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University of Georgia Board of Visitors adds new members

This story was written by former communications associate Laura Bayne.

The University of Georgia Board of Visitors welcomed 25 new members this summer.

Established in 2010 by the UGA Foundation Board of Trustees, the Board of Visitors includes business, government and community leaders who serve as advocates for UGA. Members help increase awareness about the university’s priorities, accomplishments and its $6.3 billion impact on the state of Georgia, and they provide valuable feedback on programs and initiatives at the state’s flagship university.

“I am grateful to our loyal alumni and friends on the Board of Visitors for their service to the University,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Through their involvement, they are expanding the reach of UGA and helping our faculty, staff, and students make an even greater impact on the world.”

The new board members for 2019-2021, their locations and job titles include:

  • Kelley M. Balkcom (BBA ’03), Brookhaven, regulatory affairs manager, Georgia Power.
  • Thomas G. Boynton (BSAE ’84), Alpharetta, chief financial officer, Kakona.
  • Joel R. Bulger (ABJ ’90), Athens, chief marketing officer, Zaxby’s.
  • Kevin S. Carmichael (ABJ ’03), Dacula, director of corporate university relations, North America, NCR Corporation.
  • Brian Crow (BSAE ’97), Atlanta, chief software officer, Xylem Inc.
  • Brian M. Dykes (BBA ’00), Atlanta, vice president, global head of merger and acquisitions, United Parcel Service.
  • Holli Hines Easton  (BBA ’93), Atlanta, managing director, BFG Marketing, LLC.
  • Roy E. Hadley, Jr. (BBA ’85, JD ’88), Atlanta, Georgia; business lawyer and trusted advisor, Adams and Reese, LLP.
  • Madden Hatcher III (AB ’82, JD ’85), Columbus, senior vice president, J. Smith Lanier and Company, A Marsh and McLeennan Agency, LLC.
  • William J. Mathews (BSFCS ’08, BSFCS ’08), Atlanta, multi-family investment sales managing director/platform leader, Colliers International.
  • Byrd P. “Rusty” McGahee (BBA ’77), Augusta, retired director of compliance and controls, Textron Inc.
  • Lynn Morgan (BBA ’86), Alpharetta, chief executive officer, Tour of America.
  • Stephen J. Moroski (BBA ’91), Roswell, entrepreneurial sales leader.
  • Edward Perkins (AB ’66), Watkinsville, retired international vice president, Johnson & Johnson.
  • Anthony T. Powers  (BBA ’11), Decatur, co-owner, Intown Ace Hardware and Mayor Pro-Tem, City of Decatur.
  • Carolyn J. Roddy (ABJ ’75, JD ’78), Marietta, Georgia/Alexandria, Virginia, senior advisor, USDA Rural Utilities Service.
  • Pamela F. Roper (AB ’94), Marietta, executive vice president and general counsel, Cousins Properties.
  • Deep J. Shah (AB ’08, BS ’08), Lawrenceville, primary care physician, Gwinnett Clinic.
  • Scott H. Sikes (AB ’82), Smyrna, principal and partner, Columns Fundraising.
  • George W. Simmons (BSA ’88), Tallahassee, Florida, doctor of veterinary medicine, North Florida Animal Hospital.
  • William H. Thomas, Jr. (AB ’88), Dunwoody, managing attorney, The W.H. Thomas Firm.
  • Will Thorburn (BBA ’07), Marietta, Georgia; director of cleantech strategy and investments, Cox Enterprises.
  • Lindsey D. Thornhill, Milton, vice president and division manager, Integrated Solutions for Systems Inc.
  • Lauren S. Verdery (ABJ ’94), Atlanta, brand leader, Americas advisory, EY.
  • Peter Williams, Atlanta, director and head of community relations, BlackRock Atlanta.

“We are excited to welcome these outstanding new members to the Board of Visitors,” said John Parker, Jr., chair of the UGA Foundation Board of Trustees’ Special Projects Committee. “As prominent leaders in their fields, they bring unique perspectives and expertise to our university. We are grateful they are choosing to invest their time and talents in the University of Georgia.”

