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40 Under 40 profile: Brooke Beach (ABJ ’11)

Brooke Beach

This article was originally posted on Grady’s site on August 27, 2019.

Grady College is proud to have four alumni recognized as 2019 40 under 40 honorees, presented by the University of Georgia Alumni Association. The 40 under 40 celebration, recognizing the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of UGA graduates under the age of 40, takes place Sept. 13. This interview with Brooke Beach, the CEO and founder of Marketwake, is the first in a series of conversations with Grady’s honorees this year.

Grady College: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

Brooke Beach: It was becoming a Grady Ambassador. It helped me expand my horizons on what life could be like after college. It’s no surprise that college students can get tunnel vision. Everything is about your classes, your friends, and your free time. It can be overwhelming to have a concept of what life will be like after graduation, but being a Grady Ambassador helped me place goals around who I wanted to be. I had the opportunity to meet and learn from incredible leaders, innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs — and I was inspired to be like them. It made me think far bigger than I had before and gave me goals to strive for.

GC: What skills and/or values and/or circumstances do you attribute to your success?

BB: Persistence and perspective. I’m sure it is exhausting for the people around me, but I do not give up — I don’t even know what that means!

But perspective is equally important; it gives you the ability to see both sides and make a decision on the best path forward for the greatest amount of people. The world is hard, and we cannot keep going if we don’t acknowledge it for what it is. But the next step is more important: to decide if we will do something great in spite of the difficulties. Each of us needs to be self-aware enough to know when to learn from mistakes and change, and when to move forward. I love this quote by Teddy Roosevelt, and I feel it captures this sentiment far more eloquently than I:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

GC: What motivates you?

BB: I have one shot in this world — one chance to make something of the blessings I’ve been given. David Rae said that CEOs are less afraid of dying than they are of not contributing to the world, and that describes me perfectly. I am compelled to build, create, grow, and serve, and I know that I have the opportunity to work hard to fulfill it. I’ve experienced great loss, deaths, injuries, surgeries, medical conditions, and pain beyond belief. I’ve learned that I need to acknowledge these storms, feel the loss, and then keep going. Every single one of us has a story — it’s what makes us who we are — and I want to use my experience to help others tell their truths.

GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

BB: You are responsible for what you become. One of my favorite books is “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie. All people should read this at least three times in their life!

In the book, Carnegie says: “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”  This could not be more true. The second you start to focus on all the reasons you “can’t,” or shift blame on others, you fail. If you want to grow, your focus should be on what you want to accomplish, why you can achieve it, and how you’ll get there.  Don’t be your biggest bully. As Norman Vincent Peale said, “Change the way you think and you can change your future.”

Brooke Beach (ABJ ’11) is a member of the UGA 40 Under 40 Class of 2019. She graduated from Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2011 with a degree in public relations. She is the founder and CEO of Marketwake, a digital marketing agency based in Atlanta.

On Thursday, September 7, Brooke took over the UGA Alumni Association Instagram Story to show us a day in the life of Brooke Beach! You can watch that takeover here. 

Inside the life of Will Carr (ABJ ’06), an ABC news correspondent

Each year, UGA’s 40 Under 40 program recognizes 40 young alumni who are leaders and change-makers. We spoke with one of this year’s 40 Under 40 honorees, ABC News Correspondent Will Carr (ABJ ’06), to get a look into the high-speed life of a national broadcast journalist.

What has been your career path since graduating from UGA?

I was in Grady’s Newsource 15, and through that program landed my first on-air job in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was there for about 2.5 years, and then secured a job in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I broke a couple stories at the border, and amazingly, ABC reached out to me. At the same time, FOX News reached out to me as well. In 2012 or 2013, FOX offered me a job as a national correspondent, where I could travel to cover big news stories, so I joined FOX News in their Los Angeles bureau for five years.

