Meet Alissa Vickery, Fundraising Chair for the Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently got the chance to interview Alissa Vickery (BBA ’01, MACC ‘01), fundraising chair for the Women of UGA Leadership Council in order to learn more about her experience at UGA and what drives her to stay involved with her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say! 

What kind of advice would you give to a current UGA student?

Work hard and appreciate the fact that, whether you’re paying for it or your parents are paying for it or you have scholarship money, that what you’re doing day-to-day matters, embrace what you’re doing, the classes you’re taking and what they’re trying to teach you because the more immersed in the content you can become the more relatable it will be. Your grades matter!

The other thing I would say is to figure out something other than school to become a part of because when you come out of school, you don’t want all you have on your resume to be your GPA. People are looking for someone well-rounded, especially with the current job market. If you want to set yourself apart, figure out how to make sure you’re a well-rounded individual.

What’s the most important thing you learned while at UGA?

I was that kid in high school who never had to study that hard so I think I came to Georgia not really knowing how to study as a result, and I got slapped in the face pretty hard my freshman year first quarter. I failed my first test. It was a calculus test and I thought “I had this class before. It’s fine.” It wasn’t fine because I just didn’t know how to be a student, but I turned it around pretty quick. I figured out how to study, and I did come out of that class with an A even though I failed that first exam. So I learned how important hard work and perseverance are, whether you get the A or the B.

How did you get involved with Women of UGA?

A women I had met through work had mentioned that the Alumni Association was looking to create a new women’s affiliation group similar to young alumni and black alumni, specifically geared towards women, and she thought that I would be great so I applied.

For me, UGA continues to be a part of who I am and what we do in our free time. We come up for football game, come up for gymnastic meets occasionally. We love the town and try to come back every chance we get, and this was just sort of one more way to still be engaged with the university and at the same time giving back my time and trying to make a little bit of a difference.

What about the Women of UGA Council excites you the most?

For me, it’s all about outreach to the alumni community. It’s a lot of networking and getting to know new people but through that our end goal is that we want to raise money for scholarships for students in need. We want to close the gap for students who need a scholarship to be able to attend UGA. You can really make a difference in someone’s life that way. We want alumni to feel engaged and impacted enough that they’ll want to give back.

So what’s your favorite memory from UGA?

My freshmen year we played Auburn at Auburn, and it was a really cool game. It was the first time any game had gone to four overtimes with the new rules. It was at Auburn and some of my friends from high school went to Auburn and obviously, I had friends at Georgia too. We were all together and sitting in the second row, in front of the band with the students. It was the game that Uga actually leapt up at the Auburn player and tried to bite him because the Auburn player was taunting him. I’m actually in that picture that you see everywhere of Uga jumping up at the guy! We also won that game so Georgia fans rushed the field afterwards. It was one of those things that looking back at is such a cool experience! Go Dawgs!

Designing Women

Every year, the UGA Alumni Association recognizes top businesses owned by UGA graduates through the Bulldog 100 program. These outstanding businesses range from financial firms to barbecue restaurants and even interior design companies.

This year, Women of UGA Council Member Amber Gizzi (BSFCS ’14) from Pineapple House Interiors in Atlanta and Charlotte Lucas (BSFCS ’05), owner of Charlotte Lucas Interior Design in Charlotte, NC made the list.

We had the opportunity to talk with Charlotte and Amber about their time at UGA and their experiences with Bulldog 100.

Charlotte and Amber both graduated from the furnishings and interiors program in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS). They described the program as influential to their development as interior designers and as business owners.

“They required summer internships so I was really able to kind of get my feet wet for two summers in between school,” said Charlotte. “That really helped me to understand and get some experience.”

Charlotte’s company, which specializes in “providing perfectly proportioned rooms and one-of-a-kind, customized designs,” made the Bulldog 100 list for the second time this year, coming in at spot number 15. Her company placed fourth on the list last year and was the first time a graduate from Family and Consumer Science made it in the top 10.