During the board members’ two-year terms, they learn about university initiatives to extend and enhance its teaching, research and service mission. Recent program topics have centered on the launch of the university’s Innovation District and the launch of the UGA Mentor Program, an initiative that was sparked by feedback and advice provided by the board.

Nominations for the UGA Board of Visitors are accepted at any time during the year. Nominations received prior to Dec. 31 each year are considered for the following year’s board. To nominate someone for this position or to view the complete list of Board of Visitors members, visit give.uga.edu/uga-foundation/board-of-visitors.

Representatives Aaron Konnick, Samantha Green and Isobel Egbarin from UPS accept the UGA Top 25 Employer Award. (Photo credit: Justin Evans Photography)

UGA recognizes companies that hired the most grads

The UGA Career Center and our Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations honored the top 25 employers of the Class of 2018 on May 9 at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta. These employers hired 14% of Class of 2018 graduates who now have full-time jobs.

According to UGA’s Career Outcomes Survey, the top 25 employers hired 757 graduates from the Class of 2018.

The top 25 employers for the Class of 2018 (in alphabetical order) are:

Alight Solutions
Amazon
AT&T
Chick-fil-A
Deloitte
Delta Air Lines
Emory University
EY
Georgia-Pacific
IBM
Insight Global
KPMG US LLP
NCR Corporation
Newell Brands
Oracle Corporation
PricewaterhouseCoopers
State Farm
SunTrust Banks
Teach for America
The Home Depot
The Vanguard Group
The Walt Disney Company
United Parcel Service (UPS)
United States Army
University of Georgia

Delta Air Lines hired Sarah Wobrock, a 2018 Terry College of Business graduate. “I am thankful for the support I received at UGA and for Delta’s commitment to hire recent graduates,” Wobrock said. “Delta Air Lines has challenged my ability to think outside the box.”

Employers also benefit from the partnership between UGA and companies. Kevin Carmichael directs corporate university relations for NCR.

“This recognition allows us to strengthen our partnerships on campus, highlight our amazing university recruitment team and further show how new hires, community partners and customers are part of our company story.”

These companies hire UGA graduates because they know how well the university prepares students for their careers.

“My high school dream of working for Delta Air Lines was made possible by the UGA-sponsored opportunities outside of the classroom,” said Wobrock. “I was a member of the Institute for Leadership Advancement, where we practiced goal setting and studied leadership qualities. I was a regular attendee of the UGA career fairs, where I had practice crafting my resume and speaking with employers.”

Companies can post a job or internship, register for a career fair, or schedule campus interviews through HireUGA, reaching over 70,000 UGA alumni and current students. In addition, there are multiple other opportunities for partnering with UGA. Companies can fund scholarships or professorships and offer matching gift opportunities to their employees who donate to the university. These companies also offer internships and mentoring programs for students. Several companies even host UGA corporate alumni events.

Docebo unlocks a world of opportunity for UGA students

Rocio "Ro" Sanchez Lobato

Rocio “Ro” Sanchez Lobato (AB ’15, MS ’17) works as a customer success specialist at Docebo.

Athens is celebrated for all it is home to. It is the home of the Georgia Bulldogs, home to renowned restaurants and live music venues and the home and birthplace of public higher education. What most do not realize is that Athens is also home to the North American location for the global tech company, Docebo. And that office is a prime example of the many benefits of UGA’s corporate partnerships.

Docebo, Latin for “I will teach,” provides a learning ecosystem for companies and their employees, partners, and customers designed to increase performance and learning engagement. The company’s artificial intelligence-powered learning platform blends social and formal learning and helps over 1,500 companies around the world. Docebo’s newest office in downtown Athens is booming, hiring motivated young employees like Rocio Sanchez Lobato (AB ’15, MS ’17).

Rocio, affectionately known as “Ro,” is a customer success specialist for Docebo. A native of Marbella, Spain, Ro made a name for herself stateside as a member of the UGA women’s golf team. Like many collegiate athletes, she struggled when it came time to turn in the clubs.

“It is hard to see opportunities past sports,” Ro says. “It is very hard to expose yourself to something different.”