At that time, ABC came back on me and said, “we’ve been following your career, we love what you’ve been doing, we’d like to fly you to New York.” Since that’s the place that I’ve always wanted to work, it was like a dream come true. It didn’t happen exactly right when I wanted it to, but ultimately things played out the way they needed to. FOX gave me a lot of experience with national stories that helped me hit the ground running when I got the job at ABC.

When did you realize you wanted to go into news?

During my freshman year at Georgia, I walked on the football team. This was not a big deal because I was basically a tackling dummy. When I realized that my football career had fizzled out, I decided to go into the broadcasting program. I wanted to be an athlete, but I felt like if I can’t keep playing, then I’d like to at least cover sports. 

Newsource 15 forced us to rotate in the position every day. Through that experience, I fell in love with hard news, not even meaning to. From there, sports became sort of entertainment for me and I pursued hard news as my passion professionally.

When asked about your “typical day,” how do you respond?

My day is the antithesis of a nine-to-five. I have four cell phones: my personal phone, two work phones with two different providers in case I don’t have service for one. I also have a satellite phone that I carry with me at all times. Basically, I’m on call 24/7, even if I’m on vacation. 

It’s just the nature of the job. Sometimes you cancel vacations, you work weekends, you work holidays. When the news calls, you go. But there is downtime where you can chill at home, catch up on errands, exercise or knock out anything you need to do when you’re not physically in the city you live. It’s not boring!

What is the most important story you’ve ever covered?

I’ve covered so many, I don’t know that I can name the “most important.” A recent story that jumps out was last year, one one of the more crazy days of my career. I got woken up at 1 a.m. in Los Angeles, and was told, “There’s been a mass shooting at Thousand Oaks,” which is a Los Angeles suburb. We went to the shooting location and worked for eight hours, and then I was called and told, “A massive fire has broken out up north in California.”

So we jumped on a plane and flew to Sacramento, and then drove two hours to Paradise, California. When we arrived, the entire town was burning. It was the most swift-moving wildfire I’d ever seen, and we saw neighborhood after neighborhood just burn to the ground while we were there. 

We ended up staying in Paradise for a week and a half. It is probably the worst devastation I’ve ever seen; the entire city was wiped off the map. It was really something to see and experience. 

How do you stay prepared to travel and break a story?

I have three or four bags packed at all times. I have a large bag that would be checked if I’m covering an international-type story that would keep me on the road for a week or two. You want to take as much as possible since you don’t know exactly what you’re getting into on the ground or what you’ll be up against. 

Other than that, I have a carry-on bag that I keep ready at all times, and also a wildfire bag. That bag contains the gear that you would see firefighters wearing, since basically we are in the fire just like the firefighters. I actually train with them so that we can do our job safely. I have a bag full of miscellaneous items that I can just sort of pick and choose from depending on the situation I’m going into. 

I have three younger sisters, all of whom went to UGA. When I pick them up from the airport, I can never put their bags in my trunk because it’s always full. They’re always frustrated by that, but I think they understand the gig. 

What advice would you give to students who are interested in becoming a news correspondent?

It’s really important to make sure you feel like the news is in your DNA. Of the people that I stay in touch with, a lot have ended up changing professions and/or going into public relations. A lot of people wanted to go into news, but then they realized the grind of it.

I also feel like a lot of people have a passion for the news, but are talked out of going into it because they’re told “you’re not gonna make any money, you’re gonna have to work holidays, weekends, you’re not gonna have a life.” I don’t really feel like that’s fair. People just need to have their eyes wide open about what they’re getting into and ensure that it’s something they’re really passionate about. Because trust me: you don’t want to work weekends, holidays and 20-hour shifts in the worst elements if you don’t really love what you’re doing. 

What were you involved in as a student at UGA?

I think a lot of kids in college have an idea of what they want to do because they’ve been pointed in a certain direction or learned something about themselves along the way that they wanted to do. I needed a major. I knew I needed to do something, and getting into Newsource ignited that passion. That program and the professors I had equipped me with the tools to enter this profession and hit the ground running.