Charlote Lucas design

A nook designed by Charlotte Lucas Interiors

“I was so thrilled and so excited to be included and so excited to have a connection back to Georgia again,” Charlotte said. “It makes me proud that I have grown my business the way I have and that I am being recognized by my school. I think that just being on it is a thrill and an honor.”

Amber, whose business Pineapple House Interiors made the 2018 list at number 56, shares that sentiment.

“I was so excited and proud when I found out we made the Bulldog 100 list,” said Amber. “We work really hard, so it felt good to get some recognition and validation amongst impressive peers. Being honored by UGA feels like something I love loving me back. I want to make my school proud and represent it the best I can.”

Amber Gizzi design

A living space designed by Amber and her team at Pineapple House Interiors

Pineapple House Interiors works globally on projects ranging from decorating, to renovations, to new construction. Amber credits her UGA education with preparing her to take on a partner role at such a young age. Still, she says nothing beats real world experience.

“School gave me a great foundation in design, but I couldn’t have told you where to buy a sofa when I graduated, let alone pulled together a cohesive design plan,” said Amber. “Even if your goal is to eventually start your own company, you need to go work for an experienced designer or business owner first.”

Nominations for the 2019 Bulldog 100 are open through May 31, 2018.

 

Anne Beckwith

Meet Anne Beckwith, Secretary for the Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently got the chance to interview Anne Beckwith (BBA ’90), secretary for the Women of UGA Leadership Council in order to learn more about her experience at UGA and what drives her to stay involved with her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say!

Tell me about your time as a student here at the University of Georgia and what role the university played in preparing you for your future.

The University played such a large role in my life;  it’s hard to narrow it down.  It’s fall football Saturdays since I was 10, it’s my friends, it’s my husband, it kicked off my career, it gave me opportunities to reach beyond the skills I learned at home.  Some of it is little things, like attending a large reception at the President’s home, so that the next time I was at a large gathering where I only know a limited amount of people, I was better prepared.  Some of it was larger things, like finding out what I was good at–I ultimately enjoyed a major that was not on my radar as a freshman.

Do you have a cause that you are passionate about? If so, how do you pursue this in your personal and professional life?

After my family and my dogs, UGA is actually one of my passions! I think it is an incredible resource for the State of Georgia and helps and binds people throughout the entire state.  Personally, I want to help UGA students to experience the  entirety of college – attending a university is more than just going to class, which you should go to class!!  It’s socializing with your peers but also with adults. It’s making good friends. It’s learning to give a hand to those who need it. I personally feel strongly that as a successful UGA graduate, I should try to help others to have the space in their college lives to do those outside things, which I can do by increasing UGA’s ability to address financial need. It’s hard to do more than go to class when you are worried about your next meal or where you will sleep next week.

Why is the Women of UGA Leadership Council important to you?

Women of UGA has been personally enriching because I can see how we have raised money for an endowed need based scholarship and how we are creating events that keep women alumni in touch with their university. I think the new Cookies & Cocoa with Hairy Dawg was an amazing event that I can see being a family staple for decades. Meanwhile, our new Mentorship Monday series is personally and professionally enriching our more recent graduates.

What parting advice do you have for students who are trying to determine the best career path for them while at UGA?

Be open minded and don’t be afraid to be bad at things the first, the second or the umpteenth time you try something. Go to events, even if you don’t know any or many people there;  you already know everyone in your dorm room or apartment. Talk to people and ask questions; this can be professors, the Career Development Center, people you meet at the events, etc.  

To learn more about Women of UGA, visit alumni.uga.edu/womenofuga and connect with the council on Instagram.

Giving Back to UGA: How Sweet It Is

This post was written by Rachel Webster (ABJ ’08), a member of the Women of UGA Leadership Council.