Ro Sanchez Lobato

Ro Sanchez Lobato’s (AB ’15, MS ’17) story is a demonstration of the strength of UGA’s corporate partners and partnerships.

Ro overcame these challenges with some help from UGA Athletics’ Career Development Program, a resource offered to athletes to help them transition from sports to careers. “Think of that thing you can do that no one else can,” says Leigh Futch, director of student athlete development and founder of The Georgia Way Network. Recalling these words helped Ro to find her niche at Docebo: bilingual communications. Because of her ability to speak fluent Spanish, Ro manages large accounts in South America.

Most students believe that they must leave Athens to find opportunity. Ro says Docebo is flipping that narrative by offering top-notch workforce experience and opportunities right here in Athens. With an abundance of full-time positions and internships in sales, account management, customer support and company implementation, Docebo provides new and exciting learning opportunities for UGA students and alumni alike.

“We need more companies like Docebo in Athens,” Ro states. “We are like a big family—we do stuff together outside of work. Someone is looking out for you and pushing you to be better. With Docebo, you learn so much.”

Before stepping into her current role, Ro had no formal tech training. Now, Ro teaches and talks about Docebo’s tech with the accounts she manages, and as a result, she encourages UGA students from all backgrounds to apply.

Beyond its hiring efforts, Docebo partners with the university in several ways. Last year, the company opened its doors to students for an open house. Docebo also regularly sends company representatives to speak in Terry College of Business classes and attend university-sponsored sales competitions. Additionally, Docebo serves on the advisory board of the Management Information Systems program.

Corporate partners like Docebo, who pour their resources into the classroom, create a cyclical effect, helping students to grow, learn, and become high-quality job-seekers like Ro.

If your company is interested in engaging with UGA’s talented students, please visit itstartswith.uga.edu/corporate.

(Docebo photos by Emily Dukes)

Megan Reeves (AB ’18) is working to preserve the future

We all have favorite destinations: the sunny Miami beaches, the picturesque Grand Teton Mountains, The Great American City of Chicago, charming Savannah and the buzzing Big Apple. We want to share these places we love with friends and family, and incorporating sustainability into our lives ensures we will always be able to do that.

Megan Reeves (AB ’18) grew up with Stone Mountain in her backyard. She and her family spent weekends hiking, visiting national parks, and enjoying the outdoors, all of which sparked an interest in sustainability. The value of sustainable practices solidified for Megan when, as a communication studies major, she worked towards earning the Certificate in Sustainability at the University of Georgia.

The Sustainability Certificate, created in 2016, was a response to requests by students for more sustainability education in the university’s curriculum. The program aligns with UGA’s 2020 Strategic Plan that declared leadership in sustainability research, education and service would become “hallmarks” of the university.

“The Certificate in Sustainability provides students with foundational knowledge and leadership skills to create systemic change, add value to businesses, and improve the world. Our students learn by doing: working in interdisciplinary teams to develop sustainable solutions to real-world challenges and community needs,” said Kevin Kirsche, director of the Office of Sustainability at the university.

Megan Reeves and colleagues

Left to right: Dr. Ron Balthazor, Megan Reeves, and Melissa Ray

In Megan’s opinion, the uniqueness of the Sustainability Certificate program comes from the diverse coursework and the differing educational backgrounds of students united by a common passion for sustainability. The interdisciplinary approach of the certificate, supported by 10 schools and colleges, provides a holistic education for students, who take courses in three spheres of sustainability—ecological, economic and social—taught in an array of departments. At the program’s conclusion, students complete hands-on capstone projects that tackle a variety of sustainability challenges.

Megan has had the privilege of watching the program flourish from the first small cohort of 20 students to 160 current students. The program opened many doors for Megan. The most influential experience Megan had during the program was working as the Sustainability Certificate Intern alongside Dr. Ron Balthazor and Melissa Ray, both of whom oversee the program. During the internship, Megan met with a wide variety of students, spreading the word on the new program, and she worked alongside people she calls “the most uplifting and outstanding individuals.”

Dr. Balthazor says Megan “embodies the very best of what we hope for in students in the Sustainability Certificate program.”