Coming out of Newsource, I felt like I had a jet-pack propulsion device on my back that helped me take off from the beginning It gave me so many amazing tools. We were doing newscasts across Athens, so transitioning into local news wasn’t difficult. 

 

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Which UGA professors influenced you most?

Michael Castengera and Steve Smith, who taught Newsource 15, were like a ying and yang. I felt like they were family, and I’ve stayed in touch with them. They not only had an impact on me while I was at Georgia; they had an impact on me throughout my career. I find it to be rare to stay in touch with two of your college professors so intimately, and I think that’s the beauty of the program at UGA. 

They’ve retired, but the journalism school is run by some top-notch people. Dean Davis is amazing, Parker Middleton in great, Dodie Cantrell does a great job. So I know that even though my mentors have retired, the journalism school is in very good hands. 

What is the most important experience you had as a UGA student?

It was my first day of Newsource, and as I mentioned, I really wanted to cover sports. I talked Castengera into letting me be the sports anchor. Apparently one of the reporters didn’t show up or called in sick, and he said “Well, you know, you can’t do sports. You have to be a reporter.” There was a story about a student living in a house with guys who had overdosed on heroin. One of the professors said, “we want you to go down to the zoning director for the city and ask him how often they enforce the single family housing ordinance where you have to be related to live in a house.”

We sat outside his office for an hour or two, and finally he came out. We went into his office and I pulled out my notepad. I asked the first question. The zoning director had three note cards on his desk. He looked at the first note card and read verbatim off that note card. It had absolutely nothing to do with what I asked him. 

I clerked for my dad, who was an attorney, and so I was in trials a lot. I saw my dad react to people when he felt they were not being truthful on the stand, and I felt a similar feeling in this moment. When I asked him the second question, he went to the second note card and the same thing: nothing to do with what I asked him. I had no idea what I was doing except I felt like this guy was lying to me. I couldn’t figure out why, so I said something to the effect of, “are you going to keep reading off these note cards or are you gonna actually answer any questions?”

He jumped out of his seat, grabbed me by the collar, and dragged me out of the room. He said, “this is over,” and slammed the door. So we went to the professor and I said, “Sorry, I still can’t do the story, I didn’t get any information from him.” My professor said, “No, this is the story.”

We ended up reporting what happened, and the local paper ended up doing an expose on the zoning director. A week or two later, one of the reporters for the newspaper said, “Hey, we saw your story. We’re digging into this guy and he hasn’t been enforcing a lot of things he’s supposed to have been enforcing. Really great job of digging that up.” That was the moment for me where sports became more fun and entertainment, and I fell in love with hard news. 

Do you have any other favorite UGA memories?

I always think about the memories with my close friends, some of whom were in the journalism school, some who weren’t. I’ve stayed in close contact with a lot of them over the years. In college, there were four of us who watched the HBO show called “Entourage,” and we felt like we were our own entourage.

It’s been amazing over the years to see what they’ve done, and several now have families and kids. It’s really cool to have developed strong friendships with people and feel like they were fortified over the years coming out of Georgia. They really have developed into lifelong friendships. 

Finish this statement. I am most proud to be a Bulldawg when ______.

I’m the most proud to be a Bulldog when I see other Bulldogs succeed.

Throughout the years, I’ve had members of the UGA community reach out to me, especially within journalism, and I try to help as much as possible. When you see people from Georgia do well professionally and personally, I love that. I get excited about Georgia because it had such an impact on me. I know it’s had a similar impact on others.

It’s ironic actually: I’m sitting on a patio in Wyoming and there’s a house two doors down with a Bulldog flag outside. I haven’t seen the homeowners yet, but I’m waiting for them to come out so I can give them a big “Go Dawgs.” When you move further and further away, you don’t run into people who went to Georgia very often. So it’s a special moment, like a nice bond. You see each other and want to hug.

