by Jessica Twine
The University of Georgia’s Alumni Association annually recognizes outstanding alumni who have made an impact in their careers through its 40 Under 40 program. Grady College is proud to have seven honorees in the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018: Brooke Bowen (ABJ ‘07, JD ‘10), Chase Cain (ABJ ’05), Meredith Dean (ABJ ‘14), Josh Delaney (ABJ’11, AB ‘11), Ivey Evans (ABJ ’06, BBA ’06, MBA ‘13), Quanza Griffin (ABJ ‘01) and Lauren Pearson (ABJ ‘02).
Selections were based on the graduates’ commitment to a lifelong relationship with UGA and their impact in business, leadership, community, artistic, research, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors. The 2018 Class will be honored at the award ceremony on Sept. 13 at the Georgia Aquarium.
Grady College will release profiles of the winners leading up to the awards ceremony.
Name: Meredith Dean
Graduation Year: 2014
Current Occupation: Founder, The Dean’s List and program coordinator, Seacrest Studios
How did Grady College help prepare you for your career?
Without Grady, I never would have learned any of the tech skills (especially Adobe Creative Suite) needed to start my digital branding company, The Dean’s List, or developed nearly as many professional connections for my career. The New Media Institute taught me the importance of knowing how to code and use graphic design while the broadcasting curriculum prepared me immensely for becoming the media professional I am today. Thanks to the faculty and staff that share their plethora of real life experience, every lesson or concept that I learned in the classroom actually translated into the real world. I am eternally grateful to Grady and can’t imagine what life would have been like if I picked a different school.
What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students/young professionals?
Grady will give you endless opportunities if you take advantage of the vast alumni network we have. You can go to any state and find a home with a Grady connection. When I worked in New York City, countless times I would meet Grady grads —whether it be a producer at MTV or Amy Robach who invited me on set as her guest at Good Morning America after I reached out to her. I now work at Seacrest Studios because of a Grady grad connection who runs the Nashville Seacrest Studios. I am a walking example of how the Grady family looks out for each other. I will always do what I can to help a Grady student, as would countless other alumni, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned as you’ve navigated through your career?
Always empower others and stay curious. Every single person you meet could change the entire course of your life and vice versa. There is a Ted Talk called “Lollipop Moment” that has shaped the way I look at every interaction. Don’t brush people off or think that you don’t need to learn about that concept/person. In my opinion, people who are successful want to learn something about everything and can find fulfillment in even the smallest of things. For an example in media, every reporter used to have a cameraman. Nowadays, every reporter (or MMJ) needs to know how to shoot their own stories/stand ups, video edit, write their script for web, create their graphics, post on social and go on-air all in one day. Stay hungry by craving knowledge.
Describe a moment in your professional/personal career that you are most proud of.
I am most proud of how many patients and families’ lives we have been able to touch at Levine Children’s Hospital through our programming at Seacrest Studios. To see the emotional, spiritual and physical healing of these strong kids through music, new media, radio and TV is awe-inspiring. There is nothing like having a former patient come back to the studio just to visit as a happy and healthy child. Additionally, I have branded and career counseled over 100 clients all over the world with TDL. To focus on our mission of empowering women everywhere, I donate 10% of my profits to Habitat Aid Initiative, my family’s non-profit in Western Kenya. I have built a dormitory at Khwisero Girls School (Meredith House) and plan to build several more. My hope is to change the world little by little by helping these women in their educational pursuits and get my clients their dream jobs.