On a cold December evening, there is nothing better than getting out of Atlanta traffic and walking into a warm, fragrant pie shop. That is, there is nothing better unless you are also greeted by the Women of UGA Leadership Council and plenty of other alumnae when you get there.
This was the scene in two locations of Southern Baked Pie Company on December 14 as they hosted the Women of UGA groups for a percentage night to support the Women of UGA Scholarship Fund, along with networking and sweet treats.
Locations in Alpharetta and Buckhead offered pie samples, like the delicious streusel-topped apple cranberry pie, and complementary beverages as alumnae mingled in the cozy shop atmosphere. In Alpharetta, alumnae browsed offerings from vendors Jaco Jewelry and Hands of Life Massage Therapy. In Buckhead, Establishment Home and Custom Bling by Charlotte joined the networkers with tables full of beautiful gift ideas.
The event embodied the two main tenets of the Women of UGA affinity group – giving alumni opportunities to create relationships within the University of Georgia network, and raising money to support education initiatives. In this case, 20 percent of Southern Baked Pie Company’s sales of their signature savory and sweet baked goods will support the Women of UGA Scholarship Fund.
Thank you to all of our event partners and attendees! With you, giving back is sweet.

Announcing Women of UGA’s Mentorship Mondays

Join Women of UGA for Mentorship Mondays, a professional development initiative featuring notable graduates. In this intimate breakfast series, participants will have the opportunity to hear from alumnae at the top of their fields, connect with fellow graduates, and gather tips to take their careers to the next level. Get ready to be inspired and build a network that will offer new perspectives and share things they’ve learned along the way.

All events take place from 7:30-9 a.m. on the following dates:

    • January 29
    • March 26
    • May 21
    • July 30
    • September 24
    • November 12

Speakers and panelists include Kim Bearden (BSED ’87), co-founder of The Ron Clark Academy, Kappy deButts (BBA ’97), executive director of The Zeist Foundation, Inc. and Maritza McClendon (AB ’05), Olympic medalist and senior brand marketing manager at Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh.

There are only 50 slots available, so be sure to register today!

The complete series of events costs $125 per person. Breakfast is included in all sessions and $35 of each registration supports the Women of UGA Georgia Commitment Scholarship.

Events will be held at Carr, Riggs & Ingram in Atlanta, Georgia.

More speakers will be announced soon. There are only 50 slots available, so be sure to register today!

Questions about Mentorship Mondays or the Women of UGA affinity group? Email Luke Massee!

Kicking off the holidays with Hairy Dawg

In early November, Women of UGA kicked off the holiday season with Cookies and Cocoa with Hairy Dawg.

The following recap was written by Rachel Webster (ABJ ’08), a member of the Women of UGA Leadership Council.

Here’s a recipe that’s sure to get any Dawg fan in the holiday spirit: start with hundreds of freshly-baked sugar cookies, and don’t forget red and black sprinkles for decorating. Add some hot cocoa, with whipped cream and plenty of fixings. Top it off with Hairy Dawg, dressed in his holiday best and ready for family photos.
This is the guide to the first annual Cookies and Cocoa with Hairy Dawg event, hosted by the Women of UGA alumni affinity group on November 5 at the Hyatt Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. There were a few surprises as well! Guest readers David Greene (BBA ’04), Rennie Curran (BBA ’17), and Bonney Shuman (BBA ’80), president of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors, stopped by to read stories to the children. There was even a holiday market with products for sale from UGA alumni and supporters, such as Jittery Joe’s and Lily Wrap. Although Uga X was not in attendance, he felt the love from all the fan mail little fans created to send to him in Savannah.
A portion of the money raised from this sold-out event went to the Women of UGA Scholarship Fund, which was endowed this year through the fundraising efforts of the Women of UGA Leadership Council.
“One of the guiding tenets of Women of UGA is to connect alumni to the university on an ongoing basis,” said Teri Cloud (ABJ ’94), Women of UGA Leadership Council president. “We had a huge response to Cookies and Cocoa with Hairy Dawg, and nearly 500 people attended! We loved engaging the alumni community and look forward to making this our signature event in the years to come.”
Thank you to all the attendees, sponsors and partners who helped with this year’s Cookies and Cocoa with Hairy Dawg event. For more information or to donate to the Women of UGA Scholarship Fund, click here. To see photos from Cookies and Cocoa, click here.

