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.
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.
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.