Georgia’s “Green Girl” is making recycling more accessible

“Hey, Alexa … can I recycle this?”

Thanks to Katherine Shayne (BSENVE ’16, MS ’18) and her all-female research team at the University of Georgia, recycling really is as easy as asking your Amazon Alexa.

One of the youngest honorees named to the UGA Alumni Association’s 2019 40 Under 40, Katherine is the co-founder of Can I Recycle This, an organization working to clean up recycling by providing localized answers to specific recycling questions.

Katherine’s list of accomplishments doesn’t stop there. Just this month, the alumna spoke at the United Nations and led a team of UGA student researchers to the Dominican Republic to study marine debris. She’s also analyzed over one million pieces of marine debris collected through the Marine Debris Tracker, worked with Australia’s national science agency (CSIRO) and is a proud College of Engineering Double Dawg—all at the age of 26. 

Solving Wicked Problems

Katherine concentrated her undergraduate research and her graduate thesis on the end of life for materials, particularly ocean-bound plastics, working and learning under the expertise of Jenna Jambeck, an associate professor in UGA’s College of Engineering. Jenna is internationally recognized for her research on plastic waste in the ocean and is the other co-founder of CIRT.

“[I chose to study at UGA because] the University of Georgia is one of the top—if not the top—research institution working on this global problem from a waste management perspective,” Katherine said. “We have some of the best researchers here working on this grand challenge of waste management.”

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities here and every single one of them has been an outpouring of support … I think that that’s what is extremely unique to me about the University of Georgia.”

Early Beginnings at UGA

The idea for Can I Recycle This (CIRT) was conceived in 2017 and quickly became a pilot project headquartered in the Driftmier Engineering Building among UGA students.

In May 2018, CIRT went through UGA’s National Science Foundation I-Corps Program, a public-private partnership that aids collegiate innovators and includes an intensive, six-week Accelerator and up to six months of business and product mentoring.

“The program helped us narrow down what our business model was going to be, our customer focus and then how we were going to transition into scaling our model.”

Now, the all-female research team is working to develop this technology into a self-contained app that can answer every day recycling questions without the use of social media.

So, How Does CIRT Work?

It’s simple. First, add @CanIRecycleThis on Snapchat, Facebook or Twitter. Next, send a photo directly to CIRT and viola—you will instantly receive an answer based on your location. Or, simply ask your Amazon Alexa.

“You shouldn’t have to memorize recyclables on a day-to-day basis. We wanted to make it easy and accessible for consumers to utilize,” Katherine says. “Consumers interact with AI where they can ask and get a real-time response.”

When making use of CIRT, you’ll interact with “GG.” The significance of “GG” is two-fold: it’s Katherine’s sister’s nickname and also short for “Green Girl.”

Katherine Shayne holding phone featuring Can I Recycle This

On the Horizon

So, what’s next for CIRT? The team is developing a partnership with an e-commerce giant in order to integrate CIRT into packaging systems.

“Say you get a package from a big e-commerce giant and in that box or email from the company it tells you everything in the packaging that’s recyclable and then everything in the product packaging that is recyclable, too. That information’s based on location because it’s where it was shipped. So, it just accesses our database and provides consumers with answers.”

As for Katherine, she’s continuing her research on plastic pollution as a researcher at the University of Georgia and is involved with a youth leadership group through the Sustainable Oceans Alliance. The group is drafting a white paper on the dangers of plastic pollution that will be presented to 20 governments around the world.

“Even though we might only make up 25% of the population, we’re definitely 100% of what’s going to be the future,” Katherine notes about the role youth can play in solving the grand challenges of our time.

Katherine will be honored during UGA’s 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon in Athens this month. Meet her fellow 2019 40 Under 40 honorees.

