In October 2015, the UGA Alumni Association launched the UGA Black Alumni Affinity Group, which is led by the Black Alumni Leadership Council. Raymond Phillips (BS ’12) is president of the Black Alumni Leadership Council. In this role, Phillips leads strategy and determines how best to engage graduates and connect them back to the university and its mission. We recently interviewed Phillips to learn more about his UGA experience and what drives him to stay connected to the University of Georgia.
When did you graduate from UGA and what did you do after college?
I graduated from UGA with a bachelor of science in computer science in 2012, and immediately began working for an IT consulting firm, CTS, in Atlanta. In fall 2016, I returned to UGA to pursue my MBA through Terry College of Business’ Professional MBA program in Buckhead.
How did you get involved with the Alumni Association?
After graduation, I met Realenn Watters, associate director of alumni outreach, for a birthday dinner. While there, I expressed that I wanted to be more involved with the university, particularly, since I was so heavily involved as an undergraduate. She explained that the UGA Alumni Association had a multicultural steering committee, which was the catalyst for the Black Alumni Leadership Council, and asked if I would like to join. I jumped at the chance, and I am so happy that I did. The work I have done with the UGA Alumni Association has been one of the best things to happen to me.
Which Black Alumni Affinity Group event are you most proud of?
This is the hardest question you could ever ask. I would have to say it was our fundraising event at American Spirit Whiskey. It was a great way to learn how whiskey is made, interact with fellow alumni and university staff, as well as raise funds for the Black Alumni Scholarship Fund. Additionally, it was great to support a business owned by a UGA alumnus.
How has serving on the Black Alumni Leadership Council benefited you?
Although I am in my career, I believe that everyone needs a mentor at every stage of life. Serving on the Black Alumni Leadership Council has provided me with mentors that have provided guidance in my personal and professional life. The council has reconnected me to the university and reinforced my love of the University of Georgia, which prompted me to enroll in the Terry Professional MBA program.
What is the most important thing you learned as a student?
The importance of time management! It may be a cliché, but it is true. I had many interests and had a habit of committing to things without thinking twice. I have always gotten through it by managing my time. During undergrad, I used my Google calendar to keep track of where I needed to be, events that I wanted to attend, and tests for which I needed study. It really helped me to stay organized.
What is one piece of advice you would give to UGA students?
Do not be afraid to expose yourself to opportunities that place you outside of your comfort zone. Those opportunities will provide growth and help you identify a passion, or apathy, that you didn’t know you had for something.
UGA is committed to its students and mission as a land and sea grant university. What is your commitment?
My commitment is to support and mentor UGA students in whatever way that I can— I have made monetary donations, sat on panels and served as a mentor. I am involved because I want students to be able to connect with alumni that can provide guidance– something I wish I had as I completed my undergraduate studies.