Meet Bailey Maxwell, Member of the Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently got the chance to interview Bailey Maxwell (ABJ ’09), member of the Women of UGA Leadership Council in order to learn more about her experience at UGA and what drives her to stay involved with her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say!

Tell me about your time as a student here at the University of Georgia and what role the university played in preparing you for your future.

My 4 (and an extra football season) years at UGA are some of my fondest memories. The university did a great job of encouraging students to connect not only with peers but with faculty and staff. It was these relationships that I feel had a true impact on helping me realize my true self and what I wanted out of not only my time in college but life in general. I was pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged like never before which I feel opened my mind and heart and has everything to do with who I am today.

Do you have a cause that you are passionate about? If so, how do you pursue this in your personal and professional life?

I am extremely passionate about giving back to my community and I try not take anything I have for granted. I volunteer with numerous organizations in the Atlanta area and take every chance I get to give back to a community that I feel gives me so much. I am extremely lucky in that I was chosen to serve as president of the Bennett Thrasher Foundation, a not-for-profit that is funded by the company I work for. We devote our time and resources to making the greater Atlanta community a better place.

Why is the Women of UGA Leadership Council important to you?

The Women of UGA Leadership Council is important to me for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is an opportunity to put my skill set to use for the greater good of the university and my fellow alumnae. I think it is important for us to foster relationships and encourage continued connection beyond the day we walk under the Arch for the first time. Secondly, I love seeing women empower each other and encourage each other to reach our full potential.

How do you hope to make an impact with Women of UGA, and what excites you most about your future with the council?

It is really exciting for me to connect with fellow alumnae that I didn’t have the opportunity to meet during my time at UGA. They came before me, after me and  are a diverse representation of all areas of campus. I think we all have a lot to offer each other as well as the council and UGA alumni group as a whole. The biggest impact I think we will make as a council is continued awareness and funding of the Women of UGA Scholarship. The academic rigor of attending the University of Georgia is hard enough without wondering if you will be able to afford attending semester to semester. If we are able to lighten that burden for even one student, I feel like our time and talent will have been well spent.

What parting advice do you have for students who are trying to determine the best career path for them while at UGA?

The best advice I can give students is to attend career fairs and networking opportunities, ask questions of people you know in professions you have an interest in and keep an open mind.

To learn more about Women of UGA, visit alumni.uga.edu/womenofuga and connect with the council on Instagram.

Meet Rachel Webster, Member of the Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently got the chance to interview Rachel Webster (ABJ ’08), member of the Women of UGA Leadership Council in order to learn more about her experience at UGA and what drives her to stay involved with her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say!

Tell me about your time as a student here at the University of Georgia and what role the university played in preparing you for your future.

UGA prepared me in so many ways for life after graduation, not the least of which was the community that the university fosters. I graduated from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and I was very fortunate to be in the Honors program and a member of the Red & Black newspaper staff. Grady College taught me the habits of being a professional person, the Red & Black helped me practice those habits and the Honors program helped me form relationships with a diverse group of people. The ability to communicate will always be helpful in any professional setting, and many of the people I met at UGA are my best friends today.

Do you have a cause that you are passionate about? If so, how do you pursue that in your personal and professional life?

I am passionate about girls and women having equal educational, professional and vocational opportunities. Besides the Women of UGA Leadership Council, I’m also a member of a young women’s professional leadership group, and I’m a mentor to a current college student. I had many opportunities presented to me when I was younger, and I hope to help other women find opportunities that suit them as well.

Why is the Women of UGA Leadership Council important to you?

First of all, I would say that finding a group of dedicated alumnae like the council is just so rare. These women are so inspiring and hard-working, and I mentioned before how much I value community and relationships. I always enjoy being involved at the university, and through the council, I am able to have a larger impact via the Women of UGA scholarship fund.