Zachary Faison: The Millennial President

Zachary Faison At A Glance

Getting Started

This summer, Zachary Faison was named one of the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 honorees. He was selected for his impressive accomplishments and commitment to his alma mater. A 2006 graduate, Zachary attended law school at the University of Georgia. After graduation, Zachary earned his Certificate of Fundraising Management from Indiana University. In 2015,  he joined a small group of higher education administrators at Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management. “It was a very intensive institute that gave us expanded insight on being leading administrators at colleges and universities around the country,” says Zachary. “It really helped to support my trajectory as an academic administrator and leader in higher education.”

Making an Impact

Zachary serves as president and CEO of Florida’s first historically black college or university, making him the youngest HBCU president in America. “It’s inspiring work. Every day I get to see the impact upon the lives of students, particularly students of color.”

While at Edward Waters College, Zachary has established an honors college, a center for undergraduate research and is in the process of launching an online degree program. Looking forward, Zachary wants to see the institution grow, not only in enrollment numbers, but “in the expansion of academic profiles and offerings.” Edward Waters College has plans to offer graduate-level programs and become more engaged in the local Jacksonville community.

About 90% of EWC’s students, while academically successful, are eligible for Pell Grants and struggle to pay tuition. Last year, Zachary established a program to help meet this need. If students have an outstanding balance of up to $3,500, EWC will match the balance. “We wanted to do whatever we possibly could to ensure students wouldn’t get this close to the finish line and not finish.” Because of this new program, a significant number of students are able to return to school and continue earning their degree.

Proud to be a Dawg

When asked about the first time he set foot on UGA’s campus, Zachary recalls a feeling of awe. “My eyes were wide open at how expansive the campus was … how beautiful it was … the amazing history that goes along with it. It was incredible.”

During his time at UGA, Zachary was involved in the law school’s Moot Court, a mock trial team that competes nationally. “For me to have the chance to compete with students that have gone on to do such extraordinary things is something I will always remember and cherish,” says Zachary.

Zachary Faison will be honored during the ninth annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon in Athens on September 13.

Be sure to check out the other impressive 40 Under 40 honorees.

Leading the black community in health and business – Dr. JaNaè Taylor (MEd ’03, PhD ’07)

When Dr. JaNaè Taylor (MEd 03, PhD ’07) took an internship during her undergraduate sophomore summer at a Veterans Affairs clinic, she wasn’t sure what would be her next step in pursuing a career in therapy. That summer, she met two doctoral students in the Counseling Psychology Doctoral program at the University of Georgia who shared their experience. They connected her with a student to give her a tour of campus, and this solidified her decision to follow their footsteps and make some of her own. 

Dr. Taylor has been working as a counselor for 16 years. She has worked everywhere from women’s homeless shelters to schools and universities. Her most recent passion is creating a space for connection for the black community in the mental health and business worlds. 

It all started with a counseling center. She and several of her therapist colleagues decided to start their own private practice. She learned through that process that even though they were all women in counseling, she had a different experience in starting her business in regards to marketing and resources.  

“There were differences in the marketing I needed, especially in order to get buy-in from the black community and get resources,” Taylor saidNot only was I getting the experience of creating a mental health agency, but also becoming an entrepreneur at the same time.”  

In addition to her needing to learn how to launch a business, other challenges she faced were a lack of access to capital and isolation within her profession. “People want to sit across from someone who looks like them or reminds them of someone they know,” she said but it was difficult to refer people to other black counseling practices because I didn’t know of any at the time.”  

A year and a half after she started her business she launched her podcast Minding My Black Business. Initially, the podcast was a marketing opportunity but it quickly grew to much more with over 27,000 downloads. 

JaNae Taylor’s recent community event, a meet up for black therapists.

I have completely enjoyed it – it led to me doing some community events,” she said. “Back in May I did a meet up for black therapists and about 20 people showed up, which is great.” “The more I do itthe more I get people opening up to therapy, which is one of my hopes.” 