“Like so many of our students, she sees the challenges we face with clear eyes and diligently and enthusiastically works toward solutions,” said Dr. Balthazor. “Her interesting mix of sustainability-focused course work and her experience in internships and our capstone project all give her perspectives and skills that she brings to her ongoing work in sustainability.

“She is, in every way, an inspiration to me, and I know she will accomplish so many good things. She gives me great hope.”

Today, Megan works on the Recycling and Waste Division team at Cox Conserves. This branch of Cox Enterprises focuses on enhancing sustainability within all extensions of Cox and the communities they serve. The division, launched in 2007, has ambitious goals, including being zero-waste-to-landfill by 2024 and carbon- and water-neutral by 2044. Megan believes her time in the Sustainability Certificate program prepared her to be successful at Cox Conserves.

Megan and Hairy Dawg

Megan and Hairy Dawg pose for a photo on North Campus.

Dr. Balthazor and Melissa remind their Sustainability Certificate students to “remember the why” behind sustainability: people. As a part of the sustainability industry, Megan now sees the value of this wisdom. It’s easy to get caught up in debates around sustainability, but we must remember the end goal: preserving the places we love for the people we love.

Because of her experience in the Sustainability Certificate program, Megan has two pieces of advice to others hoping to follow a similar path. The first: don’t be afraid to pick people’s brains, because doors will open when you ask questions and show your curiosity. The second: always go back to the “why.”

If you are interested in giving to advance sustainability initiatives at the University of Georgia, please demonstrate your commitment to Sustainable UGA.

University of Georgia achieves 96 percent career outcomes rate for second year

University of Georgia achieved 96 percent career outcomes rate for the second year in a row.

University of Georgia graduates, for the second year in a row, are employed or attending graduate school within six months at a rate of 96 percent—11.7 percent higher than the national average.

Of those students:

  • 63 percent were employed full time;
  • 19 percent were attending graduate school; and
  • Approximately 12 percent were self-employed, interning full time or were employed part time.

“UGA students continue to excel in their post-graduate endeavors, and the consistency of statistics from last year to this year demonstrates that the university is providing career readiness skills through professional programming, academics, and experiential learning,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the UGA Career Center.

Nearly 3,000 unique employers hired UGA graduates from business to government, nonprofit to education. Some of the top employers for the Class of 2018 include Amazon, Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot and Teach for America.

Of those full-time professionals, 58 percent were employed before graduation, a three percent increase over the Class of 2017, and 98 percent were hired within six months of graduation.

Graduates landed in 47 states and 31 countries in the six months after graduation with 69 percent accepting employment within the state of Georgia. Top out-of-state destinations span the county and include cities like Austin, Texas and New York City.

Top 10 out of state destinations for the University of Georgia based on Class of 2018 career outcomes.

Of the 19 percent of graduates who are pursuing additional education, some of the top graduate or professional schools they will attend include Georgetown University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Vanderbilt University and Columbia University.

The UGA Career Center calculates the career outcomes rate each January by leveraging information from surveys, phone calls, employer reporting, UGA departmental collaboration, LinkedIn, and the National Student Clearinghouse. The preceding data is based on the known career outcomes of 8,130 graduates from the Class of 2018.

To check out the UGA Career Center’s website highlighting the Class of 2018 career outcomes.

Learn more about hiring UGA graduates.

 

UGA-RaceTrac partnership creates new career paths for student-athletes

Student-athletes in high-profile college football programs might be thought of as the enviable “big men on campus,” but their positions come with a price measured in hours and minutes.

“During the fall, you have football obligations every day of the week including weekends,” said Daniel Harper (BBA ’18), a University of Georgia football player from 2016-2018. “Spring is a little easier, and by easier I mean you get Sunday off.”

If they’re not in class, they’re at practice. And if they’re not at practice, they’re at weight training. Or in team meetings. Or tutoring. Or volunteering at community events. And with whatever time is left, they try to carve out a personal life.

Those time commitments are more than worthwhile for the lucky few who land a career as a professional athlete, but what about those who will hang up their pads after graduation? Most employers want someone with relevant work experience, and when you only have three weeks a year to yourself, internships are hard to come by.

They used to be, anyway.