How do you hope to make an impact with Women of UGA, and what excites you most about your future with the council?

I am most excited about the Women of UGA scholarship fund, which is endowed as of this year. The endowment means that the scholarship will continue to help deserving students with their educational costs in perpetuity, which seems like a pretty fantastic legacy for any group of alumni to leave. I am excited by the prospect of spending time with students who receive the scholarship and seeing the difference it makes in their lives to be at the University of Georgia.

What parting advice do you have for students who are trying to determine the best career path for them while at UGA?

This is the best career advice I got, and I got it from my hairdresser. He is a very smart man, and I was struggling in a career that I did not really enjoy. He told me to think about the actual activities that I want to do all day, and then work backwards into finding a job that allows me to do those activities. I literally thought about what I’m good at, and what I think would be valuable to others, and started networking through my communities to find opportunities. I have been in my new career as a public relations professional for about five months now, and it was such a good move for me professionally.

To learn more about Women of UGA, visit alumni.uga.edu/womenofuga and connect with the council on Instagram.

Meet Rubina Malik, Mentorship Chair for the Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently got the chance to interview Rubina Malik (PHD ’15), mentorship chair for the Women of UGA Leadership Council in order to learn more about her experience at UGA and what drives her to stay involved with her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say!

What do you value most about your time spent at the University of Georgia?

What I value most about my time spent at UGA is the education that I received and the friendships that I made. I was taught and molded into the world of being an academic. My professors did this through their rigor in teaching and modeling what they were teaching. Having professors that were and are on the top of their field in publication and practice gave me inspiration and bravery to enter a world that was new to me. The friendships that I made along the way are and were another value that was afforded to me during my time at UGA. My friendships that were developed are still intact. We continue to stay connected personally, and professionally we support each other’s goals and ideas. Currently, we are working on publications together.

Were there any particular professors that had a significant impact on you?

There were many who impacted me –

My dissertation committee (Chair – Dr. Laura Bierema, Drs. Karen Watkins, Kecia Thomas and Juanita Johnson Bailey) and others in the department like Drs. Wendy Ruona and Kathleen DeMarrais. The wealth of knowledge that was imparted on me crossed my department and colleges as well – There were others across campus, like at the Terry College of Business who also mentored me, like Dr. Dawn Bennett-Alexander. All those named and others have impacted me significantly during my tenure at UGA as well as presently.

Why is Women of UGA Leadership Council important to you?

The council is important to me for several reasons. One, I like to surround myself with like-minded individuals so being on the council allows me to be around women who are committed to making an in impact in their community as am I. Secondly, I am a believer of giving back whether that is monetarily or in service. I do both and being of service is where my heart is, it is where I feel like I can make the biggest difference – hands in the dirt – arranging opportunities for graduates to engage and develop through the mission of the council.

As Mentorship Chair, what do you hope to accomplish during your two-year term?

I am a product of successful mentoring, so this is something very close to my heart. In the next two years I hope to set up an effective mentoring program that will connect alumnae with the best of the best who have taken their education from UGA and are now making an impact in their chosen fields. This is a two-way street to me – being able to give and being able to take – the perfect formula for learning and developing. I want the young alumnae to know that they too can make an impact, run companies and have their dreams come true as many of the mentors will share in our mentoring program.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your job as a professor at Morehouse College?

I am so blessed to be living my purpose in my professional life. Being an assistant professor at Morehouse is one of the most rewarding aspects of my life. I get to cultivate our future leaders! It is not about just teaching them theory of business in the classroom, it is also about grooming them to be global minded leaders – teaching and modeling for them ethics and integrity as well as being of service. I get to create projects that allows them to take their learning in the classroom and put it into practice – we do projects for non-profits, they volunteer with me at Tedx events, or volunteer in one of the local schools – all to create a well-rounded leader who is ready to impact the world around them! Nothing is more rewarding for me than hearing from a former student about that one project or event they did that helped them discover what they are passionate about. As a mentor to some of my students – the ultimate reward is to get a call being told that I am now a “grandmentor!”