Dr. Taylor will be honored at UGA’s 40 Under 40 event in Athens in September, check out the other amazing 40 Under 40 honorees. 

Congratulations, 2019 40 Under 40!

40 Under 40 Logo

We’re proud to announce the 40 Under 40 Class of 2019 today! This program, in its ninth year, celebrates the achievements of successful UGA graduates under the age of 40–a set of alumni who are leading the pack in their industries and communities. These young leaders will be recognized during the ninth annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon Sept. 13 in the Tate Student Center on campus. If you’re interested, please join us for this special event.

Each Honoree Stands Out

The 2019 class includes a few names you might recognize:

  • Allison R. Schmitt, a gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer
  • Malcolm Mitchell, Super Bowl champion and children’s author
  • Will Carr, a correspondent for ABC News on a national level

But even if you don’t know the names of everyone on the list, you’ll still be impressed at the caliber of these graduates working in everything from law and politics, to health care, nonprofit and food and beverage. For example, Tim Fleming is Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s chief of staff and Catherine Marti is a cardiologist at Piedmont Heart Institute focused on heart failure and transplant cardiology.

“We are excited to unveil this year’s class of 40 Under 40 and welcome them back home to Athens for the awards luncheon in September,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. “I am always amazed by the excellence of our young alumni. These outstanding individuals exemplify leadership in their industries and communities.”

The Competition

Talk about a competitive selection process: nominations for 40 Under 40 were open from February to April, and more than 400 alumni were nominated for this year’s class. Honorees, of course, must have attended UGA and they have to uphold the Pillars of the Arch: wisdom, justice and moderation. Additional criteria are available on the 40 Under 40 webpage.

“The achievements of our nominated alumni each year make it hard to narrow down the list to just 40 honorees, and this year was no exception,” said Johnson. “We are proud of all of these outstanding young graduates. Their drive and focus inspires the UGA community.”

Ok, Ok, Show Me the List!

This year’s 40 Under 40 honorees, including their city, title and employer, are listed below in alphabetical order:

The Event

As we said earlier, if you’re interested in attending the 2019 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon in Athens on Friday, September 13, please register today! *If you’re an honoree, please use the registration link provided to you by the Alumni Relations team.

Saddler siblings among 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 honorees

Saddler family

The University of Georgia Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 program annually recognizes alumni who have made significant impacts in their careers. After receiving more than 550 nominees, the Alumni Association recognized this year’s honorees during an awards luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium on Sept. 13. Among the honorees were brother-sister duo, Latham Saddler (BBA ’05) and Lauren Saddler Pearson (ABJ ’02).

Lauren graduated from UGA with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 2002 and is now a managing director and partner at HighTower Somerset in Birmingham, Alabama. She was named to the 2017 list of Forbes America’s Next Generation Wealth Advisors and named one of the Birmingham Business Chronicle’s “Women to Watch.” Lauren is also committed to The Advent, Cornerstone Schools, United Way of Central Alabama, Rotary and several other nonprofits in the Birmingham area.

Lauren with award

Latham graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2005 and is the director of intelligence programs for the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., and is also a Navy SEAL in the U.S. Navy. After becoming a Navy SEAL, he led a 25-person element in a remote outstation in Iraq responsible for targeting ISIS.  Inspired by his twin brother, who was born with Down syndrome, he is an advocate for the National Down Syndrome Society. After being crowned 2003 UGA Homecoming king, he presented the crown to his brother.

After learning that they were both being inducted into the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018, Lauren and Latham shared how proud they were to be honored by their alma mater and represent their family.

Lathem with award

“Special day for our family,” Lauren shared on her LinkedIn profile, “honored to be honored with my brother and proud to be a Bulldog!

Lauren and Latham’s parents were able to attend the luncheon and see the accomplishments of their children highlighted by the university. Click here to read more about their heartfelt reactions to the news of their children being inducted into the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 in a blog post by Peter Stoddard.

