a “small effort to repay Grady for all it has meant to me and done for me.”

You can buy his book on Amazon here

Editor’s Note: This feature was written by Sam Perez, a 2021 Yarbrough Fellow in the Grady College Department of Communication. As part of the fellowship, she is helping market the re-release of Yarbrough’s book.

Grady InternViews: Jake Strickland

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

My days usually start with a check-in with my supervisor Curtis, who is actually a UGA alum (B.A. ‘13). This is when I get my assignments for the day. Assignments have included social media drafting (my favorite), content tracking, rapid response, comment monitoring and website building. I also have meetings throughout the day, and Intern Brown Bags where I get to know about different departments in HRC. All in all, my days usually run 9-5.

My internship is remote. Although I wish I was working in HRC headquarters, I am able to do everything from my laptop – including networking! I’ve added several people on LinkedIn and met several others at intern networking events.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge has been capturing the voice of HRC when I draft social. I’m always elated when my drafts get approved, but it definitely has taken some adjusting. 

Strickland waving his HRC flag in front of the Supreme Court. (Photo: submitted)
What is the most memorable experience you have had during your internship?

The most memorable part of my internship has been the day that the Supreme Court handed down the Foster v. City of Philadelphia decision. This case involved the protection of LGBTQ+ families, and so HRC had a stake in the outcome. I rushed down to the Supreme Court for a rally that HRC was having, which was an incredible experience. I heard several people speak and proudly waved my HRC flag in front of the Supreme Court.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role? 

Match the company culture. Being an intern can be nerve racking, but don’t be a robot – be someone co-workers want to converse with, because this will only increase the chance of you networking and landing a job! 

What lessons will you take back with you to Athens in the fall?
Although his internship is remote, Strickland is working from Delta Hall in Washington, D.C. as part of GradyDC. (Photo: submitted)

The biggest skill that I will take to Athens is time management. HRC works at a very fast pace, and I’m appreciative for the opportunity to get my work out at a rapid pace. I am also increasingly confident in my LGBTQ+ identity, and feel more confident advocating for my community in the future.