Do you have any parting advice to offer students or recent graduates?

BE A YES! Be engaged, never stop learning and never give up. Always pay it forward. There is so much happening around you, be a yes to take the time to attend events, meet new people and learn from opportunities that are presented to you. Take the time to develop your mind and your skillset, to not let someone say no to you because you do not have something – be well-rounded enough to be able to be considered or at least have a learning attitude so that they will give you a chance!

Meet Ali Gant, Member of the Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently got the chance to interview Ali Gant (AB ’01, MPA ’11), member of Women of UGA Leadership Council in order to learn more about her experience at UGA and what drives her to stay involved with her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say!

Tell me about your time as a student here at the University of Georgia and what role the university played in preparing you for your future.

I moved away from the Georgia when I was in 8th grade, only to return to attend UGA five years later, not really knowing anyone that well. This was before Facebook, so I didn’t have too many connections! I pledged Phi Mu and to this day there are 12 of us in my pledge class who go on an annual girls trip, most of us with young children and jobs and responsibilities that we vow to always leave behind for a weekend to reconnect. My involvement in Greek Life was the first domino not only in student activities, but set me up for the life I lead today.

The national charity for Phi Mu is Children’s Miracle Network, and as freshmen we got involved with Dance Marathon (now UGA Miracle). I went on to serve on the Executive Committee for three years. My second  year was the year we broke $100,000! What a long way they have come. After my junior year, I interned at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in the Foundation, which launched my non-profit fundraising career, and I now work for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta with 16 years of non-profit work under my belt. It all started at UGA.

In 1999, I was selected to be an Orientation Leader. I was #11, and this guy from Rossville, GA named Chris Gant was #12. We met the same day that we met the team. I married Chris Gant in 2004, and another couple – Gretchen D’Huyvetter Cobb and James Cobb – were also on that team, and we are godparents to their fourth son. We ourselves have three sons  who are already big Georgia Bulldogs.  It all started at UGA.

UGA gave me the opportunity to test the waters in my extracurricular life, and I learned that I love hospitality. Whether that was welcoming campus visitors as an OL or as a Visitors Center employee or doing admissions sessions with GRT — I was given those experiences and that has continued in my life. I love to help people find their own little spot where they feel comfortable, and I LOVE it when they happen to love UGA, too!

Do you have a cause that you are passionate about? If so, how do you pursue this in your personal and professional life?

I care very much about children and literacy. Exposing children to books and words before age 5 is critical, and I also care deeply about what happens to kids in 3rd grade when school turns from learning to read to reading to learn. I have an English degree from UGA and I have always been a lover of books. I have involved myself in a number of organizations that are working to improve the children of our state in this area. Some of those organizations include the Junior League of Athens, the Junior League of Atlanta, Ferst Foundation and my place of employment — the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

Why is Women of UGA Leadership Council important to you?

I bleed red and black. UGA gave so much to me. I love mentoring women and connecting with women with similar passions. I love scholarships. It’s a perfect match!

How do you hope to make an impact with Women of UGA, and what excites you most about your future with the council?

I hope to remind alumnae that just because we have our group of friends and experiences at UGA that it is not a thing of the past. We are always Bulldogs, we are always a part of the school – past, present, future – even though we aren’t on campus anymore. It’s our duty to connect, give back, and show up.

What parting advice do you have for students who are trying to determine the best career path for them while at UGA?

In my spare time, I help people revamp their resumes. I hear a lot of “I want to do something I feel passionate about.” Doing something you feel passionate about is good. But passion does not ALWAYS equal FUN. You may feel good at the end of the day, but it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy, joyful and carefree. Non-profits have budgets and policies and boards and problems just like corporations do. Realistic expectations will protect from disappointment. I think it’s a great thing to remember.

To learn more about Women of UGA, visit alumni.uga.edu/womenofuga and connect with the council on Instagram.