 

A NEW KIND OF INTERNSHIP

Last year, UGA’s Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) team partnered with RaceTrac and UGA Athletics to develop a new opportunity for football players: two-week “micro-internships” at RaceTrac’s home office in Atlanta.

“The purpose of the micro-internship is twofold,” said Rachel Patton (ABJ ’13), RaceTrac’s university relations specialist. “One, for the student-athletes to gain exposure into the workforce and build their network. Two, for companies to see how transferable student-athletes’ skills are from their sport to a full-time corporate job.”

RaceTrac and UGA have had a fruitful relationship for a number of years—UGA has the highest representation among college alumni at RaceTrac’s home office, known as the Store Support Center—so the door was already open for further collaboration. After a January 2018 conversation between Patton and UGA’s CFR team about RaceTrac’s micro-internship idea, things began to move quickly.

“When CFR reached out about this opportunity, I was excited about the innovative program structure and the possibility of partnering with such a large company,” said Leigh Futch (ABJ ’05), director of student development for the UGA Athletic Association.

Futch created The Georgia Way, a comprehensive career development program aimed at preparing student-athletes for success after athletics, regardless of when that time comes.  An integral part of the program is connecting UGA student-athletes to resources that will enable a smooth transition to the professional world.  RaceTrac’s micro-internships seemed to be a perfect fit.

“We were able to pull this together very quickly. It was truly a team effort,” said Patton. “From the initial conversation with CFR to planning interviews of UGA’s football players in April 2018, we moved fast.”

 

THE FIRST INTERNS

Futch and UGA Athletics worked with RaceTrac to identify upperclassmen football players who were majoring in areas related to four of RaceTrac’s departments: Reporting and Insights, Financial Planning and Analysis, Human Resources and Operations. That list totaled 16 student-athletes—including Harper—who were each interviewed by a panel of RaceTrac senior/executive-level staff.

“It was a little intimidating at first, but they were all so friendly and easygoing,” said Harper. “Later that day, I got a call that I was one of the players selected for the internship.”

Harper and three others became RaceTrac interns, working at the Store Support Center in May 2018. The four UGA student-athletes were joined by six Clemson University student-athletes, and each intern was assigned to one of the aforementioned departments for their two-week stint.

The interns were tasked with projects they’d have to present to RaceTrac staff at the end of the program, and they were immersed in RaceTrac’s corporate environment by way of orientation sessions, networking events, assessment workshops and more.

“I spoke with each player about their experience, and they were all grateful for the opportunity and more confident in their abilities to perform outside of the athletics environment, which was music to my ears,” said Futch.

For one of UGA’s student-athletes, the internship was more than just a valuable learning experience: Daniel Harper is now a full-time operations analyst for RaceTrac.

“I knew if I wanted a career at RaceTrac then I would need to treat my internship as a two-week interview,” said Harper. “I worked my butt off, made connections, and made myself known.”

 

BUILDING ON SUCCESS

Plans are in place to repeat the program with more schools involved and more student-athletes from all sports. Futch is fielding micro-internship inquiries from many of UGA’s athletics programs. And other companies are taking notice of RaceTrac’s creativity.

“RaceTrac has been an engaged and innovative partner,” said Jill Walton (BSA ’99, MPA ’03), UGA’s CFR executive director. “They’ve done things that other companies haven’t done before. They took the lead with micro-internships, and now there are other companies asking about how they can participate.”

The program’s success also speaks to the strength of the RaceTrac-UGA partnership and of UGA’s alumni network. Patton’s relationship with RaceTrac began when a UGA sorority sister made a connection for her at the company, and now, through these micro-internships, she can do the same.

“Working on this program as a UGA graduate means the world to me,” said Patton. “And to be a part of a company like RaceTrac, where our leadership and team members value the type of students that UGA helps to grow, is amazing.”

Harper, too, takes pride in his ability to “pay it forward” by opening doors for UGA alumni in his new position.

“Being a UGA alumnus was a dream of mine for many years, and I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to play ball and graduate from such a great school,” said Harper. “The doors that UGA has opened for me are limitless, so it is an honor to represent my school in any capacity. I wear my ‘G’ with pride every day.”