Want to see who else made this year’s 40 Under 40 list? Click here for the full list and highlights from the awards luncheon.

Meredith Dean among seven Grady College alumni inducted into UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2018

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.

Meredith HouseDescribe 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.

Originally published by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Meet Julie Wade, new UGA Alumni Association board member and previous 40 Under 40 honoree

When Julie Wade (AB ’96, JD ’00) first stepped foot on the University of Georgia campus to begin her undergraduate education she never envisioned attending law school—she also never imagined having the opportunity to serve on the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors more than 20 years later.

In her new role on the alumni board, Julie looks forward to continuing her history of giving to the university. “It’s an incredible honor. There are so many distinguished and amazing people on the board and I am excited to contribute what I can and become more fully engaged and immersed in the Bulldog experience.”

The Wade FamilyJulie is the executive director of Park Place Outreach Emergency Youth Shelter, a temporary residential home for at-risk youth ages 11-17 in Savannah, Georgia. Prior to working with Park Place, Julie clerked for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and practiced law in both Hawaii and Boston. In Savannah, she practiced law at The Wade Law Firm, Hunter Maclean and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In addition to her directorship and serving on the alumni board, Julie is committed to giving back to her local community. She serves on the board of directors for Girls on the Run, America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia and Educate Chatham. Julie is also committed to giving back to UGA; she and her husband, Drew Wade (BS ’97, AB ’97), have been making annual gifts to the university for 24 consecutive years.

In celebration of her impressive career pursuits, her ongoing dedication to her community and strong demonstration of leadership, Julie was recognized by the UGA Alumni Association as a 40 Under 40 honoree in 2011.

Julie offers the following advice for UGA students: “Embrace all the opportunities that come with being a student at Georgia—join clubs, join organizations, get to know professors, and dive in. By doing so, you’ll make richer experiences and better connections—all which will serve you in the long term. It’s about so much more than just going to class and making good grades.”

Catching up with Mohamed Massaquoi, 40 Under 40 honoree and UGA Alumni Board member

Mohamed MassaquoiContributed by former digital marketing intern Alvieann Chandler (ABJ ’13, AB ’18) during her time in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations Office of Communications

Mohamed Massaquoi (BS ’08) is mastering the art of reinvention. The former UGA football standout began his career in the NFL as a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, and after retiring, he worked in finance for Morgan Stanley. In 2017, an ATV accident caused him to lose four fingers on his left hand, and he now wears a prosthetic. The accident gave Massaquoi a new perspective on life, and he started a new chapter as a motivational speaker and fitness advocate. He also helps former athletes transition into the business world.  

“I think it’s very important that people take full advantage of all the opportunities that they have right now, because you never know what could happen between now and whenever you plan to take that leap of faith,” Massaquoi said. 

Now, as a 2018 40 Under 40 honoree and UGA Alumni Association Board member, he hopes to foster relationships between alumni and their alma mater.  

“It was an honor to be named to UGA’s 40 Under 40 list. To think about how many people come through UGA, to be nominated is a great honor– something I don’t take lightly,” he said. 

In addition to giving back to UGA, he is on the board of Sunshine on a Ranney Day, a nonprofit organization that provides home modifications for children with disabilities, and Read with Malcolm, a literacy program founded by fellow UGA football star Malcolm Mitchell (AB ’15). Massaquoi is also learning how to play tennis – to exercise his competitive side, but to also support young amputees. 

“I enjoy competing, and I think tennis gives me an ability to continue to do that,” Massaquoi said. “One of the reasons why I want to get good at tennis is to start a tennis tournament to raise money for kids with amputations so they can afford prosthetic devices.” 

Nothing seems to slow Massaquoi down – a reason why he’s worthy of being named to UGA’s 40 Under 40. 

“Whenever you have the opportunity to do something,” he continued, “I feel like it is your human responsibility to follow through at the highest level that you can.”